City College Of NY Alumni Association Announces 2023 Harris Medalists And Finley Award Recipients

October 23, 2023

The Alumni Association of the City College of New York (AACCNY) is delighted to announce this year’s Townsend Harris Medalists and Finley Award recipients.

This year’s awardees include Albert De Leon ’72; Dr. Eric Poon ’76; Joblin Christopher Younger ‘05; Vivian Gornick ’57; Dr. Traci Burgess ’89; Bernie Adler ’62; and Dr. Joseph Abate ’61. The organization’s esteemed Finley Award will be presented to David R. Jones and the Community Service Society (CSS). All honorees will be awarded at the association’s Annual Alumni Gala, set to take place on November 9, 2023, at 6 p.m. EST. 

Each year, Townsend Harris Medalists are honored at the AACCNY’s annual Alumni Gala for their exceptional postgraduate achievements. This year’s awardees represent an array of industries, including medicine, financial services, mathematics and physics, engineering, law, and literature. Though their specialties are unique, each medalist excelled in their careers, contributing both to their respective fields and their communities. Recipients are nominated by a special committee of former awardees and subject to final approval by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. This rigorous process ensures that each recipient is a reflection of the values the institution’s Founder, Townsend Harris, held dear. 

Albert V. De Leon, Esq. is an accomplished Legal & Compliance consultant, with extensive experience as a corporate Senior Manager and Chief Legal/Compliance Officer with leading international financial services institutions. Apart from his impressive career journey, De Leon is a Board Member of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and until recently a board member of the NYC Industrial Development Agency. He has worked closely with City College to create a social justice scholarship for students in the name of one of the college’s oldest newspapers, The Paper, on which he once served as editor. Dr. Eric Poon is an outstanding doctor, a leader in bringing excellent health care to Chinatown, and a respected figure in the community. Joblin Younger is a respected lawyer and LGBTQIA+ Community leader. Currently, he is a Public Administrator, which is the Governor’s selected/vetted default-neutral Personal Representative (e.g. Executor) for estates of persons who do not leave a Last Will and Testament and have no heirs living in Massachusetts. Additionally, he is currently working with the Probate & Family Court (Trial Court) to write the standards of Guardians-Ad-Litem (“GAL”). 

Vivian Gornick has been, for five decades, a leading voice of feminism, and a widely read and admired essayist. Dr. Traci Burgess has a stellar OBGYN career and is a leading Physician and Director of the Maternal Fetal Medical Group in New Jersey and an Assistant Director of the Valley Stream Medical Group. Bernie Adler has over 50 years of experience in transportation planning and traffic engineering. Throughout his decades-long career in math and physics, Dr. Joseph Abate is not only credited with co-creating the Ticketron system and revolutionizing how the country purchases tickets but has made groundbreaking contributions in the fields of Queueing Theory and Laplace Transforms as well. 

Named for the third President of City College, the Finley Award is presented annually to a New Yorker who has proven exemplary and dedicated service to the City of New York. This year, the AACCNY is pleased to present the outstanding honor to David R. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, and the organization he leads, the Community Service Society of New York. Under Jones’ leadership, the nonprofit promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers. Since 1843, the organization has worked to create an equitable city and state through various programs to assist New Yorkers with access to healthcare, affordable housing, legal justice, and more. The CSS has fought vigorously to ensure a more fair community for New Yorkers. 

“This year’s award recipients perfectly embody the values we look for when selecting honorees. Each Townsend Harris Medalist is a testament to the Institution’s excellence, showcasing the incredible impact City College has not only on the students that attend but the lasting positive influence these students have on their communities,” said Executive Director David Covington. “The AACCNY is also thrilled to honor the CSS and David R. Jones, cornerstones of the New York City community, whose contributions to the lives of New York residents are immeasurable.” 

For more information and to register for this year’s ceremony, please visit 

The Alumni Association of the City College of New York

The purpose of the Alumni Association of CCNY is to promote the general welfare of The City College of The City University of New York and its alumni, to establish beneficial relationships between The City College and its alumni, to advance the principles of public higher education without regard to race, creed, color or national origin, and to promote the ideals enunciated in The Ephebic Oath of the City College. With this mission in mind, The Alumni Association of CCNY seeks to: ENGAGE, generate, and sustain meaningful connections among alumni, students, faculty, and staff through our many networking events, award ceremonies, and activities. SUPPORT current students through scholarships, mentoring, and networking opportunities, and PROMOTE The City College of New York and its interests. Find out more at

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