Joel I. Klein to Speak at First Macaulay Honors College Commencement, June 1

Former Schools Chancellor Also to Receive an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters.

Anita Sonawane ’11, graduating with a joint degree in Economics from Macaulay and Queens College, will give the student address.

Macaulay Honors College has announced that former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein will give the address at its first annual Commencement Exercises on Wednesday, June 1, at 10am in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts, 67th Street and Broadway. The procession of graduates, led by alumni of the Class of 2006, will begin at 9:30am from Macaulay’s home at 35 West 67th Street.

Macaulay Honors College celebrates its 10th year in 2011 and its first class graduated in 2005–but this is indeed Macaulay’s first true graduation. Earlier this spring, Macaulay Honors College was granted the authority to confer degrees; as a result, the Class of 2011 will be the first to graduate with a degree jointly conferred by their home campus and Macaulay. A ceremonial Mace, a symbol of the College’s authority to grant academic degrees, has been designed for this and future graduation ceremonies and was made possible by a generous gift from Lyn Rosensweig and Bruce Schnelwar, dedicated to the memory of Fern Rosensweig. It will be carried for the first time by Marshal for the Academic Procession, Lee Quinby, Distinguished Lecturer at Macaulay Honors College.

Former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein.

Joel I. Klein, became CEO of the Educational Division and Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman, at News Corporation in January 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Klein was Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education where he oversaw a system of over 1,600 schools with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees and a $22 billion budget. He launched Children First in 2002, a comprehensive reform strategy that has brought coherence and capacity to the system and resulted in significant increases in student performance.

He is a former Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, Inc., a media company, served as Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice until September 2000, and was Deputy White House Counsel to President Clinton from 1993 – 1995. Mr. Klein entered the Clinton administration after 20 years of public and private legal work in Washington, DC. He attended New York City’s public schools and graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School. He received his BA from Columbia University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1967, and earned his JD from Harvard Law School in 1971, also graduating magna cum laude. He has received honorary degrees from Columbia University, Duke University, Amherst College, Manhattanville College, Georgetown Law Center, Fordham Law School, New York Law School, and St. John’s School of Education. He received the Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City from New York University for his work as Chancellor.

Anita Sonawane '11 (Queens College)

Anita Sonawane ’11 (Queens) will give the student address. She has been honored as a Starr Foundation Scholar, a Horace W. Goldsmith Scholar, a William R. Kenan Scholar and a Jack Nash Scholar. She has worked as an intern for then-Senator Hillary Clinton and for the Immigration and Foreign Affairs department, where she drafted letters to the State Department and negotiated visa extensions. The experience galvanized her. “I wanted to seek long-term solutions for the issues I was confronting,” she said, and in the middle of a national recession, she changed her major to Economics and began interning at the Brookings Institution. As a junior, she founded a chapter of the Roosevelt Institute at Queens College to provide research assistance to local lawmakers on community issues. Moving forward, Ms. Sonawane wants to have a dual voice in both government and business. Her next step is likely a joint MBA-Public Policy degree.

Read more of Anita’s story.

Click here for a snapshot of the Class of 2011.

Click here for a list of awards and honors garnered by members of the Class of 2011.

About Macaulay Honors College

The Class of 2014 is the tenth Macaulay Honors College class, and their admission marked the beginning of the college’s tenth anniversary celebrations. Founded in 2001 by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, Macaulay Honors College has already become one of the nation’s leading honors colleges, offering an exceptional academic and co-curricular environment for future leaders of New York City—and beyond. Macaulay students enroll in one of seven CUNY senior colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, Lehman, Queens, or Staten Island). Through the unique Macaulay advising program, each student develops a coordinated, individualized academic program that includes research, global learning, graduate and professional mentoring, community engagement, and close faculty-student collaboration. Selected for their top high school records and leadership potential, Macaulay students are awarded a full-tuition merit scholarship, giving them the freedom to pursue their academic goals without financial burdens. Macaulay further enriches students’ academic experience by providing a laptop and technology support, a $7,500 study grant to pursue global learning and service opportunities, and a Cultural Passport that provides access to more than 200 museums, libraries, and other treasures around New York City. For more information about Macaulay Honors College, see