Hunter President Bio
In 2022, Jennifer J. Raab marked her 21st year as President of Hunter College — the largest college in the CUNY system, with more than 24,000 students, five schools, and an annual operating budget of more than $250 million.
During her time at Hunter, President Raab — the longest-serving president at CUNY — has led its successful transformation from an open-admissions institution to a selective, highly ranked college. Under her leadership, graduation and retention rates have risen markedly, and hundreds of Hunter students have earned prestigious awards — including two Rhodes, two Marshall, two Truman, five Schwarzman, five Luce, and seven Goldwater scholarships along with six Soros Fellowships. The college routinely has been named a Fulbright Scholarship Leader by the State Department, having produced 88 Fulbright Scholars during her tenure, and is called the “crown jewel of the CUNY system” by the Princeton Review.
Since she assumed the presidency in 2001, Hunter has significantly increased its government grants and awards while raising more than $530 million in private support for the college. Most recently, she helped broker a $52 million gift from Leonard Lauder — the largest gift given to a single CUNY institution. Her Mother’s Day Scholarship Program, launched in 2005 as a way to celebrate the thousands of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters who were Hunter grads, has raised more than $9 million in scholarship funds for Hunter students.
During her tenure, her faculty secured more than $1 billion in research awards and grants, providing hundreds of students with life-changing exposure to lab and field science. Hunter’s research contributed to many scientific fields, including astronomy, climate change, and community health and medicine, and affected cancer treatments while playing a major role in helping end the HIV epidemic.
She also launched a $50 million library renovation; built a floor in the new Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell Medical College; constructed a $131 million School of Social Work in East Harlem; added a new facility in Tribeca for Hunter’s renowned art graduate program and gallery; purchased and renovated a townhouse on E. 67th Street to house Hunter’s theater department; and completed the $25 million restoration of the historic 1908 Roosevelt House on E. 65th Street — now the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.
Before coming to Hunter, she worked as a litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Paul, Weiss until she was appointed Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, a post she held from 1994 to 2001.
She sat on the Board of Directors of Compuware Corporation; is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; serves on the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York; serves on the advisory boards of the National Institute of Social Sciences and WOMEN.NYC; and sat on the Board of Directors of The After School Corporation, United Way New York, and the One To World Foundation. She was also a member of the 2004–05 New York City Charter Revision Commission.
A graduate of Hunter College High School (whose campus she now oversees), President Raab received a BA with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University in 1977, an MPA from Princeton in 1979, and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985. In 2016, President Raab’s achievements were recognized by her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2022, she was awarded the Gold Honor Medal for distinguished service to society and humanity by the National Institute of Social Sciences.