Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and General Jonathan M. Wainwright in a parade honoring the General on Broadway, Manhattan,
September 13, 1945.
On October 16, 1970, the New York City Board of Higher Education approved the naming of the City University of New York’s (CUNY) newly created Community College Number Nine after one of the city’s most beloved mayors: Fiorello H. La Guardia - aka The Little Flower (Fiorello means little flower in Italian).
Less than a year later, on September 22,1971, LaGuardia Community College opened its doors to welcome 534 young men and women who sought to write their own futures by earning a college degree.
Mayor La Guardia was known for a larger than life, take-charge personality and a heightened sense of fairness that made him the champion of immigrants and the working class. He rejuvenated the city through such progressive initiatives as low-cost public housing and a revamped transit system. By abolishing cronyism and corruption at City Hall and creating merit-based civil service employment opportunities for all, he transformed the perception of modern urban living, while giving the voices of all the city’s diverse inhabitants a chance to be heard. Small wonder the Little Flower remains an icon of social justice in America to this day.Today, LaGuardia Community College carries forward the Mayor’s legacy of courageous idealism by challenging expectations and daring to do more through innovative academic programs that enable students to write their own futures and workforce initiatives and that strengthen our community and our country. Read more on Honoring the Namesake of Fiorello H. La Guardia Community College by Joanne Reitano, PhD, Professor of History, LaGuardia Community College, August 2010.
The Name’s La Guardia! Other places and institutions named in honor of Mayor La Guardia
See “The Little Flower” starring Tony Lo Bianco, a play about Mayor La Guardia’s final day as Mayor of NYC, Tuesday, April 21, 2:30 p.m., Little Theater.