• Commencement 2015
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor and Veteran Journalist Address LAGCC Class of 2014 at June 5  Commencement

    Long Island City, NY—May 29, 2014— Thomas E. Perez, the United States secretary of labor and Ray Suarez, a veteran broadcast journalist and host of “Inside Story” on Al Jazeera America, will be the commencement speaker and keynote, respectively, at LaGuardia Community College’s 42nd Annual Commencement Exercises on June 5. 

    The featured speakers will address an expected 1,000 graduates who will be attending the exercises at the Jacob K. Javits Center North at West 38th Street and 11th Avenue. The event begins at 10:00 a.m.

    “I’m thrilled that such distinguished speakers will be joining us for this year’s commencement ceremony. The Class of 2014 is as bold as they are, and hearing their words will surely be inspiration to head out and leave a mark on the world,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.  

    Mr. Perez, who was appointed U.S. secretary of labor by President Barack Obama is a stalwart advocate of equal opportunity for America’s working class families. He was most recently assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, leading the same division where he began as a career federal employee in the late 1980s for 10 years. 

    Perez has prioritized providing access to the middle class for everyone willing to work for it by ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work; connecting ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs through skills programs like Registered Apprenticeship and on-the-job training; promoting gender equality in the workplace; ensuring that people with disabilities and veterans have access to equal employment opportunity; and insisting on a safe and level playing field for all American workers. 

    From 2002 until 2006, he was a member of the Montgomery County Council. He was later appointed secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. He was a law professor for six years at the University of Maryland School of Law and was a part-time professor at the George Washington School of Public Health. 

    He received a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1983 and, in 1987, received both a master's of public policy and a law degree from Harvard University.

    Mr. Suarez, a veteran correspondent, joined the cable-news outlet Al Jazeera America in 2013. He hosts “Inside Story,” a daily discussion program that takes an in-depth look at current stories.  

    Before joining Al Jazeera, Mr. Suarez was a chief national correspondent at PBS “NewsHour” from 1999 to 2013. He hosted National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” for six years before joining PBS. He was also a correspondent for Chicago’s NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV, CNN in Los Angeles, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York and a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome.

    For his achievements in journalism, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2010 inducted him into the organization’s Hall of Fame.

    Mr. Suarez is also the author of three books. His most recent is “Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy that Shaped the Nation,” which is a companion book to the six-hour PBS series documenting the Hispanic experience in the U.S.

    The news correspondent earned a BA in African History from New York University and a MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.

    Julio Trinidad, a theater major at LaGuardia, is this year’s Class of 2014 representative. His many accolades include: top prize in the Irene Acting Scholarship Auditions, as well as an invitation to the selective Commonwealth Shakespeare Company summer intensive. After graduation this June, Julio plans to pursue an education in fine arts at Lehman College, Brooklyn College or the conservatory program at Julliard.

    Also, Rhazi Mohamed Kone ’07 and his wife Arti Cameron ’08 will be this year’s alumni class speakers.   LaGuardia opened the door of opportunity to these distinguished speakers, and they will be returning to share their stories with the Class of 2014.

    Rhazi Mohamed Kone, who was awarded by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for his academic excellence in 2007, graduated from Colombia University in 2009 with his bachelor’s degree in architecture.  He works for UNICEF as a program manager and is now preparing for law school.

    After graduating in 2008 with numerous accolades—winning a college-wide speech competition, Arti Cameron went on Hunter College where she graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 2011.  She was crowned Miss Guyana World at the Miss World competition in 2012 and plans to apply to medical schools in the U.S.

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