This year may just be the best year ever for Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). On Wednesday, January 9, BMCC representatives rang the Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary and the recent reopening of its beloved Fiterman Hall.
BMCC President Dr. Antonio Pérez was joined by enthusiastic colleagues and students, including the college’s Foundation Secretary/Treasurer, Laura Morrison, and Student Government President Andrew Grant.
Dr. Pérez called ringing the bell to officially open the stock market “fantastic” and “part of the process in the American dream.” His excitement was shared by Morrison, who noted, “This is the first time BMCC is ringing the Opening Bell; launching the college’s 50th anniversary and segueing into its anniversary celebration of the scholarship Gala this spring. There is so much to look forward to from here.”
Initially housed on two floors of a commercial building, BMCC has flourished since its founding in 1963. Now the largest undergraduate school in New York City, the college educates students from over 155 countries in three thriving locations, including a main campus that impressively spans four city blocks.
“This is a big year for BMCC,” said BMCC Bookstore Manager Angie Mendez. Managed by Barnes & Noble College since 2002, the BMCC Bookstore serves the nearly 24,000 degree-seeking students and 12,000 continuing education students at the City University of New York (CUNY) institution. The bookstore also contributed to the Fiterman Hall building fund, which helped raise money for its reconstruction. “The campus is really excited to be celebrating the 50th anniversary and reopening the beautiful Fiterman Hall. To ring the Opening Bell of the NY Stock Exchange adds another highlight to an already momentous year.”
As a fixture of lower Manhattan, BMCC was hit especially hard by the attacks of September 11th. Although all students and faculty were successfully evacuated, the college lost one of its own buildings that day. Built in 1959, Fiterman Hall sat on land once occupied by Kings College, founded in 1755. This history made the site “the first home of higher education in New York City.” Donated to BMCC in 1993 and under construction for eight years, the building was nearly ready for classroom use when Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed upon it.
After many years of excavation and rebuilding, BMCC proudly reopened Fiterman Hall, which boasts a fine arts center and café, as well 80 classrooms, computer laboratories, music and library rooms, and a rooftop conference center. Once again gracing lower Manhattan, Fiterman Hall will stand as an enduring testament to the shared resilience of BMCC and the city it proudly serves. Dr. Pérez marked the momentous occasion by noting, “It was rough on us, but we’re back. With this new facility, it will allow our students to study and learn in comfort.”