CUNY Schools Memorialize Pandemic Victims

wall with yellow hearts

A memorial, like this one in Texas, will be displayed at Queens College on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Yellow Rose Memorial

By Abhinandan Gaba

DATELINE: CUNY–There are 57 students, professors, administrators and staff honored on CUNY’s “In Memoriam” crowd-sourced site recognizing those from the community lost to COVID. Acknowledging there were many more legacies to be remembered, individual colleges are planning their own memorials for coronavirus victims. 

On Wednesday morning, Queens College will host a Yellow Heart Memorial to honor the 123 members of the school community who died from the virus. Each of their names will be printed on yellow hearts and displayed on the window of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. “Queens College is the first college in the state and the second in the nation to host a Yellow Heart memorial,” said Maria Matteo, associate director, media and college relations. The event was planned by two sisters, Danielle Alejandro and Jessica Alejandro, who lost their grandfather in May 2020 to COVID. Those being honored include family and friends of college community members to faculty, staff, and alumni, according to the press release. The event will take place at Cooperman Plaza at 9:30 a.m.

On Thursday in Kings County, Brooklyn College will host a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. at the West Quad for COVID victims. The purpose “will be to honor their lives and acknowledge how devastating the losses have been,” said Richard Pietras, the media relations manager for the college. Organized by students, members of the faculty, and college staff, the gathering will include poetry, a performance from the music department and a tree planting.

New York City College of Technology is in the early process of organizing a “community tribute and gathering to pay respects to each individual,” said Dr. Caroline Hellman, interim special assistant to the president. The college will make more details available as the event date approaches.

In the Bronx, Lehman College paid tribute to the dreams of students who died from COVID at the 2021 commencement. These community members received a posthumous degree, said Nicole Saunders, director of communications and marketing for the college. 

CUNY accepts messages of sympathy and notification of COVID deaths of all those who have been part of the school’s community on its “In Memoriam” site.  Brooklyn College, John Jay College, LaGuardia Community College and York College also have their own online memorial sites.