• Shaun King - Keynote Speaker

    Shaun King

    Keynote Speaker

    Journalist, humanitarian and activist Shaun King offers an articulate and historically grounded take on the most pressing problems of the day.

    As a magnetic element of the Black Lives Matter movement, King adopted social media to rally and unite people of disparate backgrounds and has now become one of the most followed activists in the United States. He uses his platform as a journalist, now for Harvard and The Intercept, and formerly as The Senior Justice Writer at the New York Daily News, to unearth the truth beyond local media, and to organize in purposeful and directed ways. Moreover, he reminds us that we can take whatever we do best—whether we lobby, speak, litigate, organize, write, or more—and tilt that practice toward justice.

    King has spoken in 35 states, on over 100 college campuses, in jails and prisons and in corporate boardrooms – always calling for us to be better and do better. As a writer, he has written an astounding 1,500 articles on injustice since 2014 and gives morning commentary on the legendary Tom Joyner Morning Show heard by 6 million listeners in over 100 cities.

    King is based out of Brooklyn, New York, is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of five children – four girls and a boy – ranging in age from pre-school to high school. Making the world a better place for them is his daily motivation.





  • Karina Caraballo - Class Representative

    Karina Ramos Caraballo

    Class of 2018 Representative

    Karina Ramos-Caraballo proves that it’s never too late to write your own future. Karina lost confidence but not her hope after being academically dismissed from Kingsborough Community College. Filled with uncertainty, she followed her husband Marcos to LaGuardia Community College.

    At LaGuardia Karina pursued Early Childhood Education and worked off campus at a medical clinic where she assisted older children and teenagers. After one semester Karina was gifted with the news that she and Marcos had a daughter on the way. Karina took a full year off from school and returned to complete her degree but switched to Secondary Education after reflecting on the young adults at the clinic and how much she enjoyed fostering the next generation of men and women.

    Having completed her associate degree in Fall 2017, Karina is following her passion for Secondary Education at Brooklyn College in pursuit of her bachelor’s. Additionally, Karina is a paraprofessional for the Department of Education and enjoys freelance photography.

    At Commencement Karina and Marcos, who is also graduating, will be joined by their two-year-old daughter Keilani.






  • Ruben Diaz - Alumni Representative

    Rubén Díaz Jr

    Alumni Representative


    Ruben Diaz Jr. was elected Bronx Borough President in the special election held on April 21, 2009. He previously served in the New York State Assembly since 1997, representing the 85th Assembly District. Throughout his seven terms in the New York State Legislature, Diaz was a champion for working families in the Bronx. He demonstrated a passion for constituent service, social advocacy, and community empowerment, balanced with support for sensible, green economic development and job creation programs. Since becoming borough president, Diaz led the opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, based on concerns over future wages at the retail mall, traffic impact on the neighborhood, and the potential of the new project to conflict with businesses on nearby Fordham Road. Diaz threw his support behind converting the armory into the largest indoor ice sports center in the world. In April of this year, city officials reached a deal to transform the iconic building.

    Diaz has also led the charge for a new living wage law in New York City, which would require developers that receive heavy taxpayer funding for their project to pay the employees of that development a living wage. In May 2012, the city council passed such a law, giving New York City the strongest law of its kind in the nation. A lifelong resident of the Bronx, Borough President Diaz lives in the southeast Bronx with his wife and their two sons.





  • Gail Mellow - President of LaGuardia 
    Dr. Gail O. Mellow

    Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as President of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens since 2000.A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a recognized leader among community colleges for launching programs and teaching methods that have become pilots for the nation.
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    Paul Arcario - Provost and Senior Vice President
    Paul Arcario

    Dr. Paul Arcario is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College. As the chief academic officer for the College, Dr. Arcario supervises the creation, development and assessment of over 50 academic programs and majors.

    He is responsible for the recruitment, hiring and personnel management of more than 300 full-time faculty, 700 part-time faculty and over 100 professional and clerical staff. Dr. Arcario oversees faculty development programs, monitors the promotion and tenure process, and administers a divisional budget in excess of $40 million.

    Dr. Arcario serve as dean of the Division of Academic Affairs, having overall responsibility for divisional initiatives such as outcomes assessment and strategic planning as well as providing guidance for program development, electronic portfolios, advisement, faculty development, and first-year experience programs.

    A prolific grant writer, Dr. Arcario has obtained nearly $15 million in grants for the academic division. He has also taught in the Education and Language Acquisition Department at LaGuardia.

    He has a long-standing interest in technology-based pedagogy, having conducted workshops in teaching ESL with video and other media for the ESL master’s degree program at Teachers College, Columbia University as well as having produced educational videos for teaching ESL, including the first American English-language teaching video broadcast in the People’s Republic of China.

    He has authored language textbooks as well as articles on LaGuardia’s ePortfolio, First-Year Experience, and online advising programs. Dr Arcario’s work with first-year programs and learning communities led to him being recognized as an Outstanding First-Year Advocate by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition in 2007. Dr. Arcario’s MEd and doctorate in TESOL are from Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a BA and MA from New York University.

    Henry T. Berger - City University of New York Board of Trustees
    Henry T. Berger, B.S., J.D.

    Henry T. Berger, B.S., J.D., was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a Trustee of The City University of New York for a term effective June 20, 2017 until 2021.

    Mr. Berger has been Special Counsel and Advisor to Mayor de Blasio since February, 2014. Previously, as an attorney in private practice, he worked on legal issues related to election law, such as campaign finance compliance and ballot access regulations, and labor relations and civil litigation.

    From 1995 to 2000 Mr. Berger was a partner with Fisher, Fisher & Berger, working on commercial litigation, election law and labor relations for clients including health care professional unions, university professors’ associations and major state, county and city political candidates.

    In 1977, Mr. Berger served as a Member of the New York City Council, representing the Fourth District of Manhattan. He served on the Transportation, Parks and Economic Development committees.

    Mr. Berger received a B.S. from Lehigh University in chemistry in 1967 and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1972.

    Mr. Berger serves as a member of the Board’s Committee on Academic Policy, Programs and Research and the Committee on Fiscal Affairs.



    Matthew Sapienza - Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, City University of New York
    Matthew Sapienza

    Matthew Sapienza is the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer at The City University of New York (CUNY), where he is responsible for overseeing and managing the finances and business relationships of CUNY’s 25 colleges and professional schools and for the University’s central administration.

    In his current role, Sapienza has responsibility for the overall management of $3 billion in state and city tax-levy operating funds, and more than $1 billion in tuition revenues.

    Sapienza holds a BBA in Finance from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, and an MBA in Finance from St. John’s University.