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May 22, 2006

CCNY’S 160TH COMMENCEMENT SET FOR JUNE 1; PRESIDENT GREGORY WILLIAMS TO ADDRESS GRADUATES

— Schomburg Chief Howard Dodson, Physicist Harry Lustig to Receive Honorary Doctorates —

NEW YORK, May 22, 2006 – The City College of New York (CCNY) will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Howard Dodson, historian and Chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Dr. Harry Lustig, a theoretical nuclear physicist who helped develop the College’s Physics Department, at its 160th Commencement Exercises, Thursday, June 1, 2006. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. outside Shepard Hall, at 160 Convent Avenue, Manhattan.

Dr. Gregory H. Williams, CCNY’s 11th President and an award-winning author, will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2006. Senator Charles E. Schumer; Emma E. Macari, Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management, The City University of New York; and Nilda Soto Ruiz of the CUNY Board of Trustees, will offer greetings. This year’s graduating class includes approximately 2,500 students, of whom approximately 1,500 are candidates for bachelor’s degrees.

The Class of 2006 Valedictorian is Ilana Hellmann, the 22 year-old daughter of a Danish immigrant father who received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from CCNY in 1971. Ms. Hellmann is graduating from the CUNY Honors College at City College with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

A Manhattan resident whose mother was born in London, Ms. Hellmann has received numerous academic honors including the CUNY Chancellor’s Award, National Merit and Maclin Scholarships and election to the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. She also was named Benline Scholar by the Municipal Engineers of New York. During her junior and senior years, Ms. Hellmann interned at the U.S. General Services Administration and will start work there as a mechanical engineer this summer.

This year’s Salutatorian is Fabiha Naumi, an international student from Bangladesh who is graduating with a double major in psychology and sociology. Ms. Naumi, who is also 22, received the Belle Zeller Scholarship, the most prestigious in the entire CUNY system, in 2005. The Queens resident’s outstanding scholarship also earned her Colin Powell Leadership, Rosenberg/Humphrey and City College Fellowships, among other awards. In addition, Ms. Naumi will be leaving City College with the Ward Medal for psychology and sociology, the highest departmental honor awarded to a graduating senior.

Ms. Naumi will be returning to Bangladesh on June 5.  She wants to work on poverty alleviation by upholding and advocating social entrepreneurship.  Her inspiration comes from the Grameen Bank, the groundbreaking institution founded by humanitarian Dr. Muhammad Yunus to provide credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh without any collateral.

Bios of President Williams and the honorees at CCNY’s 160th Commencement follow:

Gregory H. Williams

Gregory H. Williams was named president of The City College of New York, the oldest municipal college in the United States, in August 2001. Since his appointment, he has brought the College increased national recognition. In a single year, CCNY increased its enrollment by 15% - including an increase in new freshman, under new, more rigorous admissions standards, of 40%. These numbers add to a student body that, according to U.S. News and World Report, is tied for second as the most diverse college campus in the nation.

Under his leadership, the State of New York is investing more than a quarter of a billion dollars for new science facilities and a new home for the CCNY School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. President Williams is also leading the first capital campaign in the College’s 159-year history, which has already raised more than $160,000,000.

President Williams has authored 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 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1996.

President Williams holds five degrees, including a J.D. and a Ph.D. from George Washington University. A university administrator for over 30 years, he came to CCNY from The Ohio State University, where he was Dean of the Law School and Carter C. Kissell Professor of Law. He previously held positions at George Washington University and University of Iowa.

Howard Dodson

Historian, educator, author and community leader, Mr. Dodson has led the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture since 1984. Under his direction, the Center has gained international renown for its research and programs on the African Diaspora and African and African-American history and culture. Its collections, now totaling more than five million items, have more than quadrupled, and the number of visitors increased to over 125,000 annually. In addition, Mr. Dodson has brought in tens of millions of dollars in private support for the institution.

An expert in African American history, he has taught at California State College at Haywood, Emory University, Shaw University, the City University of New York and Columbia University. Mr. Dodson has been published widely and is the author of several books, among them: Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American Culture, co-written with Wynton Marsalis; The Black New Yorkers: The Schomburg Illustrated Chronology, and In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience, co-written with Sylviane A. Diouf.

Mr. Dodson established the Urban Scholars Program, which provides education services to Harlem youth and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. In addition, he served as a member of the President’s Commission on the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. 

Harry Lustig

Harry Lustig is a leading theoretical nuclear physicist whose research ranges from the theory of nuclear reactions to the history of physics. As an educator and administrator, he left an indelible mark on The City College of New York as Chair of the Physics Department, Dean of the College and Provost.

In his relentless pursuit of excellence, Dr. Lustig established the Physics Department as a teaching and research unit of international acclaim. As Dean and Provost, he was instrumental in establishing other centers of excellence at CCNY, including the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Dr. Lustig’s commitment and focus on excellence in the sciences at CCNY ultimately laid the foundation for the College’s flagship status in the 21st Century.

His contributions to the advancement of physics and science education in general have been significant, as well. Dr. Lustig has been credited for engaging a broader public in the discussion of the great issues at the intersection of science, history, art and modern life by examining some of the great plays that concern this subject. By doing so, he raised the level and extended the reach of public discussion about science beyond scientists themselves.

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