The Viscardi Center names Chris Rosa as new CEO

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The Viscardi Center names Chris Rosa as new CEO
Chris Rosa has served on the Board of Trustees for The Viscardi Center since 2017. (Photo courtesy of The Viscardi Center)

The Viscardi Center, a network of nonprofit organizations that employs, educates and empowers people with disabilities, has appointed Chris Rosa as its new CEO.

Additionally, Rosa will serve as president of the Henry Viscardi School and Abilities Inc., according to a news release.  

Rosa replaces John D. Kemp, who has served as CEO since 2011, and will be the center’s fifth top executive in its 69-year history. The center announced in July that Kemp would resign on Oct. 31  to become president and CEO of the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama.

Most recently, Rosa was assistant vice chancellor for student inclusion initiatives at the City University of New York, a position he has held since 2019. His involvement with the center includes being on the board of trustees since 2017, according to the center. 

Russ Cusick, board of directors chairman, said Rosa has an unmatched level of experience. 

“A collaborative and visionary leader, Dr. Chris Rosa brings exemplary experience in education, non-profit and advocacy,” Cusick said. “He will continue the legacy of Dr. Henry Viscardi Jr. and lead the organizations to new heights.” 

The Queens native, who has been in a wheelchair since he was 12 years old due to Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophy, said the Viscardi Center has long been paramount to him personally and he is excited for the new role. 

“As a lifelong New Yorker with a disability, The Viscardi Center has always loomed large in the formation of my disability rights consciousness and identity,” said Rosa. “The prospect of serving as the leader of this historic organization is, at once, humbling and thrilling!”

Rosa graduated from Queens College in 1989 with a B.A. in sociology and philosophy before obtaining his Ph.D in sociology from CUNY in 2001. Additionally, Rosa has been active in his Queens community as a youth basketball coach for St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Flushing.

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