BMCC donors were treated to live entertainment, a world-class art exhibit and warm welcome on November 1 at the 2016 Donor Appreciation Cocktail Reception held in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center.
As the evening got underway, donors to the college, including BMCC Foundation Board Members and their guests, special friends, faculty and administrators of the college viewed the Art Center’s current exhibit, Chromatic Space, and shared their thoughts about BMCC and the importance of helping students overcome challenges to reaching their goals.
Anthony Collazo is Human Resources Manager of DUMBO Moving and Storage, Inc. in Brooklyn, New York, a company that has recently established itself as a donor to the BMCC Foundation Scholarship Fund. Collazo offered this advice to BMCC students intending to start their own business one day: “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Push the bar up and keep it there. You will eventually reach your goal.” He commented that BMCC is a good match for the company’s philanthropic efforts “because BMCC has a large community extending throughout the New York area, all five boroughs, and the diversity at BMCC represents the entire city.”
John Buzbee, a friend to BMCC and donor to the BMCC Foundation Scholarship Fund, commented, “BMCC is a wonderful college that is part of an exceptional university system. It has amazing students, many of whom are about to become successful in the fullest sense of the word, going on to earn their degrees.”
Rochelle Weinstein, Professor Emeritus in the BMCC Art and Music Department, attended City College of New York, when CUNY offered free tuition.
“It allowed me to develop a sense of what I could dream about; something family circumstances would have otherwise made impossible,” said Weinstein, "and the BMCC Foundation Scholarships offset the impossible costs that students now face. Donating to the Foundation is simply an opportunity to give back to students, the assurance that this is their time to dream, and I want to be part of subsidizing those dreams.”
Once the evening’s attendees were seated in the Art Center’s South Gallery, Elizabeth Butson, BMCC Foundation Board Member and long-time friend to the college, opened the program by welcoming guests.
“The continued support of friends of BMCC is vital to the college,” she said. “You are here supporting scholarships which are so important for our students who show great promise while they are at BMCC.”
BMCC President Antonio Pérez also welcomed the guests. “BMCC provides academic excellence, affordability and a pathway to success for more than 27,000 students every year,” he said. “Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college and for many, BMCC represents the opportunity to transform their lives — and their families’ lives — for the better.”
BMCC Foundation Scholar Nicole O’Donnell spoke about her experience earning an Associate in Childhood Development and Education degree at BMCC while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Education Advocacy through the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies.
She thanked the BMCC Foundation for scholarships that have enabled her to continue her studies.
“It has never been more important to give our most vulnerable communities, such as minorities and those of us hovering around the federal poverty line, access to quality education,” she said, and closed her talk with a promise: “Know that with my commitment to education advocacy, by helping me with this generous scholarship, we are now going forward together to continue this important work.”
Doris Holz, Vice President of Development and Chief Operating Officer of the BMCC Foundation, concluded the speaker portion of the event by highlighting the essential role of donors in supporting the college’s tuition scholarships.
“We are so glad to have this opportunity to thank you for your generosity and your support of our students,” she said, and moved on to introduce the musical portion of the evening featuring performances by Howard Meltzer, Chair of the BMCC Music and Art Department, and faculty members Rosemary George, mezzo soprano; Brian Kauth, alto saxophone; Amber Yiu-Hsuan Liao, piano, and Robert Reed, cello.
The evening concluded with performances by the duet Tessa Lang and Johannes Schwaiger, accompanied by Mark Goodman on piano. Together, they presented a set of songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and others.
If you wish to make a donation in support of the BMCC Foundation Scholarship Fund, you can make a donation online or call the BMCC Office of College Development at (212) 220-8020.