Alumni Now: William Franklin

William Franklin (Economics, ’18) was a member of BMCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and a BMCC Foundation Scholar. He earned his Associate of Arts with honors in the College’s first Economics graduating class in a year and a half. One year later, Mr. Franklin earned a Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) in Economics, with a specialization in Economic Analysis, and minored in Small Business Management and Urban Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn College, CUNY, in its first AACSB accredited class. Currently, Mr. Franklin is earning a Master’s of Public Administration, with a focus on Organizational Assessment and Management, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, expected Spring 2022. Alongside his academic achievements, Mr. Franklin is the Director of Equitunity, a not-for-profit organization he founded to confront poverty in New York City’s bottom 12 communities. His philanthropic work has brought him back to BMCC to conduct the Entrepreneurial Economics Workshop Series through the Office of Internships and Experiential Learning. Mr. Franklin’s life-guiding quote is, “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it,” by Henry David Thoreau.

What is your favorite memory (professor, class, etc.) of BMCC?
There was one time in International Economics class when the Professor stated that economists had saved more lives in human history than doctors. That statement sparked a debate of ideas that had complex components. I was impressed at the facilitation of the discussion and the amount of information that came out of a 30-minute conversation. I have never experienced anything like that, and my passion for community development was woken up. I was encouraged to reactivate my desire to create the changes I wanted to see in the world. My favorite Professors are Dr. Littlefield and Dr. Farias, but Professor Farias is my mentor, and her Introduction to Economics course, which I took in Spring 2017, was my favorite class. Through feedback on my papers written in Professor Littlefield’s writing-intensive class and the student development I received in Professor Farias’s course, I discovered I should be an Economics Major. That decision informed how I obtained my diplomas so quickly, with high marks, and ultimately the launch of Equitunity.

How did BMCC help you get where you are today?
BMCC has created a culture of care that fosters and enhances greatness wherever it is present. The professors and faculty of the college live by the school’s motto, “Start here, go anywhere,” which is made evident by their active engagement in supporting scholars through opportunities that define student achievement. Articulation agreements, long-term academic advisement, and career development are some of the most notable helps to be expected at BMCC. These highlights directly informed my academic achievements and led me to found Equitunity. The articulations coordinated by Professor Sangeeta Bishop, Chair of the Department of Social Science, Human Services and Criminal Justice, made transitioning to my Bachelor’s degree program a seamless experience, and the mentorship I received from Professor Farias has increased my potential, resources and opportunities. As a result, I am in the fantastic position of teaching a poverty-confronting Internship with the support of Sharon Reid, the Director of the BMCC Office of Internships and Experiential Learning, and Dr. Christine Farias, Professor in the BMCC Economics program.

What advice do you have for today’s BMCC students?
I would say to today’s BMCC students: I am happy for you. I am excited that you picked BMCC, and if you’re going to get the most out of your time here, I encourage you first to be optimistic. Then I recommend you talk to your professors about your aspirations even if you don’t think they are clear right now. Lastly, I implore you to give your assignments everything you got, with no fear, because this is your opportunity to practice without consequences. What I mean is you should use academia to learn how to think towards your success while learning how to anticipate the world according to your needs. When you go into the world, making your career, someone will always be waiting to hold you accountable, whether or not you are doing the right thing. When that happens, the experience you gained in higher education will enable you to challenge your theories, develop new ideas and decide how you fit into the world. So yes, while you are here at BMCC, practice your greatness without consequence while benefiting from some of the greatest minds in the country—your professors.

Why is it important for alumni to stay involved with BMCC?
Networks are notably the most critical resource in America. A system of opportunity and mentorship minimizes failure while significantly closing equity gaps that typically take several generations to affect. Education is the primary provider, producer, and perpetuator of these particular networks because they result from active alumni. If BMCC graduates stay involved with the college, it would undoubtedly increase retention and completion rates while supporting students in becoming high achievers. Lastly, the adult learner would have a compelling reason to return to school knowing such a resourceful signal exist. So, when you leave, come back with resources, and if you have already left, look around where you are and figure out what you can bring to BMCC, and then do just that; bring it back to the college!