The BMCC nursing program is known for its rigorous, hands-on instruction. Future registered nurses (RNs) not only complete clinical rotations in public and private hospitals throughout New York City, they take part in training on campus in labs that feature the latest in human patient simulators.
One of these labs, located in room S747 on the BMCC main campus, has now been named The Leila and Simon Peskoff Nursing Skills Laboratory, in honor of the parents of Fred Peskoff, professor and recently-elected chair of the BMCC math department who established the Peskoff Family Endowment in 2001.
Naming ceremony and reception
A dedication and reception celebrating the naming of the lab was held May 20 in the lab itself.
BMCC President Antonio Pérez said a few words as faculty, staff and friends of the college gathered in the hallway just outside the lab entrance, which had been ribboned off.
“I had the opportunity to meet Leila on a number of occasions,” the president shared with the group, and passed around a photograph showing the late Mrs. Peskoff, Fred Peskoff and others. “She was always so gracious and caring about our students.”
The president remarked that Professor Peskoff began his math teaching career working with Beth Israel Hospital nursing students from 1991 to 1995, and that he has a master’s degree in psychology, “which gives him better insight into our students and their needs … We all know Fred; he’s got a big heart and cares dearly for our students. I asked the students, ‘What do you think of Professor Peskoff?’ and they gave him two thumbs up.”
The president invited Peskoff to cut the blue ribbon across the door of the lab, and welcomed guests into the lab for a small reception in which Senior VP and Provost Karrin Wilks and nursing department Chair Jacqueline Nichols spoke, commemorating the occasion. The guests also watched a demonstration by BMCC nursing students checking the vital signs of one of the lab’s human patient simulators.
Helping students reach their goals
“I am honored to have this lab named in memory of my parents, Leila and Simon, both of whom were strong believers in education,” said Professor Peskoff, as he delivered a few remarks to the gathering.
He shared that when he was a college student, he took a part-time job on campus, “and my father was actually a little concerned. He said, ‘Your job is to study and my job is to pay the tuition’. We made a deal; that I would keep my job, providing my grades remained high—and they did.”
Most BMCC students, he added, “are hardly in the same situation. Many work at full-time jobs, attend college full time, and support family members—not the other way around. They are nonetheless hardworking and determined to succeed.”
He mentioned that the pre-clinical nurses in his Math 104 class not only work full time, but are scheduled for overnight shifts at their jobs.
“It is truly a pleasure to teach such dedicated students,” Peskoff said, “but it is also obvious that they need financial assistance to help them make their goals become reality. It is for this very reason that in 2001, I established the Peskoff Family Endowment—which gives annual scholarships, graduation awards and research stipends to BMCC students.”
Today, he said, “I am naming this lab for two special people who truly cherished higher education and made it possible for me to do the work I love. I know my parents feel gratified that the Peskoff endowment will permanently make higher education a reality for a large number of BMCC students. Finally, I also know that they would want me to thank everyone in this room for their friendship and support.”