Guest blogger Victoria Seipp is a Pace University student who recently completed an internship with the Government & Community Affairs team at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. In this post, she reflects on a special project she completed during her time with us and the connections she found between her university, the World Trade Center, and the day of the attacks.
The research for this piece was compiled using information and assistance from a wide breath of departments and internal databases at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
I began my project with the goal of understanding the historical context for the connection between Pace University and the original World Trade Center, which led me to the Urban Renewal Project. This project, a development push led by the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association to build a new, dedicated World Trade Center, inspired a broader mid-20th century renovation of the neighborhood. Pace College, which was not yet a university, was the focus of the educational component of this development project. As Pace was well known for its Lubin School of Business, it was an attractive nearby amenity that could be promoted to the investors at the World Trade Center. This led to the construction of 1 Pace Plaza in 1966. Two years later — just a few blocks away — the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began construction of the Twin Towers.
The connection between Pace University and the World Trade Center expanded when Pace purchased the World Trade Institute (WTI), located on the North Tower's 55th floor. The WTI was a continuing education program for business professionals looking to specialize in modernized international trade. On 9/11, Pace’s Board of Trustees had scheduled a meeting on floor 55 but postponed the event due to delays in ongoing renovations on the floor.
For Pace students, 9/11 coincided with, at most, their second week of classes. As the events of this particular Tuesday unfolded before 9 a.m., most students and staff were still in their dorms or commuting. As the crisis situation escalated, students were quickly ordered to shelter in their dorms. One dorm building, 182 Broadway, is just four blocks away from the World Trade Center, leaving those students especially vulnerable.