On Friday, May 31, 2019, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York will celebrate the achievement of approximately 1,375 graduates during its 49th Commencement Ceremony at Lehman College’s South Athletic Field. The Class of 2019 will recognize one valedictorian, Yanna M. Almonte, and two salutatorians: Fatimata Kafando and Helen Mantuano. Serving as keynote speaker will be Hostos’ sixth President and current CUNY Chancellor Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
Felix V. Matos Rodriguez
CUNY Chancellor Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez,
who was President of Hostos from 2009-2014
The 2019 commencement season coincides with the first graduating cohorts of three programs  — Food Studies Associate Degree, H.E.R.O. High School, and the Two-Generation Retention and Degree Acceleration — that were launched during Chancellor Matos Rodríguez’s tenure as Hostos President and have thrived under current President Dr. David Gómez.

“Educating, sustaining work, and expanding opportunities for students is the result of the work of many leaders,” President Gómez said. “This year’s commencement is especially commemorative because we get to witness the growth and continuation of programs that were put in place to make a difference, and that is why we are here, to change lives.”

The Food Studies Associate Degree Program, featuring four tracks of study — Food Policy, Social Issues in Food, Health & Nutrition, and Environment & Sustainability — was launched in 2014 to educate new leaders about issues surrounding food nutrition, insecurity, and justice.

Created in 2013 as a six-year program for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare field, the Health, Education, and Research Occupations High School (H.E.R.O. High School) is a CUNY Early College Initiative High School of Hostos Community College, developed in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Montefiore Hospital.

The Two-Generation Retention and Degree Acceleration Program (Two-Gen program) is a part of the College’s Empowering Student Parents program. It provides student-parents with free summer courses and free tuition for their children in the Hostos Kids Academy.

Valedictorian: Yanna M. Almonte
ValedictorianA desire to change her life and the lives of others led Yanna M. Almonte to enroll at Hostos Community College in spring 2018. About four years ago, Almonte had bariatric surgery and lost more than 130 pounds. This experience, coupled with her desire to help communities of color, inspired Almonte to study Community Health at Hostos. She also participated in the Honors, College Discovery, Empowering Student Parents, and CUNY EDGE programs and is currently interning with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as an iHeal Field Technical Assistant. She looks forward to pursuing her bachelor’s degree with The City College Community Health Program.
Salutatorian: Fatimata Kafando
SalutatorianFatimata Kafando’s career aspirations took an unexpected detour from nursing to engineering after roadside construction caught her eye one day during her walk home from high school. She was fascinated by the role engineering plays in such projects and soon launched her studies in the field. Originally from Burkina Faso, Kafando immigrated to the U.S. in 2015. Kafando will pursue her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at The City College.
Salutatorian: Helen Mantuano
Salutatorian 2During her time at the College, Mantuano has achieved great things inside and outside of the classroom. Mantuano served as a student assistant at the Hostos Writing Center; as a tutor for ESL students via the Specialized Instruction Program; as Treasurer of and fundraiser for the Reimagining Justice Club; as a volunteer in the Women’s Leadership Conference and the Hostos “Souper Market” food pantry; and as a participant in the College-Wide Honors Program.

What: Eugenio María de Hostos Community College (CUNY) 49th Commencement Ceremony
When: Friday, May 31, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468, (South Athletic Field of the Lehman campus)
Keynote Speaker: CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez

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 for more than half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been 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.

Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate secure 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 25 colleges.

Media contacts:
Rich Pietras: rpietras@hostos.cuny.edu
or 718-518-6513
Soldanela Rivera-Lopez: sriveralopez@hostos.cuny.edu
or 718-518-4410