Queensborough Community College – 2008 Commencement Exercises

Queensborough Community College – 2008 Commencement Exercises


– President Martí, I have the honor to report
that there are now present members of the graduating class, the staff and the faculty of
Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. The governing bodies
of the city of New York and the state of New York
all gathered to participate in these, the 47th commencement exercises of Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. (audience applauding) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 47th Commencement Exercises of Queensborough Community College of the
City University of New York. Please remain standing or stand for the national anthem,
which will follow now. Queensborough music
students Shanae Campbell and Richard McMichael will lead us in singing our anthem. ♪ O say can you see ♪ ♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hail’d ♪ ♪ At the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watch ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that star-spangled ♪ ♪ Banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the ♪ ♪ Brave ♪ (audience cheering and applauding) – Beautiful. The audience will please be seated. Ladies and gentlemen, the
president of Queensborough Community College of the
City University of New York, Dr. Eduardo Martí. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Grand Marshal Wallace, and welcome to the 47th
commencement exercises of Queensborough Community College. (audience cheering and applauding) Today is a glorious day,
it is a beautiful day, it is not gonna rain today! (audience cheering) Before we start, I want you
to please join me in thanking the administrators, the faculty,
the staff and the buildings and ground staff who have
made this campus look so very beautiful for you on
this special day, thank you. (audience applauding) Today, for you 1500 candidates, for the associates degree,
along with families, friends and significant others. You celebrate a major accomplishment. For many, you are the first one in your families to graduate from college, and believe you me, that it
is an unforgettable experience (audience applauding) Let me tell you about this class. The average GPA is 2.89. We are granting, we are granting 552 Associates in Arts. 465 Associates in Science. 471 Associates in Applied Science and 44 certificates. The youngest candidate of you is 20, I’m not gonna ask you to stand. And the oldest one of you is 66. (audience cheering and applauding) I’m not gonna ask you to stand. Also, among you in attendance today, I hope he’s here, is someone
celebrating his birthday. Will William Brower please stand so we can all recognize you? William, are you here? (audience applauding) Among you candidates,
there are some of you to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. These are the student soldiers who have served our country in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and in
other parts of the world. Some of you are gonna be
redeployed after this graduation. Others will be rejoining civilian life. Will the student soldiers please stand and be recognized so that we can thank you publicly for what you
have done for our country? (audience cheering and applauding) Of course, a lot of people,
family and friends, are excited about your accomplishment. So, for the graduates, sit back, enjoy every moment of this ceremony. This is your day. (audience applauding) There are very many stories
among you here in the audience. There are stories of sacrifice. There are stories of perseverance, there are stories of real courage. When I met you for the first time, I told you that you had
made the right choice. I told you about a great faculty. I told you about a dedicated staff. I told you about small classes, and I told you about support services. I told you that we pride
ourselves in having open access while maintaining quality. You are among the winners,
you are among the 1/4 who made it. You see, while it’s very
easy to get into QCC, it is very difficult to leave QCC. (audience cheering and applauding) Our standards are high, our
expectations of you are high. We believe that this is
important because you are the future of our city. Yes, you will take care of
our bodies, our accounts, our businesses, our government. Whatever you do, your
contribution to New York City will affect all of us, but
it goes beyond the city. In his column last month, the
journalist writer Tom Friedman spoke about the imbalance
of power in this world. He posited that there
is a new super elite, a small group of individuals
with untold wealth, which will have a disproportionate control of matters on this earth. He concluded that if the
United States is to maintain its place at the table
of powerful nations, it must have excellent education. Education is an imperative and guess what, ladies and gentlemen, he
was talking about you. 50%, 50% of all
undergraduates in this country are attending a community college. Therefore, that promise,
that need, that necessity to have education as the foundation for the continued growth of this country rests on your shoulders. So therefore, you are the future. Better yet, because of our high standards, as you move to the next
stage of your life, the communication and
critical thinking skills, the historical context,
the aesthetic appreciation you have learned that
Queensborough will give you an advantage over less
prepared individuals. You are the future. You have made sacrifices. Many of you have children
and have juggled schoolwork, jobs and family life,
but you have persevered. For example, (audience applauding) for example, I know one
of you, a nursing student, who had a child before starting
the clinical experience. This coupled with financial difficulties, caused him not to pass Nursing 102. And as many others of
you, after falling down, he stood up, he dusted
himself off and tried again. And today, and today, he’s graduating as The Head of the Nursing Society. Will Randy Fellow please stand up? Where are you, Randy? He exemplifies many, many of you, many stories of perseverance. But, you know, without our high standards, this perseverance would be for naught. The diploma that you
receive today must represent the rigor of our curriculum. It must represent the
quality of your experience. You are the future, you
are The New Americans. Many of you were born in another country and you, or your, families elected to come to the United States. Your contributions will
make America strong. Your hard work and talent, your culture, your experience, will
create a new America. You are the pioneers of
today, just as those who went West in the 19th
century, you will create new frontiers for the 21st century. You will protect us
from economic downturns, you will continue to
make this country great because you are the future
and congratulations. (audience applauding) Now, you can expect that
a number of you have come, a number of people have come
to bring your greetings. I understand that we
have with us a number of elected officials, and I see our friend Senator Chuck Schumer, who has arrived. Senator, would you please
come and greet the students? (audience cheering and applauding) – Well, thank you President
Martí and thank you for the great work you do. You know, Queensborough Community College is one of the great community colleges, not only in our city and
state but in our country. And, I want to thank the
faculty, the administrators, from the highest professors,
to the people who come late at night and keep the place clean. Congratulations to all of you
and, of course to the parents, families but most of all,
who do I want to address, the Class of 2008 QCC. Congratulations! (audience cheering and applauding) Now, first graduates, I’d like
to announce my class gift. You know, it’s hard to pay
for college, you know that. And, if you’re poor,
the federal government helps you out, that’s good. But what about the middle class? So, a few years ago, I
wrote a law that said you could deduct fully from
your taxes $4,000 a year of tuition costs, for both
undergraduate and graduate, provided your family income
is below $200,000 a year. So, for those of you from
families below 200,000, make sure you take that deduction. About a third of all people who qualify haven’t taken it because it’s new. Make sure you or mom or dad,
whoever pays for college, takes the deduction. And now, if your family has
above $200,000 in income, God bless you. (audience laughing) Now, to the graduates, oh
first, a word to the parents. You know, I know how you
feel, sitting there, parents. Two years ago, my wife and
I watched our little Jessica walk down the aisle and get her diploma. And, we knew how it felt,
craning our necks to see her come up on stage and take the diploma. Watching her march down the aisle, seeing all we could see was
her hand move the tassel from one side to the other. It was one of the proudest
and most emotional days of my life. And, you think back to all the times when we rushed her to the hospital because she had 106 1/2 fever as a baby. When we put her on the
kindergarten bus for the first time to PS 230 and waved goodbye.
When she was a teenager. And, she didn’t talk to us much. And when she did, we didn’t
understand a word she said. And then, you watch your son or daughter come up and take that
diploma and become an adult before your very eyes. Parents, congratulations,
you have made it. (audience applauding) Now, to the graduates. You know, you’re graduating
at an amazing time. In the mid 80s, when
many of you were born, even before some of you were born, the word internet was first used, 1986, first used in print. There were no cell phones
and no text messaging, and no Google and no
blogs, and no Facebook. None of that stuff. In 1993, when many of you
were in elementary school, the World Wide Web was started. You know how many websites were on the World Wide Web then, 12. Now, it’s only 15 years
later, there are 13 billion. And, you know, you are
the first generation to be fluent in all this new technology. Me, your professors, your parents, we try to grapple with it,
we’re not that good at it. But, it’s in your bloodstream. And, you’re the first
graduating class to have it fully in your bloodstream,
and that means something. Given the great education
you’ve gotten here, only one out of four Americans
get a college degree. So, you’re ahead for getting the degree, you’re ahead for being
fluent in this new technology and your head from graduating
from a great school. What does it mean? It means
you have some choices. And, what my advice to
you is try to find a job you really like, you
love, it’s a blessing. It makes your life so much better. And, you know, you’ll make mistakes. The first one you find may not be it. Let me tell you my experience. When I was 14, I had to
go out and get a job. I had to help my family,
that’s when you can get working papers in New York. And it was a summer, and
there was someone advertising for a employee to run a Mimeo machine. Now, you young people don’t
know what a Mimeo machine was. There was a day before Xerox machines. And, you’d have this clunky machine, and you’d put on this smelly
ink, and you put a stencil on and you’d crank it, right. And, every time you cranked it once, one copy would come out. So, that summer I worked in a little three foot by three foot room, no windows, just the ink in the machine. And, none of my friends really
had to work, we were 14. They would go to the beach. They would try to pick up girls, that’s what you did at 14, try. Not too much success. We would play basketball. Our team’s motto at Madison High School, where I played was, we may
be small but we’re slow. We weren’t that good,
but I would sit there and get to work at 9:00 in
that little windowless room. I’d look at my watch at
9:15, 9:30, quarter of 10. By 10:00, I thought it must
be 5:00, it’s time to go home. I was going out of my mind and
I swore in that little room, I’d never be, I’d find a
job where I wasn’t bored. So, in college I figured
OK, I’ll major in chemistry. I’d had a chemistry set
when I was a little kid and I liked tinkering
around with the chemicals. Now, for those of you
who’ve taken any chemistry, you know, when you do these
chemistry experiments, they’re long and drawn-out, like 50 steps, and you mess up step 46,
you don’t go back to 45, you start all over. You’re nodding your heads,
you’ve been through this. So, this was the final
experiment of the course at the end of the year. And, I knew it would
take a while so I packed a little bag dinner to take to the lab. I get there right after lunch, it’s 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, can’t get it to work. 8:00, I eat the bag dinner, no. 10:00, midnight, still
can’t get it to work. 2:00, 4:00, I’m getting very frustrated. Finally at 6:00 AM the blue crystals turned to
green, a little smoke comes out, that meant it worked. For a minute, I felt good
and then I looked around the room, the lab. There was nobody there. And, I realized I liked people too much to have this solitary life of a scientist. The heck with chemistry. So, I went to law school,
I became a lawyer. I liked law school well enough. But between your second and third year when you go to law school, you
work in one of these firms. You know, and they check
you out, you check them out for prospective employment. I hated it. I was spending all summer
doing deep, arcane, legal research to help some
wealthy man who could afford this fancy firm’s high
fees, avoid indictment, and I thought he was guilty as sin. I said, what am i doing spending my life doing all this silly
research to do something I didn’t believe in? And, my father hated his job. He was an exterminator. My sister once sent
him a Father’s Day card we all signed saying Dad, we’re the only family
that associates the smell of DDT with love. Because he’d come home from work, smelling of the chemicals. But he hated his work and
Sunday nights at 2:00 AM, we would hear him pacing the floor. We’d hear his steps, you know, because he hated gonna
work Monday morning. And I said, you know, I don’t
care that this law firm’s paying me $400 a week, more
than my family had ever seen, I am not gonna do something
I hate, like my father did. And so, when I graduated from law school, my parents were seated
behind me, like many of you, and in the car on the way home I said, Mom, Dad, I’m not gonna
join that law firm. I’m gonna run for political office, because that’s what I love to do. My parents were shocked. My mother was truly disappointed. You know, they struggled
to send me to college and law school and they
wanted the best for me, they wanted me to make a lot of money, something they never had. But, my heart wasn’t in it. And so, at age of 23, I ran for
the New York State Assembly. I had three opponents
that summer and fall. There was the party machine candidate. There was a neighborhood activist, and then, there was my
mother who was telling all her friends not to vote for me so, I get this dumb idea
of being a politician out of my big, thick head. But that November, I won the election, I’ve been an elected
official now for 34 years and I love my job. So graduates, (audience applauding) This is what I’ve learned in life. I’ve learned there were two tests in life. I call them the Monday Morning Test and the Friday Afternoon Test. When you wake up Monday
morning, do you feel in the pit of your stomach, you want to go to work? When you go home Friday
afternoon to your family, do you say to yourself,
I can’t wait to go home? Those are the two most
important tests you will take, far more important than
any test you’ve taken here, even though I agree with President Martí, those high standards are important. But those are the two
most important tests. And if you can say yes to both of them, God has been good to you, don’t complain. So, to The Class of 2008 QCC, it is my hope, it is my prayer, and indeed, it is my
confidence that you will pass both those tests with flying colors. Congratulations, good luck and Godspeed to this great class QCC 2008! (audience cheering and applauding) – I also see that we were joined, you guys are really important. You have a state senator, US congressman. I see that Congressman Weiner is here. Congressman Weiner, will
you join us at the podium? (audience applauding) – Nice to see you, thank you
very much and congratulations, God has given us a beautiful day for the Class of 2008 today. And, I want to congratulate all of you. I don’t have a gift for the
Class of 2008, except this. I’m not gonna give a long
speech, I just want to say, don’t clap for that. (audience laughing) I just want to say
congratulations, of course to you, the graduates, but to a
couple of other people who deserve tribute. One obviously, is the staff at Queensborough Community College. You, know you are gonna have a moment, for sure, clap for that. You’re gonna have a moment
in the not-too-distant future when you will have won your Nobel Prize or your Academy Award,
or you will be sworn in as secretary of state, and
someone to put a microphone in your face and say tell us about someone who has been helpful in your
formative years in making you the person that you are. And, you’re gonna think for a
moment, you’re gonna realize that one or two or three
of the professors and staff that you’ve had here at
Queensborough are gonna come into your mind and you’re gonna realize that you have been
educated by an Ivy League level class of professors. And frankly, they should be paid like Ivy League level, frankly. But, but you are very lucky. This is a day of accomplishment
for them as well. Of course, your parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters, we come from different
places but we have one common aspiration and that is to leave a family a little bit better than the one we found. Today, your parents, your grandparents, brothers and sisters,
they’re graduating also. And also, let’s remember
to keep in our thoughts and in our prayers and in our mind, the 158,000 American
men and women who fight for us overseas today, may
God bless them and bring them home to us quickly. (audience applauding) But, at the end of the day it’s about you the
graduating class of 2008. You’ve worked hard, some
of you have jobs, two jobs, some of you are raising families,
some of you have come from foreign lands to get here. And, I can’t make bold
predictions except to say this. There will become a
moment soon, well maybe you will be sitting,
waiting for your interview for some fancy job and
you’ll be in a chamber, waiting to go in and you’ll
strike up a conversation with someone else who’s there. And, you’ll say, then where
did you go to college? And they’ll say, I went to
Harvard or Yale or Cornell, and they’ll say to you,
where did you graduate? And, at that point, knowing
what I know about all of you, you’re gonna put back your shoulders, you’re gonna put up your
head and you’re gonna say, I graduated in 2008 from
Queensborough Community College in Queens, New York in the
United States of America. And, I take a back seat to no one. You should, congratulations! Thank you very much for having me. (audience applauding) – And now, somebody who has
already bring brought us a number of gifts, our very,
very dear friend and respected Borough President, Helen Marshall. (audience applauding) – To Dr. Martí, the great
president of this college, please let’s give them a hand. (audience applauding) To the faculty and parents
and most importantly, to the graduates. Despite the tremendous
advances in education, and the genetic improvements
which make this, I truly believe the greatest
generation right here. (audience applauding) Yet, I must carry to you
and perhaps the sad word that you are all doomed
to have more schooling. This time, many of you will
go on to four-year colleges, but even when you finish
there, there’s more schooling. It’s the school of experience. They used to call it the
school of hard knocks, but it doesn’t always live
up to that reputation. Building these days, as a graduate of the school of experience, I’m called upon here and now to welcome the commencement class, the
commencement of a new class, the fantastic Class of 2008. Fantastic! That legendary old baseball
pitcher, Satchel Paige, once counseled his public in these words, “Don’t look back. “Someone might be gaining on you.” I would like to amend
that advice somewhat. Don’t be afraid to look
back, but try to look ahead with the advantage of
your past experience. That rather than to see whether anybody is gaining on you is why man was designed to be able to turn around
and look in any direction. You, your ability to turn
around and look in any direction has been sharpened by your education here at Queensborough Community College. Above all, as you move on, remember that human attribute,
the ability to turn around and look in any direction. Blinders are for horses, not for people. If education has any single goal, it is to encourage
people to know how to ask questions and how to go
about getting the answers. It is not enough to be a listener, a passive member of the audience. It is not enough to look straight ahead, and never look around. Many of you have come to this college, some of you it was a
lot easier than others. Some of you have come with families, with financial situations
that were very trying, with many, many different problems. But, you saw the future. You kept your eye on the star, as my mother trained me to do. I want you to know that I was
delighted to go to college. I knew I had to go to college. But, when I graduated from high school, I had no parents and
I had a younger sister to take care of, so I had to go to work. But I knew that I was gonna go to college. I got married, had two children, and when my daughter was
seven, I went back to college. And I graduated from Queens College. Yes. (audience applauding) And, to understand a little bit more about where you’re going in life, my husband and I both
have college degrees, our son is an engineer
designing satellites, he has a college degree from
the School of Engineering from City College, and our daughter has graduated from college,
and my oldest grandson has graduated from college and my youngest grandson
is a senior in college. That’s your future too,
that’s your future too. My parents too, came they came
from Guyana many years ago, met in America and my grandfather’s house, so I too am a child of immigrants. I never quite felt that way
because I was born in America, but God, I understand it now. And so, for all of you that are here, I wish you well, I know
you’re going to do well. This college education that you’re getting is such a big help. And, I’ve lived now to be assemblywoman. A state assemblywoman, a
member of the City Council and now, as your parole president. The world is yours, the world is yours. All you have to do is
have enough determination to get there, and you’re
certainly taking a giant step in graduating from
Queensborough Community College. Thank you and I wish you
well, keep on rocking! (audience applauding) Can I go out that side? – Well, you have a lot of
important people coming to say hello to you. The next speaker is the
head of, or the chairman of the Finance Committee
of the City Council. He happens to be our council person. But, he’s more than that,
he’s a friend of the college and believe you me, he keeps
Queensborough in the forefront of his mind in every action that he takes. It is an honor to introduce
to you David Weprin. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Dr. Marti, members of the Board of Trustees, fellow distinguished
guests, elected officials, family friends and more importantly, congratulations
Queensborough Class of 2008! (audience cheering and applauding) Today marks the end of
a journey that for many began two years ago, but
tomorrow, begins a new journey that will take you from
this fine institution to a world that needs exceptional talent, which each and every one of you have. Some of you will go on to
four-year institutions, and others will jump into
the real world, running. Many of you have managed
to balance having children and family obligations,
maintaining a full-time job while at the same time,
being full-time students. You are the next generation
of problem solvers who will look at this
city’s pressing issues, with a fresh perspective
and provide the solutions truly needed to move forward. The faculty and staff
and student population here at Queensborough Community
College truly reflects the exuberant diversity of our great city. Members of this great
faculty have left their mark in helping you shape who you are today. It is now your turn to leave
your mark on the world. Do not be discouraged by the news you read or hear about the state
of our current economy as you plan the next step in achieving your own American Dream. You are well-prepared to
tackle the issues facing us, as New Yorkers head on
with great tenacity. I have no doubt that you
will make us all very proud. It is your responsibility
now to take your newfound knowledge and talents and
share it with the rest of us. I leave you with one final thought. The great author TS Eliot once said. “Do not follow where the path may lead. “Go instead where there is
no path and leave a trail. “Only those who will risk
going too far can possibly “find out how far one can truly go.” Thank you, Godspeed and congratulations. (audience applauding) – And now, to bring greetings
from the Board of Trustees of the City University of New
York, I’d like to introduce to you Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Dr. Marti. As I say each year at whichever
commencements I attend, I’m always struck by two things, the personal and that which
I share with all of you. There are many of you
in the graduating class, many of your parents, many
that you’ve heard from today who came from really bleak backgrounds. My parents walked out of the
Nazi death camps of Europe during the Holocaust, President Marti came out of Communist Cuba. So many of us came from a world
that we can’t even imagine our parents lived through
or some of us who actually lived through it ourselves. And to have had the
opportunity to be a first-time college attendee, let
alone a college graduate of any sort, is something that
tugs at me very emotionally every year because frankly,
with the upbringing I had with two poor parents,
in a very rough neighborhood in New York City in the
late 1950s, early 1960s. Without the City University of New York, I really would be nothing today. And, you know, it’s it
strikes you when you think about it because
you’re reminded of it at every commencement. Indeed, this type of experience
is something that also reminds us that the investment, that the city in the state of New York and the City University is critical and must not be compromised. It’s the first time in our generation, that over the course
of the last nine years, the City University, all
of its component colleges have been restored to a greatness not seen in 40 or 50 years. And it’s because of perseverance on the part of its
leadership and there must be public investment because
if we compromise on it now in the tough times that we are in, we will pay for it later. I just want to tell you that, the university provides
you not only with the means to make a living, but the
collected wisdom of the ages. And, that’s why you have
to continue your education because all of this wisdom
that has accumulated over millennia, becomes part
of your life and lets you experience life to the fullest. And while yes, college will
assist you in getting some of those good material things in life, it’s very important to recall
that the material things are not the beginning and the end. And if you forget there’s the story of Ed who was in trouble because
he forgot his anniversary. And so, his wife told him,
you know, tomorrow morning, I expect you to get me
a gift in the driveway that goes zero to 120 in four seconds. And it better be there. Well, Ed got up really early the next day while his wife was asleep. And, when she woke up,
she looked out the window and she saw a small
gift-wrapped box sitting in the middle of the driveway. And she was a little perplexed
and she went outside, she retrieved the box, she opened it up, and there was a bathroom scale. Funeral services for Ed
will be held this Sunday. (audience laughing) As a trustee, one of the great things you
get to do is to recognize the achievements of an
entire graduating class, but as well, to pay special
tribute to some of those who are extra, extra special in terms of their efforts and accomplishment. And so, I’d like to single
out just for a moment, if I may, Xiu Yu He, who is
receiving the President’s Award for achieving the highest
scholastic average and the Colonel John
C. Lackas award today. (audience applauding) Saison Wilson, for demonstrating
outstanding college and community leadership, who is receiving the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award. And, Farah Solomon for
demonstrating exceptional leadership in promoting racial harmony, appreciation of cultural diversity, who is receiving The Martin Luther King Jr. Award. There are many of you in the audience who have had comparable accomplishments. Just remember to keep on learning, it’s never the end it’s
only the beginning. God bless you. (audience applauding) – And now, to bring you
greetings from the Chancellor and the entire Chancellery,
the executive Chancellor, Vice Chancellor Alan Dobrin. (audience applauding) – Thank you. I’m glad to join you for what is always one of the happiest days
of the academic calendar. The Queensborough Community
College Commencement. I bring greetings to Jeff Wiesenfeld, one of our best and
hardest-working trustees, and a man of great courage. This whole city owes him a
debt for having been there for the turnaround of CUNY. I also want to bring my
greetings to Eduardo Marti. Now, the university loves
all the presidents equally, but if pressed to say who’s the best president, I wouldn’t. But I will say he is one
of the two best presidents, and I won’t say who the other one was, so this whole community is really blessed with having Eduardo Marti
for their president. (audience applauding) Most of all, I want to
welcome the Queensboro Community College
Graduating Class of 2008. I know that you put in years
of hard work and sacrifice, all of which required balancing demands of school, work and family. Now that your day has come at last, give yourselves a round of applause. (audience applauding) To the friends and family
members of our graduating class, I commend each and every one of you. You’ve done much to make this day possible for a daughter, a spouse, a best friend, eating dinner by yourself,
picking up the kids from daycare, spending many a
beautiful Saturday afternoon watching somebody else study. But, your self-sacrifice
as helped reduce these graduates of Queensborough
Community College. And, I know they join me in thanking you. (audience applauding) Today’s graduates have also
been it from the contributions of an absolutely stellar
staff at Queensborough. Their expertise and
encouragement of health play a major role and bringing
you to this launching pad. Now, as you take off, they cheer you on with great pride in their hearts. How about showing them how you feel? (audience applauding) Robert Frost wants to
find the good education as the ability to listen to anything without losing your temper. Rather than put The Class
of 2008 to that test, I will be brief. You leave here empowered
by a first-rate education and agree that it is
respected around the goal. Your professors have helped you develop not a fixed set of answers,
but the ability to make intelligent decisions in a world whose one constant is change. It is that spirit I offer you Queensborough Community
College’s class of 2008, my heartiest congratulations. On behalf of the chancellor
and the entire city of New York, I wish you years
filled with the exhilaration of renewal, the satisfactions
of challenges met, and the hope for a very bright future. And, I want to personally
thank you for allowing me the privilege of speaking
to you today, thank you. (audience applauding) – Now, to bring you greetings
on behalf of the faculty. I would like to call to
the podium The Chairman of the Faculty Executive
Committee, Dr. Sheena Gillespie. (audience applauding) – I’d like the faculty
and the students to stand. What we are celebrating today is our partnership in learning. The presence of the
graduates is a reminder to us of how proud and
how fortunate we are to be part of a community
college in the City of New York, and a growing population throughout the country. You are the people who help us each day to remember that we chose a profession for which we have a passion. So, this is my advice. Keep asking questions, especially those that have no answers. Be curious and three choices, choose a profession for
which you have a passion, try to spend your life with someone who’s a friend of your mind, and above all, cherish your children. – Thank you. For the record, I’m a member of the Biology Department,
full professor with tenure. Now, to bring you greetings
from the Academic Senate, Dr. Emily Tai. (audience applauding) – Good morning. I bring you greetings on
behalf of the Academic Senate of Queensborough Community College for which I serve as
Steering Committee Chair. Every one of you has met
someone who participates in the work of the Academic Senate and tried to make your time
here at Queensborough special. Maybe it was a Queensborough
administrator or counselor who helped you overcome
a personal difficulty. Maybe it was a librarian
or tutor, or technician at our library or laboratory,
or learning a writing center who helped you figure out
how to find a reference, finish a problem set,
carry out an experiment or fix your computer when it crashed. Maybe it was a member of
our faculty who mentored you through a research project, recommended you for a
scholarship and helps you master this subject to
earn your degree today. Whoever it was, and for many of you, there may have been more than one person, what we all have in common
is how hard we worked to help you succeed and
how much pleasure we take in sharing this happy day with you. We wish you every success
as you leave Queensborough to take on new challenges. We expect to hear great things about every single one of you. And we hope you will
accept our warmest wishes for many, many happy days ahead. Congratulations! – And now, to bring your greetings from the Student Association
Student Government, let me introduce to you the president of the Student Government, Lais Payano. (audience applauding) – Good morning. Good morning, President
Marti, team faculty and staff, honorary guest. I would like to send my
warmest welcome today on behalf of the Queens
Student Government Board. I want to specially welcome
The Graduating Class of 2008. (audience applauding) Class of 2008, we are here today to commemorate your achievements. I am honored to have been
given the opportunity of speaking to you today as the President of Student Government Association. I must share with you that
serving in student government has been a wonderful experience. Working with and forth with QCC students has been a highlight of
my life at Queensboro. I wanted to add that is so nice how, so weird how, when you come
here for the first time, you feel so lost and
then after two semesters, Queensborough turns out
to be your second home. (audience applauding) I think Queensborough
is a very unique place. It is a starting point where students from all over the world
with different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds
all work side-by-side to make their American dreams come true. I know today, you’re overwhelmed with joy and perhaps have some fears, yet, I would like to urge you to remember that you have achieved a huge milestone in your path to success. You now have momentum,
and all you have to do is continue walking forward. And, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Leave as if you are gonna die tomorrow, “learn as if you were gonna live forever.” Thank you. (audience applauding) – Now today is a commencement, which means that you end
one phase of your life as a student and start another phase of your life as a graduate. There are some of us
here, some of you here, who are also experiencing a commencement. There are some members of
the faculty and the staff and the buildings and grounds crew who, for to them today, is the end
of one phase of their careers and the beginning of another. Those are individuals who are retiring. For those of you for whom
this is the last commencement as an employee of Queensborough
Community College, please rise so we can recognize you. (audience applauding) Thank you, thank you
for all of your service. Thank you for all of your love. Thank you for all of your wisdom. There’s one of us who is retiring who I, one of you who is retiring, this is almost like a Freudian slip there, who is a very special person
and I want to give her a special recognition. That is someone who has been
on every pinning ceremony at every graduation, at
every important event giving of herself in a
completely selfless manner, and that is sister Alice Danaher. Sister, would you come forward, please? (audience applauding) – Thank you. A wise member of Queensborough
Community College once said, find the job that you love
and be passionate about it. For the past 14 years, I’ve
had a job at Queensborough that I have loved. And, I thank all of you for
the honor and the privilege of serving you, and for
bringing so much happiness into my life. My prayer and my wish is
that you too, will find a job that brings joy and
happiness to your life, and just as mine has brought to me. May God bless each and every one of us as we journey on life. Thank you. (audience applauding) – With us on the platform are
many distinguished guests. I’m gonna name them and I’m gonna ask you to hold your applause, if you can, until I have named them all
and then we can give them a collective recognition. Individuals who put up
with me on a daily basis put up with all of my moods. The vice presidents of the college, Vice President Diane Call. Please stand. Dan King. Rosemary Sins, and Ellen Hartigan. Where is she, there. (audience applauding) And for the Dean’s that
put up with the moods of the vice president, Karen Steele, Paul Jean-Pierre, Arthur CaDelhi, Bill Falkner, Lysa Larios, and Denise Ward. And representing the
Queensborough Community College Fund Board of Directors,
are Mr. Norman Bergman, Mr. Steve Levine, Dr. Sandra Delson, and Mrs. Jenna Reese. By the way, for those of
you who do not know about the Fund Board, you will. We have a tithing policy at our college. 10% of whatever you make when you leave has to come back to the college. And it is the fund board of director that manages that money
and distributes that money. Those scholarships that you get, those improvements to
the campus that you see, that’s all the Fund Board. These are individuals
who give of themselves to help us raise funds for the college. And last but not least, the president of the Alumni Association, your association, Ms. Sheryl Levine. (audience applauding) Now, you have been greeted. Let’s talk about the individuals who are the ones who have excelled
and have been recognized by the faculty and by the peers. And then, we’ll end up with the
actual conferral of degrees. So, let me present to
you the people who are receiving college awards. And, as I call their
name, please come forward. The John F. Kennedy Memorial
Award goes to the student demonstrating outstanding
college and community leadership. will Ms. Ann Wilson come forward please? (audience cheering and applauding) The Martin Luther King Jr.
award is presented to a student who has demonstrated
exceptional leadership in promoting racial
harmony and appreciation for cultural diversity. Ms. Farah Solomon, please
come to the podium. (audience applauding) The Thomas R. Jennings Memorial Award goes to an outstanding graduating student in The Liberal Arts and Sciences, Ms. Sandra Clayton, please come forward. (audience applauding) I have to tell you a
little story about Sandra. She came to my office
and she was so excited, so excited, she was in almost in tears, not quite in tears, but
she didn’t ever believe that she was gonna get an award like this, and there she is, one of the winners. (audience applauding) Would Laurie Cameron, please come forward. Ms. Cameron, (audience applauding) is the recipient of the
Associates in Science Achievement Award, this award is given to the graduating student,
achieving the highest scholastic average in the
associate degree program. Ms. Cameron additionally is receiving the Joseph McMurray award that is presented each year at this time to the outstanding students
achieving the second highest overall scholastic average. (audience applauding) By the way, by the way, she is a 4.0. (audience applauding) And now, for the President’s Award. The President’s Award is sponsored by Queensborough Community College Fund is given to the graduating
student achieving the highest scholastic
average in The Class of 2008. This year’s recipient is Ms. Xiu Yu He. Ms. He. (audience applauding) Ms. He say again has a 4.0 average. And the difference is
that she took all of her credits at UCC, whereas with
Cameron had transferred credits from other colleges. So, you’ve got 4.0 at Queensborough. Congratulations. However, she’s also getting the John Lackas Award, by the way, this is a little envelope with
which one of these things, and that is given to
the graduating students with the highest scholastic average in an Applied Science degree. So, she’s getting both
the President’s Award and the Lackas Award. (audience applauding) This is the future. You wanna say something? – Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like
to thank President Marti. It is a great honor to
receive this award from you. Thank you so much. I believe this award
belongs not only to me, I would love to share the honor with more my dedicated professors. Indeed, without the
support and encouragement, I would not have this
opportunity, standing here and speaking to you today. Of course, I also want to
mention my lovely parents. Since day one, they sacrificed
everything for my brother and me in the home that we could be able to achieve our American dreams. For both of us, that the best mom and dad in the entire world. (audience applauding) Thank you. Sisters and brothers of
Queensborough Community College, Today, alas, it is our graduation day. Please, let’s celebrate
together each one of our individual academic achievements. After many semesters of hard
work, we finally did it. I wish you all the best
luck in your future plans. Thank you, God bless you all. (audience applauding) – Ms. He., all that I can say is (speaking in foreign language) – We shall now proceed with the conferring of degrees and certificates. (audience cheering and applauding) The candidates will be
presented by the vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Dan King. Will the audience please
refrain from applauding until degrees for each
group have been conferred and certificates granted. Will candidates for the degree of Associate in Arts, please rise. – President Marti, these candidates have
met all the requirements for their degrees. I am pleased to present them
to you and I respectfully request that you confer
upon them the degree of Associate in Arts. – Upon the recommendation
of the vice president and the Faculty of the
college, and by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Associates in Art with
all the rights, privileges, immunities and honors,
thereto appertaining. The candidates, please come forward. – [Announcer] Antonia Okavor. Ogoma Oroku. Ashish Sharma. Hyundai Ding Mic is, yeah, thank you. Muriel Blanc. Ruth Martin. Marina Money. Cezanne Wilson. Sandra Clayton. Rosemary Delon. Cheryl Finley. Claudia Rosales. Jessica Moy. Take your time. Roman Hernandez. Let him get to… (audience cheering and applauding) (audience cheering and applauding) Sara Alton Bazak. Farah Green. Antonio Vatigleo. Michael Zoovic. Vitaly Zaytsev. Lillian Gagliano. Giselle bin Cosme Tavares. Veronica Gasol. Sharon Wellington. Christine Cordero. Ava Maria Lashley. Emanuele Marques. Erica Maestro. Elisa Oly Veras Tarah Palin. Alethea Ample. Wendelin Cuevas. Maria Diaz. McCauley Baker. Antonio Luna Jr. Anna Maria Mantia. Nalika Blair. Sofia Whitehead. Maurice Anderson. Luis Paula Dinas. Juan Garcia. Leslie Reyes. Geeta Davie. Rolland Santelair. Ayanna Alexander. Yesenia Pena. Catalina Almeida. Rachel Asando. Manuel Ricardo Arisa. Tanya Murray. Shivani Boga. Jennifer Mesa. Diana Arevalo. Diana Ramirez. David Ramirez. Marybel Alkakama. Stephen Vasquez. Beethoven Joseph. David Lewis. Kristin Martinaski. John Joseph Antoine. OK, we’ll slow down. Gabriel Granados. Mark Toda Jr. Michelle Reso. Matthew Bacchus. Harold Stevens. Rocio Hernandez. Piercedo Lopez. Jennifer Whickers. Thank You, Anton Krupa. Latifa Brown. Alexis Collado. Arlette Geronimo. Era Roncia. Viridiana Ramirez. Lauren Murphy. Jennifer Hayward. Jaclyn Rohan. Priya Matthias. Jia Lee. Leila Yong. Kim Nurse. Vanimati Jafar. Laurel Rivera. Sheila L. Planski. Clay Aniki Jiatoss. Charity Bumpers. Denise Dick. Rex Diocese. Anjaw Protofaluces. Michelle Andrade. Charlene Smith. Cheryl Stableman. Stephanie Bod. David Satnarine. O’Brien Franklin. Mark Chapman. Mary Thomas. Sandy Lewis. Elizabeth Ann Bob. Dana Brian. Melissa Slitsteam. Chantelle Vanessa Cottonaqus. Antoinette Floyd Ferguson. Fedra Buldeo. Papa Guy. Veronica Nunez Barrette. Sherry Surma. Leelet Claire Pena. Michael Leto. Jessica Parabolas. Charisse Harrison. Marie Agnes Richard. Breann Tansen. Ana Lopez. Jesse Regal. – [Second Announcer] Selma Kenneth. Sadame Capena. Mandip Cuar. Killin Mahmud. Kumari Gopal. Rosa Marta. Karen Pineda. Stephen Jeter. Tanisha Cole. Amber Pool. Julian Matisse. Amir Jac. Rachel Doso. Vasilis Katticese. Kim Jennifer, Jennifer Kim. Kristen Magic. Antonio Busoni. Carla Canjorah. Melanie Mohan Bearson Marta Escobar. Fatima Korea. Sierra Pong. Lina Recon. Danielle Jenny Martinez. Angela Thurmond. Kyle Hunt. Danielle Cooksemi. Nissanoh Sing. Naomi Benjamin. Liza Wilson. Christopher Califano. Cheryl Harry. Shana Holly. – [Wallace] Will the candidates for the degree of Associate
in Science please rise. (audience cheering and applauding) – [Announcer] We’ll just start. Andrea Suarez. Fara Salamon. All right. – Wait one second. Candidates for the degree of Associate of Science are assembled. President Marti, these candidates have met all the requirements for the degrees. I am pleased to present them to you and I respectfully request
that you confer upon them the degree of Associate in Science. – Thank You, Vice President King. Upon the recommendation
of the vice president, and by the faculty of this College, I am, by the authority vested in me, by the Board of Trustees of
the City University of New York I hereby confer upon you the degree of Associates in Science
with all the rights, privileges, immunities,
honors thereto appertaining. Congratulations. (audience cheering and applauding) – [Announcer] We only
stop them for a moment. Katie Ann Smith. Francoise Bernard. Vladimir Grarian. Charisse Lewis. Nicole Gillings. Christina Diwan. Danielle Sin. Tiffany Melinda. Gary Gibson. Robert Butt. Mural Ortiz. Arun Sharma. Sophia Morgan. Villante Sentell. Xiu U He. Janelle Bailey. Talisha Stewart. Sabina Ballack. Saidu Chaudhary. Chung Parral. Louise Dutch Chinga. Zu Shi Shan. Wig Wulee. Carmen waters. Alicia Howell. Rachel Morgan Jr. Monop Shudi. Elliott Lelene. Carlos Alcantara. Allen Pardo. Agustin Darkwah. Paul Kurodo. Wilmer Ramos. Carlos Jez Carabay. Diego Comgreen. Steadily Fertili. Toshima Letson. Maribel Gonzalez. Skyler Jones. Michael Petrucci. Max Penny Odie. Carolyn Branch. Nage Abolly. Cynthia Natalie Paul. Ayesha Munoir. Josol Veis. Gerald Charm. Sherry Gibbs. Margareth Sharon. Brittany Dickens. Ephot Jihan. Jiu Jon. Erin Pasternak. Michael Pittarnold. Yelena Yiyich. Josena Berlina Miley. Edgar Moore Jr. Charles Murphy. Jennifer Jackson. Philip Weeks. Tracy Wright Sorean. Mi Don Wayne. Tony Ram Sunder. Aubree Blades. Jenelle McCoy. Richard Ranga. Mark San Jose. Sonny Ahmad. Mi Lee Chang. Schiavone Chattergon. Trish Monty Sing. Tomorrow Daily. Shireen Back. Packeran Guna Ratnamma. Jon Hyun Kim. Georgia Beggana. Ong Soo. George Bu Trago. Jing Li. Louis Andreea Baina. Catherine Moravsky. Doris Avila. Gerber Contreras. Ashley Gangaram. Annabella Saavedra. Miriam Rojas. Diana Martinez. Catherine Lovfori. Nicholas Granada. Ricardo Ramirez. Marlon Casino. Carlos Que Paso. Jinba Calles. Juan Nickel. Daniel Chen. Horace Pier. Fatima Flores. Yasin Li. Kai Wang. Shiwei Shang. Geeser Fries. Marie Pierre Pian. Jimmy Ottie. Shameza Albert. Shaising Pierre. Erica Kalpana. Jessica Rodriguez. Alexander Martinez. Scott Lang. Steve Vasquez. Shanna Court. Sintang Hyung. Robert A. Gonzales. Anupri Sundy. Elizabeth Surprian. Maninder Car. Joseph Malano. Emily Hughes. – [Wallace] Will the
candidates for the degree of Associate in Applied Science and for certificates, please rise. – The candidates for the degree of Associate in Applied
Science are assembled, as are the candidates for certificates. President Marti, these candidates have met all the requirements for their degrees. I am pleased to present them
to you and I respectfully request that you confer upon them the degree of Associate in Applied Science and grant their degrees. – Thank you, Dr. King. Upon the recommendation
of the vice president and the Faculty of the College, and by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York,
I hereby confer upon you the degree of associates
in Applied Science with all the rights privileges, immunities and honors,
thereto appertaining. And I also granted the
certificates, congratulations. (audience applauding) – [Announcer] Lori Cameron. Jason Peralta. Chun Owl. Jason Chun. Casenta Montos. Yages Arendelle. Yasmin Junandan. Marcia Reed. Cronulla Pondy. BiBi Muhammad. Sally Rivera. Rosalind Powell. Andy Kumari. Oshmel Wally. Neda Sultan. Chidinma Icoma. Lisa Below. Maria de Silva Alvas. Andrea Goldstein. Mudanka Moustakasoff. Carlos Chiles. Shola Ocola. Arlene Rodriguez. Dilka Rahimi. Ishod Dub. Adam Ditchfield. Yolanda Roger. Ingrid Yamello Estralia. Wei Young. Kross Kazmir. Jonathan Minke. Anil Das. Priscilan Simpson. Merle Charles. Maria Davila. Judith Cruz. Daljeet Kumari. Jay Carlito Gustanas. Felordes Ara. Maria Engonza. Ormanda Casimir. Olyuse Opova. Laura Ostrov. Romani CanDasani. Trina Bascom. Clara Kovacs. Nicholas Hoffneck. Sonia Rodriguez. Murrieta Prasad. Rosa Lopez. Topi Chowdhury. Cassandra Garci. Carla Velasco. Paula Terranova. Angela Yuseshi. Ishiwo Iyafor. Dane Walton. Lee Green. Ting Yee. Sean James. Daniel Callahan. She Wai Wang. Ghi Zhang. Ida Yaharry Casillas. Renall Pierre Charles. Nadira Prasad. Mario Ramon. Jose Ramirez. – [Second Announcer] Okuu Okoko. Kevin Johnson. Devon Robertson. Brian Mallahan. Sabrina Moore. Christopher Butera. Martha Medina. Joseph Rivera. Matthew Idalla. Marcia Rodriguez. Jackson Rhea Barrera. Elizabeth Castera. Shatara Johnson. Jameel D’amour. Amrita Bharat. Katherine Baldwin. Narnia Cooper. Young G. Co. Darce Patricia Acero. Rodge Core. Lorena McIntyre. Rafion Alli. Michelle Poonet. Anita Flores. Ahwudu Shyboo. Isabelle Moronsee. Angela Foster. Paulina Boateng. Florrie Scarit. Jonathan Thomas. Enearshut Lewis. Emil Lezama, Muhammad Cunnota. Alexander Flores. Jesse Pina. Llena Hernandez. Virendra Buncee. Fabian Garcia. Jason Ventura. Shawn Barcoo. Marlon Headley. Paolo Saavedra. Alberto Garcia. Claudia Darling. Peter Thomas. Chin Say. Charred Telemark. Hannah Eddie. Christina Catalano. Dongji New Dragos. Brenda Marine. Deborah Robinson. Jim Quat Par. Eshang Zhou Felicia Column. Star Jefferson. Cruz Velasquez. Jonathan Ejogu. David Pierce Jr. Carol Macintosh. Claire Numa. Edward Bermudes Alice Leverah. Michael Bogco. Marcie Solano. Valentino Cyril. Tasha Israel. Kevin Frazier. Bin Saud Bach. Robin Baldail. Rick Carvel. Diana Tanjerefer. Roxanne Peevdao. Angela Cojiang. Jesus Cassia. Maritsa Bermudez. Penny Donorto Artie Toby. Marie Nancy Alcindor. Luis Mendez. Diana Panna Chiegoalie, wow. Aliyah Jenkins. Vanessa Dominguez. Kimberly Nyjah Lacy Marshall. Kimberly Almenios. Iris Lamberty. Susanna Fiallos. Aida Plazas. Jerome Clement. Pierre Caesar. Nathaniel Cloudant. Margaery Quertoss. Brent Hanes. Jammyik Hardin. Carol Martin Harewood. Gary Metsdorft. David Augusto. Matthew Trumpfeller. Ignacio Reba. Ingrid Quailo. Sharell Wilson. Heather Burnett. Mary How. Diana Dolan. Joshua Rosenberg. Carmen CaDavid. Nicholas Moroni. Stacy Frittato. Sheila Máximo. Patrick Rheys. Alexander Paul. Ann Walker. Catherine Quinn. Mary Ellen Muller. Hia Dar. Laurie Miller. Angela Sing. Farzana Arezoi. Shauna Gravesunda. Diana Meudumba. Myra Upongo. Christina Velasco. Vidyawotty Pursut Gobin Angela Monteleone. Linda Navarro. (audience applauding) – Well, will The Class of 2008 please rise. (audience cheering and applauding) In recognition of the
confirming of the degree, please move your tassels on your cap from the right to the left. (audience cheering and applauding) You may sit down. Now, will the following
students please join me at the podium. Marie Pierre Pion. Yelena Elijah. Geta Devie, Emily Hughes. Joseph Mamano. Jing Li. Jie Wai Chang. And Elizabeth Cipriani. Now, Class of 2008, for the last lesson that I am privileged of providing for you, please remember that the
horizon is not a limit but it’s an invitation. Pursue your dreams with
the sense of responsibility that comes from the understanding
that every choice you make affects the rest of us. And, as you move forward
in your accomplishments, be sensitive to the needs of others. Balance the taking with the giving, be fair in your pursuit of happiness. And as the Spanish poet
Antonio Masa Machalo said in his poem (speaking in foreign language) Traveler, there is no road, roads are made as you walk. And in Haitian. (speaking in foreign language) (speaking in foreign language) In Hindi. (speaking in foreign language) In Gaelic. (speaking in foreign language) In Italian. (speaking in foreign language) Gracias. In Mandarin. (speaking in foreign language) In Cantonese. (speaking in foreign language) I think these students
represent the diversity of this campus. Think about this, look at
what you have right here in this audience and
look at you have in the, this is the new America,
this is the future. You are the future of this country. (audience applauding) Now, the Class of 2008
will sing the alma mater led by Damien Sneed, instructor of the Department of Music. And, the alma mater is found
in your program, somewhere. On page two, thank you. Let’s all sing it, loudly and proudly. ♪ Where a Queen our alma mater ♪ ♪ Overlooks the Sound ♪ ♪ Queensborough Queensborough ♪ ♪ We will always sing your praise ♪ ♪ Come what may of joy or sorrow ♪ ♪ We’ll remember college days ♪ ♪ Born of city state and borough ♪ ♪ Proud to serve their need ♪ ♪ Building toward a bright tomorrow ♪ ♪ For every race and creed ♪ ♪ Queeensborough Queensborough ♪ ♪ We will always sing your praises ♪ ♪ Come what may of joy or sorrow ♪ ♪ We’ll remember college days ♪ (audience applauding) – Thank you, thank you. Please remain standing
for the recessional. Please remain places until the recessional has been completed. All graduates and guests
and members of the family are invited to a reception
following the ceremony in the back of the field. And graduates, please look for the faculty that is gathered next to your departments, so you can say your respective goodbyes. Thank you so very much
for being here today. Thank you for what you’re going to do for us and remember,
you are the future. (audience applauding) (orchestral music)

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