530 Touro College Students in the New York School of Career and Applied Studies Celebrate the 35th Annual Commencement from Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall

Date: June 22, 2009
Pictured left to right: Dean Leon Perkal, associate dean of students, Jamal Joseph and Dean Stanley Boylan. (Photo Credit: Island Photography, Inc.)
Pictured left to right: Dean Leon Perkal, associate dean of students, Jamal Joseph and Dean Stanley Boylan. (Photo Credit: Island Photography, Inc.)
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Jamal Joseph, Academy Award Nominee, Professor and Chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division, Delivered Commencement Address.

New York, N.Y. - Touro College students in the New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) received bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and certificates at a commencement ceremony on Monday, June 15th at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Dr. Stanley Boylan, vice president and dean of faculties, presided over the conferring of degrees upon 530 students.

The commencement address was delivered by Touro College’s former Director of Student Activities, Jamal Joseph, who is a former civil rights activist and current professor and chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division. Professor Joseph was also nominated for a 2008 Academy Award in the Best Song category for his contributions to the song “Raise it Up” in the film August Rush.

“I see a beautiful sea of faces in here and I’m inspired,” Professor Joseph told the proud and enthusiastic crowd. “A lot of amazing performances have taken place on this stage, but the stars have never shined as bright as they are tonight.”

“This is truly a homecoming for me, as I spent more than seven years at Touro,” he said, reminding students that, “Education, mutual respect, and staying positive are your greatest weapons. Even though the economy is uncertain, the power of your education will never be denied.”

Dean Boylan addressed the graduates, their families and friends, by telling how Touro was founded by Dr. Bernard Lander in 1971 with 35 students, and how it has grown to more than 17,000 students with an international presence.

“Touro has colleges all over the world, each with the same mission, which is that education can change society and empower each one of us to take on the world,” Dr. Boylan said. “NYSCAS students represent this thinking.”

The valedictorian, Malgorzata Scavone, received a bachelor’s degree in computer science. A native of Poland, she moved to the United States in 2003 with two college degrees in archeology, and spoke very little English.

“When I came here I struggled with the language, but I knew that any challenge could be overcome with education,” said Ms. Scavone. “This is the beginning of a new world for all of us today. This experience has been so very rewarding, and our education at Touro College will pave the way for the future.”

The salutatorian, Jenine Bandle, received an associate’s degree in science. Originally from South Africa, Ms. Bandle moved to the U.S. when she was 19 years old.

“I learned so much at Touro. I learned empathy and to appreciate others. Touro taught me to think, to ask questions, and I learned about leaders like [former U.S. Supreme Court Justice] Thurgood Marshall, who fought for equality,” said Ms. Bandle. “My experience at Touro contributed greatly to my emotional and intellectual growth.”

A “special recognition” award was given to James Millner, who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education and psychology. Mr. Millner returned to college after 35 years to complete his degree. The Brooklyn native raised two children, and after the loss of his parents, he took care of his two disabled siblings. He was hailed as a student leader, and was also one of 26 recipients of the “Service Award” during the ceremony.

Along with Dr. Boylan, the academic procession was comprised of: Philip Dean Parker, assistant professor of sociology; Timothy Taylor, associate dean of students; Eva Spinelli-Sexter, vice president and executive administrative dean; Leon Perkal, associate dean of faculties; Carol Beckford, chair of psychology; Hal Wicke, deputy chair of speech and communication; and Charles Mason, instructor of business. With 11 sites throughout New York City, NYSCAS offers a wide range of career-oriented college programs in business management and administration; computer science, including desktop and Web publishing; human services; education, including special education; courses in English as a Second Language (ESL); and a variety of certificate programs to help secure professional advancement.