Title
St. Thomas Aquinas College Hosted Its 62nd Commencement Day

May 10, 2019

St. Thomas Aquinas College Hosted Its 62nd Commencement Day

St. Thomas Aquinas College hosted its 62nd Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 10th, 2019 at 2:00 PM in the College’s gymnasium. In spite of the rain, close to 2,000 family and friends accompanied over 330 students who were awarded, Masters, Bachelors, and Associate Degrees.  The surplus attendees that could not fit into the gymnasium were ushered to various locations on campus where they could watch the entire ceremony being live streamed.

According to Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, S.C., Ed.D., president of the college, “commencement day is the best day of the academic year, we are able to celebrate with our graduates, their academic accomplishments, their holistic development, and their preparedness for their journey in life.”Over 330 students were awarded master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees during the ceremony.

Frank Bisignano, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of First Data gave the Commencement Address and received an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Under Bisignano’s leadership, First Data enables electronic payments around the world, 3,000 times a second, for over six million merchant locations, over 3,700 financial institutions, and millions of consumers. In 2018, the company processed over 100 billion electronic transactions worldwide, representing $2.6 trillion in transaction volume. Headquartered in Atlanta, First Data operates in 27 countries spanning the globe. Bisignano leads initiatives supporting a diverse workforce, and has been awarded several accolades for his work in unity and diversity, such as First Data’s inclusion in the 2018 Bloomberg Equality Index.

James Kaat, Major League Baseball Analyst received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Jim Kaat is a game analyst for the MLB Network Showcase series, following a distinguished 25-year playing career. Kaat, who made his Major League debut in 1959 with the Washington Senators compiled 283 wins with a 3.45 ERA over a 25-year playing career. He was a three-time All-Star, won a record 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and was a member of the 1982 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Following his playing career, Kaat has had a successful broadcast career, including commentary for New York Yankees telecasts on MSG and YES from 1995 to 2006. He has won seven local Emmy Awards for sports broadcasting, including a New York Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Coverage Series in 1998. In 1984 and 1985, he was Good Morning America's chief sports correspondent, covering the World Series. He began broadcasting during the strike-shortened 1981 season as a Minor League analyst for the Home Team Sports Network. Kaat has been with MLB Network since 2009.

William (Billy) Procida, President of Procida Funding & Advisors, LLC, received an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Procida founded the company in 1995 and has financed, fixed and built over $3 billion of buildings and companies. Procida manages the 100 Mile Fund which provides financing for commercial real estate projects and small to mid-size businesses. He has been a regular guest on CNBC, Fox Business and has appeared on every major TV network in the United States including networks in Japan, Russia, and England. He has also been the subject of hundreds of articles from The Wall Street Journal to Der Spiegel in Europe. Procida is an avid sponsor for multiple charities throughout the community such as Table to Table, Habitat for Humanity, Keep Rockland Beautiful, and SHARE Africa to name a few.

Maria Keegan, 2019 President of the Student Government Association, and Rickssen Opont, President of the Class of 2019, addressed the graduates.

Various student awards included the Class Gold Key and Silver Key Service Awards. The Gold Key Service Awards were presented to Erin Durkin, Thomas James Flatley, and Brittany Alexa Licitra. The Silver Key Service Awards were presented to Kayla Camacho, Kayla Marie Farley, Katherine Louise Feigenbaum, Kaitlyn A. Gee, Gregory Thomas Iannicelli, Melissa Nicole Knecht, Katherine Lorraine Kuczwaj, Amber Starr Lubaszka, Fabian Romario Mullings, Rickssen Opont, Andrew Austin Pierre, and Ashley Lauren Young. The Terence Cardinal Cooke Award was given to Justine Marie Gizzi, who has demonstrated outstanding and meritorious service; the Francis Cardinal Spellman Award was given to Catherine Marie Courtadon, and Gianna Isabel Pisano for their highest academic excellence in the undergraduate program; and the Sr. Regina Rosaire Dolan Award was presented to KC Shannen Sokolski for having the highest academic excellence in the School of Education graduate program.

Faculty Emeritus status was conferred upon Dr. L. John Durney, professor of communication arts and Dr. Meghan Mihal received the Trustees' Award for Excellence.

Undergraduate and graduate students facing the podium

St. Thomas Aquinas College hosted its 62nd Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 10th, 2019 at 2:00 PM in the College’s gymnasium. In spite of the rain, close to 2,000 family and friends accompanied over 330 students who were awarded, Masters, Bachelors, and Associate Degrees.  The surplus attendees that could not fit into the gymnasium were ushered to various locations on campus where they could watch the entire ceremony being live streamed.

According to Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, S.C., Ed.D., president of the college, “commencement day is the best day of the academic year, we are able to celebrate with our graduates, their academic accomplishments, their holistic development, and their preparedness for their journey in life.”Over 330 students were awarded master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees during the ceremony.

Frank Bisignano, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of First Data gave the Commencement Address and received an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Under Bisignano’s leadership, First Data enables electronic payments around the world, 3,000 times a second, for over six million merchant locations, over 3,700 financial institutions, and millions of consumers. In 2018, the company processed over 100 billion electronic transactions worldwide, representing $2.6 trillion in transaction volume. Headquartered in Atlanta, First Data operates in 27 countries spanning the globe. Bisignano leads initiatives supporting a diverse workforce, and has been awarded several accolades for his work in unity and diversity, such as First Data’s inclusion in the 2018 Bloomberg Equality Index.

James Kaat, Major League Baseball Analyst received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Jim Kaat is a game analyst for the MLB Network Showcase series, following a distinguished 25-year playing career. Kaat, who made his Major League debut in 1959 with the Washington Senators compiled 283 wins with a 3.45 ERA over a 25-year playing career. He was a three-time All-Star, won a record 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and was a member of the 1982 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Following his playing career, Kaat has had a successful broadcast career, including commentary for New York Yankees telecasts on MSG and YES from 1995 to 2006. He has won seven local Emmy Awards for sports broadcasting, including a New York Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Coverage Series in 1998. In 1984 and 1985, he was Good Morning America's chief sports correspondent, covering the World Series. He began broadcasting during the strike-shortened 1981 season as a Minor League analyst for the Home Team Sports Network. Kaat has been with MLB Network since 2009.

William (Billy) Procida, President of Procida Funding & Advisors, LLC, received an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. Procida founded the company in 1995 and has financed, fixed and built over $3 billion of buildings and companies. Procida manages the 100 Mile Fund which provides financing for commercial real estate projects and small to mid-size businesses. He has been a regular guest on CNBC, Fox Business and has appeared on every major TV network in the United States including networks in Japan, Russia, and England. He has also been the subject of hundreds of articles from The Wall Street Journal to Der Spiegel in Europe. Procida is an avid sponsor for multiple charities throughout the community such as Table to Table, Habitat for Humanity, Keep Rockland Beautiful, and SHARE Africa to name a few.

Maria Keegan, 2019 President of the Student Government Association, and Rickssen Opont, President of the Class of 2019, addressed the graduates.

Various student awards included the Class Gold Key and Silver Key Service Awards. The Gold Key Service Awards were presented to Erin Durkin, Thomas James Flatley, and Brittany Alexa Licitra. The Silver Key Service Awards were presented to Kayla Camacho, Kayla Marie Farley, Katherine Louise Feigenbaum, Kaitlyn A. Gee, Gregory Thomas Iannicelli, Melissa Nicole Knecht, Katherine Lorraine Kuczwaj, Amber Starr Lubaszka, Fabian Romario Mullings, Rickssen Opont, Andrew Austin Pierre, and Ashley Lauren Young. The Terence Cardinal Cooke Award was given to Justine Marie Gizzi, who has demonstrated outstanding and meritorious service; the Francis Cardinal Spellman Award was given to Catherine Marie Courtadon, and Gianna Isabel Pisano for their highest academic excellence in the undergraduate program; and the Sr. Regina Rosaire Dolan Award was presented to KC Shannen Sokolski for having the highest academic excellence in the School of Education graduate program.

Faculty Emeritus status was conferred upon Dr. L. John Durney, professor of communication arts and Dr. Meghan Mihal received the Trustees' Award for Excellence.


For more information please contact Annie Lombardi at [email protected]

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St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located on 60 acres in Rockland County, NY which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College’s 2,800 full and part-time students can choose from more than 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dual degree programs across three Schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, and Education. The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top-Tier for Regional Universities, by Colleges of Distinction in both its New York and Catholic editions, by Affordable Colleges Online as a top College in New York for Return on Investment, and is included as a Military Friendly School®. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; its School of Education is accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and its School of Business is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). For more information, visit www.stac.edu.