In 1986, Claire Shulman became Queens’ first female borough president, a position which she would hold until 2001.
As the highest ranking elected official in a borough of over two million people, Mrs. Shulman had an enormous role in a wide range of issues, including those related to land use, development of the City’s expense and capital budgets, economic development, and health care, to just name a few.
Mrs. Shulman is a graduate of Aldelphi University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. In 1993, she received an honorary Doctorate of Sciences degree from the College of Aeronautics. In 1988, CUNY Law School presented her with the Deans Medal. She is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Queens College Medal and the La Guardia Community College Medal. She has received honorary Doctorate degrees from St. John’s University and Queens College. She is a member of Lamda Alpha International.
She began her professional career as a registered nurse at Queens Hospital Center. Mrs. Shulman was active in a number of civic and charitable organizations, and eventually was elected in 1968 as Chairperson of Community Board #11 in Bayside.
From 1972 to 1980, Mrs. Shulman was Director of Queens Community Boards, following which she became Deputy Borough President. On January 28th, 1986, she assumed the post of Acting Borough President, and on March 12th, 1986, was designated Borough President by a unanimous vote of the Queens’ City Council delegation. Later that year, Mrs. Shulman was elected to a three year term as Borough President and was re-elected in 1989 to a full four year term. She would be re-elected in 1993 for a third term, and, again, in 1997, for a fourth term.
Some of Mrs. Shulman’s accomplishments as Borough President include: the rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods to create appropriate zoning restrictions that generated reasonable and responsible development while preserving the character of the existing neighborhoods (including historical districts like those in Jackson Heights and Ridgewood); the economic revitalization of many communities, particularly downtown Jamaica and western Queens; expansion of the Borough’s infrastructure; and increased funding for senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries. A project of great personal significance was the Queens Hospital Center, a $200 million complex that serves 400,000 patients annually, making it one of the largest health care providers in Queens. Mrs. Shulman was involved in the development of the borough’s first skyscraper, the 48-story Citicorp Building in Long Island City as well as the expansion of the Queens Center Mall, the most profitable per-square-foot venture in the country. Mrs. Shulman was pivotal in ensuring the development and growth of a number of Queens cultural institutions like the Queens Museum of Art, the Hall of Science, the USTA National Tennis Center, the Queens Zoo, the Queens Theatre in the Park, the Museum of the Moving Image, Flushing Town Hall, PS1, the Noguchi Museum, and the South Queens Park Association. She was also largely responsible for the passage of legislation to reform the co-op/condo conversion process. As Borough President, Mrs. Shulman played a major role in securing funding for 35,000 additional school seats in the Board of Education’s five year Capital Plan.
Mrs. Shulman is currently the President and CEO of the Flushing Willets Point Corona LDC, and serves on the board of the York College Foundation, Queens County Savings Bank, the Flushing Cemetery, and New York Hospital Queens.