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May 15, 2022

Commencement Ceremony, Keynote Speaker Announced


On Thursday, May 19, St. Francis College (SFC) will hold commencement exercises for approximately 500 students. These members of the class of 2022 represent the last cohort of students who will have completed the entirety of their studies at the 180 Remsen Street campus in Brooklyn Heights, where the College has been based since 1963. Over the summer, it will move to a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility in Downtown Brooklyn.

The midday ceremony — during which SFC will honor students who are candidates for associate’s, bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate or master’s degrees — will take place at the Coney Island Amphitheater and be livestreamed for remote viewing. President Miguel Martinez-Saenz will be among the SFC leaders addressing students, faculty, family members and other invitees. Jennifer Lancaster, Ph.D., Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, will read aloud candidates’ names and present awards. Formally welcoming guests to the Coney Island Amphitheater will be students Ayah Badawy and Jenna Slevin.

Dr. Hakim Williams will deliver the keynote address. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Williams is the inaugural Daria L. and Eric J. Wallach Professor and Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Gettysburg College, where he is an associate professor in the department of Africana studies. He holds a B.A. in psychology, with honors, from St. Francis College, as well as an M.A., M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. His research centers on structural violence in schools, educational inequities, youth and community empowerment, and cross-national solidarity building.

“At St. Francis College, we commit to educating students who go on to make a positive impact in the world and lead lives of service to others. Hakim’s example should serve as inspiration for every student and graduate who wants to find a way to make society more equitable and just,” said President Martinez-Saenz. “We are honored to have him speak at this year’s Commencement.”

Antonina Horzov
, a candidate for a B.S./M.S. in accounting, will deliver the valedictory address. “Antonina’s résumé and scholastic achievements are impressive. This and her record of service to the SFC community and beyond set her apart from her peers and earned her the honor of being named valedictorian,” noted Dr. Lancaster. Born and raised in Ukraine, Horzov acknowledged, “It is the honor of a lifetime to be named valedictorian and, in light of all that is going on in my homeland, it will be doubly meaningful.”

Among the candidates receiving degrees will be the first one to obtain a B.S. in exercise and movement science, the College’s first fully online degree program. In addition, nine students will be the first to have completed the one-year post-baccalaureate certificate in childhood education (grades 1-6), also in a fully remote format. “Both programs were developed as part of SFC’s strategic plan to introduce distance-education offerings and are tailored to individuals — those with a job or family commitment — whose life situation may make in-person college untenable,” related Gale Gibson-Gayle, Ph.D., Assistant Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate and Online Programs.

Spring 2022 commencement exercises will follow strict health and safety protocols, including requiring those in attendance to provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show either a negative PCR test result within 72 hours or a negative antigen test within 24 hours. Attendees should be prepared to show a government-issued I.D. upon entry. Mask-wearing will be optional.

Spring 2022 Commencement at a Glance

: Honoring approximately 500 students who are candidates for associate’s, bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate or master’s degrees

When: Thursday, May 19, 2022
12 p.m. EDT

Where: Coney Island Amphitheater
3052 West 21st Street
Brooklyn, NY

Livestream: Available on YouTube.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Hakim Williams ’02

Valedictorian: Antonina Horzov

Student Speakers: Ayah Badawy and Jenna Slevin

Members of the Media: Email [email protected] to arrange coverage or to request interviews, images or video.

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