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January 7, 2014

SFC Celebrates Winter Graduates

St. Francis College is pleased to host the 2014 Winter Commencement for College graduates from the past summer and fall semesters at St. Charles Borromeo Church on Wednesday January 15, beginning with a Baccalaureate Mass at 2:00pm, followed by the Winter Commencement Ceremony at 3:00pm.

The valedictorian for the January class is Rania Joudeh, a Math Education major with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Rania transferred to St. Francis from Kingsborough Community College after a fortuitous meeting between her father and St. Francis President Brendan J. Dugan '68. During their conversation President Dugan suggested that Rania contact him directly to learn more about the College. She says she was a little hesitant sending an email to the president of a college, but she did and was introduced to Lisa Randazzo in the Office of Admissions. "Lisa did all she could to make transferring as easy as possible, she's amazing," said Rania.

Rania also points to Education professors Richard Giaquinto and Peter Leibman '71 and Mathematics professors Erez Shochat '97, Eric Malijan and Arthur DiClementi '66 for their support, inspiration, and patience during her time at St. Francis. Joudeh will be teaching next year at I.S. 228 David A. Boody in Gravesend, Brooklyn while also going to graduate school to earn her Master's degree and possibly a Ph.D. She says she also may one day go back to school to take up another one of her passions, Accounting.

valedictorian rania joudeh

Offering the Winter Commencement will be Assistant Dean of Freshman Studies Monica Michalski ’01. Michalski is tasked with the crucial role at St. Francis College of helping new students adapt and adjust to life in college. Under her tutelage, the Department of Freshman Studies has succeeded in raising retention rates for students, in part because of the mandatory course, SFC 1001. SFC 1001 is a one credit course that teaches time and stress management, success strategies, how to search for a major and a career, as well as where to get help while at St. Francis. Michalski also oversees Project Access which is designed to nurture and support academically underprepared freshmen by putting them on a realistic path to academic success.

Bro. Owen Sadlier will be offering the Benediction and receiving an Honorary Degree in celebration of his retirement after teaching for 15 years as a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Among the students graduating in January are:

Mohammed Ali ‘14, a Communication Arts Major, is going straight from graduation to the ZenithOptimedia Media Trainee Program, an important stepping stone in landing a job with the marketing company. At St. Francis, Ali was president of the Make a Difference club, treasurer of the Student Government for 2 years and worked in Special Events, helping out various departments including Student Activities, Career Development, and Freshman Studies. Ali earned four awards at last year’s student recognition event, the Bene Merenti Award (for biggest improvement in GPA), the JFK/MLK award for participation in activities, the Emerging Student Leader award, and the Franciscan Spirit award. “I loved my time here,” said Ali. “I found a small community environment in a big city, met great people, made great friends, and found great mentors.”

Slavica Stefanovic ’14 was a member of the St. Francis Women’s Volleyball team for two years. A transfer student from Belgrade, Serbia, Slavica helped form the core of a team that won the second most games of any Terrier team in the past nine seasons. With a 3.9 GPA, a major in Communication Arts, and a minor in Business, Slavica is heading to Paris to earn a Master’s Degree at the Sorbonne University. She was also a member of the Eastern European Club and says, “being an international student is not always easy, and the St Francis community helped me overcome cultural differences and made me feel at home. I am really happy I got to be a part of St Francis family and I am really thankful for all the support from my mentors, coaches, professors and peers.”

Those unable to attend commencement will be able to watch a full replay on the St. Francis website ( shortly after the event.

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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