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CCNY’s 163rd Commencement Set For May 28; President Gregory Williams To Address Graduates

Social Activist Geoffrey Canada & Top Curator Thelma Golden to be honored, CCNY President’s Medal to Philanthropist Bernard Spitzer ’43

NEW YORK, May 13, 2009 – The City College of New York (CCNY) will confer honorary degrees on Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Childen's Zone, and Thelma Golden, director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem,at its 163rd Commencement Exercises, Thursday, May 28.Philanthropist and real estate developer Bernard Spitzer, '43, will receive The City College President's Medal for Distinguished Service. 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 2009.  Marc V. Shaw, Member, Board of Trustees, The City University of New York(CUNY) and Dr. Gillian Small, Vice Chancellor for Research, CUNY, will offer greetings.

This year's graduating class includes approximately 2,887 students, of whom approximately 1,775 are candidates for bachelor's degrees.

The Class of 2009 Valedictorian is Samreen Nayyer.  The 21-year-old Queens resident is graduating from theMacaulay Honors College at CCNY with a 3.93 G.P.A. She will receive a B.S. in Pure Mathematics.

Her honors at CCNY have included the Dean's List (2006-08); the Jack Nash Scholarship (2007-09); the Peter Vallone Scholarship (2007-09); a Weston Public Service Fellowship (2008) and a Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies Community Engagement Fellowship (2008).

A budding fiction writer, Ms. Nayyer will spend a year taking advanced mathematic courses and fiction writing classes in the CUNY system before enrolling in a doctoral program in pure mathematics in 2010. 

Andrew M. Rivera is this year's Salutatorian. He will graduate summa cum laude from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Also a resident of Queens, Mr. Rivera enters the New York University School of Medicine next month for the final two years of his studies before he embarks on a medical career.

He served as a teaching assistant at Columbia University and spent last summer in Spain on a Mack Lipkin Research Fellowship conducting a community health-related study.

For bios of CCNY's 163rd Commencement honorees, click here. For a profile of CCNY President Gregory H. Williams, click here.

About The City College President's Medal
The City College President's Medal is awarded for distinguished achievement and public service.Past recipients include: Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert Aumann, Coretta Scott King, Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.), Nobel Laureate Leon M. Lederman, astronaut Mario Runco Jr., Bill Cosby and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The 2002 Medal was awarded to the men and women of New York City's uniformed services for their heroic service on and after September 11, 2001.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847 The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit



Jay Mwamba
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