500 Degrees Awarded At 38th Commencement For New York School of Career and Applied Studies At Touro College

Date: July 05, 2012
Media Contact:

Gabe Kahn
212-463-0400 x5404

Justice Troy Webber Delivers Commencement Address.

New York, N.Y. – July 5, 2012 –The Touro College New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) awarded 318 baccalaureate and 182 associate degrees at its 38th commencement exercises at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.

NYSCAS provides educational access to a broad spectrum of students in the neighborhoods of New York. The school offers associate’s and baccalaureate’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences, with the largest concentration of students in human services, business, computing, elementary education and a certificate in digital media arts.

Justice Troy K. Webber, a member of the Bronx Supreme Court, delivered the commencement address and noted that following the celebrations of the day, many of the graduates would be returning to work and some would have to make important decisions, such as whether to continue in their current professions or whether to further their education. However, she urged the spirited crowd to savor the moment.

“Take the time to realize that you are now part of a very special group: You are now a college graduate,” said Justice Webber, who is also a member of the Touro faculty, to a long, raucous applause.

She told the graduates that even though there aren’t a wealth of good jobs available, that doesn’t mean they should stop looking for one.

“Try to find a job—no, a career—that you love, something that you feel passionate about, and go for it,” she said. Justice Webber received a special plaque honoring her for the work at the New York State Supreme Court and at Touro.

Eva Spinelli, vice president and executive administrative dean of NYSCAS, presided over the graduation. Stanley Boylan, the vice president and dean of faculties of Touro College, conferred the degrees and introduced Justice Webber and remarked that the achievements of NYSCAS graduates reflect the original goals of Touro.

“Those graduating tonight represent the mission of Touro College, where individuals have come together—members of diverse communities—dedicated to making a better society for themselves, for their families and for the greater good of all New Yorkers and the total society.”

The valedictory address was given by Michael J. Zacharias, who resides in Astoria, Queens, and will be attending the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center next year. Nataliie Polataiko, originally from the Ukraine and now living in Corona, Queens, gave the salutatory address. Polataiko earned her associates degree and will be is continuing her studies at Touro College for her BA. Both students received the Lester Eckman prize named after the esteemed faculty member from the history department.

Additionally, the Lilka and Tuvia Bielski Award for a student who has graduated despite particularly difficult circumstances, was presented to baccalaureate candidate Lucettys Garces. Garces, who was born in Ecuador and is now a U.S. citizen living in Brooklyn, has been working with students in special education at an elementary school and was accompanied to the podium to accept her award with her grandson, Brandon. Garces has said that Brandon was the primary motivation for all her hard work to earn her degree.

As is traditional at NYSCAS graduations, three songs were performed at the ceremony: The Star-Spangled Banner, sung by Lyudmila Fesenko; La Borinqueña, sung by Angel Feliciano; and Lift Every Voice and Sing, sung by Crystal Spivey. All were accompanied on the piano by Professor Vladimir Spitzberg, an instructor from the digital media arts program.

This was the second of two commencement exercises for NYSCAS. This ceremony included four of the ten NYSCAS locations, and the other ceremony, held at Brooklyn College on June 4th, included the other six sites.