Chancelllor and President
(Left to right) CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez and Hostos President David Gómez.
CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer joined Eugenio María de Hostos Community College President David Gómez to cheer a record 1,375 graduates and their families at the 49th Commencement held on Friday, May 31, 2019, at Lehman College.

“From this podium, I see the faces of the graduating class of 2019. For the fifth year in a row, I can say ‘the largest graduating class in this college’s history at almost fifteen-hundred strong. I also see the glorious diversity of Hostos, of the South Bronx, and of New York City on vibrant display,” said President David Gómez in his opening address.

Members of the extended Hostos community-graduates, their families and friends, faculty, and distinguished guests and university officials-attended the ceremony including CUNY Trustee Hon. Mayra Linares-García; newly appointed Senior Vice Chancellor Glenda Grace. Esq.; New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who for years has annually shown up to be a part of Hostos Community College commencement exercises; and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez who delivered his first keynote speech as Chancellor.
Chancellor and President with students
(Left to right) Yanna M. Almonte (Valedictorian), Hostos President David Gómez, Helen Mantuano (Salutatorian), Fatima Kafando (Salutatorian), and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
During his address, Chancellor Matos Rodríguez praised Hostos’ spirit and legacy by highlighting that Hostos Community College became a reality in the late 1960s in response to demands for a college to meet the needs of the community of the South Bronx. He reminded everyone that although Hostos has faced many obstacles since its inception, the College has always faced those obstacles head-on and thrived.

“One of the things that makes Hostos so exceptional is that it has persevered and succeeded against the odds,” he said. “The people of Hostos—the students, faculty, staff, and supporters—have worked hard and the College has earned its place. The significance of that cannot be overstated. All you have to do is look around, right here today, to see the difference Hostos has made to the people of this community.”

The spring 2019 commencement ceremony included the conferment of degrees to the first graduates of Hostos' Food Studies program and H.E.R.O. High School. The Melissa Riggio Higher Education program also celebrated their second-ever graduating cohort and, the “Two-Gen” program saw another class of its student-parents graduate. These curriculum tracks were developed during Chancellor Matos Rodríguez’s tenure as president of Hostos and carried out under the leadership of President David Gómez and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Christine Mangino.
Debra Rivers
      Hostos 2019 graduate Debra Rivers, who completed her associate degree in less than two years, thanks in part to the "Two-Gen" program.
Six years ago, no one could have predicted that its president would become the first Latino to hold the post of Chancellor of the largest public university system in the nation. And, no one could have predicted that he would get the chance to acknowledge the first fruits of collective labor alongside his colleagues. It was a poetic ceremony for its  show of respect and camaraderie among two great educators and field leaders who believe and champion for the mission and purpose of Hostos Community College.

As Chancellor Matos Rodríguez concluded his inspiring remarks, he reflected on what Hostos has meant to him.

“It is a thrill to deliver my first commencement speech as Chancellor of CUNY to the Class of ’19 of a college that gave so much to me,” he shared. “You may not all realize it, but I feel a special bond with you. I do consider my time at Hostos to be one of the most formative experiences of my professional life. I learned about personal courage, fortitude, and so much more from the students. The passion of the faculty and staff inspires me to this day. Hostos will always be part of me, and it is my honor to come back to wish you my heartfelt congratulations and help send you on to the next stage of your journeys. Know that I will be pulling for each and every one of you.”

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 over 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.