Janet E. Lieberman, an educational innovator who made college education more accessible to struggling high school students and recent immigrants as the guiding spirit of LaGuardia Community College in Queens from its inception, died on March 19 in San Francisco. She was 97.

Her son, Dr. Randolph Hugh Chase, said the cause was pneumonia. She moved to California in 2014 to be close to her family.

Dr. Lieberman was present at the creation when Community College No. 9, as it was originally known, was named for Fiorello H. La Guardia, the transformative New York mayor from 1934 to 1945.

The college, part of the City University of New York, opened in 1971 in Long Island City in a refurbished plant where White Motor Company once made auto parts

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