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January 28, 2010

Winter Graduates Celebrate 2010 Commencement

Diverse Groups of Students Set for Today’s Unique Challenges

The first graduating class of the new decade proudly marched into the St. Francis College Genovesi Center, Thursday, January 28 as a full house of friends and family looked on for the 2010 Winter Commencement. (Watch Winter Commencement)

With a message of dreams fulfilled and the importance of crossing bridges to reach a better future, Lila Vaseva, the Commencement Speaker offered an optimistic talk about the good that can happen when you leave behind a comfortable situation to work for something new. “Imagine your future; it’s dazzling, because above all else here at St. Francis we have learned how to learn. In this very moment one dream that was born years ago has come true.”

Lila, originally from Bulgaria, was a double major in Political Science and Economics with a concentration in Finance. Determined to leave behind her home in Sofia, Bulgaria and not continue her education on the same streets where she went to High School, Lila enrolled at St. Francis College. She was actively involved in a number of clubs; including President of the Eastern European Club and a member of the Economics Society, the Finance Club and the Model U.N Club. Lila offered special thanks to Political Science Professors Marianne Sennick and Department Chair Paddy Quick as well as others. In addition to her studies, Lila also worked for two years in the Insurance and Risk Management department of National Grid, an internship she found through the College’s Career Center.

A new addition to the ceremony was a musical number by the Voxare String Quarter, which performed Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703 by Franz Schubert. Voxare also played for the crowd as the students entered the room during the processional.

“Our Winter Commencement Ceremony has become a welcome addition for many of our graduates,” said St. Francis College President Brendan J. Dugan ’68. “The students really appreciate the intimacy of the celebration and the fact that more of their friends and family can attend than at the spring ceremony. It also reflects the flexibility students have in being able to complete their coursework at multiple times during the year, not just in May.”

Among the other graduates are:

Matt Pavone, a Communications Major with a concentration in Film & Broadcasting, was also inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, a National Communication Association Honor Society. He attended St. Francis with the assistance of a St. Clare scholarship, rewarding him for his excellent work in the classroom. Matt has produced various freelance projects including a corporate video and music video and has completed a cinematography reel as he pursues more production jobs. He is also completing a comedic screenplay that he began while still a student and continues to focus on time in front of the camera as well. “St. Francis provided me with a flexible platform for creative videography. I now have a unique portfolio I'm proud of,” said Matt. You can watch some of his short films on his Matt Pavone’s Vimeo site.

Nathalie Lamberto, a Psychology Major who now works part time in the New York State Attorney General’s Office as a student mediator in the Bureau of Consumer Fraud and Protection. “The sense of community that I felt through the faculty and my peers at St. Francis College made my college experience unparalleled,” said Nathalie. “My professors were always accessible to help me thrive academically and professionally. My friends were always around to make me laugh and create lasting memories. If I could relive my college years all over again, I would certainly choose St. Francis College.” Nathalie was a member of the St. Francis College St. Thomas More Pre-Law Society, the Government and Politics Club and was inducted into Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honors Society. She earned a full-tuition Endowed Scholarship for her excellent work in the classroom while at St. Francis and is now waiting to hear from Law Schools about her applications.

Jean Baptiste Joseph, a Health Promotions/Health Sciences Major originally from Haiti, and a member of the St. Francis College Men’s Soccer team. Before beginning a career as a Health Educator in Health Management or Public Health, Jean Baptiste hopes to play professional soccer in France for a few years. However, the earthquake in Haiti is having a direct affect on his life. In addition to concern for his friends and family still on the island, he is also trying to locate his soccer agent.

Valerie Romeo, a Childhood Education Major with a concentration in Math. "When I first started, like most freshmen students, I was undecided as to what path to take. With the help and guidance of the late Brother Thomas O’Neil and the experience of studying abroad, I not only embarked on one of the most beautiful journeys, but I “found myself,” said Valerie who was also part of the Education Society. "From that point on, it was my passion to become a teacher and guide future students in their journey through life. My professors have given me all of the methods as well as real-life experiences I will need to succeed in the classroom and I could not be any more grateful." Valerie plans to work towards a Master's Degree in Literacy at Alfred University. "When I think back to my time at SFC, I will be reminded of nothing more than the wonderful people that surrounded me, the well-rounded education I received, and most importantly, the person it has shaped me to be today."

St. Francis College English Professor Gregory Tague delivered the Commencement address. He told an allegorical story of two people at a law firm, stressing how the most important thing you can do is to “make the world a better place not just for yourself, but for others.” Professor Tague has earned various grants from The New York Council for the Humanities and St. Francis College. He serves on the Editorial Board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, acts as a peer-review referee for College Literature and the D.H. Lawrence Review, has served on the Board of The D.H. Lawrence Society of North America and publishes The Association for the Study of Ethical Behavior in Literature Journal. Dr. Tague was also awarded honorary membership in the Duns Scotus Honor Society and inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honor society. He has authored and edited numerous books including: as author, Ethos And Behavior: The English Novel from Jane Austen to Henry James (Academica Press, 2008); as editor, Pain and Memory: Reflections on the Strength of the Human Spirit in Suffering (Editions Bibliotekos, 2010); and as author, Character And Consciousness (Academica Press 2005).

As with past commencements, friends and family who were unable to attend watched the event live, online through the St. Francis College website at where a replay of the commencement is still available.

Photo: (Graduating Students from the Class of 2010, Commencement Speaker Lila Vaseva)

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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