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Reports rank Queens College as a top university

Queens College has not only recently drawn top marks from U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, but has attracted some of the borough’s most accomplished students and feted athletes and world-class musicians, President James Muyskens told members of the John F. Kennedy Democratic Club last week.

“We continue to be a very popular institution for students, especially in this economy” Muyskens said last Thursday at the Margaret Tietz Nursing Home in Jamaica Hills. “We’re doing very well with rankings, but more than that, our 20,200 students can get a first-class education.”

U.S. News & World Report lauded Queens College in a recent report, naming the school as one of the top 10 public universities in the northeastern United States for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Princeton Review also praised the school and included Queens College in its Best 371 Colleges guidebook in August.

Muyskens said the ratings are a reflection of the caliber of students and staff at the college.

“Most of our students come from Queens and more and more from Nassau and Suffolk [counties], but because we have an internationally acclaimed music program, we attract students from around the world,” Muyskens told the group of approximately 40 people at the nursing home. “The students who come to us, they’re good enough to get into Sarah Lawrence or Princeton, but they don’t have the means to go.”

The college president rattled off a wide variety of the pupils at the school this year, including an accomplished French horn player, a soccer star from Ohio and one of the top students from Bronx High School of Science. He also said with obvious pride that one of the college’s professors is “the foremost Muslim rock star.”

Salman Ahmad, a Pakistani native who teaches a class on Muslim music, and his band, Junoon, have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. The 45-year-old celebrity also collaborates with Yale Strom, a renowned klezmer musician, on a Queens College program called Common Chords that Muyskens said tries to foster cultural cooperation and understanding.

Members of the JFK Democratic Club praised Queens College, and Flushing resident Sandra Bindman told Muyskens the school “opened up a whole new world for me.”

Bindman, 72, said she took classes as part of Queens College’s Adult Collegiate Education program, an accelerated bachelor’s degree program for high school graduates 25 and older.

“It was wonderful,” said Bindman, who hopes to someday graduate from the program. “I took music, art, history, philosophy.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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