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May 23, 2005

CCNY’S 159th COMMENCEMENT SET FOR JUNE 3 City College President Gregory Williams to Address Graduates

Designer Oscar de la Renta, Attorney Joseph Flom ‘48 to be honored, CCNY President’s Medal to Food Bank President Lucy Cabrera

NEW YORK, May 23, 2005 – The City College of New York (CCNY) will confer honorary degrees on fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and prominent attorney Joseph H. Flom, Class of 1948, at its 159th Commencement Exercises, Friday, June 3, 2005. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the College’s Herman Goldman Center, 133rd Street and Convent Avenue, Manhattan.

In addition, the City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service will be presented to Dr. Lucy Cabrera, president and chief executive of the Food Bank for New York City, which supplies over 240,000 meals a day to disadvantaged New Yorkers.

Dr. Gregory H. Williams, CCNY’s 11th President and an award-winning author, will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2005. Frederick P. Schaffer, 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, 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 2005 Valedictorian is Amie N. Dave, the daughter of Indian immigrants, who was born in the Bronx and now resides in Queens. She will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and graduate with a 4.0 GPA. Following graduation, 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 Sophie Davis School: 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 are Lev Sviridov and Erja Vettenranta. Mr. Sviridov, a Chemistry major, is the first City College 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
Dr. 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 memior 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.

Dr. Williams holds five degrees, including a J.D. and a Ph.D. from George Washington University. A university administrator for over thirty 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.


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 will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree.


Joseph H. Flom ’48:
Described 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 will receive the Doctor of Laws honorary degree.


Dr. Lucy Cabrera:
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 Rutgers University'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.