Daniel Nigro will deliver the Commencement address at the College’s Graduate Commencement on May 17 and receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Nigro became New York City fire commissioner on June 9, 2014, during the Bill De Blasio mayoral administration and led a workforce of more than 17,000 uniformed and civilian members. Before his appointment as fire commissioner, he served for nearly 33 years as a uniformed member of the department. Nigro is a lifelong resident of Queens and began his FDNY career in 1969. He steadily rose through the ranks, progressing from firefighter to captain, and then eventually to battalion and deputy chief. As assistant chief of operations, he worked toward instituting a Certified First Responder Program that was the first to bring fire units into the city’s emergency medical response. He was instrumental in the merger of EMS and FDNY and became the first FDNY chief of EMS in 1996.
As chief of operations (the second-highest uniformed rank) from 1999 to 2001, he oversaw the daily management of all FDNY units. He responded to the September 11 tragedy by assisting in the incident command and surviving both World Trade Center building collapses. That afternoon, he assumed the role of incident commander after Peter J. Ganci Jr., chief of the department, was killed in the attacks. As chief of the department, Nigro held the highest uniformed position in the FDNY during its most difficult era and helped revitalize the department in the aftermath of September 11. He retired in September 2002 and rejoined the department 12 years later.
Throughout his eight years as fire commissioner, he worked to diversify the department, enhancing opportunity for everyone. He also oversaw the department through the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Nigro’s career, he earned both the Fire Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Service and the Leon Lowenstein Award. He has been recognized for outstanding service and performance by the governments of New York City, New York State, the United States, Italy (The Order of Merit of the Republic – Cavaliere), France (the Legion of Honor – Chevalier) and the City of Venice (Cavalieri di San Marco).
Nigro holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College and has lectured at New York University Stern College of Business, Columbia University and has been a speaker at many other organizations. He currently resides in Whitestone, Queens, with Lynn, his wife of 51 years. His daughters, Lisa and Lori, are both married to members of the FDNY. He and his wife have four grandchildren, ages 8 to 18.