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City Tech Graduation Comes Home to Brooklyn on June 3

City Tech will mark the annual rite of passage for graduating students at its 71st Commencement Exercises on Friday, June 3, beginning at 10:30 a.m., at the Municipal Credit Union (MCU) Park (formerly Keyspan), 1904 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, rain or shine. This is the first graduation ceremony ever held at this facility.

President Russell K. Hotzler is expected to confer 2,000 degrees, including 1,150 associate and 850 baccalaureate, both of which are the highest since the imposition of tuition in 1976.

City Tech’s 2011 commencement marks the first time the College has held its commencement exercises in Brooklyn in many years. It is the first time in decades that the event, which will draw about 6,000 people, is being held outdoors.

"We are a Brooklyn institution and have long wanted a Brooklyn graduation,” says Dr. Marcela Armoza, City Tech's vice president of enrollment and student affairs. "MCU Park is a beautiful venue, with the beach and the ocean as a backdrop. And, it's in Coney Island. What could be more representative of the great history of Brooklyn than that!"

Delivering the commencement address is Lisa P. Jackson, the first African-American to serve as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, who will receive City Tech’s President’s Award.

Lisa P. Jackson
Commencement Speaker

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson leads the EPA’s efforts to protect the health and environment for all Americans. She and a staff of more than 17,000 professionals are working across the nation to usher in a green economy, address health threats from toxins and pollution, and renew public trust in the EPA’s work.

As administrator, Jackson has pledged to focus on core issues of protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination in our communities, and reducing greenhouse gases. She has promised that all of EPA’s efforts will follow the best science, adhere to the rule of law and be implemented with unparalleled transparency.

She has made it a priority to focus on such vulnerable groups as children, the elderly and low-income communities, which are particularly susceptible to environmental and health threats. In addressing these and other issues, she has promised all stakeholders a place at the decision-making table.

Before becoming EPA’s Administrator, Jackson served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and Commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Prior to joining DEP, she worked for 16 years as an employee of the U.S. EPA.

Jackson is a summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University and earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. The daughter of a postal worker, she was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She is married to Kenny Jackson, and they have two sons.

Theresa Evans
Class of 2011 Valedictorian

Evans grew up as an only child in the small town of Hays, Kansas – population 20,000 – and was raised by her mother after her father died when she was three. She treasured the time she spent with her grandparents on their farm. Eating meals that came straight from the land to their table sparked her interest in pursuing a career in the food and wine world.

Since arriving in New York in 2005, Evans has worked at such well-known establishments as the Hard Rock Café in Times Square, and Abigail Kirsch’s catering operations at Pier Sixty and The Lighthouse. Currently, she is a sommelier at Porter House New York, where celebrity chef and City Tech alumnus Michael Lomonaco (’84) is a managing partner. “In life, you’re six people away from whatever you want,” says Evans. “At City Tech, the degree of separation is even less. Doors opened for me.”

In the past two years, Evans, who is graduating with a grade point average of 3.988 out of a possible 4.0 and a bachelor of technology degree in hospitality management, has won seven scholarships, including the Brooklyn Eats Award, the Food and Beverage Association of America’s Food and Beverage Scholarship Foundation Award, and the American Institute of Wine & Food’s André and Simone Soltner Food Education Scholarship.

Participating in the College’s study abroad programs in Paris, Alsace, Vienna and Florence further expanded her horizons. She intends to earn an MBA to hone her entrepreneurial skills and move one step closer to her goal of having her own eatery. “People mistakenly believe you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy good food and wine. I hope to prove otherwise.”

Ryan Jaipaul
Class of 2011 Salutatorian (second to the valedictorian)

Jaipaul emigrated with his family from Guyana to New York City in 1994, at age eight. On the day they arrived, he had his first encounter with snow – they landed in a blizzard. “My family instilled in me that hard work, determination and making education a top priority were key to becoming successful in this country,” says Jaipaul, who is graduating with a grade point average of 3.951 out of a possible 4.0. “I wasn’t praised or promised new toys if I received good grades; it was just what was expected of me.”

Lots of blue skies are ahead for Jaipaul – immediately after receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer systems technology, he will start his job as an application developer in Goldman Sachs’ Equities Trading Division. “When I started college, I thought I just had to make A’s to be successful,” reflects Jaipaul. “But thanks to my mentors at City Tech, I came to see that getting high grades wasn't enough.”

His mentors encouraged him to conduct research at Columbia University’s NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and at City College’s NOAA-CREST Optical Remote Sensing Lab. Jaipaul, an honors scholar and Black Male Initiative (BMI) student, received Peter F. Vallone and NSF S-STEM scholarships. He has given back by working with the BMI and Science & Technology Scholars Program to mentor students, and this past year was a First Year Learning Community peer advisor.


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