Skip to content

Baruch College Honors Community Leaders
at Annual Reception

New York State Assembly Member Carl E. Heastie (MBA '07)
NYC Fire Department Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro (BBA '71)
Principal of Liberation Diploma Plus HS April Leong (BA '96)


(L-R) Hon. Carl E. Heastie, State Assembly Member; 33rd Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro; Ms. April Leong, Founder and Principal of the Liberation Plus High School; and Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein.


NEW YORK, NY - December 5, 2014 - Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein and Baruch College honored three distinguished alumni in public service at the College’s annual Community Reception on December 3.

This year’s honorees included Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro of the New York City Fire Department; Hon. Carl E. Heastie, State Assembly Member of the 83rd Assembly District; and April Leong, Principal of the Liberation Diploma Plus High School.


Distinguished Leader Award Honoree

Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro is a graduate of what was then called Baruch’s School of Business and Public Administration. The school has since grown into two separate ones, now comprising the Zicklin School of Business and the School of Public Affairs.

Commissioner Nigro is the 33rd Fire Commissioner and only the sixth individual to hold every rank in the department’s history. He was appointed as a firefighter on November 29, 1969, and rose through the ranks to the top uniformed position as chief of department in September 2001. He is credited with leading the department after its loss of more than 343 firefighters during the September 11th attacks. Further demonstrating his strong commitment to the City of New York, he came of out of retirement to take on the important role of Commissioner.

Upon accepting his award, Commissioner Nigro stated that “Baruch helped me understand the vital importance of attention to detail, and the consequences that come from lack of focousboth on-duty and off. These skills made me better at my job and helped keep the members in my companies safe.”


Distinguished Alumnus Award Honoree

The Honorable Carl E. Heastie is a member of the State Assembly and holds the position of Chairman of the Bronx County Democratic Party. He is also the current chairman of the Assembly’s Labor Committee. The Assemblyman has been instrumental in securing funds for housing, health and human services, education, after school programming, jobs readiness and computer training within his district. He is a graduate of the Zicklin School of Business.

Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie has also been a strong advocate for the funding of Baruch College’s renovation of The Field Building at 17 Lex, the College’s historic hub and site of the Free Academyfrom which the City University of New York traces its roots. He and his legislative colleagues have helped garner the College $91 million in capital funding for The Field Building to date. Additionally, the Assemblyman and his office have supported Baruch’s student’s involvement in State policy conferences.

Upon accepting his award, Assemblyman Heastie stated, “This year is my 14th year in the legislature, and I am honored fairly often. Some honors mean a lot to me. This is one of them.”


Distinguished Educator Award Honoree

Ms. April Leong is a dedicated public servant who is making a difference in the lives of thousands of young people. She is the founder and Principal of the Liberation Plus High School and is a staunch advocate for opportunities for at-risk-youth. She is a graduate of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

The high school April Leong founded helps 190 at-risk students a year with guidance, support and education to help them graduate. For her invaluable support of the student body and of the school’s academic programs, she was bestowed the 2014 Sloan Public Service Award which is given to “outstanding public servants.”

During her remarks at the reception, Ms. Leon thanked faculty present that provided guidance and support during her studies at Baruch. A teen-age mother, she proudly stated that, “Baruch didn’t just raise me. It raised my son. And we have raised a Yale graduate.”


# # #


About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 4 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to



Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141,
Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112,

Bookmark and Share