Excitement was palpable throughout each of the two 54th Commencement Ceremonies.

Hostos Community College celebrated the 54th Commencement Ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday of May 29 and 30. Graduates of the Class of 2024 hailed from 8 U.S. states and 28 countries, the majority from the Dominican Republic, United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, Bangladesh, and Jamaica. 

Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis expressed pride in graduates’ accomplishments. On both days, she reminded students of their capabilities to achieve their most cherished goals. 

“We believe in you –our graduates–, and your ability to make the future brighter for yourselves and for all of us as you follow your dreams. I am honored to serve as your president,” said Cocco De Filippis.
(L-R) Valedictorian Tiffany Wilson and Salutatorian Reylin Elier Rivera Paulino.

Further evidence of the College’s diversity, the youngest graduate is 18 years old, while the oldest is 65. Graduates from the Hostos Lincoln Academy will earn their associate degrees in Liberal Arts after their high school diplomas are conferred in June. The largest field of study in which degrees were awarded was Liberal Arts. In all, almost 800 degrees will be conferred this coming August when all candidates are vetted and approved by the Office of the Registrar. This year, nearly 20 students who completed their High School Equivalency certificate through the Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development were recognized at the ceremonies. 
Students who completed their High School Equivalency diploma pose with their instructor (far left) and the Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Evelyn Fernández-Ketcham (far right).

Ms. Carolyn McLaughlin –author, leader, and activist–, received an Honorary Associate of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her advocacy and trailblazing social justice work in the South Bronx, where the College is located. McLaughlin has been a fierce advocate for Hostos and serves on the Hostos Community College Foundation board. 
NYC Deputy Mayor Ana J. Almanzar ‘97 recalled how Hostos set her up to succeed.

During both ceremonies, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives, Class of 1997 alumna, and Presidential Medal of Honor recipient Ana J. Almanzar spoke about the significance of Hostos in her life and shared uplifting words for graduates.

“Only in this wonderful country can stories like mine and yours be written. I see the future in this room, and the future is bright. You are Hostos tough, and the world is ready for you to take it on,” she said. 

For her part, Class of 2024 Valedictorian Tiffany Wilson delivered a moving speech in which she recounted the challenges she overcame and shared uplifting words with her fellow graduates.

“We did not embark on this journey alone. We were guided by the support of our friends, families, mentors, and professors. Each of us has a village. As we venture into the world beyond these familiar walls, let us not forget the lessons learned and the values we hold dear, let us take with us the spirit of inquiry, the thirst for knowledge, and the passion for excellence that have been the hallmarks here at Hostos. You got this. We did this,” she noted. 

Nine exceptional individuals received Presidential Medals of Honor for their work on behalf of and at Hostos: Valedictorian Tiffany Wilson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana J. Almanzar, Founding Dean Emeritus of the CUNY School of Professional Studies John Mogulescu, Professors Nieves Angulo, Charles Drago, and Ángel Morales, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Andrea Fabrizio, Executive Director of Business & Finance Kenneth Acquah, and Research Programs Director Sofía Oviedo. 

Professor Jacqueline DiSanto of the Education Department served as Mistress of Ceremonies and Professor Yoel Rodríguez, from Natural Sciences, was the Grand Marshal. Student Marie Inamori performed the National Anthem on the first ceremony and was accompanied by vocalist Megan Campos on the second day. 

On day one, CUNY Trustee Herminia Palacio, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, and Councilmember Eric Dinowitz delivered remarks. On day two, CUNY Student Trustee Salimatou Doumbouya and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Denise B. Maybank shared inspiring words with attendees. Maybank delighted everyone when she burst into song at the end of her remarks. 

On May 29, the College bestowed degrees upon graduates who finished their studies in Liberal Arts (AA), Criminal Justice (AA), Liberal Arts (AS), Allied Health Programs: Dental Hygiene (AAS), Nursing (AAS), and Radiologic Technology (AAS), and Early College Initiative: H.E.R.O. High and Hostos Lincoln Academy. 

On May 30, the College celebrated those with other AS degrees, such as Accounting, Business Management, Chemical Engineering Science, Civil Engineering Science, Community Health, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering Science, Forensic Science, Accounting for Forensic Accounting, Food Studies, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering Science; and all AAS degree recipients, including Accounting, Aging and Health Studies, Digital Design & Animation, Digital Music, Early Childhood Education, Game Design, Office Technology, Paralegal Studies, and Public Policy and Administration.