LaGuardia photography program gets grant

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LaGuardia Community College today celebrated a gift from Astoria Bank for the college’s esteemed Commercial Photography program. The $8,500 gift will go to scholarships for tuition, books, and other expenses for students seeking associate degrees in this field, and was presented at an event held earlier today at the college.

“Astoria Bank’s generous support will enable us to ensure that more students have the opportunity to pursue a career in photography. This gift reflects the excellence of our visual and performing arts programs,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “Astoria Bank is a great friend to our college and to our students.”

“Since opening our newest branch in Long Island City, Astoria Bank has become even more involved in this vibrant business community. It’s especially important for us to support a neighboring institution like LaGuardia Community College.  By combining resources, we’re able to launch exciting programs that will not only help make a difference in the lives of deserving students but also strengthen local businesses,” said Astoria Bank Executive Vice President Brian Edwards.

The scholarships will be administered through the LaGuardia Community College Foundation, the college’s philanthropic arm. Although tuition at LaGuardia is low compared to other colleges, making ends meet while attending college is a struggle for the majority of LaGuardia students—more than 70 percent have annual family incomes of less than $25,000. The Foundation raises money to help off-set these struggles. Since 2003, the LaGuardia Community College Foundation has raised more than $18 million, which has gone to approximately 10,000 students in the form of scholarships, emergency funds (for books, MetroCards, housing support, meal vouchers, etc.), leadership development programs, and other initiatives aimed at enhancing student success.

In recognition of this generous gift, an exhibit featuring the work of LaGuardia’s commercial photography students will be showcased at the bank’s Long Island City branch at 26-26 Jackson Ave. The exhibit, entitled “LIC Past, Present & Future” is a visual documentary of Long Island City’s past as a hub of industrial design and manufacturing, its present day as a rapidly-developing neighborhood with a vibrant up-and-coming cultural scene, and predictions of what its future may look like. The exhibit, curated by Photography Program Director Scott Sternbach and his team, is expected to open in December and will be up through early next year.

“In addition to this generous gift, we’re grateful for Astoria Bank’s sponsorship of our Business Services’ annual event that helps local small businesses explore contracting opportunities with government agencies, and for the valuable financial literacy education its experts are providing at no cost to some of our students who need it the most,” said President Mellow.

Astoria Bank is a sponsor of LaGuardia Community College’s Business Services’ 4th Annual Government & Business Matchmaker event, where local entrepreneurs meet government agencies and prime contractors one-on-one in order to discuss immediate contracting and subcontracting opportunities. Small business owners also attend workshops on how to expand their companies, and more.

The 4th Annual Government & Business Matchmaker event is organized through LaGuardia Business Services’ Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which helps New York City businesses—in particular, small, minority, and women business owners—market their goods and services to government agencies. Since its inception in 1999, PTAC has served over 4,800 businesses; helped create over 4,600 jobs; and assisted clients in obtaining over $250 million in contracts.

Astoria Bank has a long history of supporting the communities it serves by providing financial support to non-profit organizations throughout the greater New York metropolitan area.

Recently, Astoria Bank’s banking professionals have begun providing financial literacy workshops on-campus for LaGuardia students. These workshops not only provide supplemental information for students enrolled in continuing education and business-related programs, but also enrich their learning experiences and equip them with real-life skills needed to excel in their careers.

“Financial literacy education helps to ensure that LaGuardia students have the tools to make sound financial decisions for themselves and their families for years to come,” said Astoria Bank Executive Vice President Brian Edwards.

About the Commercial Photography program at LaGuardia Community College: LaGuardia is the only two-year institution in the City University of New York (CUNY) to offer an Associate in Applied Sciences degree in Photography. Students in the Commercial Photography program, administered by the Humanities Department, use professional photographic equipment and facilities, such as a state of the art black & white and color darkroom, shooting studios and digital imaging facility. Photography courses are taught by faculty members who are currently working in the field and are exhibiting artists, enabling students to gain experience from all over the photographic and arts spectrum in this quickly changing industry.

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