Hostos President David Gomez. Toddler. Graduate with Cap and Gown.

On June 4, during two special Commencement Ceremonies, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of the City University of New York celebrated the accomplishments of 991 graduates in the College's Main Theater. The 44th Commencement Ceremony represented the largest graduating class in Hostos' 47-year history.

Hostos Interim President David Gómez greeted congratulated the Class of 2015, their families and friends, and welcomed all of the special guests to the College.

“You, young men and women, have shown me what true courage is. You have shown me what it means to overcome adversity and what the word inspirational really means. You have made me immensely proud to have served as your president for this past year,” Dr. Gómez said.

Featuring two ceremonies to accommodate the large number of graduates, the morning commencement keynote speaker was Darren Walker, the 10th president of the Ford Foundation. In the afternoon ceremony, graduates and guests heard from keynote speaker Carl E. Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly.
2 photos. First photo, Darren Walker. Second photo, Carl E. Heastie

Walker was a member of Head Start’s inaugural class in 1965, before attending Goose Creek, Texas, public schools. At the University of Texas, Pell Grants and scholarships helped finance his college and law school education.

Walker inspired the Class of 2015, and all of the guest in a filled Hostos Main Theater, with his message of inspiration, hope and determination. He urged them to “keep dreaming, keep pushing forward, but also keep reaching back, too.”

Kane Vinson
Hostos’ 2015 Valedictorian was Kane Vinson, who was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 2011. He enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Program at Hostos Community College in 2012.

The Navy helped to fuel Kane’s interests in engineering, which he later followed at Hostos and now City College, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering as part of the College’s dual degree program. 

Vinson said as he prepared for Commencement that he would not be where he is at today without the support of his wife, Kate.
Speaker Heasite, a native of The Bronx where Hostos is located, is the first African American elected to the post and shared his story of overcoming the odds to hold one of the state’s most important positions.

Explaining that his educational journey involved some breaks in between degrees, Speaker Heastie urged the graduates to keep going, no matter what life brings.

“Sometimes as you are planning your future, life just happens,” Speaker Heastie said. “Whatever the circumstances are, get it done.”
Speaker Heastie also thanked the Hostos Valedictorian Vi for military service, calling Vinson a “hero.”

Camille Stanford
The 2015 Salutatorian was Camille Stanford. The Liberal Arts major is a self-described “lifelong student,” who has always enjoyed applying herself in the classroom. The Bronx native graduated with a 4.0 GPA and has been accepted to Lehman College. She also plans to pursue a career in the media.

Stanford told the Class of 2015 that when she was faced with challenges in and out of the classroom, she always remembered to keep her eye on the prize.

“I eventually came to realize that the challenges I had to face as a student did not supersede the benefits of achievement,” Stanford said. “As we continue to appreciate the importance of our education, remember that the associate degree is a major accomplishment. It is a vehicle and a stepping stone that will lead us into a brighter future.”

Stanford also thanked her parents, friends and the many professors and staff at Hostos.

Hostos graduate Jolisel Vargas-López also addressed the Class of 2015. The Public Policy and Administration major was a key member of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy, and other student organizations.

“It isn’t always easy, but we made it,” Vargas-López told her peers. “Have courage. Everything comes with a price, but the victory is always much sweeter.”

Other special guests who congratulated the students and offered words of encouragement from The City University of New York included Philip Alfonso Berry, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees;  Hugo Morales; Member of the Board of Trustees; Gloriana Waters, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Management; and Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.




Pinning Ceremonies And Other Graduation Ceremonies For 2015
Radiologic Technology
Hostos’ Radiologic Technology continues to shine, as it saluted the accomplishments of 23 more graduates on May 27.

The pinning ceremony was hosted by Dr. Charles I. Drago, a radiologic technology professor and chairperson of the Hostos Allied Health Sciences Department. Drago said that over the last 20 years, students from this program have enjoyed a 99% pass rate on the national certification examination administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

The event’s guest speaker was Jubril Jawal, a graduate of the program who also graduated from Tufts University and is currently an aspiring physician.

Dental Hygiene
On May 4, Hostos celebrated the accomplishments of 48 students from the Hostos Dental Hygiene Program at the 44th Annual Pinning & Candle Lighting Ceremony.

The ceremony included various award presentations and words from keynote speaker Dr. Elvir Dincer and Class of 2015 Class President, Maria Vassallo.

On May 5, 34 nursing students (19 Registered Nursing and 15 Licensed Practical Nursing) received their pins at the Class of 2015 Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

Speakers included Congressman José E. Serrano  and Dr. Donald Wallerson, a cardiologist from Montefiore Hospital.
Students who received awards for their outstanding work included Ana Rosario of the RN program and Oksana Sinetar of the LPN program.

Hamide Laucer, Interim Coordinator for the Nursing Program, told the Class of 2015 she could relate to their great accomplishments.
“As a Hostos grad of 1994, I remember sitting at the Nursing Pinning Ceremony and thinking, ‘I now have an answer to a question I often avoided: What are you, what do you do?’” “Hostos gave me the answer: I AM A NURSE!"

Honors Convocation

Group gathered. Awards, service awards and prizes.
On May 26, Hostos recognized 219 of its best and brightest students at the 31st Honors Convocation in the Main Theater.
During the ceremony, there were a number of CUNY awards, service awards and prizes, as well as departmental awards. The Gold Stole was also presented to Valedictorian Kane Vinson and Salutatorian Camille Stanford.

Sandy Figueroa, the Business Department’s Coordinator for the Office of Technology, said she was thrilled to be part of an event that highlighted such amazing academic achievements.

“As chair of the Scholarship and Awards Committee, I am indeed proud and pleased to coordinate a program that highlights the accomplishments of our students who work very hard to achieve high levels of academic success.”

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.