Graduates of 2018 class

It was a ceremony fit for a 50th Anniversary as Hostos Community College celebrated its 48th Commencement on May 31, 2018, at City Center. The accomplishments of approximately 1,300 students were recognized—the largest graduating class in the College’s history. Faculty and staff joined family and friends to pay tribute to the graduates and to the College itself, which originated in the South Bronx in 1968.
This year’s Keynote Speaker was Broadway’s Luis Salgado, a choreographer, director and performer best known for his work on In The Heightsand the Gloria Estefan musical Get On Your Feet! Speaking with great flair and infectious energy, Salgado related his childhood experiences in Puerto Rico and how they led him to pursue his artistic dreams on the U.S. mainland. He dubbed the Class of 2018 “The American Dream” and urged the graduates to take action, follow their passions, and use their voices to better their communities.
President Dr. David Gómez lauded the graduates for their hard work and commitment, and recognized those who championed and supported them along the way. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” President Gómez said. “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.” 
Serving as Valedictorian was Raz Rivera, an Israeli-born mother of two. Originally from a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee region, she was drafted by the Israeli Defense Forces a year and a half into her studies. She moved to New York City in 2007. The liberal arts major spoke of her incredible journey from the cotton fields of Israel to the stage at City Center, where she was acknowledged as top in her class. The secret to her success? Her children motivated her, and programs like ASAP, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and Hostos’ Honors Program provided her the confidence she needed to excel. Rivera beamed as she shared what it meant to have her children witness her being awarded a college degree, knowing that they can do the same.

Salutatorian Swimi Kolancheril was also on hand. This summer, the engineering scholar—who fittingly donned a flashing graduation cap—will travel to Tennessee Tech University to participatein the 2018 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program: Secure and Privacy-Preserving Cyber Physical Systems. She then plans to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at The City College of New York.
Other dignitaries in attendance on behalf of CUNY included Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez from the CUNY Board of Trustees and Pamela S. Silverblatt, Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations. Both offered their congratulations and emphasized the importance of Hostos’ mission and the role its newest graduates will play in the City and the world.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer made his return to a Hostos Community College Commencement. The longtime advocate of Hostos and the South Bronx praised the dedication of the Class of 2018 and advised them not to let the fear of failure deter them. 
Once the speeches and congratulations had ended, degrees were handed out by President Gómez and Provost Dr. Christine Mangino, assisted by Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance, and Nathaniel Cruz, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management. Mistress of Ceremonies was Professor Sandra Castellanos and Professor Debasish Roy served as Grand Marshal.
Hostos also recognized more than 200 students and its top 1 percent at the 34th Honors Convocation on May 23. The student speaker for the event was Alyesha Alston. The Liberal Arts and Science major is transferring to SUNY Potsdam and plans to major in Psychology and minor in Sexual Health and Spanish. Her short-term plans are to work as a school guidance counselor and someday, become a therapist.
The achievements of Hostos’ Allied Health students were also celebrated at annual pinning ceremonies. On June 15, 29 Radiological Technicians received their pins; on May 7, 36 students in the Dental Hygiene Program were honored; and on May 23, 29 students from Registered Nursing and 12 from the Licensed Practical Nursing were celebrated. 
View our 48th Commencement photo album here.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for a half-century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs.
Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.