September 10, 2019
Members of the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) community gathered with friends and family to celebrate the life and work of former Vice President of Administration and Planning, Granville Scott Anderson on September 9 in Theater 1 at 199 Chambers Street.
Anderson, who passed away in June, began his CUNY career in 1971. Over the subsequent decades, he touched countless lives as he carried out many leadership roles at campuses across the university.
The ceremony incorporated elements of Anderson’s native culture in Hawaii, including a traditional blessing led by his cousin Annette Lapilio. Many in the room were moved to tears by the medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” performed by the BMCC Concert Choir.
Several of Anderson’s colleagues shared memories on video and in person from their time with him.
“I was at BMCC for 23 years, and each of them was with Scott,” said Antonio Peréz, former president of BMCC. “Scott was a special person to the BMCC family. He cared deeply about BMCC and its students.”
Peréz said the role Anderson played in getting BMCC reopened after the events on September 11, 2001 was insurmountable.
During the celebration, two videos featuring stories from current and former BMCC and CUNY employees were shown.
Ed Sullivan, former director of Operations, Planning and Construction, worked closely with Anderson following 9/11.
“He was my friend, my mentor and my brother,” said Sullivan.
BMCC Interim Provost Erwin Wong said “He knew all his employee’s names, he cared about everyone regardless of title,” said Wong.
Marva Craig, vice president of Student Affairs at BMCC said Anderson always came through when it came to meeting the needs of students.
“I never met Jack of all trades, but I did meet Scott of all trades,” said Craig.
John Montanez, dean of Sponsored Programs, BMCC, shared a story about Anderson’s generosity.
“Many years ago, when we were preparing for the gala (fundraising event), somebody had two tickets to a very hot Broadway show to auction,” Montanez said. ” Scott spoke to one of the young ladies standing next to him, who admitted she had never been to a Broadway show. That night the tickets sold for a substantial amount of money. The next day when she came back to work, sitting on her keyboard were the two tickets to the Broadway show.”
Montanez said “Scott refused to take any credit. I think that’s largely because of the way he was raised, that generosity was something that just came to him naturally.”
Ron Spalter, deputy chief operating officer at CUNY said Anderson had a special relationship with nature that he attributed to his Polynesian heritage in Hawaii.
“I think that was one of Scott’s motivations when he decided that BMCC would be the university’s leader in reducing its carbon footprint. He went on to exceed that goal by being the key figure in the effort to install the largest solar array on the island of Manhattan on the BMCC rooftop. It now produces 300 kilowatts of power every day. Scott did that because he cared about the planet and the people on it,” said Spalter.
At the end of the celebration, BMCC Interim President Karrin E. Wilks came to the podium and spoke about Anderson’s many contributions to BMCC and CUNY.
“I learned a lot from Scott, not only technical knowledge, but ways of thinking about and responding to leadership challenges and leading from the heart,” said Wilks.
Wilks said Anderson’s unwavering standards for exceptional facilities maintenance kept the college looking clean and beautiful, polished and painted, well equipped and well serviced conveying his deep respect for BMCC students, faculty and staff.
“From the smallest detail to the most massive project,” Wilks said,” Scott approached all of his work with great care, great kindness, great integrity and deep commitment to BMCC’s mission and to the well being of our community.”