Shark Tank’s Matt Higgins to speak at Queen College commencement

Matt Higgins headshot 2019_QC

On Thursday, May 30, Queens College alumnus Matt Higgins will be the keynote speaker at the college’s 95th commencement ceremony.

Higgins, who grew up in Bayside, graduated from Queens College with a B.A. in political science in 1998.

He is the co-founder and CEO of the private investment firm RSE Ventures, as well as the vice chairman of the Miami Dophins football team.

You may know him from the popular ABC show “Shark Tank,” for which he made his debut in 2018.

Higgins has been a benefactor to college, supporting single mothers who are taking classes at QC through the Linda Higgins Empowerment Scholarship. He established the scholarship in honor of his late mother, who was also a QC aluma.

Five recipients of the scholarship are among the graduating class of 2019.

MinKwon Center hosting “Know Your Rights” housing workshops

Know Your Rights Housing Workshop v2 (1)

MinKwon Center for Community Action is continuing its “Know Your Rights” housing workshop series in April.

On April 1, the topic is Grassroots Organizing and Landlord Harassment. That’s followed by a Know Your Housing Rights workshop on April 15.

Both events take place at MinKwon Center (136-19 41st Avenue, 3rd floor) from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Seonae Byeon at

Marriott International’s Renaissance Hotel is coming to Flushing

Photo courtesy of Tangram
Photo courtesy of Tangram

The Renaissance Hotel, a four-star hotel from Marriott International, is making its way to Flushing.

SCG and G&T Group announced last week that the 208-key Renaissance will anchor Tangram, a 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use development.

Tangram is currently under construction, and is scheduled to open in 2020.It will offer residential and commercial units, wellness and entertainment, a food hall and beer garden, and a 4DX movie theater.

With Renaissance, Tangram has included a luxury hotel with a signature restaurant, two bars, a massive terrace and more.

“Our goal from day one was to build the best hotel for the world-class destination we are creating at Tangram,” says Winfred Zhang, president and CEO of SCG America. “Renaissance Hotels is an impressive global lifestyle brand and could not have been a better fit for us.”

The Renaissance will market itself as “minutes from LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.” It will be a perfect fit for international travelers who end up in Flushing.

Renaissance hotels has more than 160 locations in 35 countries around the world.

Queens College offers free tax prep assistance

Ceremony to publicize the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
Ceremony to publicize the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Photo credit: Andy Poon, Queens College

Queens College has opened its doors for the second year to offer free tax preparation to students, staff, faculty and the general public.

The program is part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA.

The initiative runs through April 15 and is open for people who make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers whose first language is not English.

An IRS-certified volunteer will assist with electronic filing.

Consultations with VITA staff are by appointment only on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Make an appoint by email at or by phone at 718-997-2980.

Clients should bring these documents with them for the consultation:

  • Current year’s tax package, including all W-2s and 1099s
  • Last year’s return information
  • Information on other income and deductions/credits
  • Proof of checking account for direct deposit (like a voided check)
  • Proof of identity
  • Social Security or individual taxpayer ID cards

Champions of undocumented immigrants to speak at Queens College conference

Jin Park
Jin Park

On Tuesday, March 12, Queens College is hosting a daylong conference on “Race, Identity, and Liberation: Transforming K-12 Public Education and the Academy for the Greater Good.”

The keynote speakers at this conference are Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and Jin Park, the first Rhodes Scholar with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. Both are undocumented immigrants.

The theme of their talk will be “Define American.”

Vargas, a native of the Philippines, came to the U.S. when he was 12 years old.

Park, a recent graduate of Harvard University, graduated with a combined degree in molecular and cellular biology and ethnicity and migration rights. He grew up in Queens after coming to the U.S. from South Korea at the age of seven.

The event will take place at the Music Building at Queens College from 8 to 11 a.m.

See the full agenda for the conference here.

‘Joe Femenia Way’ coming to College Point


This summer, an intersection in College Point will be officially named after a longtime civic leader.

Councilman Paul Vallone announced that the intersection of 23rd Avenue and 130th Street will be co-named “Joe Femenia Way” in memory of the late civic association president and community stalwart.

A co-naming ceremony will be organized in the summer.

“The tragic and unexpected passing of Joseph Femenia was a great loss for all of College Point,” Vallone says. “The victories and ongoing battles to preserve and protect College Point will always be part of Joe’s great legacy.”

“He will now be forever remembered for generations as they look to the street sign recognizing his great legacy. I will forever cherish Joe’s friendship, vision and the leadership he displayed as we worked together.”

Register for the 5K on the Bay Fun Run

Courtesy of/Guardians of Flushing Bay
Courtesy of/Guardians of Flushing Bay

On Saturday, April 6, runners will participate in the third annual 5K on the Bay Fun Run, hosted by the Guardians of Flushing Bay.

The run will take place along the Flushing Bay Promenade, starting at the World’s Fair Marine Pier 1.

The course will loop around the promenade, culminating at Pier 2.

Of course, runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are welcome!

The registration is donation-based, with all proceeds going to support Guardians of Flushing Bay’s advocacy.

Register for the event here:

For questions, contact