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"Fox News" featured Haub Law Professor Margot Pollans in "What is the farm bill? From food stamps to conservation efforts, a look at the massive legislation"

05/15/2018

"Fox News" featured Haub Law Professor Margot Pollans in "What is the farm bill? From food stamps to conservation efforts, a look at the massive legislation"

...What is the farm bill?

A complicated omnibus package, the farm bill, at its core, regulates agriculture production in the U.S. In particular, it tackles how produce is grown, what it costs and how American agriculture exists in the international food arena, Dr. Marion Nestle, a well-known New York University food nutritionist, told Fox News.

The goals of the farm bill have changed over time, from having more of a focus on a safety net for farmers to including protection from hunger, said Margot Pollans, a Pace University law professor and member of the Farm Bill Enterprise.

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"Inside Higher Ed" featured Elizabeth Haub School of Law Professor Darren Rosenblum in "Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise"

05/11/2018

"Inside Higher Ed" featured Elizabeth Haub School of Law Professor Darren Rosenblum in "Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise"

...Though the reaction to Logan’s ban was relatively warm, Darren Rosenblum, a professor at the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, said he had not had experienced such a positive reaction from students for a similar policy.

Rosenblum, who has banned technology in his classes for about five years, said that students frequently ask for exceptions, saying that they have “always taken notes on a laptop,” or that their “handwriting is horrible.”

But Rosenblum tells his students that note taking by hand is an important skill for lawyers, who might not be allowed to bring laptops into hearings. Additionally, Rosenblum says, he has noticed that students are easily distracted by their neighbors’ screens. For students with disabilities, the law school at Pace pays for professional note takers, whom (if they use a laptop) Rosenblum asks to sit near the back of the class so as not to distract other students.

Both Rosenblum and John Craven, associate professor of education at Fordham University, praised Logan’s scientific approach to trialing a ban.

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"ABC News" featured Dyson adjunct Professor Jennifer Powell-Lunder in "What parents and teachers can do to not make the 7th grade the worst ever"

05/11/2018

"ABC News" featured Dyson adjunct Professor Jennifer Powell-Lunder in "What parents and teachers can do to not make the 7th grade the worst ever"

..."In sixth grade, they coddle them. In eighth grade, they are getting ready to go to high school so they are really elevated," said Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor at Pace University in New York. "In seventh grade, no one really cares. You're thrown to the wolves. They really are in such an in-between age."

Parents of seventh-graders likely expect their kids to step up, too, and they are usually surprised when they don't -- or don't even seem to care.

"It's the age of snarky," Powell-Lunder said. "They tend to be more irritable, kind of touchy. They don’t believe they are a reflection of their parents, but that their parents are a reflection of them."

That means the potential for their parents to embarrass them in front of their almighty peers is at an all-time high. It's because kids at this developmental stage put more weight into what their peers think and where they fit in.

Give them autonomy, not independence

At the same time, teens and tweens still crave structure and boundaries, Powell-Lunder said.

They may be looking for more autonomy from their parents, but they are not yet ready to be fully independent. Setting limits, especially when it comes to technology, is important, she said.

"A lot of time parents want to be the 'nice' parent, but kids need rules," Powell-Lunder said.

Boundary-setting starts with knowing your child and what their individual needs are, as well as acknowledging that those needs change as they get older, Fox said.

"Mom and dad have to take a closer look at the children sitting in front of them," she said. "They are changing so rapidly. If you don’t keep up, you won’t know how to communicate or listen to them."

Don't try to fix everything

With rules, come consequences. Both Fox and Powell-Lunder said parents have to let their middle-schoolers fail sometimes.

"Let them take responsibility for being a full-time student," Fox said. "That’s a contract between student and teacher -- unless you’re planning to go to college with them."

"Be supportive but don't try to fix everything," Powell-Lunder said.

"Over-functioning parents will raise under-functioning kids," Fox added.

Practice what you preach

Kids at this age are also learning a lot by observing the adults around them.

Be careful what you're modeling to your kids, whether it's screaming and yelling or being tethered to your smartphone.

"Show you have more self-control than your son or daughter," Fox said.

Powell-Lunder tells teachers: "Teach by example."

Organization helps

At a time when kids seem the most disorganized, being organized seems to count the most.

Powell-Lunder, who is a big believer in the "K-8" model because it "smooths out the rough edges," said educators in middle schools need to be more understanding of seventh-graders and teach them the organizational skills they lack. Posting homework in one place certainly helps, she said.

Fox frowns on too much homework because she said it turns some middle school students off from education. This age group still needs time to pursue passions, she said, be with family and just daydream.

Talk less, listen more

Both Powell-Lunder and Fox encourage parents to show more empathy for what their children are going through.

"Ultimately, you want less stress and tension between parent and child, and more compassion and conversation and understanding," Fox said. "They are not getting it from their peers or their own internal monologues where they are putting themselves down. We are just adding to the chorus if all we’re doing is finding fault."

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"MassLive News" featured adjunct Dyson Professor Kency Gilet in "Young, black and Republican: Why this NRA member thinks education is key in the conversation about guns in America"

05/11/2018

"MassLive News" featured adjunct Dyson Professor Kency Gilet in "Young, black and Republican: Why this NRA member thinks education is key in the conversation about guns in America"

MassLive teamed up with Cambridge-based nonprofit Essential Partners to host Guns: An American Conversation, bringing together 15 strangers to share differing viewpoints on gun-related issues as part of an effort to connect and learn.

Kency Gilet hasn't always voted Republican.

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, Gilet was still in college and cast his vote, excited to see the first African-American in office.

"I got really excited about the hope and change and the first black president," Gilet, 30, said. "It was after President Obama was elected I decided to actually start paying attention to politics, and started having my own opinions."

He began to notice that Obama's policies and stances didn't really align with the conservative, religious values he was raised on. He started to see that his views were different than many of his friends.

By Obama's re-election, Gilet said he had been "outed" as a Republican.

"I think the initial shock people get is the fact that I'm a Republican," said Gilet, of Springfield. "It's because I'm black and it's because I'm a mental health professional. I'm an adjunct professor, I was the PTO president for a couple years at my kids' school. In their minds, I'm in a very liberal field. In all these fields, I'm supposed to be nice and like people. How can I be nice and like people and also be a Republican? That's the mental block I think people have."

So as a young, black NRA member who works in the mental health field, Gilet brought a unique perspective to Guns: An American Conversation, an event hosted by MassLive and Cambridge-based Essential Partners that brought 15 strangers together to learn effective skills in communication and discuss guns over 24 hours on May 5.

While Gilet found the Guns: An American Conversation discussion to be productive, he said he didn't walk away feeling like he learned something new or had his eyes opened widely by the other side.  

The group got to know each other on Saturday morning before the real discussion began. A series of activities helped the 15 strangers connect and learn about each other. The group then participated in a two-hour dialogue session focused exclusively on the gun debate in America, with both pro and anti-gun viewpoints supported and expressed.

Last year, Gilet ran for Springfield City Council. It was also the year that he purchased a gun for the first time. 

"I often feel like I'm demonized, and gun owners are demonized, because even though they are among the most law-abiding citizens because of all the background checks and all the things that you have to go through to even get a firearm, I still feel demonized and hear a lot of anti-rhetoric," he said.

But that rhetoric did not rear its head during Guns: An American Conversation.

"I still half expected there to be more high emotions, animosity...It was actually really good. Everyone was respectful. Everyone appeared open to hearing people's viewpoints," said Gilet, a mental health clinician at the River Valley Counseling Center in Holyoke who assists students and staff at the Peck Middle School, as well as being an adjunct professor at Pace University.

But Gilet said he didn't feel like the arguments he heard from those who were more on the side of gun control opened his eyes to something new.

"I always want to learn more. I don't ever want to walk on this Earth ignorant. I want to hear different opinions but I haven't heard anything that I haven't already heard and a lot of the arguments that I heard this weekend were based out of ignorance," Gilet said, noting that he felt people came out of the discussion with the goal of researching more facts associated with the use of firearms.

One statistic he pointed to is the fact that nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in the country are suicides, a fact that is often overlooked in the discussion about guns in America.

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"USA Today" featured Haub Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "AT&T, Novartis face scrutiny over hefty payments to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen"

05/10/2018

"USA Today" featured Haub Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "AT&T, Novartis face scrutiny over hefty payments to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen"

...Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman said the rule on commingling client money is “one of the most keenly enforced rules.”

Both men said the disciplinary committee that polices misconduct by New York lawyers was likely to look into such questions while Cohen remains the subject of a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and the FBI.

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"Westchester County Business Journal" featured Dyson Professor Michelle Land in "Pace Students Walk for Water"

05/10/2018

"Westchester County Business Journal" featured Dyson Professor Michelle Land in "Pace Students Walk for Water"

Pace University in Pleasantville hosted the Westchester Walk for World Water in partnership with the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation student ambassadors. Participating were more than 100 Pace students, staff, faculty, community members and student from local high schools including Bedford, Eastchester, Irvington, Kent Place, Scarsdale, Sleepy Hollow/ Tarrytown and the Hackley School.

Participants walked one mile with large buckets of water on their heads to demonstrate the trek that many women around the world make each day to collect water.

Michelle D. Land director of programming at Pace’s Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, said, “Photos or stories of women and children throughout the developing world traveling miles for water often of terrible quality, in not enough. Our water walk helps Pace students briefly experience what it is like to have to do this every day.”

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"Westchester Magazine" featured Pace University's Health Care in "Pace University Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of University Health Care with New Location"

05/08/2018

"Westchester Magazine" featured Pace University's Health Care in "Pace University Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of University Health Care with New Location"

Pace University Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of University Health Care with New Location

Started in 1977, the University Health Center at Pace was the first nurse-managed academic health care service on a U.S. university campus.  The UHC continues to act as a model for other primary care practices.  The celebration will take place in two parts on April 5 at Pace University.  The conference, discussing the growing role of nurse practitioners in healthcare, will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kessel Student Center, Gottesman Room.  The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 3:45 pm at UHC’s new location at Paton House, Ground Level (Entrance 3).

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"NBC News" featured Dyson Professor of Latin American History Michelle Chase in "Raul Castro's daughter to push for gay marriage in Cuba"

05/08/2018

"NBC News" featured Dyson Professor of Latin American History Michelle Chase in "Raul Castro's daughter to push for gay marriage in Cuba"

Mariela Castro, a Cuban lawmaker and daughter of Communist Party chief Raul Castro, says she will push for same-sex marriage to be included in a constitutional reform process expected to begin in July.

Castro, who made the announcement at a press conference kicking off a week of events leading up to Havana’s annual march against homophobia and transphobia, also spoke of the need for tougher sanctions for anti-LGBTQ violence, according to Latin American news outlet Telesur.

Cuba's constitutional reform is expected to encompass a wide range of modernizing changes to the country's 1976 constitution, which was designed for a Soviet-style command economy. The communist government has been slowly introducing market reforms and trying to encourage more interaction with the global economy.

In the years following the 1959 revolution, which was led by the Castro family, gays and lesbians were fiercely persecuted, according to Michelle Chase, a professor of Latin American history at Pace University and author of “Revolution Within the Revolution,” a book outlining the role of gender politics in Cuba in the 1950s and early ‘60s.

"The Cuban government began a series of initiatives to repress the gay and lesbian community," Chase said, adding that the government "closed down a lot of urban nightlife and bars, barred gays and lesbians from certain professions, such as education, briefly detained gay men in street roundups, and — most notoriously — imprisoned some gay men in forced labor camps.”

While Cuba has ended most of its anti-gay policies and now forbids workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, Chase noted LGBTQ people in the country still face social stigma. When compared to the rest of the Caribbean, however, Chase said Cuba is relatively progressive in terms of LGBTQ acceptance.

"Compared to a country like Jamaica, where hostility or even physical violence toward gay men is common, it’s rare to find open expressions of hostility toward gays and lesbians in Havana," she said.

Samira Hernandez, an openly gay woman whose family fled Cuba nearly four decades ago, applauded Mariela Castro for advocating for same-sex marriage.

“Had I grown up in Cuba as a gay women, I know my life would have been a lot harder due to Cuba’s long history of violence against my community,” Hernandez, who now lives in Houston, told NBC News. “Cubans are ready for change … every Cuban has the right to marry whomever they love, irrespective of gender."

Mariela Castro has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights in Cuba and serves as director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), a Havana-based LGBTQ advocacy and educational organization. She leads the annual march against homophobia and transphobia in Havana, and her status as a staunch supporter for LGBTQ rights was even the subject of the 2016 HBO documentary “Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution.”

Not everyone, however, is applauding Castro’s efforts to legalize same-sex marriage on the island.

“As important as gay marriage would be for LGBTQ people on the island, human rights comes first,” said Heriberto Sosa, president of Miami-based Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, a Latino LGBTQ advocacy organization. “If she really wants to help Cuba, she should fight for freedom of speech, freedom to vote and the welfare of all Cubans.”

Cuba named a new president last month, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and many on the island -- including Mariela Castro -- are hopeful he will be more supportive of LGBTQ rights than previous leaders.

"Mariela Castro's recent statement suggests that she sees this as a time of transition that gives her an opening to press the CENESEX's agenda,” Chase said. “She is hoping to secure Diaz-Canel's backing."

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"Pleasantville Patch" featured student Kelsey Parker in "Pace Student Awarded Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant"

05/08/2018

"Pleasantville Patch" featured student Kelsey Parker in "Pace Student Awarded Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant"

Pace University announced that honors student Kelsey Parker has been selected to receive a Fulbright award to conduct research in Zambia. Parker is a senior majoring in Environmental Science in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace. Her proposed research, "The Effects of Copper Mining on Soil Health in Zambia," will involve a comparative study of the soil ecology of active and restored mine sites in Zambia to determine what is necessary to treat them.

"I'm so happy for and proud of Kelsey," said Pace President Marvin Krislov. "She's an amazing example of the smart, ambitious students we educate at Pace, and this Fulbright award is yet another great opportunity for her to learn and explore. We're excited to see the research she brings back from her studies of soil ecology in Zambia."

While at Pace, Parker has been a part of the Student-Faculty Undergraduate Research Program conducting research with Marcy Kelly, Ph.D., professor and assistant chair of the Department of Biology. "I have watched Kelsey grow from a reserved first-year student living in New York City for the first time to one of the most talented, engaging and courageous students that I have ever worked with," said Professor Kelly. "Kelsey is passionate about what she believes in and puts all of her energies into each endeavor in which she engages. It is not at all surprising that Kelsey was awarded the Fulbright."

"I'm overjoyed and still surprised that I got a Fulbright," said Parker. "I came to Pace from a tiny town in West Virginia, a state with the lowest education attainment levels in the United States, so even graduating was a huge accomplishment. I have to thank Theresa Frey, the Fulbright advisor for Pace for meeting with me and encouraging me so much along the way. I'm looking forward to an exciting year ahead and once I complete my Fulbright I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental science."

After completing her Fulbright, Parker hopes to write her findings in a manuscript, earn a doctorate in conservation biology, and pursue her career goal to combine the above and below ground aspects of plant growth to restore ecosystems.

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Press Release: Pace University Announces Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients: Leaders in Law, Education, the Arts, Business and Philanthropy

05/07/2018

Press Release: Pace University Announces Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients: Leaders in Law, Education, the Arts, Business and Philanthropy

Pace University Announces Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients:

Leaders in Law, Education, the Arts, Business and Philanthropy

James McBride and Irene Sankoff, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and former Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education Carmen Fariña

This year’s commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients at Pace University are driving forces in business, law, philanthropy, education and performing arts. More than 2,000 students will walk in Pace graduation ceremonies at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels this year.

In New York City, former Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education Carmen Fariña will address undergraduates and the creator of Tony-award winning musical “Come from Away,” Irene Sankoff will address graduate students. Both are at the iconic Radio City Music Hall.

In Westchester, current Kings County District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez will address law school graduates and the author of the New York Times best seller, “The Color of Water,” James McBride will address the ceremonies in White Plains.

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University 40th Annual Commencement

WHEN:                      Monday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:                   Pace Law School, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY

SPEAKER:               Eric Gonzalez, Kings County District Attorney

 Westchester Campus Undergraduate Ceremony

WHEN:                      Wednesday, May 16 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:                   861 Bedford Road, Ann and Alfred Goldstein Health and Fitness Center, entrance 3, Pleasantville, NY

 SPEAKER:               James McBride, Award-winning Author, Musician, Screenwriter

New York City Undergraduate Ceremony

WHEN:                      Tuesday, May 22 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:                   Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY

SPEAKER:               Carmen Fariña, retired Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education

Graduate Degree Ceremony

WHEN:                      Tuesday, May 22 at 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:                   Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY

SPEAKER:               Irene Sankoff, Actor, Writer, Lyricist, Composer (creator: “Come From Away”)

Pace Law School Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients:

Eric Gonzalez, Kings County District Attorney

Degree: Doctor of Laws

Eric Gonzalez, JD, District Attorney for Kings County, is this year’s speaker and honorary degree recipient for Pace’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law. This is the school’s 40th commencement ceremony. Gonzalez made history as the first Latino elected to serve as District Attorney in New York State. His efforts have helped propel the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to the forefront of criminal justice reform efforts taking place across the nation. His many professional accomplishments, dedication to the legal profession and administration of justice, and inspiring example to others both within and outside the legal profession.

He is a graduate of the New York City public schools, Cornell­­ University, and the University of Michigan Law School. Gonzalez has made his career as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn DA’s office, Assistant District Attorney to Executive District Attorney, and Counsel. Gonzalez has pursued justice for victims of domestic violence, gang violence, assault, and homicide. The bureaus he led became some of the most successful and productive trial zones in Brooklyn. He brought together precinct commanders, police officers, and citizens, which strengthened relationships between law enforcement and communities. He guided the launch of the Conviction Review Unit, which has become the model for similar efforts around the country.

Honorable Robert G.M. Keating, Senior Advisor to the President, Pace University

Degree: Doctor of Laws

Judge Robert G.M. Keating is an honorary degree recipient for Pace’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law commencement ceremony. Keating has served in a long and accomplished career as a member of the bar and made lasting contributions to Pace University and its Law School. Keating was New York City’s Coordinator of Criminal Justice, a cabinet-level advisor to Mayor Edward Koch. He developed and supervised the Midtown Community Court, the National Association for Court Management. He instituted the Court Health Referral Project, in which defendants received courthouse-based counseling on AIDS, drug abuse, and tuberculosis, recognizing the positive role social services can play in the justice system. Judge Keating had a notable career in the private sector as a partner in a law firm, senior executive vice president of a physician practice management company, and as chairman and CEO of a firm that provided consulting and alternative dispute resolution services. Judge Keating was chosen to lead the New York State Judicial Institute—the first judicial training and research facility in the nation built by and for a state court system, housed on Pace Law’s campus in White Plains. As Dean of the Judicial Institute, he oversaw programs that trained 14,000 judges and 50,000 non-judicial personnel across New York State. As both the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Pace University and an Adjunct Professor at the Law School, Judge Keating has made an important and lasting impact on thousands of Pace students.

He has served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the South Street Seaport Museum, as board member and treasurer of the Fund for the City of New York, and as a member of the board of Citizens Union. Judge Keating earned his JD from Duke University and then began his career as a trial attorney for the Legal Aid Society. He joined the Kings County District Attorney's Office, where he rose through the ranks to become Chief Assistant District Attorney. His initiatives in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office led to one of the nation’s first programs to offer an alternative to prison for drug offenders.

Westchester Undergraduate Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients:

James McBride, Award-winning Author, Musician, Screenwriter

Degree:  Doctor of Humane Letters

James McBride is this year’s honorary degree recipient and speaker for Pace’s Westchester undergraduate commencement ceremony. McBride is a writer, he is a musician, he is a teacher, and he is a native New Yorker. McBride was born and raised in the Red Hook housing projects in Brooklyn, and later St. Albans, Queens. He is the eighth of 12 children. He went to New York City public schools. He graduated from Oberlin College, where he studied music and communications and he also earned a master’s in journalism from Columbia University at age 22. He was a staff writer for the Boston Globe and Washington Post, and later served as a tenor saxophonist and composer for jazz luminaries. McBride is best known for his New York Times bestselling memoir, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. The book became a modern literary classic, read in schools across America. His novel The Good Lord Bird, about the abolitionist John Brown, won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction. His body of work includes other novels, screenplays, musicals, and a biography of James Brown, called Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul. His most recent book, published in 2017, is a short story collection called Five-Carat Soul. In 2016, President Barack Obama presented McBride with the National Humanities Medal "for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America.” He has been a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University for more than a decade, mentoring young writers. He also created the Sister Lee music program, which teaches piano, drums, and music history to young people from the housing project where he grew up.In both his nonfiction and his fiction, he thinks and writes about the great challenges facing American society and the tensions and challenges around race, community, and humanity. McBride’s inspirational literary excellence, searching and insightful examinations of American society, and dedication to educating the next generation through his writing and teaching.

David Swope, Chairman and Founder, Club

Degree:  Doctor of Humane Letters

David Swope is an honorary degree recipient (posthumously) for Pace’s Westchester undergraduate commencement ceremony.

David Avery Swope, JD, was the third generation of his family to take a leading role in Westchester County. Swope was born in Ossining and went to school in Scarborough before graduating from Harvard and Columbia Law School. He joined the Peace Corps and served in India. He formed a legal aid society in Bombay, now Mumbai. He became a corporate lawyer in Manhattan, first at White & Case and then Davis Polk.  He then came home to Westchester to manage the family businesses, which included a tennis club and Tappan Hill Mansion. He built the tennis club into one of the first full-service gyms in the area. As a successful businessman, he also became a major Westchester philanthropist. Swope was deeply involved in Teatown, founded with his family’s donation, and supported the Westchester Land Trust. He was chairman of the Jacob Burns Film Center and served on the boards of the Ossining Children’s Center and the Phelps Memorial Hospital. For many years, he was an active board member at Westchester Community College. He funded David Swope Scholarship to help graduates of Westchester Community College transfer to Pace. His passion for the environment led to his support of the Pace University Environmental Center.

New York City Undergraduate Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients:

Carmen Fariña, retired Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education

Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters

Carmen Fariña is this year’s honorary degree recipient and speaker for Pace’s New York City undergraduate commencement ceremony. She has devoted her life to ensuring that New York City’s schoolchildren have access to a quality education. After 50 years working in the New York City public schools as a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a deputy chancellor, and, for the last four years, as chancellor of the nation’s largest school system, Fariña is retiring this year. Fariña has been a passionate advocate for students and teachers. As chancellor, she worked to build collaborative relationships, to address inequalities in the school system, and to help students. Fariña was born in Brooklyn to parents who fled the Franco regime in Spain in the 1930s. They spoke Spanish at home. She went to parochial school at St. Charles Borromeo Church, in Brooklyn, where she was the only student in her kindergarten class who didn’t speak English. Fariña earned a bachelor of science from New York University and then three master’s degrees from New York schools: one in bilingual education from Brooklyn College, another in gifted and arts education from Fordham University, and, finally, in 1988, one in administration and supervision from Pace University’s School of Education. She spent 22 years as a devoted upper elementary school teacher at PS 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.She introduced a revolutionary way to integrate social studies called Making Connections, would be replicated citywide. She moved into administration as curriculum director in District 15. As principal, the school rose from ranking 76th among public elementary schools on the citywide reading test to the top three. Fariña went on to be a superintendent, from 2004 to 2006, she served as deputy chancellor for teaching and learning. She retired after her long and successful career, only to be called back a decade later. She has made instruction more teacher-driven and less test-focused, while continuing to improve graduation rates and test scores.

Marilyn Simons, Co-Founder, Simons Foundation

Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters

Marilyn Simons, Ph.D., is this year’s honorary degree recipient for Pace’s New York City undergraduate commencement ceremony. Simons is one of the greatest supporters of basic scientific research in the United States. She is the president of the Simons Foundation, co-founded with James Simons, her husband, which is one of the nation’s leading funders of basic scientific research, focused primarily on mathematical and physical sciences, life sciences, and autism research. Founded in 1994, today the Simons Foundation awards about $230 million dollars in grants to scientists each year, and spends another $50 million on conducting research in-house. Simons earned a bachelor’s and doctoral degree in economics from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. She and her husband created the Simons Foundation, they focused first on autism research. The foundation started a major data collection project, based on work with 12 collaborating universities. The data set they created then became a major resource to a broad community of autism researchers, jumpstarting the field. Their successes led them to expand into many other areas, including brain research, a telescope project, and much more. The Simons Foundation is able to fund basic research whether it crosses disciplines, crosses institutions, crosses geographies, or seems impractical that public sources might not.

Simons is also active in supporting other nonprofit work across New York City and Long Island. She has been involved in supporting K–12 education for underserved communities. She is vice president of the board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the noted 125-year-old biomedical research laboratory on Long Island. She is a board member at the Learning Spring School, a school in New York City for children on the autism spectrum, and she is a board member at the East Harlem Scholars Academy, a charter school program. Simons is listed among America’s most generous philanthropists.

Graduate Degree Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient:

Irene Sankoff, Actor, Writer, Lyricist, Composer (creator: “Come From Away”)

Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters

New York City Ceremonies

Irene Sankoff is Pace’s graduate commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Irene Sankoff has always believed in the power of theater. Working both onstage and off in her home of Toronto, she has found enormous success in her second home here in New York, while telling a story about a small community in Newfoundland. Sankoff, a lifelong musical theater fan, is part of the wife-and-husband creative team that wrote the Broadway hit “Come From Away.” The musical, about a remote Canadian village that welcomed stranded international travelers on 9/11 and the warm interactions between the locals and the visitors, has become a beloved show that was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2017, winning one. Sankoff and her husband, David Hein, both Canadian, met as undergraduates at York University in Toronto. They moved to New York together in 1999 to pursue their creative passions: Hein as a musician and Sankoff as an MFA student at The Actors Studio Drama School. In Toronto, they realized they could combine their passions by writing a musical based on their family’s true story, called My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. It was a huge Toronto hit and has since been produced across North America, winning many awards. Together, Sankoff and Hein crafted the script, music, and lyrics for “Come From Away.” Sankoff and Hein won Helen Hayes Awards and Drama Desk Awards. They were nominated for Tony Awards, and their show won one, for best director. “Come From Away” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

About Pace University: Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in Lower Manhattan and Westchester County, NY, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. A 2017 study by the Equality of Opportunity Project finds that Pace graduates are out-earning their parents and peers, bucking a nationwide trend for millennials. www.pace.edu

 

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