September 4, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Unveils New CUNY Harry Belafonte Scholarship at the 2023 West Indian Day Parade

Governor Hochul Unveils New CUNY Harry Belafonte Scholarship at the 2023 West Indian Day Parade

Scholarship Honors the Legacy of Harry Belafonte, Son of Jamaican Immigrants, World-Renowned Musician, and Civil Rights Activist

Scholarship Will Support CUNY Students Who Embody Belafonte's Commitment to Social Justice and the Performing Arts

Five Incoming Students Will be Selected to Receive Full CUNY Scholarships; Applications Will Open in Spring 2024

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the new City University of New York Harry Belafonte Scholarship to honor the legacy of civil rights activist and world-renowned musician Harry Belafonte, who passed away earlier this year. The Governor made the announcement at the 2023 West Indian Day Parade.

“The son of Jamaican immigrants, Harry Belafonte was an incredible artist, activist, and voice for the people of New York,” Governor Hochul said. “To honor his legacy, this scholarship will open the door to new opportunities and help ensure more passionate and talented students can make their mark on the world, debt free.”

“Harry Belafonte was a giant of a man. He broke barriers and uplifted communities through the power of the arts and activism,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “I thank Governor Hochul for honoring his legacy through investing in our youth, which will provide them the tools to inspire change themselves.”

This new scholarship will cover the full cost of attendance – including tuition, room and board, fees, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses – for five CUNY students who, like Harry Belafonte, demonstrate a commitment to social justice and the performing arts, have overcome significant challenges to pursue their dreams, and embody the experiences and principles that he represented. Applications will open in Spring 2024.

City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "CUNY thanks Governor Hochul for honoring the memory of Harry Belafonte with this generous scholarship that will help our students pursue educational paths that bring together the passions for the arts and social justice that he championed throughout his long and illustrious life.”

Gina Belafonte, Daughter of Harry Belafonte, said, “We are absolutely honored and thrilled that New York State is recognizing the legacy of Harry Belafonte. How a high school dropout, his desire for learning, and the tools for deeper strategic understanding never ceased. By offering this opportunity to those who are deeply interested in furthering your education, and deepening their understanding of art and activism, and the role it plays in creating healthy communities is a profound recognition of his legacy. We want to thank Governor Hochul for shepherding this scholarship and ensuring young people get an opportunity to thrive.”

Harry Belafonte, the son of Jamaican immigrants, was a world-renowned musician, artist, and champion of the civil rights and social justice movements. Like so many New Yorkers, his parents worked hard to ensure he had the opportunity to make a difference in the world. This scholarship will help more students who have defied the odds succeed, create a lasting legacy, and make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers.

About The City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation's largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation's first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City's five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY's mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University's graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city's economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city's workforce in every sector. CUNY's graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur "Genius" Grants. The University's historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

Contact the Governor's Office

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