Published: June 01, 2012
Marking the end of one journey and the beginning of another, hundreds of graduates gathered for Queensborough Community College’s 51st annual Commencement ceremony.
Adorned in caps and gowns under a brilliant blue sky, the Class of 2012 celebrated its graduation on Friday, June 1. Keynote speaker Dr. John King, New York State Education Commissioner, praised the graduates "for their perseverance and sense of purpose" and urged them to "start building their legacy."
His address – “Find Your Intersection of Success” – focused on the power of teaching and that the “ultimate goal of education is to nurture intelligence and character.”
The Class of 2012 comprises about 2,000 graduates from 120 nations, a reflection of the diverse Queens community. Many graduates are the first in their families to attend college.
“Your stories of determination to succeed through education are inspirational to all of us,” said Dr. Diane B. Call, Interim President, who recognized several guests at the ceremony, including Dr. Eduardo J. Martí, former president of Queensborough Community College.
Dr. Martí, the current CUNY Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges, was awarded the Presidential Medal for Exceptional and Longstanding Commitment to the Community-College Partnership.
“Dr. Martí has been a national voice and advocate for community colleges for over 30 years,” she said. “We thank him for his vision and generous mentorship.”
“I am touched by this honor and accept my award with humility,” said Dr. Martí. “The over-arching discipline at Queensborough is teaching and certainly our alumni and students know that.”
Special guests included several members of Queensborough’s first graduating class. This group calls itself the Class of 1962: The Pioneers, and journeyed from as far as Nevada and as near as Queens to reunite with former classmates and celebrate with the Class of 2012.
Among them was Paulette P. Kohane, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who enrolled at Queensborough in her late 30s to study education. Paulette received her baccalaureate from Queens College and a master’s degree in modern languages from Columbia University, and taught in the New York City public school system for three decades.
“It’s wonderful to be here today,” said Ms. Kohane ’62, who recalled, “I remember my desire to learn and appreciating the need for a place like Queensborough.”
Other distinguished guests who offered remarks included U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, N.Y. Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, and Rita DiMartino, CUNY Board of Trustees.
Class of 2012 Commencement Awards:
Anais Wong: President’s Award for achieving the highest scholastic average.
Tatiana Koverina: Joseph McMurray Award for achieving the second highest scholastic average.
Anais Wong: Thomas R. Jennings Memorial Award for the highest scholastic average in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Shuaib Uddin: Associate in Science Achievement Award for the highest scholastic average in the Associate in Science (Mathematics and Science) degree program.
Dayaretnage Patirana Senaratna: Col. John C. Lackas Award for the highest scholastic average in the Associate in Applied Science degree program.
Oluwadamisa Atanda (Kay): John F. Kennedy Memorial Award for outstanding College and community leadership.
Lee-Kon Chen: Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for exceptional leadership in promoting racial harmony and appreciation of cultural diversity.
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