Search planned for permanent leader of The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter/CUNY.
Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab today announced the appointment of Professor Yarimar Bonilla as Interim Director of El Centro, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter/CUNY (el Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños). Dr. Bonilla, Professor of Africana & Puerto Rican/Latino Studies in the Anthropology Department, will be the first woman to head Centro in its 48-year-history. She will assume the post following the retirement of longtime director Dr. Edwin Meléndez, which takes effect June 30. Hunter will conduct a national search with a diverse and inclusive search committee for a permanent director for El Centro.
President Raab commented: “We are delighted that the highly accomplished Yarimar Bonilla will be building on the legacy of Edwin Meléndez to advance Centro’s mission in support of scholarship and engagement on issues vital to Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora. “In Yarimar, we welcome a leader who has always combined scholarship and activism in her work. She brings to Centro a deep understanding of Caribbean cultures in general and the Puerto Rican community in particular—and a commitment to research, educating students, utilizing new technologies, and advocating around pressing issues on the island and the mainland.”
Continued President Raab: “Edwin Meléndez has made an enormous impact in his 13 years at Centro, leaving an admirable legacy on which Yarimar and the Center can now build. On behalf of the entire college, I want to thank Edwin for his remarkable achievements. We are delighted that, following a well-deserved one-year sabbatical, he will return to Hunter’s Urban Affairs and Planning faculty where he will continue his vital efforts to study economic development and the process of recovery in Puerto Rico.”
“I would like also to express special thanks to CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez for his advice and support during this important transition. As a former Centro director himself, the Chancellor has long made the Center a high priority, and we are fortunate to have his leadership and encouragement as we plan for its future.”
“I had the privilege of starting my CUNY journey at Centro and know first-hand how unique Centro is and how crucial it is as a research and archival anchor of the Puerto Rican experience in the U.S.,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “I want to thank Edwin for his transformational work over the last 13 years and welcome a scholar of the caliber of Yarimar as interim director. I am as committed to Centro’s future today as I was in 2000 when I became its director and to working with Yarimar and other Centro leadership during this time of transition and opportunity leading to Centro’s exciting 50th anniversary in 2023.”