Derrick Griffith, the beloved CUNY dean known for his passionate advocacy for disadvantaged students, was one of the eight people killed in an Amtrak train derailment in May. CUNY Newswire reported his age as 43.
Chancellor James Milliken announced that he will ask the Board of Trustees to rename CUNY Prep, of which Griffith was the founding director and principal, in the late dean’s honor. A scholarship newly established in his name will commemorate his legacy.
Griffith, who was Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Medgar Evers College, dedicated his career to improving educational access.
“He’d go to bat for students,” Medgar Evers student Sean Pryor told the Daily News.
With CUNY Prep, Griffith established a different kind of educational institution – one designed to help youth who left high school without graduating gain access to college. A doctoral student in urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center, Griffith had just successfully defended his dissertation on the educational outcomes of low-income black students before the derailment took his life.
“You told me to keep my head up. Now, I’ll never look down,” wrote Ayesha Adeel at an online tribute page set up by Medgar Evers College. “I wish you were here to see me succeed because you are the reason for my success.”