Just a guess on the final answer, since all the legwork was accomplished by @BennettBernardoni and @IlmariKaronen...

Is it  
>!1955  

Explanation:  
>!As shown above, there are 4 columns of 5 letters, and the word **MeRCY**.  Since the 'e' is lowercase, we'll ignore it and just use **MRCY**.  
>!This puzzle is all about colors, so I'll take that as Magenta, Red, Cyan, and Yellow.  Taking the respectively colored number out of each column produces 1955.

Additional relevance:  
>!Tommaso Toffoli joined Boston University in 1955  
>!Norman H. Margolus was born in 1955