Before the procession, students gathered at the Hostos Gym for a photo with Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis.
Balloons were dropped, spirits were high, and the entire campus celebrated the 53rd Commencement Ceremonies of Hostos Community College on May 31 and June 1. Graduates of the Class of 2023 hail from 6 U.S. states and 35 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. They were recognized in dual ceremonies that marked 55 years of the College’s founding, thanks to the fight of the Puerto Rican community who demanded an institution of higher learning in the South Bronx in the late 1960s.
Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis expressed her genuine joy for all the graduates’ accomplishments. She took the opportunity on both days to remind students of the value that comes from finishing a degree at the College.
Top left, President Cocco De Filippis delivers her welcome remarks. Top right, Bill Aguado, fiercest advocate for arts and education in the Bronx, receives an Honorary Associate of Humane Letters. Bottom left, Commence Speaker and Hostos alumna Sarah Aponte shares with students the value of a Hostos education. Bottom right, Student Marie Inamori performs the National Anthem.


“We believe in opportunity, access, inclusiveness, academic excellence, and community engagement. We believe in our students and their ability to make the future brighter for all of us,” said Cocco De Filippis.
On May 31, the College bestowed degrees upon graduates from HERO High and Hostos Lincoln Academy, as well as those who finished their 2-year course of study in Liberal Arts (AA), Liberal Arts and Sciences (AS), Criminal Justice (AA), Chemical Engineering Science (AS), Civil Engineering Science (AS), Computer Science (AS), Electrical Engineering Science (AS), Forensic Science (AS), Food Studies (AS), Paralegal Studies (AAS), Public Policy and Administration (AAS), Mathematics (AS), and Mechanical Engineering Science (AS).
Class of 2023 Valedictorian Yassine Gaye talks about her fondest memories at the College.
On June 1, the College celebrated those graduating with degrees in Accounting (AS), Accounting (AAS), Aging and Health Studies (AAS), Business Management (AS), Community Health (AS), Dental Hygiene (AAS), Digital Design & Animation (AAS), Digital Music (AAS), Early Childhood Education (AAS), Game Design (AAS), Nursing (AAS), Accounting for Forensic Accounting (AS), Office Technology (AAS), Radiologic Technology (AAS), Police Science (AS), and LPN (certificate).
Evidence of the College’s diversity, the youngest graduates are 17 years old, while the oldest is 68. Thirty students from Hostos Lincoln Academy will earn their associate degrees in Liberal Arts after their high school diplomas are conferred in June. Ten of those will enroll in 4-year colleges in August as Juniors at 17 years of age. The HERO Early College High School program celebrated its second Registered Nurse A.A.S. graduate, Justin Rosa. The largest field of study in which degrees were awarded was Liberal Arts, with 274 students. Of significance is the graduation of the first 12 Computer Science majors since the program was launched. In all, almost 900 degrees will be conferred this coming August when all candidates are vetted and approved by the Office of the Registrar.
President Cocco De Filippis congratulates student crossing the stage.

Community leader Bill Aguado, one of the fiercest advocates for the arts and education in the Bronx, received an Honorary Associate of Humane Letters Degree to recognize his more than five decades of work on behalf of Bronx artists, students, and parents. A long-time friend of the College, Aguado is both a former Hostos Foundation member and Executive Director of the Bronx Council for the Arts.

During both ceremonies, Chief Librarian of the Dominican Studies Institute, Hostos alumna, Class of 1992 Salutatorian, and Presidential Medal of Honor recipient Professor Sarah Aponte gave the Commencement speech, and spoke about how Hostos helped her achieve her academic goals.
“With the degree you are obtaining today, you can become whatever you want to become. With my Hostos degree, I was able to become a pioneer and an emerging leader in Dominican Studies. I would not be here today if I had not found Hostos,” said Aponte.
Many joyful moments were shared in community.

For her part, Class of 2023 Valedictorian Yassine Gaye delivered a moving speech in which she reminisced about her time at the College.
“Looking back on our journey, I remember the times when we were all so stressed and overwhelmed that we wanted to give up. But those moments are some of my fondest memories because we showed how strong we are as a class. Our journey was full of fears and anxiety but also personal growth, laughter, and fun. This [experience] will forever be etched in our memories,” she declared.

In addition to Aponte, eight other exceptional individuals received Presidential Medals of Honor for their work for and at Hostos: Valedictorian Yassine Gay, Chair of the Nasry Michelen Foundation Cira Ángeles, Senior Vice President at Macquarie Group Elías Alcántara, Dean of Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Assessment Babette Audant, Chief of Public Safety Arnaldo Bernabe, Professors Linda Hirsch and Thelma Ithier-Sterling, and Health and Wellness Center Director Fabián Wander. 

Charles I. Drago served as Master of Ceremonies, and Professor Nieves Angulo, from Mathematics, was the Grand Marshall. Student Marie Inamori performed a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. 
The celebration continued outside, where loved ones hugged their graduates and took photos together.