President, Hunter College, CUNY
MPA, Class of 1979
Jennifer J. Raab is the 13th President of Hunter College, the largest college of the City University of New York.
Since assuming the presidency in 2001, she has led a successful effort to enlarge the faculty and recruit distinguished professors and artists. Standards throughout the college have been raised, and fiscal management has been modernized and strengthened. Entering SAT scores increased by 89 points in just seven years and are now 137 points above the national average. Hunter has won new levels of government awards, private grants and philanthropic contributions and launched the first capital campaign in its history. Since her tenure began in 2001, President Raab has been responsible for more than $200 million in philanthropic support to Hunter College. Major changes include the renovation and reopening of the historic Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt House, which is now the Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, and the construction of a $131 million home in East Harlem for Hunter’s renowned School of Social Work that also houses the new CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College.
The reforms and improvements are reflected in Hunter’s rising national standing. The Princeton Review has ranked it among the Top 10 “Best Value” public colleges in the nation for three consecutive years. In U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings for 2012, Hunter placed 7th among the Top 10 public regional universities in the North, and Hunter has moved up 18 positions in just four years to No. 34 among all regional universities (public and private) in the North. Hunter is one of only seven colleges in the nation to be awarded an ‘A’ by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in a study measuring the breadth of undergraduate core requirements.
President Raab’s role as an educational leader continues her long career in public service, from lawyer to political campaigner adviser to government official. Her career in government began in 1979 when she became special projects manager for the South Bronx Development Organization, an agency that played a critical role in the renewal of one of the city’s most distressed areas, and she was later named director of public affairs for the New York City Planning Commission.
President Raab went on to become a litigator at two of the nation’s most prestigious law firms – Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Quickly earning a reputation as a strong but fair advocate, she was appointed Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, a post she held from 1994 to 2001. She was known for her effective and innovative leadership of the agency that protects and preserves the city’s historic structures and architectural heritage. In a 1997 profile, the New York Times’s David Dunlap said she had “developed some untraditional ideas about who belongs to the preservation community,” adding that the changes – which could have been made “only by an outsider” – had greatly reduced the city’s historic battling over preservation.
Crain’s New York Business named her as one of New York’s “100 Most Influential Women in Business” in 2007 and one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in New York” in 2009 and 2011. She has been honored by many New York and national organizations, including the Martina Arroyo Foundation, United Way, the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute and the League of Women Voters of New York.
Long active in civic and national affairs, President Raab is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of Directors of The After School Corporation and United Way and on the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York. She was appointed a member of the 2004-05 New York City Charter Revision Commission by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A graduate of Hunter College High School, President Raab is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University, holds a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and received her law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School. Harvard has named her to the Law School Visiting Committee, which reports to the University Board of Overseers. President Raab is the 2012 recipient of Albany Law School's Miriam M. Netter Award, which is awarded annually to the School's Kate Stoneman Day keynote speaker, in honor of Stoneman's lifelong commitment to actively seeking change and expanding opportunities for women.