CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages Addresses More Than 2,600 Graduates at Lehman College 2012 Commencement

BRONX, N.Y. — Albert P. Carey, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, addressed more than 2,600 graduate and undergraduate students in the Lehman College Class of 2012 at the College’s 44th Commencement exercises on Thursday, May 31, on the College’s South Field.

Mr. Carey, who established a scholarship fund at Lehman in the name of his family and was also instrumental in establishing an interdisciplinary program in Business and the Liberal Arts, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for both his corporate leadership and his support of “the aspirations and education of our students.” Several members of his family attended the College.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Mr. Carey began his career with PepsiCo in 1981 and has served in a variety of roles, including chief operating officer of PepsiCo Beverages & Foods North America, president of PepsiCo Sales, and president and CEO of Frito-Lay North America. He was named to his current position last September and is responsible for all aspects of PepsiCo’s beverage business in the Americas.

Also receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters degree were Dr. Karen Musalo, professor of law at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, and Shirley Rodríguez-Remeneski, vice chair and assistant secretary of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center’s Board of Trustees and president of 100 Hispanic Women. Dr. Musalo, a trailblazer and innovator on refugee and asylum law, was recognized for “championing the cause of universal human rights,” and Ms. Rodríguez-Remeneski for “living a life of service” to her fellow New Yorkers.

Presiding at the ceremony was Lehman President Ricardo R. Fernández, who is concluding his 22nd year as president. He encouraged the graduates to consider the leadership roles they can assume in their profession, community and society, urging them to “take the power within yourself that has brought you to this day, and use it to help change our world.” He was joined on the podium by CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and CUNY Trustee Dr. Hugo M. Morales.

Speaking for the Class of 2012 was Oluwole Onemola, a political science major and current president of student government. After graduation, he will head home to Nigeria for service in its National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and then return to the US for law school. Describing commencement as “a crowning achievement for us all,” he noted that every crown is accompanied by great power and, in turn, by responsibility. He advised his fellow graduates to “wield our power responsibly, in a world that often and eagerly shirks its responsibility to us” and to “remember that the right path will not always be the safe path.”

Three student award winners were recognized during the ceremony:

  • Lisa Blanco of the Bronx won the Ella Burstein Award for the graduating senior with the highest overall GPA. A member of the Lehman Scholars Program, she completed a double major in English and Italian.
  • Leah Fredman, also of the Bronx, won the Margaret Spahr Alpha Chi Alpha Award for the highest index in the social sciences. A psychology major, she transferred to Lehman from Hadassah College in Israel.
  • Sushanta Singha of Woodside, Queens, was recognized for receiving the Mountbatten Award, a $9,900 scholarship for postgraduate studies in London from the Mountbatten Institute. He is an economics major and member of the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman.

Other highlights included:

  • Dr. David L. Spector, Robert B. Gardner Jr. Professor and director of research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who earned his master’s degree in biology from Lehman in 1977, received the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award.
  • Prof. Mardi Valgemae of the English Department, who has taught at Lehman for more than 40 years, received the “Teacher of the Year Award,” and Prof. Judith Duncker of the Political Science Department the “Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award.”
  • Professors Mario DiGangi of the English Department, a Shakespearean scholar, and Susan Markens of the Sociology Department, who examines issues affecting women’s reproductive health, received awards for their research.
  • Prof. Diana Mittler-Battipaglia, chair of the Music Department, was recognized for her long-time service both as a pianist for College events and as conductor of the Lehman College and Community Chorus.


Media Contact: Marge Rice / 718-960-4992