As President of Hunter College for 22 years, Jennifer J. Raab led the transformation of an open-admissions institution into a selective, highly ranked college. Under her leadership, both graduation and retention rates increased markedly. Hunter is the largest college in the City University of New York system, with more than 24,000 students, five schools, and an annual operating budget of over $250 million.
During her tenure, the longest since that of 19th century founder Thomas Hunter, the college was awarded more than $1 billion in government grants and awards and strengthened its fiscal management. President Raab also raised $531 million in private support for the college, including $50 million to renovate the main library and $52 million for the nursing school, the largest single gift in CUNY’s history.
Under her leadership, Hunter purchased a floor in the Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell Medical College, built a $131 million School of Social Work in East Harlem, renovated a new facility in Tribeca for Hunter’s renowned graduate art program, and acquired a townhouse on East 67th Street to house Hunter’s theater department.
After launching and completing the $25 million restoration of the historic 1908 Roosevelt House, she turned the former home of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt into a renowned public policy institute.
Prior to becoming President of Hunter, Raab was Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, a post she held from 1994 to 2001, where she overhauled and modernized the regulatory oversight of historic properties in the city. Earlier Raab was a litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Raab sat on the Board of Directors of Compuware Corporation, a public mainframe and software company. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Steering Committee and the Foundation for the Association for a Better New York and the advisory board of the National Institute of Social Sciences. She has also served on the boards of many nonprofits, including The After School Corporation and the United Way New York. Raab was a member of the 2004–05 New York City Charter Revision Commission.
A graduate of Hunter College High School, Jennifer Raab received a BA with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University, College of Arts & Sciences in 1977, an MPA from Princeton University in 1979, and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985.
In 2016, her achievements were recognized by her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2022, she was awarded the Gold Honor Medal for distinguished service to society and humanity by the National Institute of Social Sciences.