Antonio Pérez was appointed President of Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) in 1995. The college served 16,300 students at that time, and has grown to have CUNY’s largest enrollment, serving more than 27,000 students.
A visionary, high-energy leader, President Pérez has not only led the college’s expansion but guided the BMCC community through the aftermath of September 11, 2001. BMCC is the only college in United States history to have lost a campus building to a terrorist attack. BMCC’s Fiterman Hall was destroyed when World Trade 7, across the street, collapsed and fell against it. That building was closed, the College’s main campus building became a staging area for 2,000 rescue workers and through President Pérez’s determined advocacy, BMCC reopened in less than three weeks.
For the next ten years, President Pérez worked to procure funding to raze and rebuild Fiterman Hall. He was a key player in creating a partnership between the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the Office of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, The City University of New York, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NYS Department of Labor, the NYC Department of Transportation and others. The result was the opening of a new Fiterman Hall in August 2012.
President Pérez has spoken and written widely on leadership during a crisis and issues affecting community college students. He has led the development of programs at BMCC that increase the participation of women and low-income students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, as well as programs that prepare students to enter high-demand fields such as nursing and allied health. He founded the BMCC Out in Two scholarship program, and has been a driving force behind BMCC’s growing Study Abroad program. Under his leadership, the number of associate degree programs at BMCC has doubled, growing from 20 to 47, as of Fall 2017.
President Pérez has also developed a network of partnerships in the NYC business community, strengthening programs in the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. Serving more 11,000 students, the Center offers nationally recognized certifications in information technology, allied health and other in-demand fields, as well as stackable credits that transfer into degree programs at BMCC.
While sustaining BMCC’s status as a leading community college—ranking 5th, nationwide, in awarding associate degrees to minority students, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor—President Pérez has maintained a deep personal commitment to community service. He has served on boards including those of the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, Business Alliance for Downtown New York, National Museum of the American Indian and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. President Pérez is Vice President of the Greater New York Councils of Boy Scouts of America and was recognized by Crain’s New York as one of the City’s top 100 minority business leaders.