Victor Alicea

Alicea.pngPresident, Boricua College
New York, NY

“The present is the only pathway that connects our past with our future,” Dr. Victor G. Alicea, is often heard to remark. Always present in the “here and now” Victor Gabriel Alicea has worked tirelessly for the education and flourishing of all people of New York City.  He is the founder and president of Boricua College for the past 46 years.

Dr. Victor G. Alicea was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and spent his childhood in New York City’s East Harlem “El Barrio” and in Harlem. He attended the City’s public school system and upon graduation entered City College in 1956 as a pre-engineering student. After three years he transferred to Columbia University, where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Experimental Psychology (1963), Masters in Clinical Social Work (1966), Masters in Philosophy (1977) and Ph.D. in Urban Planning (1978). He also completed a three year post-graduate program in Psychotherapy at the Gestalt Psychotherapy Institute (1980).

Victor Alicea has worked throughout his life combining intellectual strength and his vast knowledge of education and human polity with the caring he has for people. He has participated and led numerous institutes in public administration, group dynamics, community organization, health and mental health care services and is a practicing social worker, educator, planner, consultant to various community development programs and is a psychotherapist in private practice.

He served as: Assistant Director of the Good Neighbor Community Center in East Harlem;  New York City Mayor’s Commission on Puerto Rican and Hispanic Affairs for Mayors Wagner, Lindsay, and Koch; Social Worker at the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled, and at University Settlement House; Associate Training Director of the Puerto Rican Community Development Project (PRCDP); Assistant Deputy Commissioner of New York City Community Development Agency (HRA) and Director of Model Cities Social Planning for the Human Resources Administration; Educational Planner and consultant that participate in the creation of the National ASPIRA Agency;  and served on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Commission on Higher Education, and Lecturer/Instructor and Acting Chairman of  the Division of Urban Planning of Columbia University’s School of Architecture and Planning.

After many years of the above mentioned public service, in 1973, Dr. Alicea was appointed Director of the Puerto Rican Research and Resources Center in Washington, D.C. where he completed numerous projects funded by the Federal government and from that position, served as Chief Planner and Founder of Universidad Boricua/Boricua College.  He has served as its President since 1973. The N.Y. State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities has noted that he is the longest serving president of a private college in New York State, indeed if not in the whole country.

His intellectual leadership and meticulous care for the ideals of education prompted the regional accrediting body of the Eastern United States, Middle States Commission for Higher Education, to appoint him, time and again, as Chair of Evaluation Committees for many colleges on the Eastern sea board, including Puerto Rico.

In 1994, Dr. Alicea was elected to the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).  In 1996, was elected Fellow and Trustee of The New York Academy of Medicine, and also as Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Academy. He also served on the Board of the N.Y. State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) and Board of Trustees of Cambridge College in Massachusetts.

But President Alicea’s foremost commitment has been to New York City, a city he loves. He has served on Mayor Dinkins’s Advisory Committee on Appointments. In 1990 Dr. Alicea was appointed Vice Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission by Mayor David Dinkins, and in July, 1995 was named to a second term by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, finally serving for eleven years.  He also served on Mayor Giuliani’s Special Panel on the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and was appointed by Governor Pataki as a Commissioner of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and served as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. Currently serves as Member of the Board of Trustees of the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

Dr. Alicea has received numerous awards for his dedication and contributions in the fields of education, human services and urban planning.

In 2020 Dr. Alicea completed 46 years as the founding President of Universidad Boricua/Boricua College during which time the College has grown from one floor in a building in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and 26 students, to three campus centers with 800 students and 40 full-time faculty members, in three buildings including a campus in Manhattan, and the recently completed $47 million campus building for the Bronx Campus, making it a tri-Borough College; the progression has been from graduating three students in 1976 to over twelve thousand by 2020.

There are many more years to come for this colossal intellectual giant to serve the people of this great City. Typical of this self-reflecting man that his greatest pride and pleasure has been how much he has learned from the faculty and staff who helped to create the College, and the thousands of students and families that have been touched by Boricua College.

Dr. Alicea has two sons, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.