Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer will deliver the keynote address at the Borough Manhattan Community College’s 42nd Commencement Exercises on Friday, June 1. Students and their families, faculty, and administrators will convene at 11:30 a.m. in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. BMCC President Antonio Pérez will preside over the ceremony, as 2,000 graduates will receive their diplomas.
Scott M. Stringer was sworn in as Manhattan’s 26th Borough President in January of 2006 after serving 12 years in the New York Assembly, where The New York Times credited him as having “a sterling reputation.”
Shirley Fiterman, Recipient of Highest College Honor, the Presidential Medal
Shirley Fiterman, whose foundation recently gave BMCC $5 million, the largest gift in the school’s history, will receive the presidential medal during the ceremony. It is the College’s highest honor, given to individuals with outstanding service to the community. The Fiterman family has a longstanding association with BMCC; in 1993, Shirley and her late husband, Miles, donated Fiterman Hall to the College. The 15-story building, which housed BMCC’s virtual library, business and computer programs, and 40 “smart” classrooms, was destroyed when 7 World Trade Center collapsed on it in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
President Pérez says Class of 2007 is an Inspiration
BMCC’s President Antonio Pérez said that the 2007 graduating class will serve as an inspiration to students from a wide variety of backgrounds: “BMCC takes great pride in providing educational opportunities to students with extraordinary potential who frequently have faced substantial obstacles to their academic careers. Not only has the class of 2007 proven their abilities to themselves, but they also demonstrate to their fellow students that academic success is within their reach.”
Valedictorian Moni Woweries is a Member of Phi Theta Kappa
Moni Woweries will be honored as the graduating class’s valedictorian for receiving a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Woweries grew up in Germany and moved to the United States as an exchange student in 1998. After graduating from high school, she attended a musical theater conservatory in New York City. She worked at an entertainment law firm for a year, before deciding to earn her degree at BMCC and start her life as a newly wed in 2006. Besides her academic success, Woweries is also a volunteer and a human and animal rights advocate; she has volunteered for PETA, taught German to pre-kindergarten students at the U.N. International School, is a tutor at the BMCC Learning Center, and is an active volunteer for Amnesty International.
As a BMCC Liberal Arts major, Woweries was selected as one of 15 Salzburg Seminar scholars, is a member of the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa, founded BMCC’s Campus Animal Rights Educators (CARE) and was a copy editor, news contributor and photographer for the College student newspaper.
Willie Richards a Blind Early Education Graduate, Will be Joined on Stage with His Guide Dog Victoria
Joining the students as they receive their degrees will be Victoria, a guide dog for Willie Richards, an early education graduate who is blind. Dressed in a cap and gown, Victoria will join Richards on stage and will also receive a special diploma for her hard work. “She deserves it,” said Richards. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her.”
Richards recently received a 2007 Vanguard Award from the Center for Innovation in Career Development at the University of Albany, for pursuing a degree in early childhood education. The statewide award is given to those who pursue non-traditional careers for their gender. Richards believes that it is important for children to have positive male role models, and that, as a blind person, he is also able to teach children about disabilities and diversity.