Commencement Inspires Pride
In late May, Wagner celebrated the annual commencement ceremonies for our new graduates. It is always moving and gratifying for me to see just how much our students have accomplished, and to hear about the impressive things they will do after leaving Grymes Hill. Let me offer just a glimpse of what I mean.
A significant number of 2010 graduates are headed to medical school, veterinary school, law school, and doctoral programs. They include Sal Valenti of Staten Island, who will attend the New York Medical College; Kathryn Chepiga of Brooklyn, who is pursuing a doctorate at Emory University; Kate Eshelman of Olathe, Kansas, who begins a Ph.D. program in chemistry at the University of Kansas; and Anthony Santoro of Maspeth, New York, a double major in French and psychology at Wagner, who will continue his studies in psychology in a doctoral program at Columbia University.
Other members of this distinguished class will begin working with some impressive organizations. English major Holly Walker of Huntington Beach, California, is planning on a stint in the Peace Corps. Jorel Joseph of Fairfax Station, Virginia, and Olatunde Ogunlana of Staten Island, who both majored in accounting, have secured positions with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ben Serbiak of Lumberville, Pennsylvania, a biology major, will be working at Johnson & Johnson and pursuing a master’s in genetics at New York University, while William Rassman of Rochester, New York, will begin a career with Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles.
Members of the class of 2010 also excelled in service. I could point to many examples, but I choose one here. Like all theater students, Graham Keen of Nashville, Tennessee, is always pushing himself to reach his creative potential. And, he always pushed himself to give extra effort by volunteering at a Brooklyn elementary school, in Staten Island nursing homes, and on behalf of the student body’s remarkable record of support in raising over $35,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The class of 2010 is indeed an outstanding group.
Graham Keen’s work is but one example of the strong sense of community that is imparted to Wagner students. In this issue, you will read about the Port Richmond Partnership, one of the newest components of our civic engagement program. As you’ll see, the Port Richmond Partnership offers a meaningful way for our students to become engaged in the local community and to help make a measurable difference in the lives of New Yorkers. In the specific project featured here, students were paired with new immigrants to write their stories as a way of helping to remove the stigma and stereotypes with which immigrants are often saddled.
By expanding students’ understanding of the world, this partnership is helping us prepare them to be leaders in an intercultural democracy. No matter their field of work, it’s our goal that all Wagner graduates become civic-minded professionals. I believe the class of 2010 exemplifies the achievement of this goal to the highest degree.
President, Wagner College