On Wednesday, January 9th, at 9:30 a.m., BMCC's very own President Antonio Pérez rang The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to kick-off BMCC's 50th anniversary.
Cheering and clapping in honor of BMCC, Pérez stood on the raised podium underneath the famous NYSE American flag, as BMCC’s visit to the NYSE was announced over a loudspeaker and a countdown began.
Pérez was accompanied on the NYSE podium by Christine Larsen, BMCC Foundation Chair, Executive Vice President, JPMorgan Chase; Laura Morrison, BMCC Foundation Secretary/Treasurer/Senior Vice President at NYSE Euronext; Lawrence Leibowitz, Chief Operating Officer, NYSE Euronext, and students Andrew Grant (Student Government President), Maria Horsford, Rima-Ioana Merino, Jorge Minor, and JianHang Xiao.
Other students in attendance at the event, standing just below the raised podium on the trading floor, were Benedict Baako, Yan Bai, Ronald Burey, Daryl Griffin, Jenish Karmacharya, Adelina Maze, and Christopher Treu. They were accompanied by Dr. Marva Craig, Vice President of Student Affairs.
Throughout the morning, the BMCC logo flashed on screens throughout the bustling trading floor, along with videos highlighting the campus and its student body.
The BMCC logo and slogan, “Start Here, Go Anywhere,” flashed bright and proud on a screen underneath the podium during the bell-ringing.
Symbol of capitalism
BMCC was founded in 1963 and has grown leaps and bounds since it officially opened its doors in 1964.
Christine Larsen, Chair of the BMCC Foundation Board, said “just like BMCC’s Fiterman Hall, the NYSE is critical to the growth of downtown Manhattan, and the stock exchange represents the symbol of capitalism, of getting ahead.”
She added, with a smile: "I’m a little jealous President Pérez gets to ring the bell!”
Before heading to the trading floor of the NYSE, inside the NYSE official board room, Pérez and guests were greeted by Laura Morrison, BMCC Foundation Secretary/Treasurer/Senior Vice President at NYSE Euronext.
“It’s my pleasure to invite you here. I’m very proud of my alliance with BMCC, and our work with Downtown Manhattan,” said Morrison. “We’ve had so many opportunities to work together and 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.”
She advised students to “always network and expand their contact list; and consider internships in various industries to see what you really like.”
Robert Jakob (‘81) a managing director at the New York Stock Exchange, also stopped by the board room to greet Pérez and the students. Jakob attended BMCC, then Brooklyn College.
"BMCC was a great place to attend college back then, with lots of diverse students, and it's still great today—but much bigger,” he said.
Giving back, saying thanks
The students in attendance at the event excitedly took pictures at the NYSE, with each other, local news reporters they spotted, and even with President Pérez and Dr. Craig.
Liberal Arts major JianHang Xiao, who grew up in China, flashed the ‘peace sign’ from the podium.
“This has been amazing for me. It was wonderful to be up there with President Pérez,” he said. “I struggled with English when I first came here, but my professors and the ESL department helped me tremendously. Because of that, when asked to come to this event, I immediately said ‘yes’ because I want to give back to BMCC; I volunteer at the college whenever I can.”
The American Dream
After ringing The Opening Bell, Pérez, Craig, and the students toured the trading floor and met some employees who outlined their job responsibilities. Everyone representing BMCC was then honored with a medallion, thanking them for visiting the New York Stock Exchange.
President Pérez said that ringing the opening bell—which officially ‘opens’ the stock market for the day—was “fantastic”, adding that “this place has always fascinated me. The excitement, the lights—it’s all wonderful.”
He called the bell-ringing, “part of the process in the American dream.”