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New York Jets ‘Sack Exchange’ Member Marty Lyons to Deliver Address at LIU Brooklyn Commencement

Legendary writer Jimmy Breslin and artist Danny Simmons to also receive honorary doctorate degrees during May 10 ceremony at MCU Park in Coney Island


Brian Harmon,Public Relations Director
LIU Brooklyn,
Long Island University

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Marty Lyons, a cornerstone member of the New York Jets’ famed “New York Sack Exchange” of the 1980s, and legendary New York author and columnist Jimmy Breslin will receive honorary doctorate degrees at LIU Brooklyn’s commencement ceremony May 10 at MCU Park in Coney Island.

Also receiving an honorary doctorate degree during the 10:15 a.m. ceremony will be Daniel “Danny” Simmons, an abstract-expressionist painter whose work has been shown across the globe. Mr. Simmons comes from a family of artists; he is older brother to hip-hop mogul Russell Simons and rapper Joseph Simmons (“Run” of Run DMC).

A defensive stalwart and two-time Pro Bowl selection during his 12 seasons in the National Football League, Mr. Lyons has built an illustrious career spanning the worlds of sports, business and philanthropy. The charismatic founder of The Marty Lyons Foundation, an organization that helps children find the strength to battle life-threatening illness, will serve as the commencement speaker, addressing a crowd that will include nearly 2,000 graduates. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Mr. Breslin, a prolific writer who earned the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1986 and LIU’s George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting in 1985, will be presented an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Mr. Simmons will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

University President David J. Steinberg will confer 871 undergraduate degrees, 59 advanced certificates, 960 master’s degrees and 58 doctoral degrees during the commencement ceremony at which political science major Luz Frias, 22, of the East Bronx will be recognized as valedictorian of LIU Brooklyn’s Class of 2012.

Ms. Frias, a member of the campus’s Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program, which provides economic and educational help to disadvantaged students who may not otherwise be able to attend college, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree. A native of the Dominican Republic, Ms. Frias earned a 3.97 grade point average at LIU Brooklyn.

“Being a HEOP student made my journey smoother because they offered me unconditional moral, academic and financial support whenever I felt overwhelmed or stressed,” said Ms. Frias, who plans to attend law school.

At LIU Brooklyn, Ms. Frias devoted much of her time to helping fellow students, serving as a note taker for a legally blind paralegal student and tutoring freshmen and sophomores in math and English.

“Luz Frias is the embodiment of academic excellence and community spirit,” LIU Brooklyn Provost Gale Stevens Haynes said. “These are qualities that we strive to instill in each and every one of our students.”

Provost Haynes added that LIU Brooklyn’s commitment to access and excellence is clearly evident with this year’s diverse crop of graduates. The provost also noted that this year’s honorary degree recipients, through their commitment to excellence, have helped enrich the lives of millions of individuals.

In addition to his success on the gridiron, Mr. Lyons has excelled as an Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster. Three decades ago, he established The Marty Lyons Foundation, which has grown to include 13 chapters. The Smithtown, Long Island, resident received the Heisman Humanitarian Award for his work with the foundation.

Mr. Breslin, who was a student at LIU Brooklyn, has been a giant of New York City journalism for nearly five decades, including long-running stints as a columnist for the Daily News and Newsday. While at the Daily News in 1977, he famously received letters from the killer in the Son of Sam murders and responded in his column. Mr. Breslin has written dozens of books. His array of novels and nonfiction work includes “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” which was made into a short film, “Table Money” and “World Without End Amen.”

Mr. Simmons collaborated with his brother, Russell, to create the popular HBO television series, “Def Poetry Jam.” He is also a published author; his books include the widely praised novel, “Three Days As the Crow Flies.” He earned a master’s degree in public finance from LIU Brooklyn.

In addition to the honorary degrees, a Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to highly accomplished LIU Brooklyn graduate Melanie Creagan Dreher ’67, a nationally recognized leader in nursing education and research. Since 2006, Ms. Dreher has been the John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean and Professor at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, Ill.

Andrea Toussaint, an English teacher at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn for nearly a decade, will be recognized by LIU Brooklyn as the New York City Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

Luvna Yeasmin, 23, a native of Bangladesh who lives with her parents in downtown Brooklyn, will be recognized as LIU Brooklyn’s salutatorian. The respiratory care student earned a 3.89 grade point average.

LIU Brooklyn 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 05/02/2012

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