Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders lead a roster of distinguished leaders in public service, law, science, technology, business, the arts and education who will speak and be honored at the Class of 2017 commencement ceremonies of The City University of New York.

Secretary Clinton, who has spent four decades in public service as First Lady, a U.S. Senator from New York, Secretary of State and as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, is also the author of five best-selling books. She will address the Medgar Evers College graduating class and receive an honorary doctorate from the college at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Sen. Sanders, a Brooklyn native and progressive, activist Independent, who has represented Vermont in the House and the Senate and was Clinton’s rival in the Democratic presidential primary, spoke at Brooklyn College’s commencement and received an honorary degree, also at the Barclays Center.

“These joyful commencement ceremonies represent years of hard work, of sacrifice and of goals fulfilled,” Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “The City University of New York congratulates our graduates and takes great pride in their achievements.

“Commencement also celebrates our dedicated faculty and staff, and the families, friends, alumni and college donors whose support is critical to our students’ success,” the Chancellor added. “CUNY graduates – the majority of whom stay in New York to work, study, and contribute to their communities and the economy – make this University, this city and this state very proud.”

This year’s commencement speakers and honorees include New York elected and appointed officials, a 103-year-old scholarship benefactor, an Internet pioneer, attorneys fighting for the rights of the gay community, immigrants and other vulnerable groups, a cartoonist who spoke for a generation, and an accomplished actress, writer and singer best known to several generations of young people for her inspiring role on Sesame Street.

They include Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and bestselling author Vivek Tiwary, who will be the executive producer of a TV series based on his own acclaimed graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, and will address City College’s commencement ceremonies. CCNY will also present honorary degrees to alumni David Diaz ’65, an award-winning WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV reporter for close to three decades, technology pioneer Robert E. Kahn ’60, who initiated the U.S. government’s Internet program and co-created the TCP/IP protocols, and Deborah Meier, longtime public educator, advocate and writer, founder of the acclaimed Central Park East schools and a leader of the school reform movement. Rep. Grace Meng, the first female member of Congress from Queens since Geraldine Ferraro, the first Asian-American Congressional representative from New York State, and a Queens native, will address Queens College graduates and receive the President’s Medal. Honorary degrees will also be presented to Donald Brownstein ’65, chief investment officer and CEO of one of the country’s best-performing hedge funds, and to Saul Kupferberg, member of the Queens College Foundation and a founding member and current chair of the Kupferberg Center Arts Advisory Board at Queens College.
Alphonso B. David, Counsel to the Governor, who has served in state civil and human rights posts and litigated, as staff attorney at Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund, precedent-setting LGBT rights cases, will keynote Hunter College’s commencement. Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, public-interest lawyer and a leading voice for immigration reform, will address CUNY School of Professional Studies graduates. Brooklyn College gave its Distinguished Alumnus Award to Fredy Peccerelli ’96, executive director and founding member of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, an NGO established in 1997 that helps to identify victims of Guatemala’s 36-year internal conflict.

At one of two John Jay College commencement ceremonies, litigator Mary L. Bonauto, the Civil Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders who successfully argued the U.S. Supreme Court case that established same-sex couples’ freedom to marry nationwide, will address graduates and receive an honorary degree, as will Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker and media entrepreneur Jose Antonio Vargas at the second ceremony. The College of Staten Island will give honorary degrees to New Dorp High School Principal Deirdre DeAngelis for her leadership; Peter and Robin Jovanovich for their support of the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Scholarships for Teacher Education Honors Academy students; Margaret Ricciardi ’86, a 103-year-old entrepreneur, artist and benefactor who endows scholarships for Italian language and studio art majors, and Andy Shih, senior vice president for public health at Autism Speaks, an international NGO dedicated to autism awareness, research, and access to services.

Garry Trudeau, MFA, who in 1970 launched the iconic “Doonesbury” comic strip, now appearing in nearly 1,400 daily and Sunday newspapers, and is the first comic strip artist to win the Pulitzer Prize, will keynote the Macaulay Honors College commencement and receive an honorary doctorate. Sonia Manzano, an actress, screenwriter, author and singer-songwriter best known for playing “Maria” on Sesame Street for more than four decades, will speak at Hostos Community College’s commencement. Lehman College graduates will hear speaker Betty A. Rosa, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, who holds degrees from City College, Lehman College and Harvard University, and will be given an honorary doctorate. Lehman will also present honorary degrees to Jeffrey Gilbert ’72, an internist and international authority on sexually transmitted diseases, and to renowned Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri, whose six-decade career has brought him numerous accolades including the Latin Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and the highest honor the United States bestows upon jazz musicians, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.


The Graduate Center’s Presidents’ Alumni Medal will go to prominent publisher and editor LuAnn Walther, who has published and worked with many of the most celebrated and influential novelists, playwrights, literary critics and translators of our time. The Graduate Center will also present honorary degrees to Vanita Gupta, who recently served in the Obama administration as head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice; to celebrated Middle Eastern artist Wael Shawky, who uses film, performance and narrative to present history from a non-Western perspective; and to Lord Nicholas Stern, a former chief economic adviser to the UK who published a groundbreaking 700-page report on the economic impact of climate change. WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann, whose company provides equipped workspace and services in more than 44 cities worldwide, will speak at the Baruch College commencement, and New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, whose 30-year media career included 18 years at El Diario-La Prensa as publisher and CEO, will address York College graduates.

Borough of Manhattan Community College graduates will hear Manhattan Congressman Adriano Espaillat, the first Dominican-American elected to a state legislature, and Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Film Institute in 2002 in response to 9/11’s effects on Lower Manhattan. Rosenthal will receive the BMCC President’s Medal. At New York City College of Technology’s commencement, Miguel Gamiño, New York City’s Chief Technology Officer, is guest speaker, and Lorelei Salas, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affiars, is the alumni speaker at LaGuardia Community College’s graduation ceremonies. At the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy commencement, Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the National Women’s March and former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, will give the keynote speech, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray will receive an honorary Doctor of Science in Public Health degree, and Mary Bassett, commissioner of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will receive the Champion of Public Health award. At Kingsborough Community College, graduates will be addressed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Thomas Bailey, George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and director of the Community College Research Center and two national education research centers, will receive the President’s Medal at the commencement for Stella and Charles Guttman Community College.


May 31


CUNY School of Professional Studies: 6 p.m., David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan


Speaker: Nisha Agarwal.  Agarwal, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice on immigration reform. She led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country’s largest municipal identification program, to ensure that all New Yorkers have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification. Her tenure as commissioner of MOIA has been marked by her entrepreneurial drive and proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation. Commissioner Agarwal has received numerous recognitions, including being listed in Crain’s New York Business’ “40 Under 40.” She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College, her JD from Harvard Law School, and was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University.


Contact: Andrea Fagon, 646-664-8690



John Jay College of Criminal Justice: 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ceremonies, Arthur Ashe Stadium, 124-02 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, Queens


10:30 a.m. Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Law: Mary L. Bonauto. Bonauto is a renowned litigator and civil rights advocate who has been the Civil Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) since 1990. She has litigated in the state and federal courts of New England on discrimination issues, parental and children’s rights, free speech and religious liberty, and relationship recognition. In 2015, she successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic case Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide. Bonauto and two co-counsels won a 1999 ruling in Baker v. State of Vermont that led to the nation’s first civil union law.  She was lead counsel in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which in 2004 made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry. She was also co-counsel in Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health, in which the Connecticut Supreme Court also ruled for marriage. Bonauto led GLAD’s federal court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) leading to the first federal court rulings against DOMA, and then coordinated amici briefs for the Windsor case at the Supreme Court.  As a member of the legal team in the Michigan marriage case DeBoer v. Snyder, she became the Supreme Court oral-argument presenter on behalf of the plaintiffs in Obergefell case. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship. She is the Shikes Fellow in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, serves on an advisory board for the American Constitution Society and has also served as co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

3:30 p.m. Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker and media entrepreneur whose work centers on the changing American identity. He is the founder and CEO of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America; and the founder of #EmergingUS, a media startup that lives at the intersection of race, immigration and identity in a multicultural America. In June 2011, The New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. He then produced and directed “Documented,” a documentary feature film on his undocumented experience, which received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Vargas’ second documentary film, “White People,” has expanded his focus to race relations. He has written for the daily newspapers, Philadelphia Daily News, and San Francisco Chronicle, and national magazines, Rolling Stone and The New Yorker, and was a Senior Contributing Editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. Prior to that, he covered tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capital, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Virginia Tech massacre. In 2007, Politico named him one of 50 Politicos to Watch. His other accolades have included a Public Service Award from the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization; the Salem Award from the Salem Award Foundation, and the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA.


Contact: Doreen Viñas, 212-237-8645



June 1


CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy:  5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Doors  close at 4:50 p.m.),  Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th St., Manhattan

Ceremony for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 graduates

Speaker: Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the National Women’s March and former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, will deliver the keynote address. Honorary Doctor of Science: Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science in Public Health degree in recognition of her leadership of ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. Champion of Public Health Award: Mary Bassett, commissioner of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, receives the Champion of Public Health award for her transformational work addressing population health in New York City.

Contact:  Barbara Aaron, 646-364-9772


Eugenio María de Hostos Community College: 3 p.m., United Palace, 4140 Broadway, Manhattan


Speaker and President’s Medal:  Sonia Manzano. An actress, screenwriter, author, singer-songwriter and a first-generation American of Latino descent, Sonia Manzano is best known for playing “Maria” on “Sesame Street” for more than four decades. Raised in the South Bronx, her acting career began at the High School of Performing Arts, and she is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Manzano appeared in the original production of the classic off-Broadway musical “Godspell, after which she joined the cast of Sesame Street.” Her work on the series encompassed script writing and performing. Manzano has performed on the New York stage in the critically acclaimed plays, “The Vagina Monologues,” “The Exonerated,” and “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” and has extensive film and television appearances to her credit. She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series Little Bill” and penned a parenting column for the “Sesame Workshop” website, Talking Out Loud.”  She is the author of a children’s book, No Dogs Allowed! a young adult novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano; a memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx; and two picture books, Miracle on 133rd Street and The Lowdown on the Highbridge. Manzano is an adviser for the literary New York institution Symphony Space, where she is a frequent reader for Selected Shorts” and for its adult literacy program, All Write! She is also a volunteer for the Bronx River Alliance. In 2016, Manzano was honored with a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Sonia Manzano will also be receiving the President’s Medal, the highest honor our institution can bestow. It is awarded to individuals who have achieved noteworthy professional accomplishments that reflect dedication and commitment to the mission and vision of Hostos.


Contact:  Soldanela Rivera Lopez, 917-627-9097


Lehman College: 10 a.m., 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, South Field, Bronx

Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters:  Betty A. Rosa. Rosa was elected to two, five-year terms, April 2008 – March 2013, and reelected, April 2013 – March 2018, as the Regent for the 12th Judicial District – Bronx County. In March 2016, she was elected by her Board of Regents colleagues as Chancellor for another term (April 2016 through March 2019). Dr. Rosa received a B.A. in psychology from City College and holds two Master of Science in Education degrees, one in administration and supervision from City College, the other in bilingual education from Lehman College. She also received an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. Honorary Degree ­– Doctor of Science: Dr. Jeffrey Gilbert holds the distinction of being a member of the first graduating class of Lehman College (1972). After graduating from Lehman, he attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, graduating in 1975. Dr. Gilbert is an internist and an international authority on the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. Currently, he is the medical director of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for BioReference Laboratories, where he is pioneering new testing methods for STIs. Prior to this, he was medical director for the STD Center of Excellence at Montefiore Medical Center, which he founded in 1992 at Mount Vernon Hospital and then relocated to Montefiore Hospital in 1996. The STD Center of Excellence was the STD training site for New York State for nearly two decades and was a Center for Disease Control training site for five years. Early in his career, Dr. Gilbert was in charge of the New York City Department of Health’s Bronx STD Clinic where he started the first teaching program for Einstein medical students and then for all NYC doctors. Dr. Gilbert is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Amazon Biotech Inc. and holds the prestigious designation of a World Health Organization Expert in Human Diseases, including HIV. In addition, he has extensive clinical experience with HIV drugs and is affiliated with an HIV clinic in Nigeria. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Music: Eddie Palmieri. Known as one of the finest Latin jazz pianists of the past 50 years, Eddie Palmieri is also a bandleader of both salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His professional career as a pianist took off in the early 1950s when he played with various bands. In 1961, he formed his own band, La Perfecta, which created an innovative sound that mixed American jazz into Latin performances. In 1970, Palmieri released several recordings that reflected his unorthodox approach to music, such as the groundbreaking release of “Harlem River Drive,” which merged musical categories into a free-form sound that encompassed elements of salsa, funk, soul and jazz. In 1975, Palmieri won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording for his album “The Sun of Latin Music.”  He has received 10 Grammys, including two for his recordings with Tito Puente, “Obra Maestra/Masterpiece.” In addition to the Grammy Awards, Palmieri has received numerous other honors including: the Eubie Blake Award, 1991; the Award for Most Exciting Latin Performance presented by the BBC in London, 2002; Yale University’s Chubb Fellowship for his work building communities through music, 2002; the Harlem Renaissance Award, 2005; the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; along with his induction into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2009, the Library of Congress added Palmieri’s composition “Azucar Pa’ Ti” to the National Recording Registry. In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammys and honored as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. The Jazz Masters Fellowships are the highest honors that the United States bestows upon jazz musicians.


Contact: Joseph Tirella, 718-960-8013



June 2



Borough of Manhattan Community College: 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ceremonies, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, Manhattan


11 a.m.

Speaker and President’s Medal Honoree – morning ceremony: Adriano Espaillat, U.S. Congressman, 13th District – NY. Espaillat became the first Dominican-American elected to a state legislature, and served in the New York State Assembly. In 2002, he was elected Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. Before entering elected office, he served as Coordinator of Manhattan Court Services for the NYC Criminal Justice Agency, Director of the Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office, and Director of Project Right Start.

3:30 p.m. Speaker and President’s Medal Honoree: Jane Rosenthal. Rosenthal, co-founder of Tribeca Productions, co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Film Institute in 2002 with Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff in a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the impact of those events on the economy and vibrancy of Tribeca and lower Manhattan. In 2008, Rosenthal and her co-founders received the inaugural “Notes of Hope Award” for Distinction in Rebuilding, from the September 11 National Museum and Memorial Foundation.


Contact: Manuel Romero, 212-220-1238




Bronx Community College: 9:30 a.m., Bronx Community College, Ohio Field, 2155 University Ave., Bronx



Speaker: Shahin Sultana, Valedictorian. “In my country, education for women is only in the constitution,” says Shahin Sultana, the Bangladesh-born Valedictorian of the BCC Class of 2017.  “Realistically, higher education only serves males.”  Shahin was the top student in every class – a distinction she has continued at Bronx Community College as a Liberal Arts: Biology major with a 4.0 GPA, a member of the Phi Thet, a Kappa honor society, included on the President’s list, and a winner of the Guttman Transfer Scholarship and Hunter Transfer Achievement Scholarship. Shahin’s goal was to become a doctor. But that dream was sidetracked when a traditional early marriage halted her education at high school. But in 2009, she came to the United States, where a doctor changed her life helping bring her son into the world. “I made up my mind to go back to school to fulfill my dream and be an example for my son.”
Contact: Diane M. Weathers, 718-289-5770


City College of New York:  9 a.m., South Campus Great Lawn, 135th Street and Convent Avenue, Manhattan.


Speaker: Vivek Tiwary. Tiwary, the Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and New York Times best-selling author, founded the multiplatform arts and entertainment company, Tiwary Entertainment Group. His Broadway productions have won a combined 25 Tony Awards and garnered more than 44 Tony nominations. They include “Green Day’s American Idiot,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” Tiwary’s graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, based on the untold life story of the Beatles’ manager, has earned a number of prestigious literary awards, including the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Reality-Based Work and a Harvey Award for Best Original Graphic Novel. It was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives Permanent Collection. As executive producer, he will adapt The Fifth Beatle into a multipart TV event series with unprecedented access to Beatles music. Tiwary is a graduate of both the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: David Diaz. A 1965 City College alumnus, Diaz spent 27 years as a reporter at WNBC/Channel 4 and WCBS/Channel 2 in New York. His coverage of both city news and national events, such as the Oklahoma bombing, the 9/11 World Trade Center and presidential elections, earned him numerous awards for journalism excellence. Diaz received five Emmy Awards, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards and an Associated Press Award. He has served as Distinguished Lecturer at CCNY. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Science: Robert E. Kahn. The 1960 CCNY alumnus initiated the U.S. government’s Internet program and is co-creator with Vinton Cerf of the TCP/IP protocols, the fundamental technology underpinning the Internet. In his recent work, Kahn has been developing the concept of a Digital Object Architecture to provide a framework for interoperability across heterogeneous information systems. His numerous awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Technology, the Japan Prize, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and the A.M. Turing Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and an inductee into the Inventors Hall of Fame and the Internet Hall of Fame. Kahn is president and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, a nonprofit organization focused on research and development for the national information infrastructure. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Deborah Meier. Public educator, writer and advocate since the early 1960s, Meier is one of the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S. She founded the acclaimed Central Park East Schools and helped revitalize public schools in New York City’s East Harlem District 4. She also founded Mission Hill, a K-8 school in Roxbury, Mass., and helped establish the Coalition of Essential Schools. Her books include The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem, and In Schools We Trust. She received a MacArthur “genius” award for her work in public education.


Contact: Jay Mwamba, 212-650-7580


The Graduate Center:  1:30 p.m., David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan


Presidents’ Alumni Medal:  LuAnn Walther. She has published novelists including Ha Jin, winner of the National Book Award and two PEN Faulkner Awards, and Ali Smith, three-time finalist for the Man Booker Award; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Sam Shepard and David Mamet, as well as John Guare and Anna Deavere Smith, recipient of the National Humanities Medal presented by President Barack Obama. She has also published literary critics such as Alfred Kazin, Irving Howe and Elaine Showalter; biographers including Hermione Lee and Morton Cohen; and PEN Award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose translation of War and Peace became a national bestseller. Walther was the founding editor of the Bantam Classics imprint, where she published more than 100 titles before moving on to Penguin/New American Library, where, as executive editor, she oversaw the Signet Classics, Meridian Books, and Plume trade paperback imprints, as well as acquiring hardcover titles. In 1988 she went to Alfred A. Knopf.  As editorial director of Vintage/Anchor she has worked with celebrated authors including Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, Oliver Sacks, Chinua Achebe, Colson Whitehead, Patti Smith, Maxine Hong Kingston, Henry Louis Gates and many others. At Everyman’s Library she has overseen the U.S. publication of 650 hardcover classics including the popular Pocket Poets series.


Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Vanita Gupta. She helped successfully overturn the wrongful drug convictions of 38 individuals in Tulia, Texas. From 2006 to 2010, she served as a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, where she won a landmark settlement on behalf of immigrant children. That ruling later prompted the Department of Homeland Security to take steps toward reforming the nation’s immigration detention system. Gupta went on to become the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In that role, she emerged as one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for social justice. She joined the Justice Department in the fall of 2014, just nine weeks after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. For the next two years, she met with mayors, police chiefs, and citizens nationwide in an effort to repair the relationships between police departments and their communities ­–and gained the support of liberal and conservative activists, as well as law enforcement leaders, to find common ground on criminal justice reform. Gupta has also prosecuted hate crimes and human trafficking, promoted disability rights, protected the rights of LGBT individuals, and fought discrimination in education, employment, housing, lending, and voting – seeking justice at every stage of her career for our nation’s most vulnerable residents. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Wael Shawky. He is one of the most celebrated artists from the Middle East, achieving international renown for his use of film, performance, and narrative in work that retells history from a perspective seldom seen in the West. He is perhaps best known for his epic trilogy of films, featuring puppets and marionettes, that present the history of the Crusades through an Arab lens. The films were shown at MoMA PS1 in 2015 as part of Shawky’s first solo exhibition at a major U.S. museum. Writing for New York magazine, art critic Jerry Saltz called it “one of the best exhibitions of the season.” Shawky’s work is found in museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Tate Collection in London. He has been awarded many prizes, including the Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award in 2011 and the first Mario Merz Prize in 2015. Shawky was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where he currently lives and works. He is also the founder of MASS Alexandria, an educational space. He earned his BFA from Alexandria University and a MFA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Lord Nicholas Stern. He made headline news around the world when he published the 700-page “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,” a groundbreaking report examining the economic impact of climate change. Stern, who is currently Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, is world renowned for his research on the economics of global warming. He has led the Grantham Research Institute since its founding in 2008 at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he is also the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and the Head of the India Observatory. A former chief economic adviser to the UK government, Stern served as the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003. He also played a key role in Europe’s economic development as the Chief Economist and Senior Adviser to the Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Stern is the author of more than 15 books and 100 articles, and currently serves as president of the British Academy and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has held academic appointments at the University of Oxford, University of Warwick, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, École Polytechnique, and the Collège de France in Paris, the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore and Delhi, and the People’s University of China in Beijing.



Contact: Tanya Domi, 212-817-7283


Queensborough Community College: 10 a.m. (rain or shine) Queensborough Community College Athletic Field, Queensborough Community College, 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside, N.Y.



Speaker: Diane B. Call, President of Queensborough Community College. Diane B. Call, appointed president of the college in January 2013, has a career that spans three decades at Queensborough and CUNY, and has held positions that have encompassed virtually all major areas of administration and academics at Queensborough. As provost, Call led the Academic Affairs Division in creating a student-centered learning environment in collaboration with faculty and Student Affairs colleagues through curriculum and pedagogical innovations, undergraduate research, as well as instructional support programs. Among her many achievements are programs for the recruitment and retention of faculty and faculty development programs, high-impact practices, e-learning, academic leadership and pedagogical research in community college teaching. Her partnership with Student Affairs led to the implementation of the Freshman Academies for all full-time, first-time freshmen. Based on the success of the initiative on student learning outcomes, the Freshman Academies was scaled up to the Queensborough Academies in the fall of 2013. The Academies offer full-time students personalized support services based on academic and future goals throughout the student’s academic career at Queensborough. Call holds a Doctor of Education degree in College and University Administration, a Master’s degree in Community College Administration and a second Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration, all earned from Teachers College, Columbia University. Additionally, she holds a Certificate in Curriculum Development from Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Call was an adjunct professor at Long Island University, C.W. Post, Graduate School of Education; and an adjunct associate professor at Queensborough Community College, Department of English. Call’s academic credentials, along with her publications and research presentations at academic conferences on “at risk” students, gained her the rank of full professor in Student Personnel Services in 1994, having acquired tenure in 1978. In her years at Queensborough, Call also instituted the Instructional Support Services Center and Learning Lab and has led Admissions Services; Skills Assessment Testing; Academic Advisement; the Freshman Year Program; College Discovery; and CSTEP. She consolidated Tutorial Services and the Writing Center, substantially increasing the number of students served.



Contact: Alice Doyle, 718-281-5591



York College: 9 a.m., York College Athletic Field behind the Health and Physical Education Building at 160-02 Liberty Avenue between Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 160th St.


Speaker: NYS Secretary of State Rossana Rosado; New York Secretary of State. From becoming the first woman to serve as editor and publisher of the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the country, to championing prisoner re-entry initiatives, and to work as an award-winning producer, Rossana Rosado brings a depth and diversity of experience to her role as New York Secretary of State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Secretary Rosado to the position on Feb. 3, 2016, and she was unanimously confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 15, 2016. Her leadership has helped make the Department of State one of the most dynamic agencies in state government. Secretary Rosado is best known for her successful tenure as publisher and CEO of El Diario La Prensa, where she spent 18 years overseeing more than $22 million in annual revenue. Whether it was women’s empowerment, the re-entry and reintegration of prisoners into society, or a fairer and more humane immigration policy, Rosado advocated in the paper’s editorial pages for advancement on issues affecting a wide array of New Yorkers. During her 30-year media career, she earned an Emmy Award, a STAR Award from the NY Women’s Agenda, and a Peabody Award for Journalism. A native New Yorker, Secretary Rosado received her B.A. in Journalism from Pace University.


Contact: Marcia Moxam Comrie, 718-262-3865



June 5



June 5


Baruch College: 9:30 a.m. Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn


Speaker: Adam Neumann is the co-founder and CEO of WeWork, which provides workspace, community, and services to over 100,000 members in more than 44 cities around the world. Neumann, with co-founder Miguel McKelvey, started WeWork in 2010 in New York’s Soho with the intention of creating a workspace environment centered around the idea of community, and the belief that people will achieve more together than they can on their own. Neumann and the team want to grow WeWork everywhere, expanding globally and focusing on building technology that connects members around the world so they are empowered to do what they love. Previously, Neumann co-founded and ran Big Tent Inc., where he developed Egg Baby and Krawlers, well-known brands of children’s clothing. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Pedagogy: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., is a renowned astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. In this role, he has been a leader in advancing the understanding of science—and particularly astronomy and astrophysics—by the general public. As a scientific communicator, he continues to educate and inspire the public, and in particular young people, to pursue discovery and understanding of the world through science. A native New Yorker, Dr. Tyson was educated in public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. He went on to earn his B.A. in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia. Dr. Tyson was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004, hosted NOVA ScienceNow on PBS, and he received the Public Welfare Medal by the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 for his “extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science.” Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Allan E. Goodman, Ph.D., is president and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), the leading not-for-profit organization in the field of international educational exchange and development training. IIE conducts research and administers the Fulbright Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, as well as several hundred corporate, government, and privately sponsored programs on international education. Dr. Goodman was executive dean of the School of Foreign Service and professor at Georgetown University, and served as presidential briefing coordinator for the director of central intelligence in the Carter Administration. Dr. Goodman has served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the United States Information Agency, and IBM. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Goodman has a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, an M.P.A from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a B.S. from Northwestern University.






Contact:  Suzanne Bronski, 646-660-6093





New York City College of Technology: 5:30 p.m., Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

Speaker: Miguel A. Gamiño Jr., New York City Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Civic Technologist Miguel A. Gamiño has unique experience in government, blended with a deep knowledge of technology, the industry that fuels it, and the culture it inspires. As CTO, Gamiño works with all city agencies to develop a Smart City and “Internet of Things” strategy that ensures coordination, collaboration and innovation across the city. He leads the city’s Broadband Program, partnering with agencies, private industry and academia to further the mayor’s goal of ensuring that every New Yorker and New York City business will have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband service by 2025. Gamiño serves on several executive advisory committees in industry and has served on the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee of the Federal Communication Commission. He is a founding member of the Connected City Advisory Board and a founding member of the Council of Global City Chief Information Officers. Before coming to New York City, Gamiño served as the Chief Information Officer for the city and county of San Francisco and executive director of the Department of Technology. As a technology entrepreneur, he founded two technology companies, and managed them through the startup phase and into successful operations. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, El Paso.

Contact: Denise H. Sutton, 718-260-5979 or Stephen Soiffer, 718-260-5992



June 8


LaGuardia Community College:  4 p.m. Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.​


Keynote Speaker:  Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. She and two friends founded #BlackLivesMatter, an online forum dedicated to connecting people interested in learning more about and fighting against Black/African-American racism following the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. For her work fighting gentrification and environmental racism in San Francisco’s largest remaining Black community, she has been honored twice by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club with the Bayard Rustin Community Activist award. Currently, she’s special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Previously, she was executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in San Francisco. Alumni Speaker: Lorelei Salas, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. In this role, she leads the City’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards, which includes paid sick leave, commuter benefits, and future efforts to protect New York City workers. An accomplished labor law advocate who has committed her career to fighting inequality, Commissioner Salas previously held roles with the United States Department of Labor (appointed by President Obama as Wage and Hour Administrator), the New York State Attorney General’s Office in the Litigation and Labor Bureaus, the New York State Department of Labor, Catholic Migration Services, and Make the Road New York. She earned her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, and is admitted to practice law in New York State and in federal courts. Class of 2017 Representative: Remy Patrick Lavilla, who will receive his associate degree in accounting and will pursue his bachelor’s in economics at Columbia University. He was selected for ThinkGeek’s National Innovation for Tomorrow Award for his prototype of a mobile app to help college students more easily and efficiently navigate the college transfer process. He was one of seven college students nationwide selected for the National Student Leadership Committee – part of President Obama’s campaign to make community colleges tuition-free. Lavilla, a native of the Philippines, moved to the United States in 2015 at age 17, after the infamous Typhoon Haiyan hit his hometown. Upon arriving in New York City, he enrolled as a foreign student at LaGuardia and quickly immersed himself in the many opportunities and activities at the college. His achievements at LaGuardia include being selected as a President’s Society Ambassador, an Honors Program member, a Phi Theta Kappa member, and a college assistant in the Office of the President. He managed his many on-campus activities while consistently making the Dean’s List; maintaining a 3.9 GPA.


Contact: Elizabeth Streich, 718-482-6131






Medgar Evers College: 9 a.m., Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn


Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Hillary Rodham Clinton has spent four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and presidential candidate. After graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she began her lifelong work on behalf of children and families by joining the Children’s Defense Fund. As first lady of the United States, from 1993 to 2001, Hillary Clinton championed health care for all Americans and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and create the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 2000, Clinton made history as the first first lady elected to the United States Senate, and the first woman elected to statewide office in New York. As a senator, she worked across party lines to expand economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care. In the 2008 general election, she campaigned for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and in December, she was nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of State. In her four years as America’s chief diplomat and the president’s principal foreign policy adviser, Clinton played a central role in restoring America’s standing in the world and strengthening its global leadership, visiting 112 countries over 4 years, restoring America’s standing in the world. In 2016, Clinton made history again by becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the author of five best-selling books, including her groundbreaking book on children, It Takes A Village; Dear Socks, Dear Buddy; An Invitation to the White House; her memoir, Living History; and Hard Choices.


Contact: Felicia R. Lee, 718-270-5046


June 12

Macaulay Honors College: 3 p.m., United Palace Theater, 4140 Broadway at 175th St., New York, N.Y. 10033

Keynote Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Garry Trudeau, MFA, is the first comic strip artist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Trudeau launched the comic strip “Doonesbury” in 1970, and it now appears in nearly 1,400 daily and Sunday newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Trudeau’s work has been collected in 60 hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market editions. He has contributed articles to publications such as Harper’s, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York, and The Washington Post.  For five years he was an occasional columnist for The New York Times op-ed page, and was later a contributing essayist for Time magazine. He has been inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2015, he received the George Polk Career Award. He has a B.A. and an MFA degree from Yale University in graphic arts. In awarding Garry Trudeau the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Macaulay will recognize his creativity, analytical sharpness, and commitment to equality and telling the stories of Americans of diverse backgrounds.


Contact: Sheila Stainback, 212-729-2924


June 15


Kingsborough Community College: 11 a.m., Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn

Speakers: Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Public Advocate Letitia James.

For the past three decades, Eric L. Adams has served the residents of the city of his birth as a police officer, state senator, and coalition builder. He was elected as Borough President of Brooklyn in 2013. Borough President Adams has been an effective advocate for Brooklyn throughout his career, bringing people and communities together to create progressive change, and working with private and public sectors to invigorate the borough’s economy by encouraging job growth and investment in every neighborhood. From 2006 to 2013, Adams represented the 20th Senate District, working on a broad range of issues from civil rights and public safety to transparency in government and quality of life. His legislative record in the New York State Senate underscored his strong commitment to the rights of every citizen, including protecting the right to privacy, supporting marriage equality, defending a woman’s right to choose, and fighting for the rights of students, workers and animals.

Letitia James is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest-ranking elected office in the city. As Public Advocate, she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over city agencies, and investigates complaints about city services. She made history in 2014 as the first woman of color to hold citywide office in New York City. Before becoming Public Advocate, James served from 2004 to 2013 as a member of the City Council, where she fought for paid sick leave and passed the Safe Housing Act ensuring that families in rental buildings receive prompt and full repairs to their apartments. She is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform, led the push for police body cameras in the NYPD, and was among the first to call for special prosecutors in all cases of police misconduct.

Contact: Dawn Walker, 917-588-6305 / 718-368-5060




June 19


Stella and Charles Guttman Community College: 10:30 a.m., Borough of Manhattan Community College-Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan


President’s Medal Recipient: Thomas Bailey. Bailey is the George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is also director of the Community College Research Center and two national centers funded by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences: the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, established in 2011, and the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, established in 2014. From 2006 to 2012, Bailey directed another IES-funded center, the National Center for Postsecondary Research.


Contact: Linda Merians, 646-313-8023



Prior 2017 Commencements


May 12

CUNY School of Law: Kupferberg Center for Arts at Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, N.Y.

Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Law: Sherrilyn Ifill. Sherrilyn Ifill is the seventh president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights legal organization. During her tenure at LDF, Ifill has litigated numerous cases including the landmark Voting Rights Act case, Houston Lawyers’ Association v. Attorney General of Texas, in which the Supreme Court held that judicial elections are covered by the provisions of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As a faculty member at the University of the Maryland School of Law, she developed an environmental justice clinical offering and co-founded one of the first legal clinics in the nation focused on removing legal barriers to formerly incarcerated persons seeking to responsibly re-enter society. As a leader of LDF, Ifill has increased the visibility and engagement of the organization in cutting edge and urgent civil rights issues including policing reform, the Detroit water crisis and transportation inequity. She is a sought-after speaker and strategist whose counsel is sought by government officials, civic and community leaders and national civil rights colleagues. A critically acclaimed author, her scholarly articles and her 2007 book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century, reflect Ifill’s lifelong engagement in and analysis of issues of race and American public life.


Contact: Elizabeth Dickinson, 718-340-4006



May 26

Queens College: 9 a.m., Queens College Quad, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, Queens

Speaker and President’s Medal: Congresswoman Grace Meng – a Queens native and the first female member of Congress from Queens since the late vice presidential nominee and former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro – is described as “a consistent and powerful advocate for the college” by President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. Meng began her association with QC when she represented the 22nd Assembly District for two terms in the New York State Assembly. Now serving her third term in the House of Representatives, representing the 6th Congressional District of New York, which encompasses west, central, and northeast Queens, Meng is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for funding every agency, program and project within the federal government. Previously, she served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee. Meng is the first Asian American member of Congress from New York State and the only member of Congress of Asian descent in the entire Northeast. Born in Elmhurst and raised in Bayside and Flushing, she graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. Meng earned a law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. Before entering public service, she worked as a public-interest lawyer. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Donald Brownstein ’65, whose career has spanned academia to Wall Street, enrolled at age 16 at Queens College, where he earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1965. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1969. After teaching philosophy at two universities, Brownstein moved into the financial realm, becoming CEO and chief investment officer of Structured Portfolio Management, an innovative hedge fund known for its mix of traders, academics and researchers who bring theory to bear on markets and investments. In 2012, he established a scholarship fund in the name of one of his most influential teachers, professor John J. McDermott. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Saul Kupferberg is a devoted member of the Queens College Foundation and a founding member and current chair of the Kupferberg Center Arts Advisory Board at Queens College. Kupferberg is the son of the late Max and Selma Kupferberg, in whose honor Colden Center was renamed the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, and former vice president of sales and marketing for Kepco, a family-founded and owned global power supply and electrical equipment company, based in Flushing. As a businessman, philanthropist, and working trustee, Kupferberg has offered extensive service to the college and the community – from keeping good jobs in the borough to supporting the arts and education.

Contact: Maria Matteo, 718-997-5593




May 30

Brooklyn College:  Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn

Speaker and Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Bernie Sanders. U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, campaigned for the Democratic Party’s 2016 U.S. presidential nomination. The longest-serving Independent in congressional history, Sen. Sanders served as a congressman for 16 years until his election to the Senate in 2006. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he graduated from James Madison High School in 1959 and briefly attended Brooklyn College, transferring in 1960 to the University of Chicago, where he received a degree in political science in 1964. Sanders’ lifelong career as an activist for civil rights and progressive causes began as a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). A plainspoken defender of what he calls “real family values,” Sanders made women’s, immigrant and LGBTQ rights, and causes such as a living wage, equal pay for equal work, and parental leave the cornerstone of his presidential campaign. He continues to be a tireless champion of the interests of working- and middle-class Americans. As chairman of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs (VA), he has helped pass legislation to reform the VA health care system, fought to protect Medicare and Social Security, and has introduced bipartisan legislation to extend and modernize the Older Americans Act, a landmark law that provides a wide range of services. Sanders has been unwavering in his efforts to make higher education accessible to all, introducing legislation to increase Pell grants for students from low-income families and calling for tuition- and debt-free college. A member of the Environmental and Public Works and Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sanders has also made combating climate change and transforming America’s energy program from fossil fuels to renewable sources priorities. Distinguished Alumnus Award: Fredy Peccerelli ’96. Mr. Peccerelli is a forensic anthropologist and executive director and founding member of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala, or FAFG), a nongovernmental organization established in 1997 that exhumes mass graves of victims of the Guatemala’s 36-year internal conflict, and helps identify the remains. The evidence has helped convict perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity in that country, as well as aided families in locating missing loved ones. Mr. Peccerelli and the FAFG have collected more than 325 interviews from survivors of the Guatemalan conflict, testimonies that have been included in the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation’s Witness Education System. Born in 1971, Mr. Peccerelli and his family fled Guatemala to New York City when they received death threats from government death squads. He attended Brooklyn College, graduating with a B.A. in anthropology in 1996, and received a post-graduate diploma with distinction in forensic and biological anthropology at Bournemouth University in England in 2004. An affiliate professor for postgraduate masters in forensic sciences at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, Mr. Peccerelli is considered one of the top 50 Latin American Leaders for the New Millennium by CNN. He has been named the 2015 Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecturer at Queens University, been awarded a Special Honors Medal by Canadian Governor General David Johnston, and received human rights activism awards from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives and the Puffin Foundation.


College of Staten Island: Great Lawn, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island


Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Deirdre DeAngelis. Deirdre DeAngelis is the principal of New Dorp High School and has served in that capacity since 1999, making her the longest-serving principal on Staten Island. Since that time, she has been honored locally and by the State of New York for her accomplishments. She has received accolades from the New York Daily News as one of 11 top educators in 2012, and as a Hometown Hero, in part for her leadership during and after Superstorm Sandy. In 2013, she was honored as one of two New York State Senate Women of Distinction, again for her leadership and her creative approach to the restructuring of her school. The Staten Island Advance has reported increased enrollments and a 90 percent student attendance rate under her leadership. At New Dorp High School, she has created a structure of eight small learning communities, with each community addressing curricular or career interests of students, creating a more personal, small-school feel within a very large school. In addition, she has partnered with the College of Staten Island and other area schools to launch the 30,000 Degree Initiatives to increase the percentage of Island residents who hold college degrees. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Humane Letters: Peter and Robin Jovanovich. Peter and Robin Jovanovich have been uniquely supportive and generous friends of the College of Staten Island. Their efforts over the last five years have resulted in generous support of the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Scholarships awarded to Teacher Education Honors Academy students, as well as additional annual financial commitment. This scholarship money guarantees that the recipients will graduate with no debt, which is critically important for students who are working toward a career in teaching. What distinguishes these scholarships is the special role that Peter and Robin Jovanovich themselves play. Peter (the President Emeritus of the Alfred Harcourt Foundation) and Robin (the current President of the Alfred Harcourt Foundation) both take a personal interest in each Harcourt Scholar. Every semester they visit the College of Staten Island and meet individually with the Harcourt Scholars, review each student’s record and discuss their achievements and problems. They have observed many classes taught by Teacher Academy graduates at Staten Island high schools and they have frequently met with CSI administrators to reinforce their commitment to the College. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Arts: Margaret Ricciardi. Margaret Ricciardi received her bachelor’s degree in Art from the College of Staten Island in 1986. She has long-standing ties to Staten Island and the College of Staten Island community as a resident, entrepreneur, student, artist, and benefactor. She has continued her studies in sculpture and painting at CSI over three decades. Mrs. Ricciardi had a solo exhibit in the CSI Student Art Gallery soon after receiving her degree and has subsequently shown her work at the Museo dell’ Emigrante in Naples, the Snug Harbor Cultural Arts Center, and at the National Arts Club. In 2006, she received the Award for Cultural and Artistic Accomplishments at the third annual Festi dei Campani nel Mondo.  She endowed the Margaret and Frank Ricciardi Scholarship award for Italian language majors, enabling them to study abroad, as well as the Margaret Ricciardi Art Award, given annually to a graduating Studio Art major. Mrs. Ricciardi continues to commute to the college twice a week at the age of 103 and serves as a role model for students eager to be in the presence of a phenomenal artist. Honorary Degree – Doctor of Science: Andy Shih. Andy Shih is the Senior Vice President for Public Health and Inclusion at Autism Speaks, an international NGO dedicated to enhancing autism awareness, research, and access to services. He leads the development, implementation and management of the organization’s research portfolios in public health and international development. As a researcher, Shih has published studies on the development of ribozyme-based diagnostics and therapeutics, AIDS/Kaposi’s Sarcoma-related molecular virology, and the identification of novel GTPases involved in cell cycle regulation and genetic risk factors for autism. As a professor, he has led graduate seminars and designed curriculum for university upper-division cell biology and pharmacology courses. Shih currently oversees the development and management of international scientific and public policy activities in collaboration with key stakeholders from governments outside of the U.S., including heads of state, ministers and other officials and policymakers. He has provided leadership for several existing high-impact research consortia and large high-profile collaborations that have yielded hundreds of peer-reviewed publications over the past decade. He currently serves on the “Investing in Young Children Globally” and “Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health” forums at the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and is also a member of the U.S. National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council.


Contact: Sara Paul, 718-982-2200





Hunter College: 3 p.m., Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., Manhattan


Speaker: Alphonso B. David. An attorney, law professor, and policy adviser with significant litigation and management experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, David was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015 to serve as Counsel to the Governor. In this role, he functions as the governor’s chief counsel and principal legal adviser, and oversees all significant legal and policy deliberations affecting New York State, including evaluating proposed legislation, implementing laws and policies, and formulating the state’s posture in both affirmative and defensive litigation. Prior to his appointment as the governor’s counsel, David served for four years in the governor’s cabinet as the Deputy Secretary and Counsel for Civil Rights, the first position of its kind in New York State. In this capacity, he was responsible for a range of legal, policy, legislative and operational matters affecting civil rights and labor throughout the state. David also previously served as Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights for the Office of the New York State Attorney General, where he managed Assistant Attorneys General on a variety of investigations and affirmative litigation, including employment and housing discrimination, fair lending, reproductive rights, and anti-bias claims. Further, he previously served as Deputy Commissioner and Special Counselor at the New York State Division of Human Rights. Prior to working in the public sector, David served as a staff attorney at the Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund. At Lambda Legal, David litigated precedent-setting civil rights cases across the nation affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals as well as those living with HIV. He handled matters relating to marriage, parenting rights, discrimination in schools, and access to health care. In addition, David served as a litigation associate at the law firm Blank Rome LLP. He began his legal career as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Clifford Scott Green in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For the past decade, David has served as an adjunct professor of law. He began his work in academia with Fordham University Law School and most recently with Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, teaching “Constitutional Law: Sexuality and the Law.” He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Temple University School of Law.


Contact: Devin Callahan, 212-396-6590

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students.  College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 400 high schools throughout the five boroughs. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.