NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Delivers Compelling Address at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus Commencement
Commissioner Kelly and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien receive honorary doctorates
Brian Harmon,Director of Public Relations
Long Island University
Brooklyn, N.Y. — New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly delivered an inspiring commencement address at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 12.
“We need new, energetic voices to counter the notion that our problems are too big to overcome,” Kelly told the 1,800 graduates at the Campus’ 81st commencement. “We need young people who will continue to strive for that city of righteousness,” Kelly continued, referring to an ideal he said was set forth by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We need you.”
While detailing the dramatic decline in the city’s crime rate over the last three decades, Kelly — who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from University President David J. Steinberg — noted that more than 600 Long Island University alumni are now serving as New York City police officers.
“We’d love to have more LIU graduates join our team,” Kelly said.
Kelly got the students to laugh when he opened his speech with a quip about Long Island University’s iPad initiative, in which incoming, full-time freshmen and transfer students receive free iPads from the University.
“Thank you so much for the honor of this degree,” he started. “I just have to ask: Does mine come with an iPad too?”
Brooklyn Campus valedictorian Lauren Mackenzie Paxton encouraged her fellow graduates to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
“This graduation is proof that you can handle life’s difficulties,” Paxton, 22, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, told an audience of over 4,000 seated on the Campus’ athletic field.
“Whatever the challenge you faced in order to get to today, your graduation day, you must have won your personal fight,” Paxton, a highly accomplished dancer, added later in her valedictory address. “Let’s allow our past experiences, our experiences here at LIU, to remind us that we are able to navigate the road ahead.”
CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the commencement exercises. At the Campus’ annual pre-commencement breakfast, the veteran broadcast journalist delivered remarks to administrators, professors and some of the top students in the Campus’ Class of 2011.
“You are changing lives,” she said, referring to the University, “so having you recognize and honor me is very special.”
Brooklyn Campus Provost Gale Stevens Haynes concluded the ceremony with a thoughtful message for the graduates.
“We at the Brooklyn Campus consider ourselves fortunate to have assisted you in finding your voice to shape your story,” she said. “Today, we celebrate your graduation, one moment in a story that is still unfolding and yet to be lived.”
The Brooklyn Campus is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.
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