In Praise of Our Outstanding Graduates

With the commencement of the class of 2011 just past, I am again proud to share with you some of the accomplishments of Wagner's newest alumni, who are defined by their academic excellence, remarkable leadership, and commitment to public service.

Particularly impressive is their acceptance into top graduate programs nationwide. In the sciences, Joanna Ciavarella received a full scholarship to Brown University for a Ph.D. program in chemistry. Derek Rammelkamp will study for a Ph.D. in material science and engineering at SUNY Stony Brook. Peter Pisano also is headed to SUNY Stony Brook for dental school. Victor Stora will enroll in a joint DVM-Ph.D. program at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, while Medije Mashkulli will study medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

In the humanities, Charisse Willis of Olympia Fields, Illinois, will study for a Ph.D. in English at the University of Michigan. Yirmeyah Beckles from Toledo, Ohio, will study journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. English majors Anne Blum and Nancy Aravecz will study for master's degrees at New York University. JP Messina will be enrolled in graduate studies in philosophy at Georgia State University, and Sarah Nehm will attend Yale University's School of Divinity on a full-tuition scholarship.

In the social sciences, Student Government President Sophie Tripp from San Jose, California, will study for a Ph.D. in economics at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Gabrielle Gill from Salisbury, Maryland, majored in anthropology and minored in Italian studies, and she will pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii after teaching for a year in the Federated States of Micronesia as a WorldTeach volunteer. Sociology major Niya Branham is headed for a career in public health by studying for a master's at Brown University. And Peter Blackmer, a history major, will study for a Ph.D. in African studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

In the arts, graduates are entering the workforce at exciting sites, such as art history major Sara Simmons at Rachael Ray's magazine, or theater major Kendra Stockton at Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas. Among business administration graduates, Avery Miller will be pursuing a master's in sports management at Louisiana State University, while Joe Sorrentino will begin his career with the Frontier Group, a global private equity firm. Brothers Philip and Thomas Ewald from Walchwil, Switzerland, will study international marketing and management at King's College London. Emily Pierce of Phoenix, Arizona, Christopher Goetz of Staten Island, and Danielle Diodati of Haverhill, Massachusetts, will start their careers in finance, accounting, and auditing with outstanding organizations.

In an age marked by hatred, terrorism, severe environmental stress, widening gulfs of wealth, literacy, and access to basic healthcare, this generation is destined to usher in a new type of leadership, where knowledge and empathy are joined to social responsibility and effective action. I have no doubt that they are prepared to meet these challenges.

Richard Guarasci

President, Wagner College

Read more about Wagner's 2011 graduates in "Year Four: The Big Leap."