MEC professor Frank Riley passes

The Medgar Evers College community in Brooklyn is still mourning the passing of beloved Professor Frank A. Riley, who died on May 22 at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Brooklyn. He was 69.

“It is with heavy hearts and deep sorrow that we mourn the passing of our brother, friend and colleague, Prof. Frank Alvin Riley, Jr,” said the college’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Liberal Arts and Education, where Riley taught for over a decade, in a statement.

It said Riley was surrounded by family and friends during his final moments. His body was cremated on May 27, at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, after a funeral service at Unity Funeral Chapels, Inc., in Harlem, where Riley was born.

“His relationship with his colleagues, rapport with our students and dedicated service to the larger Medgar Evers College community will be greatly missed,” the department said.

Riley received his master’s degree in education from City College, City University of New York (CUNY) and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Augustine College, Raleigh N.C.

He had extensive practical teaching experiences in both formal and non-traditional settings, which included more than 35 years as a professional in academia; 13 of those spent specifically in the area of academic advisement, and the rest in teaching history courses.

Under the guidance of distinguished historians, such as the late Dr. John Henrick Clarke, Riley had more than 20 years of experience in teaching history at both the high school and college levels.

While an adjunct faculty member at Kean University in New Jersey, Riley developed an idea for a cultural diversity course in African-American and Jewish relations.

Riley also instructed and tutored business students in American History at the College for Advanced Technology, and taught Social Studies at the Henry Street Settlement Alternative School in New York City.

Frank Alvin Riley, Jr. was born on March 3, 1948 to Sylvia and Frank Riley, Sr. His evolution and transformation through life was “remarkable,” according to his obituary.

His parents ensured that he was involved in both educational, cultural and community activities, “where he avidly participated and demonstrated his thespian dancing and singing acumen at Carnegie Hall and in Off-Broadway plays.

“Frank was an exceptionally brilliant man, demonstrating an egregious love for jazz and culture,” the obituary said. “These and myriad influential experiences formed the backbone of Frank’s evolutionary journey that led him from interest and concern about the issues facing African people to professor and African-centric critical thinker.

“Along the way, he found time to be a husband, father, uncle and grandfather,” it added.

Riley was survived by, among others, his former wife, Donna Riley; his sons, Christopher Alex Riley and Frank Andrew Riley, IV; sister, Annette Riley-Richmond; and brother, Michael Riley.

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