Queens College marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by memorializing 40 members of the college community — who were among the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks that day 20 years ago — in an outdoor ceremony in Cooperman Plaza next to the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library.
On Friday, Sept. 10, the program opened with the CUNY color guard, a prayer by Father Jeremy Canna and Ali Mermer, and a rendition of “America the Beautiful” performed by the Aaron Copland School of Music orchestra.
Bells tolled from the library’s Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner Clock Tower at 8:46 a.m. and at 9:03 a.m., marking when the North and South towers were hit, and at 9:59 a.m., and 10:28 a.m. when they collapsed.
With the New York City skyline in the far distance and the crystal clear blue sky serving as a backdrop, Queens College President Frank Wu recalled that the memorial gathering was in the same spot where many joined together 20 years ago to watch the moment.
“The city up on a hill, as a place of principle of freedom, of opportunity — and it does so, still today,” Wu said before introducing Zaire Couloute, president of the university’s Student Association.
Couloute pointed out while hate, warfare and injustice exist in the world, acts of violence could not divide New Yorkers.
“As we think of 9/11, we think that is our responsibility to stay together to keep each other safe, to protect each other, to care for each other and embrace each other,” Couloute said.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic shared that she was a high school student at Townsend Harris High School next to the Queens College campus on 9/11 in 2001. She was running up the stairs to her sixth-floor chemistry class when the tragic events unfolded before her eyes.
“It was unnerving. It was horrific, and was something that I will never forget,” Rozic said.
She gave a special call-out to Jennifer Wong, a Townsend Harris High School alumni, who perished on 9/11.
“I commemorate her every single year as well and hold her in my heart,” Rozic said.
Before the reading of the 40 names of the Queens College community members who died on Sept. 11, Wu told the story of Queens College student Mohammad Hamdani, a police cadet who was close to the twin towers that fateful morning and whose family established a scholarship in his honor for Queens College graduates.
“Instead of running away, like the brave first responders that he was preparing to join, he rushed toward the scene that was unfolding,” Wu said. “He risked his life. He didn’t make it.”
Kevin Ferguson, academic senate chair, read the names of the 40 souls who perished on 9/11.
The names are as follows:
- Marie Rose Abad ‘74 Sociology
- Christy A. Addamo ‘94 Accounting (employee of Marsh & McLennan)
- Guy Barzvi ‘98 Accounting
- Dominick Berardi (alumnus; employee of Cantor Fitzgerald)
- Joseph J. Berry ‘69 Math & Economics
- Alan Bondarenko (brother of retired employee Marilyn Burgmaier, Human Resources)
- Alexander Braginsky ‘87 Accounting
- Delrose E. Forbes Cheatham ‘00 Accounting
- David DeFeo ‘90 Psychology (son of retired employee Louise DeFeo, Human Resources)
- William J. Dimmling ‘76 Accounting and Economics, summa cum laude
- Donald Foreman (alumnus)
- Thomas Gardner ‘95 Biology
- Matthew Garvey ‘99 History
- Steven A. Giorgetti ‘80 Accounting (Senior Vice President with Marsh & McLennan)
- Mohammad S. Hamdani ‘01 Chemistry
- Daniel E. Harlin (alumnus; member of Ladder Co. #2 midtown Manhattan)
- Milagros Hromada (daughter-in-law of retired College Assistant Dolores Hromada; employee of the Aon Corporation)
- Louis Steven Inghilterra ‘81 Accounting
- Stephanie Irby ‘92 Accounting
- Luis Jimenez, Jr. ‘98 Accounting
- Hyun Joon Lee (Paul) Lee (alum; accounting major).
- Ralph Licciardi (cousin of retired employee Mario Caruso, Graduate Admissions)
- Joseph Lostrangio ‘75 Communications
- Gary Lutnick (son of deceased Queens College Professor Solomon Lutnick)
- Patrick Lyons ‘84 Media Studies
- Eskedar Melaku ‘92 Accounting (Assistant Vice President with Marsh & McLennan)
- Sharon C. Millan
- Ronald K. Milstein ‘72 English
- Nancy Morgenstern ‘90 Communications Arts & Sciences (employee of Cantor Fitzgerald)
- Laurence Nedell (alumnus)
- Gye Hyong Park (alum)
- Michael R. Richards ‘85 Art Studio
- Christopher A. Santora ‘00 History
- Michael Seaman (husband of Queens College alumna Dara Seaman)
- Lonny Stone ’82 BA, Communication, Arts & Sciences
- Paul Talty ‘92 Sociology (husband of Queens College alumna and former employee Barbara Talty)
- Lawrence Virgilio ‘87 American Studies
- Gabriela Waisman ‘93 Psychology
- Michael H. Waye
- Oleh D. Wengerchuk ‘77 Art
Anna Lian and Rabbi Sara Zacharia closed the ceremony praying for kindness, love and peace, reading a blessing from the Bible that is invoked in the Jewish and Christian faith.
“I hope they will serve to remind you of the constant presence of God in your life, ” said Lian, director and Christian educator at the Vine QC Lutheran Campus Ministry. “Maybe these words reassure you and give you peace.”
Queens College has held an annual campus ceremony to commemorate those who lost their lives in the attacks since 2002.
Wu explained that it was essential to share the meaning of 9/11 with the new generation of incoming students who weren’t even born on the day of infamy.
“This is a profound moment. By coming together in community, we make sense of not only tragedy, chaos and violence,” Wu said. “9/11 is still with us, and it always will be.”
Queens College also honored its responding FDNY Engine House 315/Ladder 125 for its service to the school with a plaque of appreciation, commemorating their service.
QC also commemorates the 20th anniversary with the “Remember This: A 9/11 20-Year Anniversary Memorial” exhibition at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum.
The exhibition, which is on display until Dec. 17, 2021, features six oversized images that were part of the design proposal for Tribute in Light, 2002 — a public art installation involving two beams of light projected into the sky near Ground Zero. Due to COVID-19 rules, all visitors must be approved before accessing the campus.
To learn more, visit qc.cuny.edu.