NEW YORK, June 3, 2005 – The City College of New York (CCNY) today conferred honorary degrees on fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and prominent attorney Joseph H. Flom, Class of 1948, at its 159th Commencement Exercises.
In addition, the City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service was presented to Dr. Lucy Cabrera, president and chief executive of the Food Bank for New York City, at the ceremony at CCNY’s Herman Goldman Center.
Dr. Gregory H. Williams, CCNY’s 11th President and an award-winning author, delivered the commencement address to the Class of 2005. General
Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, The City University of
New York (CUNY), and Lauren Fasano, an ex officio voting member of the
CUNY Board of Trustees, offered greetings.
This year’s graduating class included approximately 2,500students,
of whom approximately 1,500 were candidates for bachelor’s
The Class of 2005 Valedictorian was Amie N. Dave, the daughter of Indian immigrants, who was born in the Bronx and now resides in Queens.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from
the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and graduate with a 4.0
GPA. Ms. Dave will enroll at the New York University School of
Medicine, where she plans to concentrate on pediatric medicine.
Ms. Dave received several awards during her five years in the SophieDavisSchool:
the Peter Vallone Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence
(2000-2005); the Department of Design and Construction Merit
Scholarship (2000), and a Fellowship from the Society for Pediatric
Research & American Pediatric Society (2004). In addition, she made
the Dean’s List every semester since 2001.
The Class of 2005 co-Salutatorians were Lev Sviridov and Erja Vettenranta. Mr. Sviridov, a Chemistry major, is the first CityCollege
graduate to receive a Rhodes Scholarship since 1939. Ms. Vettenranta,
an outstanding scholar-athlete, completed her studies as a double major
in English and Spanish with a 4.0 GPA last February.
The following are brief bios of the speaker and honorees at CCNY’s 159th Commencement:
Dr. Gregory H. Williams
Gregory Williams was appointed the 11th president of The City College
in August 2001. Under his leadership, the College has gained increased
national recognition. City is tied for second among the most diverse
college campus in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
In addition CCNY moved to the second tier from the third among its peer
institutions in the magazine's 2003 “America's
Best Colleges” issue. CCNY was ranked in the first tier for such
factors as academic reputation, faculty, and student selectivity. Dr.
Williams has published three books including the award-winning “Life on
the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was
Black.” This memoir was selected as the 1995 Book of the Year by the
Los Angeles Times and named an “Outstanding Book on the Subject of
Human Rights” by the GustavusMyersCenter for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1996. Dr. Williams holds five degrees, including a J.D. and a Ph.D. from GeorgeWashingtonUniversity. A university administrator for over thirty years, he came to CCNY from The Ohio State University, where he was Dean of the LawSchool and Carter C. Kissell Professor of Law. He previously held positions at GeorgeWashingtonUniversity and University of Iowa.
Oscar de la Renta:
Oscar de la Renta left the Dominican Republic at age 18 to study painting in Spain. Art would lead him to the world of design. Today, Mr. de la Renta, who moved to New York
in 1963 and began his signature ready-to-wear label in 1965, is one of
the world’s leading fashion designers. His creations include cosmetic
cases, eyewear, furs, jewelry, fragrances and furniture for which he
has received numerous honors. Among them: the Gold Medal of Bellas
Artes from the King of Spain, the French Legion d’Honneur (Commandeur);
the order al Mérito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristóbal
Colón, both from his homeland, and the Council of Fashion Designers of
America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mr. de la
Renta serves on the board of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall,
Channel Thirteen/WNET and several other important institutions. He
received the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree.
Joseph H. Flom ’48: Dr. Lucy Cabrera:
as the “best lawyer of his generation,” Joseph Flom has in his 56 years
at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom, built the law firm into one
of the largest and most widely admired in the world. The firm’s
commitment to pro bono service is unparalleled. Mr. Flom established
the Skadden Fellowship Foundation as a way to support young lawyers who
want to pursue public interest law on a full-time basis for two years.
Mr. Flom has also been a generous supporter of the City College Honors
Programs and mathematics education through the Flom and Petrie
Foundations. He received the 2004 CCNY President’s Medal for
Distinguished Service to the City of New York and The City College of New York. Mr. Flom received the Doctor of Laws honorary degree.
Since 1988, Dr. Lucy Cabrera has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank for New York City.
A network of more than 1,200 nonprofit community food programs,
including soup kitchens and shelters, the Food Bank serves an estimated
240,000 free meals daily to hungry New Yorkers. Under Dr. Cabrera’s
direction, the Food Bank has expanded its distribution by approximately
700 percent. It regularly conducts research on hunger in New York City
while playing an active role in public policy issues at the local,
state and national level. Dr. Cabrera also serves as Chair of the New
York State Food Bank Association and as Vice Chair on the Board of the
Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC). She sits on
several Boards, including The Jewish Home and Hospital Lifecare System
- Bronx Division, Citizens Union and RutgersUniversity's
Food Policy Institute. Her work has earned her the Star Award from the
New York Women's Agenda, a Latina Excellence Award from Hispanic
magazine and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Puerto
Rican Coalition, among other honors.