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Trailblazers in Sports, Science, and Education to be Honored at QC Commencement


Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

(718) 997-5597

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593



--1976 Olympic Silver Medalist and QC Alum Gail Marquis to Address Graduates--

WHAT:   The 84th Commencement of Queens College of the City University of New York
WHO: Over 2,000 degree candidates expected to attend. Over 4,200 have been invited from the classes of September 2007, February and May 2008, and prospective September 2008 graduates. Total audience, including graduates, will number more than 10,000.
DATE:  Thursday, May 29, 2008, rain or shine
TIME:     9 am
PLACE:  Campus Quad, Queens College
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York

Media sign-in tent will be to the right of the stage. Media seats will be clearly marked in the front, facing the stage. Media parking is available: Please bring press ID. You must arrive at the main security gate on Kissena Boulevard before 8:30 am to receive on-campus parking.

Gail Marquis, a pioneering female athlete and Queens College alumna who earned a silver medal in women’s basketball competing in the sport’s 1976 Olympic debut, will address the graduates. Currently a financial executive, she has played for the New York Stars and New Jersey Gems, both Women’s Basketball League teams. Marquis was a member of the historic Lady Knights team which in 1975 became the first Queens College women’s basketball team to compete in a national tournament and play in Madison Square Garden. It ranked among the top 10 teams nationwide from 1972-1978 and finished second in the country in 1973.

Adam Heller will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science for his groundbreaking work in the field of chemical engineering. He is the world’s leading authority on chemically modified enzymes and the chemistry of electronic materials. Heller earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem before moving to Queens in the late 1960s, where he taught graduate courses in physical chemistry at Queens College.

At Bell Laboratories, his work laid the foundation for the high-density chip interconnection technology used in mobile phones. Heller later developed miniature subcutaneous biosensor devices that are used to screen patients for a variety of diseases. He also invented a unique method for measuring glucose in blood samples, which led him to co-found TheraSense, Inc., now Abbott Diabetes Care. His method for real-time glucose monitoring is now used in a device that monitors glucose levels in blood samples so small they can be obtained painlessly from people with diabetes. 

Russell T. and Alice Artzt will be presented with Queens College President’s Medals in recognition of their service to their community and their alma mater. The President’s Medal is awarded to those who exemplify the college’s motto Discimus ut serviamus (We learn so that we may serve). Russell is co-founder of Computer Associates (now CA). Alice, of the QC Secondary Education and Youth Services Department, founded an innovative math education program TIME 2000 to encourage careers in teaching. The couple met as students at Queens College. As Vice Chairman of CA, Russell now provides counsel in the areas of strategic partnerships, product development leadership, community and public affairs, board relations, and corporate strategy. Alice is the author and co-author of over 50 professional publications. Among her many honors, she is the recipient of the Queens College President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Goudreau Award for Educational Leadership.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, and Council Member David Weprin will bring greetings to the graduates.
 The student commencement speaker is Lauren Talerman, an Orthodox Jewish female who spent a summer studying Arabic in Egypt under the David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship. The scholarship awards up to $20,000 for study in a “region of the world crucial to U.S. interests” in exchange for a year’s service in the federal government. As a Macaulay Honors College student at QC, Talerman displayed a keen interest in international affairs (particularly the Middle East), and a career goal in foreign policy. She speaks fluent Hebrew and Spanish (her father is from Colombia) and majored in political science and anthropology. In addition to her regular course work at the college, where she maintained a 3.9 GPA, she was executive editor of the Knight News student newspaper; co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Studies; and served on the President’s Strategic Planning Council. Originally from Brooklyn, she now resides in Flushing.

Other Highlighted Graduates:

Joseph Hirsh, a Macaulay Honors College student at QC, graduated summa cum laude in February 2008. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, which will provide $121,500 over three years to support his graduate studies. Hirsh turned down UC Berkeley for admission to the doctoral math program this fall at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, where he will continue work that he began as an undergraduate. He is also the recipient of the Molly Weinstein Memorial Award, presented annually by the QC Foundation to graduating seniors with a distinguished record of scholarship who intend to pursue a career in college teaching. Hirsh, a Manhattan resident, grew up in Brooklyn and on Long Island. He has been invited by Professors Kefeng Liu (UCLA) and Shing Tung Yau (Harvard) to visit the Center for Mathematical Sciences at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China to study differential geometry and physics.

Christine C. M. Rosenthal and son Matthew T. Rosenthal will both earn bachelor’s degrees on May 29. Christine completed her degree while attending classes entirely at night and on weekends, while Matthew attended during the day. She first attended QC when Matthew was an infant and returned to complete her degree when he began his undergraduate studies. A single mother, she says her son’s enthusiasm and support for her studies are the main reasons she returned to school, “He is so proud of me, so happy.” Matthew will attend St. John’s Law School in the fall and Christine, currently a legal assistant, is moving into fiduciary accounting at her firm. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in taxation at Baruch. Both reside in Ridgewood. Celebrating with Christine and Matthew at Commencement will be Christine’s sister, and Matthew’s father, step-mother, and 2 year-old half-sister who will wear a QC T-shirt for the occasion.

Jacqueline Aiello, a resident of Glen Cove graduating with a Master of Science in Education, returns to her birthplace of Italy this fall as the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship—only 15 out of 110 applicants were selected. Aiello, who came to the United States at the age of nine, will work as a cultural and linguistic resource teacher assisting Italian-speaking students with learning English. She is graduating with a 4.0 GPA and plans to continue taking classes while in Italy as she pursues research on the American presence in Naples following World War II.

Rebecca Speziale, of Cedarhurst, L.I., earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in February 2008 despite her on-going battle with scleroderma, a progressive and sometimes fatal autoimmune disease that affects over 300,000 Americans. Speziale’s skin, joints and connective tissue are affected, interfering with even simple physical tasks such as opening a water bottle. Of her struggle to complete her degree she says, “I refused to let my disease rob me of my dream of being a teacher.” Speziale maintained a 3.9 GPA and served as president of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society. Now an advocate for those who suffer from scleroderma, she believes that, “if you have persistence, fortitude, optimism and a good sense of humor, you can get through the challenges of life – and it will be a good life for as long as you’re on this earth.”

A posthumous bachelor’s degree was awarded in a ceremony May 9 to 28 year-old history major Richard Lee Jones who lost a two-year battle with cancer in the fall of 2003. Jones’ three younger siblings, who are receiving bachelor’s degrees this year, have said they are honoring his memory by pursuing their education.

The entire commencement ceremony will be webcast live at .

Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 115 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. The 2008 Kaplan Newsweek How to Get Into College guide lists QC among America’s 25 “hottest” and “most interesting” schools. And once again, the Princeton Review features the school in its 2008 edition of America’s Best Value Colleges. Queens College’s more than 18,000 students come from 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.



 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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