New York City Police Commiss-ioner Ray Kelly is to have a building at his alma mater Manhattan College named in his honor. The commissioner, the grandson of Irish immigrants, graduated from Manhattan College in 1963.
Kelly was the guest of honor at the building’s groundbreaking ceremony on December 13. The five-story, 70,000 square-foot Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, set to open in 2014, will serve as a multi-purpose center. It is the result of a $48 million fundraising campaign, which was launched with a 10- million-dollar donation from Kelly’s classmate Thomas O’Malley, former chairman of the college’s board of trustees and executive chairman of the petroleum supplier PBF Energy Company.
Kelly told the New York Post, “There is a grand tradition in America of naming buildings after their benefactors, but it is rare, indeed, that the benefactor provides the single largest gift ever to Manhattan [College] and then suggests that the building be named not after him, but after the police commissioner!”
O’Malley explained that Kelly’s work and living legacy of public service is a testament to the college’s emphasis on service. “If we want an example of service to the community, well, he’s the greatest example we can possibly think of,” he said.
Commissioner Kelly was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame, housed in New Ross, Co. Wexford, in March 2012.