Dr. Richard Maraia, Chief, National Institutes of Health and Alumnus, to Deliver Kingsborough Commencement Address

Kingsborough Community College (KCC) president, Dr. Regina Peruggi, today announced that Dr. Richard Maraia, chief of the Section on Molecular and Cell Biology, Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, will deliver the address at the 43rd Kingsborough Community College commencement exercises. Dr. Maraia, who is an alumnus of KCC, will also receive the President’s Medal. The commencement ceremony will be held Friday, June 13 at 11:00 a.m., in the Kingsborough graduation tent, 2001 Oriental Boulevard. Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. Maraia, a Brooklyn native, attended three New York City high schools before dropping out of the S.J. Tilden High School after three years. Bored and discontent, he left New York City for the upstate countryside where he remained for a few years before returning and getting his high school diploma from Erasmus Hall High School. He then enrolled at KCC where he met his wife, Karen, and received an associate’s degree. A course in Anatomy and Physiology, taught by Dr. Teddy Markus at KCC, was a turning point for Dr. Maraia. It became crystal clear that this is where his interest lies. Following graduation from KCC, he attended Columbia University and Cornell University Medical College.

After completing pediatrics residency training at the New York Hospital, he joined the Intramural Research Program (IRP) of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). During this time, Dr. Maraia was appointed Clinical Research Fellow, became a board-certified pediatrician and began subspecialty training in medical genetics. In, 1990, Dr. Maraia joined a newly forming laboratory at NICHD as a new investigator. He was awarded tenure in 1998. Dr. Maraia remains in the Intramural Research Program of the NICHD where he is a senior investigator and chief of the Section on Molecular and Cell Biology, directing a team of ten researchers. Dr. Maraia also serves an a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Maraia will return to his alma mater to deliver our commencement address this year,” said Dr. Peruggi. “He is a powerful example for our graduates and students of the success that can be achieved with a KCC degree and a determination to excel.”

The Class of 2008 Valedictorian is Michael Blackman , 43. He came to the United States from the village of Claxton Bay, on the island of Trinidad , in 1994, at the age of 29. He will receive an A.S. in Business Administration and is graduating with a 4.00 Grade Point Average (GPA). He is an honor student, a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and was employed with State Farm Insurance for the past 11 years before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Following graduation, Mr. Blackman plans to pursue his bachelors and masters degrees in business administration at the Charlotte Campus of the University of North Carolina.

About Kingsborough Community College President’s Medal:

The Kingsborough Community College President’s Medal is awarded for service to the college and the community as well as scholarly distinction. Among the past recipients are Jeff Koinange, CNN correspondent and alumnus, Otis Hill, former vice chancellor for CUNY, Bob Catell, chairman and CEO, Keyspan Corporation, Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church and president of SUNY College at Old Westbury.

About Kingsborough Community College:

Kingsborough Community College, one of the top ten community colleges in the country, is located on a 70-acre campus in Manhattan Beach, on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1963 and serevs approximately thirty thousand students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts and career education, as well as a number of specialized programs. The breathtaking Kingsborough Community College campus overlooks three bodies of water: Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

# # #

Contact: Ruby Ryles
Kingsborough Community College