An Inaugural BMCC Foundation/President’s Circle for Educational Excellence reception on November 11 in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center thanked BMCC student veterans for their service, and honored President’s Circle for Educational Excellence donors whose contributions provide scholarships and strengthen veteran services and other programs at the college.
President Antonio Pérez, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Karrin E. Wilks and Dean for Student Affairs Michael Hutmaker welcomed the BMCC community into the Art Center’s North Gallery where U.S., New York and other flags framed the podium.
Special guests included BMCC Foundation members Elizabeth Butson, Sheldon Cohen, Bill Fisse and Judith Volkmann, as well as President’s Circle for Education Excellence donors and friends of college including Fred Peskoff, founder of the Lila and Simon Peskoff Scholarship fund; Carolyn Holden-Semple and Ian Semple; former BMCC Business Department Chair Carmen Martinez-Lopez and Ivan Lopez; and alumni Jiang (Jay) Yu; Earl Cabbell and Ruben Rivera.
Angela Williams, a U.S. Army veteran and current BMCC student, opened the event with a solo version of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and President Pérez gave opening remarks, thanking members of the President’s Circle for their continuing generosity to the college. The President's Circle for Educational Excellence is a prestigious group of BMCC supporters who contribute generous gifts of $1,000 and more each year to the college.
“You are essential partners in transforming the lives of BMCC students,” said Pérez. “Your generosity provides critical support for the BMCC Foundation’s life-changing work, year after year.” He recognized the achievements of BMCC student veterans, and outlined the college’s strategic efforts to build retention and graduation rates.
Wilfred Cotto, BMCC’s Veterans Services Coordinator, spoke of the importance of campus services that link student veterans to tuition and housing assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as providing counseling and peer mentoring.