Thanksgiving Heart Attack Doesn’t Prevent Bronx Community College (BCC) Student from Taking Math Test A Week Later

Bronx, NY – Venezuelan-born Luis Malave, 52, is a first year student at BCC and a limousine driver by night. Last semester he enrolled in college to change his career and become a nurse. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” he says. Amazingly, in one week, he recovered from a heart attack and was alble to return to the College to take two important tests.

What allowed him to recover so quickly?

“I guess it was my desire and determination to show up and take Professor Rony Gouraige’s Selected Topics in Elementary Algebra, a remedial course intended for liberal arts and humanities majors and Dr. Robert C. Baskerville’s Sociology course. I believe if you start something you should finish it to the best of your ability,” says an appreciative Mr. Malave, a man of deep faith who is looking forward to the holidays to celebrate his remarkable recovery from his trying experience.

Mr. Malave made up his mind to go to college a year after his daughter Gisselle, 19, a liberal arts and science major enrolled in BCC after graduating from Taft High School. Coincidentally, she hopes to become a cardiologist one day.

Her father’s story began when Mr. Malave awoke Thanksgiving morning with a painful tightness in his chest. A holiday meal with the family was planned. Instead, the insistent pain motivated him to dress, race downstairs from his Bronx apartment at 7 a.m. to hail a cab. He told the driver to get him to Bronx Lebanon Hospital as fast as he could – “don’t worry about driving through red lights; I think I’m having a heart attack!,” he told the driver.

The Emergency Room staff immediately judged that he was having a heart attack, took his vital signs and started administering life saving medicines. Stabilized a bit, doctors quickly decided that the best thing they could do would be to rush Mr. Malave by ambulance to Lennox Hill Hospital to a special heart attack treatment facility. Mr. Malave arrived about 9:30 a.m. when the heart attack started to overcome him he says. Doctors worked furiously to get him through this critical phase.

Luck and medical science at both hospitals, he says, helped save him without his ever losing consciousness or suffering after effects. By midday on Thanksgiving, his family had found out that he was in Lennox Hill Hospital. His daughter, Gisselle who had been called by her brother on her job on Thanksgiving, rushed panic stricken to his bedside to hear her father say, “‘Where are my math and sociology books? I have to prepare for a test next Thursday (November 29, 2007).'”

She contacted her Dad’s classmates and brought him the textbooks while protesting that he needed to think more about recovering his strength and not about showing up to take college tests. She thought he would remain in the hospital and require more recuperation time at home.

A week after Thanksgiving, Gisselle walked into her 10 a.m., Basic Concepts of Mathematics class, also a remedial course, to take her test. She told Professor Gouraige that a man by the name of Luis Malave hadn’t shown up for his 8 a.m. test because he had suffered a heart attack the week before. Gisselle also revealed that Luis Malave was her father.

Dr. Gouraige said with surprise, “He’s your father! He did show up for the test today and he took it.” Gisselle expressed amazement. She didn’t know that her father had been released from the hospital and had decided to take the tests.

Dr. Gouraige summed up Mr. Malave’s determination by saying, “What Luis did is a testament to his character and his commitment to his education. I personally find it inspiring. My hope is that other students will learn from Luis that an uncompromising determination is essential for success, not just in education, but in life.”

Press, Radio, TV
Please call: Bryant Mason
Media Relations Specialist
(718) 289-5208

Bronx Community College (BCC) of The City University of New York enters its 51st anniversary of service to students in New York City in 2007. Over the past five years, enrollment has increased 20 per cent to 9,000 students, reflecting the reliance of the surrounding communities on it as a pathway to a better life. BCC President Carolyn G. Williams is in her 11th year of leadership service to the College, which is located on a 44-acre campus at West 181st Street & University Avenue, formerly New York University’s uptown campus until 1973.

BCC students from over 109 nations receive an excellent preparation to go on to four-year colleges or to advance into successful vocational careers. Programs offered at BCC include Digital Arts, Computer Information Systems, Education Associate, Nursing, Nuclear Medicine Technology, RadiologicTechnology, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Accounting, Human Services, Media Technology and Paralegal Studies.

The College is home to initiatives not commonly associated with two-year institutions, such as the Center for Sustainable Energy, which promotes the use of renewable and efficient energy technologies in urban communities. The National Center for Educational Alliances (NCEA) is currently collaborating with South African Further Education and Training Colleges and universities to create linkages between these institutions. NCEA also coordinates the College’s international initiatives and the annual International Education Week.

The Center has also facilitated a campus wide effort to create BCC’s Center for Tolerance and Understanding. The Center for Teaching Excellence offers faculty development to promote student achievement and to stimulate discussions to keep the teaching and learning process vital and dynamic.
Take a look at BCC’s website at