Street Renamed in Honor of Dr. Derrick E. Griffith
Dr. Derrick E. Griffith was honored by his MEC family and many other admirers on Friday, May 12 when Montgomery Street, at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Montgomery, was renamed “Doctor Derrick E. Griffith Way.” The dedication was marked by several speakers who recalled Dr. Griffith as a passionate, energetic man who worked relentlessly to bring out the best in his students and his community.
After the new street sign was uncovered (which required a courageous climb), the portrait of Dr. Griffith was unveiled and placed in the student services building (the “S” building) on Bedford Avenue. The portrait was a gift from the class of 2016.
“Thousands of young people are better because of who he was,” New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo said of Dr. Griffith. She called the gathering at the corner of the Bedford building on a sunny day a “bittersweet moment” for Dr. Griffith’s family, friends, students and colleagues. His work, though, will “ensure success for generations,” Ms. Cumbo said.
Dr. Griffith was serving as Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at MEC when he lost his life on May 12, 2015. He was a passenger on an Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia. The month before his death at age 43, Dr. Griffith earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center, which was granted posthumously.
“There is a tremendous amount of hurt,” MEC President Rudolph F. Crew acknowledged on Friday. “But he’s still with us in many ways.” Dr. Crew fondly recalled always seeing Dr. Griffith with a smile on his face and often with a student by his side. “He understood the power of this institution,” Dr. Crew said.
Dr. Griffith dedicated his life to education. He was a school principal for a number of years and in 2003 became the founding principal of the CUNY Preparatory School, which was renamed the Dr. Derrick Griffith CUNY Preparatory School after his death. He was also the Executive Director of Groundwork, Inc., an organization to support young people in struggling, urban communities.