James Muyskens ’64, university professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak at the Central College commencement Saturday, May 19.
Muyskens served as president of Queens College from 2002-2013, leading the college in initiatives such as adding new programs and updating the college’s undergraduate general education curriculum. During his tenure, Queen’s underwent a transformation as Muyskens led initiatives including opening the college’s first residence hall, significant improvements in environmentally-friendly development, new programs in business administration, neuroscience, graphic design, bioinformatics and computer science, the revitalization of Kupferberg Center of the Arts and a large increase in grant funding.
Muyskens oversaw the expansion of Queens College enrollment and ensured the more than 300 new faculty hired were at the highest level of teaching and research.
He received an honorary degree from Central in 1989 and has served on the college’s National Advisory Council.
A native of South Dakota, Muyskens majored in philosophy at Central then received his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Seminary and a Ph.D. degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan. An esteemed educator for more than 45 years, Muyskens began his career in academia in 1971 as an assistant professor at Hunter College in Manhattan where he rose to full professor. He accepted the position of dean of arts and sciences at the University of Kansas in 1988 before an appointment as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University System of Georgia, professor of philosophy at the University of Georgia, and chief executive officer of the Gwinnett University Center in 1995.
Muyskens’ publications include two books, The Sufficiency of Hope and Moral Problems in Nursing: A Philosophical Investigation, as well as numerous articles on the philosophy of religion, ethics and higher education.
Following in the footsteps of his father, a brother and sister, Muyskens arrived at Central in 1960 after graduating from Mitchell High School in Mitchell, S.D. He describes Central as the perfect fit because it provided “ample opportunity to earn a strong academic degree while pursuing a large number of extra-curricular activities.”
He still feels the impact of his education at Central, as he is committed to seeing that the students he teaches or who attend the institutions he manages have the same opportunities he was given at Central, in order to “develop their abilities to communicate clearly, think critically and creatively, and to become women and men of strong character and servant leaders.”