St. Francis College Chancellor Frank J. Macchiarola Dies At Age 71

St. Francis College shares with BHB that Chancellor, past-President and alumnus Frank J. Macchiarola died Tuesday, December 18. Macchiarola was 71. After graduating from St. Francis in 1962, he returned to his alma mater as President in 1996.

“The college flourished under his 12-year tenure and Dr. Macchiarola relished the time he spent with current and former students,” the organization said. “As President, Macchiarola would continuously go through student transcripts, looking to help those that seemed to be struggling and to reward others who showed improvements. A constant sight in the hallways and often as a professor in the classroom, students, faculty and administrators universally referred to him as Dr. Mac.”

Under his leadership, the College completed a $40 million fundraising campaign that resulted in construction of the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center, a 35,000sf building with a 3-floor library, black box theater, HDTV studio and multimedia classroom. That money was also used to build the Anthony J. Genovesi Center, a multipurpose athletic facility that hosts home volleyball matches, intramurals, lectures and special events.

Dr. Macchiarola held a number of other positions in public and private roles, serving for five years as New York City Public Schools Chancellor under Mayor Ed Koch. He also served five years as Dean of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where he also taught. He was a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and at City University of New York (CUNY) for more than 20 years. Dr. Macchiarola was President and CEO of the New York City Partnership, Inc., Deputy Director of the New York State Emergency Financial Control Board for New York City and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Columbia Business School Community Collaboration.

Mayor Bloomberg appointed Macchiarola to serve as chair of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. He mediated the 2003 strike of Local 802 Musicians Union against the League of American Theaters and Producers; chaired the New York City Districting Commission, which drew City Council District lines for the 1991 election; and acted as special referee in the case that drew New York State congressional lines for the 1992 election.

Dr. Macchiarola will be waked at St. Francis College at 180 Remsen Street on Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 20 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral mass will be held Friday, December 21 at 10 a.m. at The Cathedral-Basilica of St. James on Jay Street and Cathedral Place in Brooklyn (one block North of Tillary Street). The burial will take place following mass at Holy Cross Cemetery, 3620 Tilden Avenue.

He is survived by his wife Mary T. Macchiarola, his three sons and seven grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers Joseph, James and Henry.

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  • Robert Perris

    Frank Mac’ was one of the good ones. He will be missed by many.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    It’s a pity the college should have chosen to honor him by giving his name to such an undistinguished new building.

  • Jason D’Onofrio

    A great man, and a great loss to both St. Francis College, and to the people who were lucky enough to know him

  • Gerry

    Frank had been a gift to young Catholic kids with not so great grades may he rest in peace.

  • Ernie

    He was one of the City’s good guys.

  • Susan K.

    Dr. Mac…a mentor, a scholar, an all around wonderful human being…a man whose generosity, intellect and kindness knew no limits…He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched.

  • Thankful

    Dr. Macchiarola helped me get a summer job way when I was in high school since I had a hard time finding a job back then. He really cared for students.He was easy to talk to and never condescending. He gave his all and always did what was best for others. What I witnessed from him was that he really wanted to enrich the lives of others through service to others without ever asking anything in return. He was a blessing to society. Dr. Macchiarola, rest in eternal peace.

  • William Spier

    I worked for Frank in the early 1980’s at the Board of Education. Back then it was deafeat at every turn; but Frank never gave in and worked tirelessly. He really gave more to this City than one person should have to give. We really lost a New Yorker who succeeded by doing the good things. Some many knew this that it should be a comfort to his family. We will all give pause think fondly of him.

  • Knight

    Through all the hard work they have put in over several decades, Frank and Mary Macchiarola have made more of a difference in this city than will ever be fully known, for much of it will be in the personal stories of people like William Spier, who posted above. Yet Frank and Mary have remained as humble and affable as ever. They have been loving supporters of the St. Francis College community, active members of Assumption Church on Cranberry Street, and caring neighbors to everyone they met in Concord Village and beyond. A saintly man has left us today. May he rest in peace. My prayers are with Dr. Macchiarola’s (just as saintly) wife, who has spent the past several months caring for him in his final illness.

  • Pat

    Every time I read something about Dr. Macchiarola and his work at St. Francis, I thought, “Now here is a real role model for the students and all the people whose live he touched”. May he rest in peace. His life has surely touched even those who did not know him.

  • Jasmine and AlexRios

    God Bless the Macchiarola family in their time of grief… my heart truly goes out to them…i never got to meet him personally, but i know he was a great man and it really was a blessing to hear old stories about him…he was a great mentor to my husband’s family, very charitable man and really looked out for my in-laws and hubby when they needed it the most…. RIP MrMac, you will be missed by many :[

  • George Grasso

    In 1981 I was a 23 y/o Police Officer attending law school working steady midnights in the 63rd precinct and I was assigned to guard the Macchiarola house on Bedford Ave during a controversial time in Frank’s tenure as Schools Chancellor. It was a rather dull midnight shift known as a “fixer,” what made it memorable was when Frank and his wife Mary came home early in the morning. I watched them enter their house and assumed they were in for the night, then a few minutes later the door opened up and they were both approaching my police car. I assumed that I must have done something wrong (did they see me reading my law book?), in fact they were bringing me coffee (served in a china cup with a saucer) and wrapped Italian cookies. It was a gesture that I never forgot and I think very representative of the Macchiarola’s.