BMCC Only CUNY College Named 20-Year Top Producer of Gilman Scholars, Ranked Among Community Colleges Nationwide

photos of foreign countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece

October 27, 2021

Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York (BMCC) is the only CUNY college recognized as a Benjamin A. Gilman 20th Anniversary Top Producer Institution for having generated, through its Study Abroad program, 27 Gilman scholars out of more than 600 Study Abroad participants from Fall 2001 through Summer 2020.

The full list of CUNY and other colleges that generate Gilman scholars — nearly 1,300 higher education institutions altogether — can be viewed here. Senior colleges competed nationwide in categories based on institution size (Small, Medium and Large). Community colleges competed nationwide in one category, Associate Institutions.

Of these nearly 1,300 institutions, 77 were found to be Top Producer Institutions across the four categories. BMCC appears in the winning Associate Institutions category and is the only CUNY college in any category.

Outstanding BMCC scholars study abroad through Gilman scholarships

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a U.S. Department of State program delivered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with funding from the U.S. Government.

The Gilman Program provides scholarships so that outstanding undergraduates can take part in Study Abroad, and gain cultural understanding enhances their college experience.

“At BMCC, we strive to provide a first-class educational experience for all our students. Many are the first in their families to attend college, and the opportunity to study abroad is a new and eye-opening concept for them,” says BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe. “The Gilman scholarship supports our strategic focus on equity at BMCC and opens doors for students as they consider the directions they might take academically and within their careers. Traveling to other countries with a thematic focus guided by our dedicated faculty and staff fosters a global perspective for students in any major.”

In return, says President Munroe, “BMCC’s Gilman scholars and other Study Abroad participants have much to contribute to their fields of choice, and the ability to travel and see the world from different angles deepens their understanding of how to apply their talent and passions. We’re grateful for the support of the Gilman Program, and all it has provided for students at BMCC.”

BMCC faculty create and lead Study Abroad programs around the world

“Over the years BMCC has proven to have very ambitious students who, on top of balancing all of their other responsibilities, manage to study abroad during their time at BMCC, and earn competitive scholarships to pay for this opportunity,” says Jessica Levin, director of the BMCC Study Abroad program. “This includes our Gilman Scholars, as well as those with other study abroad scholarships.”

BMCC faculty create and lead programs abroad every summer, Ms. Levin explains.

These study abroad programs are created by academic departments including Business Management, Ethnic and Race Studies, Health Education, Modern Languages and Social Sciences.

“The entire BMCC community has made study abroad possible over the years and I am excited to see it continue,” she says.

While a global pandemic has put travel on hold for many students, BMCC’s Study Abroad scholars — including Gilman scholars receiving up to $5,000 — have traveled with faculty and staff to take part in faculty-developed, site-specific courses in Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, Greece, the Dominican Republic, India, Italy, Mexico Peru, Spain and Canada.

Gilman scholarships open doors for students to move forward in their studies

In the words of Summer 2018 Gilman Scholar Geordany Arias (Liberal Arts, ’18), who traveled to Spain through the BMCC Study Abroad program, “The Gilman scholarship opened a new door for me.”

A $2,000 Gilman scholarship through BMCC’s Study Abroad program enabled Mr. Arias to travel to Spain, where he studied Hispanic heritage and literature in a Study Abroad course at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, northern Spain. He also visited the cities of Madrid and Gijón.

“I was able to experience a different type of education in a different country,” he says. “I was studying Hispanic literature in Spain, and being Hispanic myself, it heavily impacted my choice to move forward as a dual language English and Spanish teacher.”

Another benefit of being a Gilman scholar was more personal. “I was able to meet relatives on my father’s side of the family, for the first time in Spain,” he says, “and that was a good experience.”

After returning to New York and graduating from BMCC in August 2018, Mr. Arias earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology at Lehman College, CUNY, then entered a graduate program in bilingual/bicultural childhood education at Columbia University, with plans to graduate in May 2022.

“I want to be a bilingual special education teacher in New York City,” says the native New Yorker, who grew up in Upper Manhattan. “Being a Gilman scholar was definitely part of the path for getting there.”


BMCC’s Gilman scholarship and Study Abroad program relate to BMCC’s Strategic Plan including but not limited to Strategic Goal 6: Strengthen BMCC’s Role in a Thriving NYC and as a Leading Community College Nationally.


  • BMCC is the only CUNY college recognized as a Benjamin A. Gilman 20thAnniversary Top Producer Institution, competing with community colleges nationwide
  • Through its Study Abroad program, BMCC has generated more than 600 Gilman scholars from Fall 2001 to Summer 2020, 27 of which were Gilman scholars
  • Gilman and other Study Abroad scholars from BMCC have traveled with faculty and staff to Spain, China, Argentina and other countries, to take site-based, faculty-designed thematic courses

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