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Congressman Weiner to Speak at Commencement
Contact: Maria Terrone
Director of Communications
(718) 997-5591
Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5590

 

COMMENCEMENT ADVISORY FOR: 9 AM, Thursday, June 3, 2004

QUEENS COLLEGE TO AWARD NEARLY 4,000 DEGREES AT COMMENCEMENT

-- Congressman Anthony Weiner To Deliver Commencement Address;
Borough President Helen Marshall To Bring Greetings to Audience of 10,000;
Jazz Great Jimmy Heath Will Receive Honorary Degree --

WHAT: The 80th Commencement of Queens College (CUNY)
DATE: Thursday, June 3, 2004
TIME: 9 am
PLACE: Campus Quad, Queens College
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York
(LIE Exit 24 from points west; LIE Exit 23 from points east)


The Honorable Anthony Weiner (9th Congressional District)
will deliver the commencement address. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall will bring greetings to the graduates. President James Muyskens will deliver remarks and award nearly 4,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Approximately 2,300 degree candidates (1,400 undergraduate and 900 graduate students) have been invited to the ceremony, along with 1,700 who earned their degrees last fall or February. The total audience is expected to number 10,000. The student commencement speaker is Joshua Frankel. Commencement will be Webcast online, enabling students’ relatives from around the world to watch the entire ceremony live—an advantage post 9/11, with international visits to the U.S. now increasingly difficult. (Students from more than 140 nations come to Queens College, one of the nation’s most diverse colleges.)


An Honorary Doctor of Music degree will be awarded to Jimmy Heath.

Jazz legend Jimmy Heath is a renowned saxophonist, composer and arranger who has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years. He has written more than 130 compositions, performed on more than 120 albums and received scores of awards and honors, including a 2001 tribute by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Until recently, Heath was a professor of music at the college's Aaron Copland School of Music. A medley of his compositions will be played by faculty members Michael Mossman (trumpet) and Antonio Hart (alto saxophone).

An Honorary Doctor of Science degree will be awarded to Dr. Jeffrey H. Kordower.

Dr. Jeffrey H. Kordower, the Jean Schweppe-Armour Professor of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, is a pioneering researcher in the field of gene therapy and experimental therapeutic strategies for Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. He is a 1980 alumnus of Queens College.

The student commencement speaker is Joshua Frankel. A resident of Jamaica, Frankel graduates with a GPA of 3.988 and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Frankel, who majored in economics and minored in math, grew up in a strict Jewish orthodox home. At age 14 his life changed dramatically when his parents divorced. Following his father who moved upstate to attend medical school, Frankel was exposed for the first time to a mix of cultures, ethnicities and ideas. At Queens College—whose diversity held special appeal—Frankel was a Presidential Achiever, held a Mitsui International Business Scholarship and interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Salomon Smith Barney. He also worked at the UJA Federation, helping to raise over $1 million and increase revenue by 25% in two years. Frankel is an active member of Hillel, has traveled twice to Israel, and begins New York University Law School this fall.

Other Outstanding Graduates:

Izeta Pobric, who graduates with a BA in psychology, received the UNICEF Teacher of the Year award from the Children’s Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994. She earned it. When schools closed in war-torn Sarajevo, this experienced teacher organized her own school “deep in the basement” of an abandoned apartment building that lacked heat, electricity, and water. When she narrowly escaped a sniper’s bullet, her family left everything behind and immigrated to Queens. Pobric began to study English while working as a messenger. Through the Queens College ACE program for students over age 25, she attended classes at night and over weekends for the next five and a half years. She majored in psychology, Pobric says, because “I wanted to discover what’s going on in people’s minds. Why aren’t people turning to education instead of violence?” Pobric, a resident of Bayside, plans to return to teaching. “My parents always said, ‘Please just educate yourself and give something back.’”


Mozelle Ductan
, 29, a former high school and college dropout, lost her only parent at age 17 and took charge of supporting her 10-year-old brother (now a college student) as a nurse's aide. Ductan, who graduates magna cum laude with a master's in Urban Affairs, works full time for 1199 SEIU, New York's health care union. The union, known for its grassroots organizing, had noticed Ductan's tremendous success signing up members for its Political Action Fund and put her on staff to coordinate political education. A single mother, Ductan is immersed in voter registration, the statewide campaign to increase the minimum wage, organizing town hall meetings against proposed cuts to hospitals and senior centers, and co-chairing the Brooklyn chapter of the Working Families party. A resident of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Ductan says, "My current and past experience and my son's future are closely tied to labor and urban issues. Many problems of our society need political answers." Her ultimate goal is to be a lawyer.


Future M.D. Elijah Kim of Bushwick, Brooklyn, is the son of Korean immigrants--a Protestant minister and nurse--who moved to Bushwick to establish a ministry. Growing up, he experienced racial harassment and lost friends to crime and drugs, but graduated with honors from Stuyvesant High School. The recipient of a full scholarship to Queens College, Kim served as president of the Biology Honor Society and Future Healers of America. He also interned at Harlem Hospital and was editor-in-chief of The Nucleus, a journal of undergraduate scientific research that had been dormant for years, and was president of the Korean Christian Fellowship. “Queens College offers so many different perspectives,” he says, “that your heart becomes more open and you come to understand more about the world.” Kim, who originally wished simply to provide health care, has changed his goal. Accepted to several medical schools, he wants a career in international or urban public health and, through medicine, to contribute to “social justice, racial reconciliation and opportunities for equal health care for all." Kim receives a BA in biology cum laude.

Ingrid Alexander, 26, has had several lives. On 9/11, she was on board a U.S. Navy ship as a computer specialist bound for St. Thomas when command received word of the terrorist attack. The boat returned home, and then left for Afghanistan, where Alexander served under Operation Enduring Freedom. The orphaned child of immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago, Alexander continually seeks new challenges. As a graduate of the selective Fashion Industries High School, she once considered a fashion design career, but was inspired by her AP class in American Government. She enlisted in the Navy, quickly moved up the ranks, but wanting a career change, didn’t reenlist. A resident of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where she grew up, Alexander flourished at Queens College, and is graduating with a BA in political science and government. In college Alexander held an internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Last year she represented Queens College as head delegate to the National Model United Nations. Alexander enters the New York City Teaching Fellows Program this summer and expects to be teaching math by fall. “I’m going to try to help other children of immigrants,” she says.


 
 

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