“Scientists are expected to be good humanists, but humanists are not expected to be good scientists.” This was proclaimed by none other than Dr. William Tramontano, the interim university President of Queens College. A lover of science, Tramontano received a degree in biology at Manhattan College and eventually obtained a doctorate in cell biology from New York University.
Tramontano, who has spent about 40 years in administration has dedicated a vast amount of his career to serving both the private and public sector. Tramontano started off as a department chair at Manhattan College for 18 years, but after some time was ready to look into other positions. He spent a total of 22 years working for Manhattan College before moving onto Lehman College. At Lehman, Tramontano served as the Dean of Science for three years before eventually becoming the provost. It was only two years later that he decided to serve as provost in Brooklyn College for a full decade. He most recently served as Senior Advisor to the President for Student Success and Strategic Initiatives at CUNY Hunter.
Tramontano mentions that despite the fast-paced environment of being an administrator, he still reads science journals daily and likes to keep in touch with his love for the subject. He couldn’t help but mention that even during his time as an administrator, he taught a fair share of biology courses, including general biology and microbiology.
When asked about how his roots in science has helped him be a successful administrator, Tramontano notes, “scientists are a little better prepared to handle certain aspects of the job. When writing a scientific paper, compared to years ago, you now see numerous names in the by-line, because it really does take a village to get things done”. He then emphasized how that sense of teamwork developed in the lab plays a key role in his job as an administrator: “the cabinet of the school [which is made up of higher-level administrators] facilitated my transition easily”.
Tramontano was quick to voice how much he enjoys the active student life on the Queens College campus, claiming that “the frenetic pace of Hunter” and having to jam “20,000 students into those buildings” made it “hard to get a sense of student life there. Brooklyn seemed to have less student involvement with approximately 10% of the student population voting in student government elections”.
“Student leaders and administration are generally on the same page,” Tramontano said. “We all want the same thing”.
Tramontano says his main goal as interim president of Queens College is to heighten student & faculty success. “In order to improve faculty success, you have to make the faculty want to work here,” said. “You do that by giving them the tools and the time”.
The Knight News thanks the Office of the President for allowing our staff the privilege of this interview.