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April 27, 2018

Charter Day Celebrates Student Scholarship

Honors for Nick Allard (Brooklyn Law School), Saudia Davis (GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning) & Retiring Accounting Professor Geoffrey Horlick

A surprise honor for retiring Accounting Professor Geoffrey Horlick was one of the highlights of St. Francis College's 134th Charter Day Convocation held April 27, 2018. A National Grid Scholarship and Internship was named for Dr. Horlick, who is retiring after 38 years of teaching and helping thousands of students find jobs in the accounting profession.

(Watch the Charter Day Convocation)

Among the other students recognized at the ceremony, were the new class of the Duns Scotus Honor Society, inducted by President Quynh Dang '19. In addition, recipients of the Class of 2018 Academic Awards were recognized for the first time at Charter Day. The College also honored faculty, administrators and staff who have served at St. Francis for 15 and 25 years.

The Keynote Speaker was Nicholas Allard, President and Joseph Crea Dean at Brooklyn Law School. Dean Allard implored students "to be heroes, to be teachers, and to be civil."

"This is your opportunity to step up and take on responsibility for the imperfect world in which we live, and that your children will, in turn, inherit. You can remind us of the classic qualities of the heroes we long have admired, such as selflessness, courage, modesty, respect, and adherence to core principles," said Dean Allard, pointing to movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Time's Up as examples of how ordinary citizens have fought to take back control of their lives.

The St. Francis College Entrepreneurship Award was awarded to Saudia Davis, Founder and CEO of GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning. After the death of her grandmother from long-term exposure to toxic cleaning supplies, Davis left behind a life as a movie publicist to create a cleaning company that avoids the use of harmful chemicals.

"My one recommendations is to fail quickly. Put yourself out there... there's a lot to learn in failure," said Davis, who stressed the value that entrepreneurs bring to communities by employing local workers and helping create a sense of stability.

The National Grid Scholarship and Internship awards were presented by Carol Decina '03, Manager of Community & Customer Management at National Grid. Decina is one of the more than 100 St. Francis graduates who went on to work at National Grid and its predecessors Brooklyn Union and KeySpan. This is the 12th year these scholarships have been awarded.

national grid honors

The Dr. Geoffrey Horlick award was given to Tonya Fletcher '21. An award named for former Executive Vice President June McGrisken '76 was given to Joya Kairouz '19 while two other National Grid Scholarships and Internships were awarded to George Baroudas '19 and PeiJi Chen '20.

Charter Day commemorates May 8, 1884, the day the Legislature of the State of New York granted an official Charter to the Board of Trustees of St. Francis Monastery allowing the College to formally award degrees to students. The St. Francis Academy was founded almost thirty years earlier in 1859 by two Franciscan Brothers who were sent to Brooklyn from Ireland with the mission of educating the borough's working class people.

Duns Scotus Honor Society Inductees

Founded in 1935, the Duns Scotus Society is named for the Blessed Duns Scotus, a Franciscan scholar and champion of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. Election to membership in the Society is based on scholastic standing, participation in extracurricular activities, evidence of loyalty to the ideals of St. Francis College and demonstration of a true Franciscan spirit.

Duns Scotus Inductees

  • Alexander Forrest Baum '18
  • Diana Chaimov '18
  • Emma L. Gaffney '18
  • Kyle-Vincent C. Ogaban '18
  • Sook M. Porras '18
  • Sabina Redzepagic '18
  • Mary Jane Anderson '19
  • Melissa Marie Gonzalez '19
  • Maria C. Palarino '19
  • Arhontisa A. Sartzetakis '19
  • Dana Kate Direnzo '20

duns scotus

Honorary Duns Scotus Inductees

  • Allen Burdowski, Ph.D., Director, Pre-Health Professions Program & Dean of Sciences
  • Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., 19th President of St. Francis College

Class of 2018 Academic Awards

  • Mary A. Ledermann Purse for Women in Accounting: Mirsada Dzaferovic
  • Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy/ Catholic Accountants Guild Award: Keith Wiley
  • Academic Excellence Award in Accounting - BS/MS Degree: Melissa Jagdharry
  • Academic Excellence in Accounting – BS Degree: James Hay
  • Academic Excellence in Accounting - MS Degree: Martin Joksimovikj
  • Service Award in Accounting: Wanda Guevares
  • Bro. Jerome Roese, OSF Memorial Medal for Excellence in Biology: Diana Chaimov
  • Bro. Urban Gonnoud, OSF Memorial Purse for Excellence in Business Management: Laura Toth
  • Dr. Stanley S. Willing Award for Excellence in Business Management: Stefan Ivanovic
  • Thomas J. Cuite Sr. Award for Excellence in Communication Arts: Valerie Kaufmann
  • Lynne Jackson, Ph.D. Award for Excellence in Communication Arts: Pascale Zamor
  • Gerard F. Doyle Memorial Award for Excellence in Economics: Aidi Qyqja
  • Bro. Celestin McGarry, OSF Memorial Purse for Excellence in English: Abanobe Barsoum & Alexandra Resnick
  • Irving R. Gelfand Medal for Excellence in Health Care Management: Erica Park
  • John C. Gorman '38 Medal for Excellence in History: Meaghan Vaughan
  • Dr. Louis H. Primavera Medal for Excellence in Psychology: Alexis Vazquez
  • Uwe P. Gielen, Ph.D. Award for Excellence in Psychology: Monica Murray
  • Medal for Excellence in Political Science: James Clinton
  • Medal for Excellence in Education: Justine Colon
  • Award for Excellence in Information Technology: Muataz Ahmad
  • Bro. Camillus Casey, OSF Memorial Award for Excellence in International Cultural Studies: Valerie Kaufmann
  • Melissa Sanchez Memorial Purse for Excellence in Health Promotion: Sasha Dastine
  • Award for Excellence in Mathematics: Annais Grace Cummiskey
  • Nursing Leadership Award: Hannah Berger & Megan Kuehne
  • Francis X. Slade Medal for Excellence in Philosophy: Joseph Faulkner

Pax et Bonum Medal

Instituted by the Board of Trustees and named from one of the earliest greetings of St. Francis of Assisi, this medal recognizes and honors those members of the faculty who have completed 15 or 25 years or more of dedicated, loyal preeminent service at St. Francis College. "Peace and Goodness" is a simple yet meaningful expression of the objective of Franciscan educators.

15 years

  • Mostaque Aimed, Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Mathematics
  • Gerard Davidson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics
  • Athena B. Devlin, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English
  • Alexandria M. Egler, Ph.D., Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies
  • James P. Fazio, Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Management
  • Wendy W. Galgan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English
  • Marlon A. Seaton, Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Mathematics
  • Corinne Smolizza, Lecturer, Department of Information Technology

25 years

  • Renee Goodstein, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology

President's Award

The President's Award was instituted in 1972 to honor non-instructional personnel and the significant contribution they make to St. Francis College. The award recognizes administration and staff who have 15 years and 25 years of meritorious service.

15 years

  • Maria T. Blandino, Director of Financial Services, Student Financial Services Department
  • Melissa A. Duron, Accounting Supervisor, Finance Department
  • Naomi L. Kinley, Director of Career Development, Career Development Department
  • Kevin S. O'Rourke, Vice President, Facilities Management and Capital Projects, Facilities Management Department

25 years

  • James W. Hoffman, Compliance Officer, Athletics Department

Charter Day commemorates May 8, 1884, the day the Legislature of the State of New York granted an official Charter to the Board of Trustees of St. Francis Monastery allowing the College to formally award degrees to students. The St. Francis Academy was founded almost thirty years earlier in 1859 by two Franciscan Brothers who were sent to Brooklyn from Ireland with the mission of educating the borough's working class people.


Nicholas W. Allard is President and Joseph Crea Dean, and Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. Under his leadership, the Law School has experienced dynamic changes to prepare students for a rapidly changing legal field. These initiatives include the accelerated two-year J.D. program; the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), which builds on Brooklyn's emergence as a global center for high-tech entrepreneurship; and Business Boot Camp, the popular winter session program offering students intensive training in the basics of the business world. The Law School also instituted a 15 percent tuition reduction and launched the Bridge to Success program to support graduates in their job search, as part of a comprehensive package of initiatives to make legal education more affordable and more accessible.

Nick began his legal career after graduating from Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar) and Yale Law School. He was a law clerk in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., worked on Capitol Hill for the late Senators Edward Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and was a partner at Latham & Watkins for over a decade, where he chaired the firm's Government Relations Group before joining Patton Boggs. Nick is the recipient of multiple honors and awards for his work. He has served on numerous academic boards, taught at several law schools, and published scholarly articles on a broad range of issues, including Internet law, new media, and privacy. At Brooklyn Law School he teaches courses on Government Advocacy, Privacy Law in a Digital World, and Introduction to Legal Process.

He received his JD from Yale Law School and holds a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a Rhodes Scholar and holds an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.

Saudia Davis

A longtime supporter of the St. Francis College Center for Entrepreneurship, Saudia Davis is using her business skills to do well but also to do good. Her company, GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, works one home or office at a time to keep things clean, without using harmful chemicals.

Ms. Davis switched careers from movie publicist to Eco-Cleaning after her grandmother died from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals.

A true entrepreneur, in addition to running GreenHouse, she also contributes to HGTV Magazine, writes blogs for the Huffington Post and has been featured in numerous publications and on TV. Ms. Davis' contributions go beyond the business world, she also has sat on New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Small Business and MWBE Subcommittees, and was an active member of the White House Business Council.

In addition to helping St. Francis students at our Center for Entrepreneurship, she also volunteers to help public school students with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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