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Commencement Advisory
Contact: Maria Matteo Maria Terrone
  (718) 997-5590 (718) 997-5591



-- Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer to Bring Greetings;
President James Muyskens to Deliver Commencement Address to Audience of 10,000 --

WHAT: The 79th Commencement of Queens College (CUNY)
DATE: Thursday, May 29, 2003
TIME: 9 a.m.
PLACE: Campus Quad, Queens College,
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York, (LIE Exit 24)

President James Muyskens, who assumed the presidency of Queens College last July, will deliver the commencement address and award more than 3,500 bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Approximately 2,000 degree candidates (1,300 undergraduates and 700 graduate students) are expected to attend the ceremony. The total audience will number 10,000.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall are among the officials who will greet the graduates. CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein will also be present to congratulate the graduating class.

An honorary doctor of humane letters degree will be awarded to Queens College alumnus Robert Boyers ('63) for his work as a writer, editor, administrator and teacher. Editor-in-chief of the renowned literary journal Salmagundi since the age of 23, Boyers holds an endowed chair as Tisch Professor of Arts and Letters at Skidmore College. He is the author of seven books, including Atrocity and Amnesia, a New York Times "notable book of the year."

The student commencement speaker will be Graziela Ionescu, a native of Romania, who graduates with a perfect 4.0 index, membership in Phi Beta Kappa, history department awards and a scholarship to attend Yale University's PhD program in Ancient History. She came alone to the U.S. in 1998 following her high school graduation and immediately enrolled at LaGuardia Community College. After transferring to Queens College, she discovered her passion for Latin, the classics, and ancient Roman history. “No other place could have helped me further my interests as Queens College did,” she says. “It had the ideal environment, resources, and professors who became mentors to me."

Other Outstanding Graduates include Ionescu's fiancé, Vasili Byros. The son of Greek immigrants, Vasili also will attend Yale, having been accepted into its PhD program in music. He graduates from the Aaron Copland School of Music with an MA in Music and a 4.0 GPA. He hopes some day to teach at a university. Like characters in a New York fairy tale, Graziela and Vasili met in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn that Vasili was managing for his Greek father. Two days after commencement they will wed; Graziela's mother and Vasili's Greek relatives will be flying in for the Queens wedding and reception. The couple currently live in East Elmhurst.

Tamara Blain obtained her B.S. in biochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook and is graduating from Queens College with a second B.S. in computer science. From here she leaves for UC- Berkeley’s PhD program in electrical engineering and a job at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Drawing on her biochemistry training, she hopes to learn how to apply embedded systems (computer-embedded microchips) to neuroprosthetics and robotics, “to help people with disabilities interact more with the environment.” The daughter of Haitians who both left to teach math and biology in the Congo, Tamara was awarded an Alliance for Minority Participation scholarship. She has also received a Renate Chasman scholarship from Brookhaven Women in Science, which is designated for women returning to school.

Joao Albino Winkelmannn, an executive supervising all international branches of Banco Bradesco, the largest private bank in Latin America, graduates with a BA in economics. He will come to Queens from Sao Paulo to receive the degree. A native and current resident of Brazil, Joao has worked for the bank since being hired as a clerk in 1982, but had to drop out of college in Brazil because of travel demands. After a job transfer to New York, he enrolled in 1998 in the Queens College Adult Collegiate Education (ACE) program for students over age 25. “It was perfect,” he says. “I was able to attend classes on nights and Saturday and Sunday. I found the economics classes to be very strong and loved the chance to see, talk, study and interact with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds at Queens College. This is priceless.”

Aya Sayetta, 85, a Forest Hills resident, was too shy to attend her high school graduation in Brooklyn. But she doesn’t plan to miss the chance to receive her college diploma at the college’s ACE graduation on May 22. Since 1978 she had taken one art class a semester, and then entered the ACE program, telling herself, “If I don’t go for credit I’m not going to take it seriously.” When she graduates, she will have completed a degree in interdisciplinary studies. “You may feel a little awkward to do some things,” she says, “but if your brain is OK, why shouldn’t you do them?” Her one-woman art exhibition, “To Remember,” is now on display at the college.

Taruna Sadhoo, a native of Guyana, wants to spend her career improving education for women and poor people here and abroad. The Flushing resident, who will receive a BA in psychology, has received a Steppingstone Fellowship to work in Boston the next two years, helping underprivileged elementary students prepare for admission to competitive high schools. She has worked in Ethiopia, developing education programs for nomads through Save the Children and has tutored children in China. She entered Queens College through the state’s SEEK program, which provides financial aid, small classes, and special academic support for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Taruna is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and was chosen for the 100 Black Women Role Model Program. Her key to success: “Don’t just sit back and let opportunities pass you by.”


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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