By Jonathan Sperling
A star-studded cast of speakers will take the stage at City University of New York colleges in the coming days to deliver commencement addresses to the graduating class of 2019.
“We transform lives at CUNY, and commencement is the time when we celebrate that transformation and recognize our students — and, by extension, our teachers — for their achievement and hard work,” CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a statement.
Matos, who formerly served as the president of Queens College, will deliver the keynote address at Hostos Community College in the Bronx on May 31.
“At CUNY, we have thousands of first-generation college students, immigrants, adults and others for whom this occasion marks a major milestone in their pursuit of the full promise of the American Dream. Join me in commending students across our 25 campuses, and their families, for this tremendous achievement,” he added.
Bayside native Matthew Higgins, a Queens College alum and vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins, will be the main speaker at the college’s 95th commencement ceremony on May 30 at the campus quadrangle in Flushing. Higgins has appeared on this season of ABC’s “Shark Tank” and established the Linda Higgins Empowerment Scholarship for Queens College students in honor of his late mother, a Queens College alumna.
Dr. Timothy Lynch, interim president of Queensborough Community College, will serve as the keynote speaker at the college’s commencement on May 31 at the athletic field. Lynch, who was appointed to his current position in September 2018, joined Queensborough in 2017 as the college’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
New York Attorney General Letitia James will deliver the keynote address at York College in Jamaica on May 31. James is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected attorney general in New York. She also delivered the keynote address at the CUNY School of Law commencement on May 17.
LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow will deliver the commencement address on June 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Mellow, who has been the president of LGCC since 2000, has helped the school increase its investment in faculty development, introduce novel practices in the classroom and develop innovative partnerships with employers.