Baruch College Celebrates Official Opening of Clivner=Field PlazaPresident Wu, major donors, government officials, friends of the College and students come together at ribbon cutting ceremony
October 14, 2021
Nearly a decade after it was first proposed, the Clivner=Field Plaza at East 25th Street is officially open — providing a much-needed, open green space for the enjoyment of Baruch’s campus community, neighbors, and all New Yorkers.
In a festive ribbon cutting ceremony on October 13, President S. David Wu celebrated the opening with major donors, government officials, The City University of New York (CUNY), student government representatives, community leaders, and friends of the College.
“This is a landmark moment in the history of Baruch,” President Wu said to the crowd gathered for the occasion. “The Clivner=Field Plaza is grounded in the history of New York and was made possible by a broad coalition of champions over the last decade. It also represents the future and audacity of Baruch College. Ours is an institution that is willing to dream big, work hard, meet challenges head-on, and go the extra mile to create transformative change.”
*** WATCH: Clivner=Field Plaza Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony ***
President Wu was joined by the leading donors behind the project –– Daniel Clivner (’85) and Lisa and Robyn Field, the daughters of the late Lawrence Field (’52), for whom the Plaza was named. New York State Lt. Governor Brian A. Benjamin joined the group of government officials celebrating the opening as well, praising Baruch’s partnership with the City on the plaza as “a model for the future of New York City and New York State.”
The Lt. Governor continued: “When you invest in Baruch College, when you invest in CUNY, you invest in the community. This is the most obvious example of that. When you take a look around, everyone is using this plaza…public space, in my view, makes communities happier. I want to thank Baruch College for stepping up…so that we can be here to welcome the Clivner=Field Plaza [to] the Flatiron District.”
“I am thrilled to celebrate the official completion of the Baruch College Clivner=Field Pedestrian Plaza on 25th Street, a project ten years in the making,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, who represents Baruch’s campus neighborhood in the New York City Council and attended the event. “This new and permanent open space has already made a world of difference for residents, and I look forward to continued enjoyment of this and our many other improved open spaces throughout District 2 for years to come.”
Trending@Baruch Video: See a recap of the dedication of the Clivner=Field Plaza with President Wu, elected officials, donors, and the Baruch community.
A Public Private Partnership
The Clivner=Field Plaza is a collaboration between Baruch College and the City of New York, the result of a 10-year campaign on the part of College leaders –– spearheaded by Baruch’s seventh President Mitchel B. Wallerstein –– major donors, and key elected officials at the City and State levels.
The $12.4 million capital project was jointly funded by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection, with additional $2 million in funding from the New York City Council secured by Council Member Carlina Rivera. CUNY also provided $2.7 million for the project.
Led by the Baruch College Fund (BCF), Baruch’s generous donors raised $3.3 million in support of the Plaza. As part of the fundraising campaign, alumni and friends of the College purchased 1,442 engraved pavers—most displaying personal messages that embody the history of Baruch, the donors’ enduring connection to the College, and the timeless success of students.
Reflections on a Decade of Work
The major donors and leaders behind the plaza project spoke at the event, reflecting on the decade-long journey to open the plaza and looking ahead to what this new space will mean for Baruch and the surrounding community in the years to come.
Mitchel B. Wallerstein, President Emeritus of Baruch College and University Professor at CUNY, said, “The official opening of Clivner=Field Plaza, after more than ten years of development, marks a major milestone in the history of Baruch College. For the first time ever, Baruch students, faculty, and staff—and the residents of the surrounding neighborhood— have an attractive and safe outdoor space in which to meet, study, and socialize.”
“Creating a campus at Baruch seemed like a great idea –– a dream –– but it hadn’t been done in 100 years!” said Daniel Clivner. “Larry Field and my friends in Los Angeles challenged me to make Clivner=Field Plaza a reality for the next 100 years. I am grateful to all who worked so hard this past decade to bring it to fruition. More than the street itself, it represents for me living proof that with the support and inspiration of others –– and the lessons being learned in the surrounding buildings –– you too can turn great ideas into reality.”
BCF Trustee Lisa Field said, “I am ecstatic to honor the vision of my late father, Larry Field, to ensure that Baruch College students will always enjoy the opportunity to achieve their dreams and aspirations, whether they are first generation Americans or the first in their families to attend college. He was pleased to have led the effort to give Baruch, the College that gives so much to so many, something it never had in its entire history: an actual campus — a place for students to commune, study and socialize in the fresh air. I think looking around he would say, ‘Not So Bad’ and I challenge all alumni, young and old, to give back to Baruch. After all, your experience at Baruch has probably been enhanced thanks to those alums who came before you. Those who benefited from the affordable and first-class education and when able, gave generously to continue the cycle of the American dream for all.”
Robyn Field, also a BCF Trustee, shared the following: “The Clivner=Field Plaza is a project led by my dad and our great friend, Dan Clivner, as a way of marking our commitment to Baruch and our immense gratitude that the connection to the College and to New York City brought our families together. The opening of the Clivner=Field Plaza is a gift to Baruch College, Baruch students and the citizens of New York City, but it is also a gift to us to celebrate friends who have become family.”
Extreme Makeover: Plaza Edition
The Clivner=Field Plaza is a transformative space for the Baruch campus and surrounding neighborhoods that adds to the vibrancy of New York City and urban life.
Now an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy neighborhood, East 25th Street was once a crowded streetscape –– 20,000 people crossed at mid-block each day, and 300 vehicles passed through the area each hour.
The Plaza’s main features include:
- 27,000-square-feet of permanent public, green space in a neighborhood with one of the lowest percentages of pedestrian space in the city
- A connective space that helps to define Baruch’s urban campus and serves as a hub for student life
- 21 new benches, 15 free-standing granite seats, 583 feet of granite seat walls and steps, and 12 lights to illuminate the Plaza after sunset
- A three-dimensional modular trellis, made of recycled content, was installed at the Clivner=Field signage on Baruch’s NVC building. Planted vines climb up a screen, creating a unique visual effect and adding to the Plaza’s greenery
- The green screen and planter areas were planted and overseen by a licensed arborist, with the approval of the NYC Parks Department
- Nearly 180 square yards of planting, featuring 15 newly planted trees and more than 600 species of plants – including 3,000 bulbs that will bloom next spring
Ten Years in the Making
Baruch College secured approval to develop a pedestrian plaza on East 25th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues from the New York City Department of Transportation at the end of 2012. President Emeritus Wallerstein was a strong advocate for the project, and it was under his leadership that an interim plaza was created in 2013 and designs for a permanent space began in earnest.
After significant consultation with members of the surrounding community, including Community Board 6 and City and State officials, DDC broke ground on the redesign in 2017, starting with the necessary work to replace aging underground infrastructure. Over the next few years, the City also transformed the above ground space, beautifying the Plaza and installing various measures to enhance the pedestrian experience.
Since construction work ended in July, the Plaza has already become a lively center of activity.
Learn More About the Plaza’s Major Donors
Born in the Bronx in 1930, Lawrence (Larry) Field was the only child of Hungarian immigrants, the late Eugene and Rose Field. He worked in his parents’ small Tremont Avenue grocery store through high school, then went to the Downtown Campus of the City College of New York (CCNY), which later became Baruch College.
Following his Army service, and after helping to launch the Dove soap brand for Lever Brothers, he went into the real estate business while earning his law degree at night from New York Law School on the G.I. Bill. On a weekend trip to Fire Island in the summer of 1959, he met his beloved Eris (Perll). Within months they married, and they were together for nearly half a century until her passing in 2009. In 1965 they moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Eris’s large, close-knit family. There, Larry rapidly expanded his real estate activities, quickly becoming one of the region’s most successful developers and managers of commercial and industrial real estate.
Deeply involved in philanthropy, Larry and Eris were major supporters and board members of many educational, arts and health care organizations in Los Angeles, New York, and Israel. They founded the Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College in 1998. Larry was a visionary entrepreneur and business leader and a generous philanthropist who brought his many talents to bear on behalf of Baruch College and its students for more than two decades. The Field name is well-represented on the Baruch campus, most prominently on its historic building at 17 Lexington Avenue, which is now known as the Lawrence and Eris Field Building.
In recognition of his lifetime of achievements and his leadership, Baruch College bestowed on him an honorary doctoral degree in 2004 and its Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2008 Bernard Baruch Dinner. In appreciation for his extraordinary generosity to the College, he was only the second recipient of the prestigious Newman Medal for Philanthropy in 2013.
Daniel Clivner (BBA ’85) is a member of Sidley Austin’s Executive Committee and the Managing Partner of the greater Los Angeles offices. He is a global co-leader of the firm’s M&A and Private Equity group. He handles high-profile transactional matters for clients in the media and entertainment, telecom, technology, financial services and retail industries. Prior to Sidley Austin, Clivner was Managing Partner of the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Los Angeles office. He had been with the Simpson Thacher since 1988 and a partner since 1998.
He has extensive experience advising both domestic and international private equity and corporate clients on a variety of matters related to M&A, corporate governance and securities law matters such as leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, public company acquisitions and restructurings. Clivner also advises boards, management, special committees and investment banking firms on domestic and international corporate transactions.
He received his B.B.A. in Finance and Economics from Baruch College, with honors, and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, where he was Editor of the St. John’s Law Review. He has been a Trustee of the Baruch College Fund since 2001 and serves as its Vice President. Clivner is a board member and past chairman of the Board of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. From 2006 to 2012, he also served as a Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles. He is a member of the California Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
The Los Angeles Business Journal has recognized Clivner in its “Leaders of Influence: Private Equity Investors & Advisors 2020” list and Minority Corporate Counsel Association selected him as a 2019 “Rainmaker” and named him to its annual list honoring diverse lawyers for their business acumen, passion and dedication to proactive client development. He was recognized as the 2016 “Corporate Lawyer of the Year” by the Century City Bar Association and Law360 named him an “MVP” for private equity in 2016.