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May 9, 2011

Geoffrey Canada to Address CCNY’S 165th Commencement June 3

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Geoffrey Canada, founder and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone and a nationally recognized education reform advocate, will be the guest speaker at CCNY'sCommencement. 

 

College to Confer Honorary Degrees on Bernard Spitzer, ’43, Ed Koch, ’81, Anthony M. Johnson and Bert Brodsky, ’64


Geoffrey Canada, the founder and chief executive officer of Harlem Children’s Zone and a nationally recognized education reform advocate, will be the guest speaker at The City College of New York’s 165th Commencement Exercises, 10 a.m., Friday, June 3 on the CCNY campus. 

In addition, CCNY will confer honorary degrees on: real estate developer and philanthropist Bernard Spitzer, ’43; former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, ’81; physicist Anthony M. Johnson, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Bert Brodsky, ’64.  Construction manager, contractor and real estate developer Frank Sciame, ’74, will receive The City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

CCNY President Lisa Staiano-Coico will preside over the commencement exercises.  She will confer degrees upon approximately 3,699 members of the Class of 2011, which includes approximately 2,417 candidates for bachelor's degrees.

Joshua Usani, is the Class of 2011 Valedictorian.  A Bronx resident and Nigerian immigrant who came to the United States in 2006, he will receive a BS in Biology, summa cum laude, and will attend Yale University School of Medicine in August.

This year’s Salutatorian is Christopher Bandera of Woodside, Queens. He will receive a BS in Biomedical Education, summa cum laude, from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and enter New York University School of Medicine in June.

About Geoffrey Canada
Mr. Canada is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., (HCZ), which provides schools, after-school services and guidance for approximately 17,000 children and their parents in a 100-block area of Harlem, from pre-school to college.  “Time” magazine included him on its 2011 list of “100 most influential people in the world,” along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

Two years ago, CCNY presented Mr. Canada with the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters for his pioneering work with HCZ, which has become a national model. “The New York Times” has described HCZ as “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.”  In 2005, “U.S. News and World Report” named Mr. Canada one of “America's Best Leaders.”

Raised in the South Bronx, Mr. Canada overcame the poverty and violence of his neighborhood to become an academic standout. He received a BA from Bowdoin College and a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mr. Canada is the author of two critically acclaimed books that draw on his childhood experience and his work with HCZ: “Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America,” (Beacon Press, 1995) and “Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America,” (Beacon Press, 1998).  His other honors include the first Heinz Award, the Heroes of the Year Award from the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. 

Following are brief bios on CCNY’s Commencement honorees.

Bernard Spitzer, ’43, is a real estate developer and philanthropist and benefactor of CCNY’s architecture school, which was renamed The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture in 2009.  He’ll receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Hon. Edward I. Koch, ’81, was the 105th mayor of New York, a member of Congress and an author.  Mr. Koch attended CCNY from 1941-1943 when, like many classmates, he was drafted into the Army during World War II.  He received his bachelor’s degree in 1981.  He will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Dr. Anthony M. Johnson
is a professor of physics and director of the Joint Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research at the University of Maryland.  An alumnus of the CUNY Graduate Center, he did most of his doctoral coursework and research at CCNY.  He will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Science.

Bert E. Brodsky, ’64, is chairman and founder of Sandata Technologies and a pioneer in computer-automated billing and management services for the healthcare industry.  A philanthropist as well, he will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Frank Sciame, ’74, is chief executive officer of F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc., one of the leading construction management firms in the tri-state region.  Mr. Sciame, who established his company one year after graduating from CCNY, will receive The City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service, which is given for distinguished achievement and public service.
 

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