Friends and family members came to pay their respects to the former New York City schools chancellor, lining the hallways of St. Franics University, where he was an alumnus and president for 12 years from 1996 to 2008.
He died at 71 on Tuesday due to an extended illness.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among the longtime friends at a wake on December 19. Macchiarola served as Bloomberg’s chair of the New York City Charter Revision Committee.
“Frank’s intellect was matched only by his integrity, and he was the rare person who was comfortable in the clubby world of academia as he was in the rough-and-tumble world of politics,” Bloomberg said in a statement released after hearing the news. “He excelled at both, and our city is better for it.”
Macchiarola was a man of many hats, serving as professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and CUNY for nearly 20 years; chairman of the advisory committee of Columbia Business School Community Collaboration; president and CEO of the New York City Partnership, LLC; deputy director of the New York State Emergency FInancial Control Board for New York City; and the dean of Yeshiva University
“Frank Macchiarola dedicated his life to the people of our city,” Bloomberg said. “Generations of children and adults benefited enormously from his passion for public service.”
Brother Owen Justinian Sadlier came to St. Francis University when Macchiarola asked him to teach at the school in 1996.
“I loved this man’s vision for St. Francis,” Brother Owen said. “He wanted to keep the character of the college as an affordable school for the working class of Brooklyn.”
Although Brother Owen was on a sabbatical leave from St. Anthony’s High School at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., when Macchiarola made his request, the now-professor of philosophy at St. Francis University knew he had to take the position.
“He was profoundly interested in helping every student, and believed that every student has a dream and that we just needed to find out what level they can best learn,” Brother Owen explained. “I knew in a minute when he asked, how could I say no?”
Robert Oliva, a former student of Macchiarola, left the school after he graduated in 2004, but he says he will never leave behind the life lessons he took from him.
“One thing I will take away from Dr. Macchiarola is how to be a true Franciscan, how to give back to the community, give back to others and really be there for his friends and family,” Olivo said.
“He was as close to a saint, as a Franciscan brother as can be,” he continued. “And he is the type of role model that every student in the school should be like and embody.”