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LIU Post Graduates 2,227 at 55th Commencement Exercises

Retiring President Steinberg gets rousing send-off from Sen. Charles Schumer; Valedictorian Asya Ashour credits LIU Post with championing religious tolerance

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Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
516-299-4177

Students in cap and gowns at commencementBrookville, N.Y. – Retiring Long Island University Dr. David J. Steinberg received hearty thanks and congratulations from guest speaker Sen. Charles Schumer at LIU Post’s 55th Commencement exercises Friday, May 10, 2013.

Steinberg “has turned this university from a good one on Long Island to one of the great ones of the United States of America,” Schumer said. “To David Steinberg, congratulations and well done!”

More than 9,000 graduates, faculty families, guests and university officials attended the ceremony under the expansive tent on the Great Lawn under sunny skies. The Class of 2013 includes 2,227 students who were awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and advanced certificates from Long Island University’s three Long Island campuses: LIU Post in Brookville, N.Y., LIU Brentwood in Brentwood, N.Y. and LIU Riverhead in Riverhead, N.Y. 

In his own remarks, Dr. Steinberg pushed back against those who question the value of a college education. He noted that the college-educated fared better in the recent recession, but also noted that college is about more than career preparation.

“To monetize your education is to miss the essence of your educational experience,” he said. “What really matters is whether or not you have become a thinking man or woman.”

Rep. Steve Israel and Brian Patrick Lamb, founder and executive chairman of Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), received honorary doctorates. Israel, the ceremony’s keynote speaker, noted the valedictorian and salutatorian were accounting majors, and joked that their skills are needed in Washington.

“We need some accounting majors in the United States Congress who can teach us to add, who can remind us that two plus two doesn’t add up to whatever you want it to be,” he said.

Israel noted the middle class is growing rapidly around the world, and called for public investment in the middle class in the United States.

Valedictorian Asya Ashour of Holtsville, N.Y., an accountancy major, English minor and member of the LIU Post Honors and Merit Fellowship Program, told her fellow graduates LIU Post had encouraged her to be proud of her religion and culture.

“I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the tremendous support of my family and my professors, as well as our University,” Ashour said. “In fact, I am here today because Post not only knows about the struggle I face as a Muslim Arab American woman, but the fact that it has decided to support me in my battle for religious tolerance and appreciation of the individual. … Post believes in me, and in every person who fights for what they believe in. Because this what Post stands for.” She was interrupted by applause six times.

Ashour began college at the age of 16 at Suffolk Community College, where she earned an associate degree and was awarded a full scholarship to LIU Post as part of SCCC’s Stay on Long Island Initiative. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she has tutored accounting students, volunteered to help low-income Long Islanders prepare their taxes, and written for the LIU Post student newspaper, The Pioneer.

She shared her address with salutatorian Minqi Li of Nanjing, China, who currently resides in Flushing, N.Y. and is LIU Post’s first international salutatorian. Known for her academic excellence, strong work ethic, and track record of helping others, she tutored fellow students in accounting, economics and other subjects, and helped strengthen the connection between the campus Learning Support Center and the International Student Services office. She also conducted research with her professors, served as an orientation leader for international students and helped low- and middle-income Long Islanders prepare their tax returns through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service was awarded to Dr. Steinberg, president of Long Island University, who is retiring this summer after 28 years as leader of one of the largest private universities in the nation. Dr. Steinberg will be succeeded by Dr. Kimberly Cline, president of Mercy College, on July 1.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Winifred B. Mack, regional executive director of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, Eastern Region, who graduated from LIU Post with a B.S. in nursing in 1975 and an M.P.A. in public administration in 1983.

The Long Island Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Maria Panuccio Brown, a science teacher at Sayville High School and a 2005 graduate of LIU Post with an M.S. in environmental science.

Five LIU Post faculty members celebrating 30 years of service were honored on graduation day. They include James Bednarz, Ph.D., professor of English; Barbara R. Fowles, Ph.D., chair of the Media Arts Department; Mellissa J. Hinton, ’84 (M.S.), ’89 (M.A.), D.A., head of technical services, B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library; Nancy Peters, Ph.D., chair of the Chemistry Department; and Maria Zarycky ’87 (M.S.), librarian in the Instructional Media Center (IMC) of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library.

Commencement 2013 includes the first graduates of LIU Post's Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, which prepares students for senior positions as principals, superintendents, curriculum developers and college professors. Other programs graduating their first students include the M.A. in Digital Game Design and Development and the fully online Advanced Certificate in Mobile GIS Applications Development at LIU Post, and the upper-division B.A. in Communications Studies – New Media at LIU Riverhead.

At LIU Post, degrees are awarded from five schools of study: the College of Education, Information and Technology; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Management; the School of Health Professions and Nursing; and the School of Visual and Performing Arts. LIU Brentwood students will be awarded degrees in education, criminal justice and counseling; LIU Riverhead students are receiving degrees and advanced certificates in communications studies, education, homeland security management and cyber security policy.

Commencement 2013 celebrated the achievements of 936 baccalaureate students, 913 master's degree candidates, 28 doctoral candidates, and 164 students who have competed advanced certificates from LIU Post; 12 baccalaureate students, 149 master's degree candidates, and two students who have completed advanced certificates from LIU Brentwood; and 14 bachelor’s degrees, 37 master’s degrees and nine advanced certificates from LIU Riverhead.

Presiding over the main ceremony was Dr. Paul H. Forestell, a marine scientist, psychologist and provost of LIU Post, LIU Brentwood and LIU Riverhead.

For more information about LIU Post’s Commencement exercises visit www.liu.edu/post/commencement or call (516) 299-2350.

Posted 05/10/2013

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