Contact Us

NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to Receive Honorary Degree and Deliver Address at Long Island University’s

CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien also to be recognized during ceremony on May 12


Brian Harmon,Director of Public Relations
Brooklyn Campus,
Long Island University
(718) 488-1418

Brooklyn, N.Y. – On Thursday, May 12, 2011, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and serve as the commencement speaker during Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus commencement exercises.

Commissioner Kelly, a 43-year veteran of the city's police department and the first person to serve as commissioner of the city's police force for two separate tenures, will address an audience that will include more than 1,800 graduating students.

The University also will present an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to veteran journalist Soledad O'Brien of CNN during the 10:15 a.m. ceremony on the Brooklyn Campus' athletic fields.

University President David J. Steinberg will confer 761 undergraduate degrees, 30 advanced certificates, 962 master's degrees and 48 doctoral degrees during the commencement ceremony at which dance major Lauren Mackenzie Paxton, 22, of Cedar Fall, Iowa, will be recognized as Brooklyn Campus valedictorian.

Ms. Paxton is a highly accomplished scholar and dancer. She will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance with a minor in English .

“I am very honored and surprised by being selected valedictorian,” said Ms. Paxton, a summa cum laude student. “The liberal arts core curriculum at the Brooklyn Campus has opened my mind to more possibilities.”

Brooklyn Campus Provost Gale Stevens Haynes proudly noted that Ms. Paxton is just one of a flood of students who come from across the country and around the world to study at the Campus, one of the most diverse college campuses in the country.

“Diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” Provost Haynes said. “ With students from 75 different countries, it is a vital part of the education we offer, serving to enrich the minds, hearts and souls of all our students. 

“We are especially proud of the Class of 2011 — confident that we have helped nurture good citizens who will make their mark in this global economy and ever-shrinking world,” she added.

Provost Haynes added that this year's honorary degree recipients, through their commitment to excellence, have helped enrich and protect the lives of millions of individuals.

Commissioner Kelly was appointed to his post in 2002 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; he also served as commissioner from 1992-1994. He created the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department in the country and established a global intelligence program. The NYPD under Commissioner Kelly's leadership has reduced crime by nearly 40% since 2001.

In her award-winning news reports, Ms. O'Brien has time and again told the stories of underserved and at-risk populations. Since joining CNN in 2003, Ms. O'Brien, as an anchor and a special correspondent, has reported breaking news and produced critically acclaimed documentaries from locations across the globe. Her memoir, “The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities,” was released in 2010.

In addition to the honorary degrees, a Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to highly accomplished Brooklyn Campus graduate Wang Ping '87, a successful writer and educator whose poetry, short stories and novels draw upon her experience as a Chinese immigrant in America. She is an associate professor in the English Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.

Arlene Sola-Vargas, a social studies teacher at Brooklyn College Academy, will be recognized by the Campus as the New York City Secondary School Teacher of the Year. The Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service will be presented to Dawn Kilts, dean of the Campus' School of Nursing since 2001, and Sylvia Yúdice Walters, associate professor of communications sciences and disorders.

Deanine M. Copeland, a 44-year-old nursing student from Woodside, Queens, will be recognized as the Brooklyn Campus salutatorian.

The commencement ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2011, at 10:15 a.m. on the Campus athletic field near Flatbush and DeKalb avenues in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y. The exercises will be followed by the traditional Campus celebration of a commencement barbecue, which is open to graduates and their family members and friends.

The Brooklyn Campus is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.

Posted 05/02/2011

  Return to Press Releases