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May 16, 2013

Giant Justin Tuck Challenges SFC Grads to &Quot;champion a Cause"

2013 Commencement Message: “What Cause Will You Champion?”

New York Giant All-Pro Linebacker Justin Tuck challenged the more than 400 St. Francis College graduates as the keynote speaker at the College’s Spring 2013 Commencement, May 14 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (Watch the speeches / Watch the graduates)

“Champion a cause. Mine is literacy. Yours might be hunger, poverty, diseases,” Tuck told the packed crowd inside the Howard Gilman Opera House. “It has to be something outside of you, it has to be something that brings joy to somebody else and I guarantee this, if you do that, that will be a true success.”

Tuck, whose foundation Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy raises money for books and reading materials in New York City and Central Alabama, was award an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

The Class of 2013 Valedictorian, Josephine Pagliughi ‘13, thanked her professors and past teachers for inspiring her and putting her on the path to success. She told her classmates that she wasn’t always a serious student and it was only after the prodding of a high school teacher that she committed to her studies. Having just completed the College’s five year Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program in Accounting with a perfect 4.0 GPA, she offered proof that, “We can all do great things when we apply ourselves.” After graduation, Pagliughi will sit for her CPA exam and has accepted a position with O'Connor Davies LLP which will begin in the fall.

Marilyn Gelber, President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation was also awarded an honorary degree, affirming what Justin Tuck previously said about helping other, “I want you to know sincerely that from what I’ve learned, a life of service to others really is a wonderful life.”

Another doctorate, intended for Dominick P. DePaola, DDS, Ph.D. '64, a leader in the fields of dentistry and nutrition, was awarded posthumously to his widow Rosemarie, after the recent, sudden death of Dr. DePaola.

Other students graduating this year:

Rajko Kisdobranski ’13, a double major in Information Technology and Mathematics has been accepted into the prestigious Computer Science MSc program at ETH Zurich. Kisdobranski, whose brother Filip ’10 graduated from St. Francis and now works at Deutsche Bank in London, will be combining both majors seamlessly as he focuses his graduate work on Information Security which is very math-intensive.

Nicole Terzulli ’13, who will receive a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting, also majored in Management with a concentration in Finance, and held a Minor in Economics. Upon graduation she will begin working at a large global investment bank.

Outside of the classroom, Nicole was a member of the Duns Scotus Honor Society, the International Economics Honor Society and the Economics Club. "Being involved in extracurricular activities helped build my leadership capabilities; it also taught me how to be a team player," said Terzulli. "The challenges I faced helped prepare me for my internship and job interviews."

Zara Mahmud ’13, a Communication Arts Major with a concentration in Advertising, will be attending Emerson College next year in an accelerated program to pursue a Master’s Degree in Global Marketing, Communications and Advertising. She is President of the Duns Scotus Honor Society as well as the St. Francis College Honors Program and the Film Appreciation Society. She is also an active member of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communications Honors Society.

Political Science Majors: It was also a good year for the College’s Political Science Majors. Sarah Darwish ‘13 will be attending law school at Columbia University while Ginna Barrios ‘13 received an impressive scholarship to attend law school at Hofstra University. Other students are still deciding on which graduate program to attend.

Justin Tuck

Playing defensive end for the New York Giants, Justin Tuck has emerged as the leader and face of a defense that consistently finishes among the league’s best. Captain of the Giants’ defense, Tuck has helped propel the Giants to two Super Bowls victories and is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. A graduate of Notre Dame University, Tuck has been named to the Pro-Bowl squad two times and was recently named as one of the Top 100 Players in the NFL.

Outside of football, Tuck’s philanthropic passion is helping children overcome illiteracy. He and his wife Lauran have developed Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy for the children in his hometown community in Alabama, as well as children in New York and New Jersey. Tuck’s program donates money and thousands of new books to underserved children to help instill the ideals of reading at an early age. Tuck is also a member of Ronnie Lott’s All Stars Helping Kids. In furthering his passion for literacy, Tuck penned his first children’s book, “Home-Field Advantage” in 2011.

Marilyn Gelber
Marilyn Gelber is the President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only community foundation focused exclusively on Brooklyn. With the motto “Do Good Right Here” the Brooklyn Community Foundation provides a unique philanthropic vehicle for giving back to Brooklyn. Before creating the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Ms. Gelber was the first Executive Director of Independence Community Foundation, which made more than $70 million in grants before its conversion to the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Prior to entering the field of philanthropy, Ms. Gelber was a partner in her own planning and environmental consulting firm. This followed 28 years in the public sector as an urban planner, environmental strategist and administrator. Ms. Gelber was the first woman Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Borough President of Brooklyn, and Director of Neighborhood Strategy Planning for the New York City Department of City Planning.

In 2001-2002, Ms. Gelber served as the Brooklyn member of the New York City Planning Commission, and was the New York City Comptroller’s appointee to the New York City Procurement Policy Board. She was a Mayoral appointee to the New York City Water Board, and was the founding chair of the Committee on Foundations of the Community Bankers Association of New York State, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Philanthropy New York where she chaired the City Connect Committee.

A life-long resident of New York City, Marilyn Gelber and her family are residents of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Dominick P. DePaola, DDS, Ph.D. '64
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Dominick P. DePaola received a B.S. degree from St. Francis College in 1964 and a D.D.S. degree from New York University in 1969. Following dental school, Dr. DePaola completed a general dentistry internship at Beth Abraham Hospital in New York City. Subsequently, Dr. DePaola earned a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1983, Dr. DePaola was appointed dean of the Dental School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, before being appointed Dean of the New Jersey Dental School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. During his tenure in San Antonio, Dr. DePaola also served as the Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. DePaola held the position of President and Dean of the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas for six years at which time the College merged with The Texas A&M University System. Dr. DePaola is Past President of The Texas A&M University System Baylor College of Dentistry.

Dr. DePaola was also President Emeritus of The Forsyth Institute in Boston, where he served for ten years as President and CEO. Most recently, he was Professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Professor and Academic Dean at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale.

Dr. DePaola passed away on April 16.

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