At a college foundation gala honoring labor, Suffolk County Community College president Shaun McKay surprised the crowd of 460 by proposing its nearly finished $28 million science building on the Selden campus be named after late Presiding Officer William Lindsay.
McKay made the surprise announcement after the audience heard video tributes to Lindsay, a former labor leader, along with other honored union officials. McKay then called up trustees along with Lindsay’s family and asked the board’s immediate approval. Board chairwoman Dafny Irizarry responded, “All in favor say, ‘Aye.’”
Before the scholarship event was even held, the college averted a potentially embarrassing gaffe by relocating the gala from the college’s own field house in Brentwood, where the caterer is nonunion, to the Huntington Hilton, the only union hotel in Suffolk.
Denise Sullivan, Lindsay’s daughter, who is now an assistant superintendent in Hampton Bays, told the crowd she learned of her father's deep concern for education when she wanted to drop out of Suffolk to be an $8-an-hour bank teller.
Her upset father, she recalled, said, "Go to Suffolk, give me two years and then you can do whatever you want. I did, and you know what, I fell in love with being a student .?.?. Today .?.?. I get to be that voice .?.?. that my Dad was for me for over 2,000 students .?.?. trying to find their way.”