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May 18, 2011

Cbs 2 Anchor Maurice Dubois and Kenneth R. Feinberg Each Receive Honorary Degree at Spring 2011 Commencement

The balconies of the Howard Gilman Opera House were bursting with pride at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) as more than 350 members of the St. Francis College Class of 2011 celebrated their graduation May 18.

CBS 2 news anchor Maurice DuBois delivered a motivating commencement speech detailing some of his career highs and lows. He said that among all the stories he’s covered over the years, one of the most powerful was following Wesley Autry, the man who jumped onto subway tracks to save a person having a seizure. DuBois said that while we all cannot and should not jump onto the tracks, “all he did was help a person in need and we can all do that.”

DuBois, the anchor of the CBS 2 5:00 and 11:00pm news, has won several journalism and community awards, including four Emmys. He’s also been honored by The Associated Press and The New York Association of Black Journalists, which recognized him with a Trailblazer Award. He serves on three non-profit boards: PENCIL, Susan G. Komen for the Cure/NYC, and NY City Center and annually serves as the emcee of the Alive in Hope’s Bishop’s Christmas Luncheon which raises scholarship resources for children in the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

He offered four basic principles for the graduates to follow, things he has learned through personal experience; “thinking before you talk; setting an example for your family; always having a Plan B and serving your community. I’m here to tell you it all works.”

St. Francis awarded Mr. DuBois an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters as well as a Doctor of Laws to Kenneth R. Feinberg, former Special Master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund each with. Mr. Feinberg proudly accepted his degree.

“I’m not sure all of you graduates fully appreciated the reputation of this gem of a school,” said Mr. Feinberg. “It goes way beyond this borough. It goes down to Washington and around the country. And for me now to be given this honorary degree from this great school, this gem, means a tremendous amount to me.”

Mr. Feinberg presided over the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund where he was responsible for setting up the process to evaluate applications, determine appropriate compensation and disseminate awards to victims and their families. Mr. Feinberg also was recently designated by the Obama Administration and British Petroleum (BP) to serve as Administrator for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in response to the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Because of a series of hazardous winter storms in January, St. Francis was forced to cancel Winter Commencement and invite those graduates to the spring ceremony. That meant two valedictorians took the stage; winter valedictorian Robert de Gannes, a Communication Arts major with a concentration in Advertising and spring valedictorian, Chandra Persaud, also a Communications Arts major with a concentration in Advertising and a minor in Sociology.

Spring valedictorian, Chandra Persaud ’11, who moved to New York from Guyana when she was two, thanked her parents for instilling in her the value and importance of a quality education. “Like many other immigrant families, they viewed America as a place to accomplish what seemed impossible in the country in which they were born.” She made the most of that opportunity, maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA while also interning in the Web Strategy Department at National Grid for the last year. Chandra intends to go to graduate school in the near future, but will first test the waters of the job market to gain work experience.

January valedictorian Robert de Gannes ‘11 returned from Trinidad and offered a Salutation at the spring ceremony. He recently began working as chief digital officer of Tribal DDB Caribbean, a full suite digital advertising agency. De Gannes said he was surprised when told he earned the winter accolade because he enjoyed himself so much in Brooklyn. He thanked one of his final teachers for offering him valuable advice during one of his more stressful times. “He said to me, Robert, always remember work never dies, humans do. Make sure that you enjoy your life.”

On the eve of Commencement, hundreds of graduates as well as their friends and families flocked to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brooklyn Heights where the Bishop of Brooklyn, Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass. Attendees in the packed pews were also treated to an organ concert by St. Francis Professor Michael Kaminski.

Other graduates include:

Angelica Terepka and Christina Turcoane
These two graduates of the class of 2011 have spent the last four years together studying at St. Francis as well as overseas on a program that took them across Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The two also earned a trip on the St. Francis sponsored pilgrimage to Assisi where they spent New Year’s Eve this past winter. Both Angelica and Christina are Psychology majors, members of the Duns Scotus Honor Society and graduated Summa Cum Laude. They have both been accepted to Clinical Psychology doctorate programs; Angelica at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Christina at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.

Bono Lee
Bono transferred to St. Francis College and earned both a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. He is also a member of the Duns Scotus Honor Society and graduates Summa Cum Laude. He recently completed an internship at National Grid and will begin his career working as an assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Bono is one of more than 20 students graduating from the Accounting Master’s program. Others include Felisha Kernizan and Anthony Englese who will be joining him at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deirdre Turner, who will be working at Ernst & Young and Andre Perez, who was hired by Deloitte.

“This is our fourth class of graduate students from the Accounting program,” said St. Francis President Brendan J. Dugan ‘68. “And I am proud to say that as each class grows, their success in finding jobs, even in a tough economy, has not only kept pace but has gotten even more diverse. They are among the best ambassadors from our small college of big dreams.”

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