NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The College of New Rochelle (CNR) celebrated its 110th Commencement on Tuesday, May 23, at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, with 997 degrees conferred upon students from the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions, the School of New Resources and the Graduate School. Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks, and Sister Mary Virginia Orna, O.S.U., Professor Emerita of Chemistry at CNR, were awarded honorary degrees.
CNR awarded 826 baccalaureate degrees and 168 master’s degrees to students. There were 319 students who graduated from the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions, 150 graduated from the Graduate School and 528 graduated from the School of New Resources. There were 163 graduates from Westchester County, 17 from Rockland County and five from Putnam County.
“We are extremely proud of CNR’s Class of 2017 and we congratulate each and every student for achieving this remarkable milestone,” said Dr. Dorothy Escribano, interim president of The College of New Rochelle. “Our mission is to provide quality academic programming for students so that they are then able to take advantage of life’s opportunities. We encourage all of our graduates to take the educational foundation CNR has given them and build upon it toward successful futures as leaders in their chosen fields.”
The keynote speaker at CNR’s commencement ceremony was Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks, who has led the company’s successful re-envisioned brand and programming. Her vision for BET’s reinvigorated approach is built on supporting families, embracing and encouraging their dreams, and focusing on the issues that are important to them. During the commencement, Lee said: “This world, and especially this country, could use more courageous leaders, and I believe there are more than 900 of you here today.”
Lee was awarded an honorary degree alongside Sister Mary Virginia Orna, O.S.U., Professor Emerita of Chemistry Scientist in Residence at CNR. Sister Mary taught for four decades at CNR from 1966 to 1997. She has lectured and published widely in the areas of color chemistry and archaeological chemistry as both an American Chemical Society (ACS) tour speaker and an invited lecturer across the United States and around the world. As a Fulbright Fellow in Israel, Sister Mary Virginia researched ancient Middle-Eastern artifacts in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority. In addition, she has authored numerous book chapters and encyclopedia articles, six books, and edited eleven others. Her articles have appeared in many scholarly journals.
Ricardo Benejam, who graduated from the MPA program at the Graduate School, spoke about his experience at The College of New Rochelle: “I particularly enjoyed working with people from varied backgrounds—we all benefited by learning from each other’s experiences.” He wants to work for a governmental agency in a role that would help veterans transition to civilian life.
Additionally, Myrantz Assade, a graduate of the School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions, and president of the Student Nurses Association (SNA), remembered with pride the work he and his fellow SNA members put into creating new opportunities for nursing students and said during the commencement ceremony: “I’m excited. Today has been a long time coming. My wife and three kids are here—I think it’s important for them to see me graduate. It wasn’t always easy, but as time went on and I started to make friends and got to know the faculty, I realized what a great place CNR really is.”