When Dee Dee Mozeleski joined the Colin Powell Center in October as its first director of development, she hit the ground running. Mozeleski, a native of San Diego, has made New York her home for the past 20 years, building her career in development here and raising a daughter who is now at Penn State. Mozeleski brings extensive experience, professionalism, and dedication to the Center. Here, in a Q&A, she reflects on her experience and the goals ahead. What drew you to the Colin Powell Center? I first heard about the Center in 1997 when City College announced its opening. Over the years, I have stayed current with happenings on the CCNY campus because many of my friends have graduated from here. When I learned of the newly created director of development position, I thought that the person lucky enough to work in this position would have a chance to help shape what it means to fundraise for a program that takes the best and brightest minds from our campus and helps them to grow into leaders in their selected profession. Little did I know that I would end up becoming that lucky person.
What do you hope to achieve as director of development? As the Colin Powell Center is integrated more fully and formally into the fabric of the Division of Social Sciences, and as the division is elevated to the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, my immediate goal is to help build the narrative for supporting Colin Powell School. I want to convey why it is so important to do this, not just for the current generation of students and faculty, but for the generations to come. General Powell is one of CCNY's most distinguished graduates and the fact that he has chosen CCNY as the place to house a school named after him is a tremendous opportunity for the entire CCNY campus. He has always said how much the college means to him and now future generations will become part of his lasting legacy to his alma mater.
Why is supporting the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership so important? Our aim is to create a school that, even decades from now, will be a place where students who want to study with the best professors know that they will find academic excellence, peer support, and a faculty dedicated to their academic growth. Our goal is also to create a school, that as it grows, always remains a place that is a true testament to the dedication and inspiration we have seen displayed by General Colin Powell. Each time I hear him speak about what it meant to be a student at CCNY, and the opportunities he was able to take advantage of during his time here, I am more motivated to share not only his story, but the story of our current and future students. New York City is a place beyond compare in so many ways, and CCNY represents all of the best of this city.
How will the new school fit into the structure of the City College campus? The Colin Powell School will stand alongside the other named schools on the CCNY campus and will bring together the current Division of Social Science into a comprehensive academic department where service and engaged scholarship will play important roles in the development of our students.
How do you hope to achieve this vision? There are so many New Yorkers, and in fact, so many people around the world, who know someone who has been affiliated with CCNY. Sometimes, what it takes is a reminder that the College’s success is also partly driven by the support it has received, and will continue to receive in the future, from those interested in investing in our mission: to educate the best and brightest students and to engage the best and most engaging faculty possible.
University-level fundraising is just as much about alumni support as it is engaging donors who have a love of education, research, student scholarship support and everything in between. To be working on the CCNY campus is a dream come true for me and, to be honest, there is nothing I can imagine loving more than working with the staff and students of the Colin Powell Center and the entire CCNY family.
What challenges do you anticipate? In part, what drew me to the Colin Powell Center and CCNY is the challenge: launching a fundraising initiative in support of the school while building a new base of support for programs within the school from individuals and foundations who (in some instances) may not realize all of the exciting things happening on campus.
What's been the most fulfilling aspect of your position so far? This is an exciting time to be a part of the CCNY mission because the leadership of the College have made it clear that providing the best possible education is at the forefront of what we seek to achieve for our students. It is a pleasure to work with such dedicated faculty and staff, and even more of a pleasure to get to know so many of the students, our community partners, and our philanthropic supporters because it is evident that we all have the same goal in mind: ensuring the continued academic excellence on the CCNY campus.