NYSCAS Grads Celebrate Big 4-0

Ceremony Held at Brooklyn's Walt Whitman Theater

June 20, 2014

Following the singing of the national anthem by graduate Lyudmila Fesenko and greetings by Stanley L. Boylan, Ph.D., Touro’s vice president of undergraduate education and dean of faculties, the graduates and attendees were treated to the keynote address presented by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Comptroller DiNapoli referred to his immigrant roots and said that only through hard work was his family able to achieve success in the U.S. He told the graduates that although they too would struggle at times, perseverance is the key to realizing their goals.

Salutatorian Anna Grigoryan represented graduates who had earned associate’s degrees, and valedictorian Chana Goldshteyn represented those who had earned bachelor’s degrees. Ms. Grigoryan and Ms. Goldshteyn, each of whom also served as student speakers, were selected for their magnificent academic performances and superb grade point averages, 3.95 and 3.98 respectively.

Discussing the many obstacles she faced when she immigrated to America from Armenia three years ago, Ms. Grigoryan encouraged her classmates to surmount their own personal challenges by utilizing the knowledge and skills their professors had equipped them with. In her own address, Ms. Goldshteyn said that because there is always more to learn, her fellow graduates must be willing to go out and seek new challenges and not be content to rest on their laurels.

Deans Avery Horowitz and Eva Spinelli-Sexter, assisted by department chairpersons and other members of the faculty, presented awards in each academic discipline for students who had excelled in the classroom, and for those who had demonstrated leadership abilities both at the college and in the community. Later vocalist Gershon Veroba, accompanied by pianist Jonathan Rimberg, provided rousing renditions of “New York, New York” and “Sweet Caroline.”

Then it was time for the moment all graduates wait for—the conferral of degrees. Graduates were called to the stage individually to receive their diplomas, accompanied by the wild cheers of their families, friends and classmates. Finally, Dean Boylan conferred the degrees upon the candidates, tassels were turned and the evening came to a close with the singing of “God Bless America” by Ms. Fesenko.

“This was one of the proudest moments of my life,” said graduate Rebecca Amrirzadeh. “Crossing that stage, I really felt as though I had accomplished something great and I know that I am ready to meet the challenges of dental school.”

Several of her classmates echoed her sentiments, with some expressing an interest in continuing with their education. In fact, many graduates will pursue bachelor’s degrees at Touro and some plan to attend one of the schools in Touro’s graduate division. Others will go on to professional schools to study law, medicine, physical therapy and, like Amrirzadeh, dentistry.

Balloons, flowers and even beach balls flying at the end of the ceremony mark the celebratory atmosphere of graduation day. But behind all the flash, the underlying message of commencement is that, in the words of Ms. Grigoryan, “We have accomplished much, but much remains to be accomplished.”