Antonio Pérez

Dr. Antonio Pérez served as president of Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), The City University of New York (CUNY) for 23 years. By the time he stepped down in 2018, Pérez had led BMCC to become a premier institution of higher learning, known nationwide for its grant-funded STEM research, Open Educational Resources, pipeline programs to ensure seamless transfers for graduates, and staff and faculty leadership initiatives. One enduring example of the legacy of Dr. Pérez is theOut in Two scholarship program which he founded in 1999 in response to New York City Mayor Giuliani’s criticism of community college graduation rates. Out in Two supports high-achieving students who graduate within two years and transfer to a senior college.The program’s success is reflected in its two-year graduation rate of 84 percent, a much higher rate than the national average of 16 percent. The Out in Two cohorts doubled in size under Pérez’s leadership, and his support helped attract critical donations for the program from the Derfner Foundation, the Meringoff Family Foundation and the Southpole Foundation. Looking back on his tenure at BMCC before he stepped down, Pérez summarized the BMCC mission reflected by Out in Two and other student success programs he helped build: “Our faculty, staff and students show a determination that reverberates within the institution. I feel strongly that the most important thing I can leave the college is the realization that our students can start here and they can go anywhere.”