There was a heightened excitement and anticipation leading up to Dominican College’s 65th Commencement Exercises because His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, was delivering the Commencement Address. The charismatic Cardinal Dolan received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, during the ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. “What an honor, what a joy, to receive this degree,” he said.
The honor was bestowed upon Cardinal Dolan in recognition of a life dedicated to service of the poor, education of the mind, and care of the soul.
After receiving the honorary degree, Cardinal Dolan addressed the Class of 2019. “I sense a special bond with all of you, because I, too, relish the education I received from Dominicans – in my case, four years of theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.”
He added, “The intellectual wattage of the daughters and sons of St. Dominic is a most radiant jewel in the crown of Mother Church and western civilization.”
Cardinal Dolan told the graduates that although Commencement speakers typically give words of wisdom and impart wise counsel, he was inspired by them. He called the graduates his “professors” and said they taught him five important lessons.
The first lesson he said he learned was the importance of education. “You chose school. You chose learning. You chose education. You chose college and I thank you for that. God’s most profound natural gift to us is our mind,” he said.
Cardinal Dolan said it was also clear that the graduates cherish community and that they appreciate tradition. In addition, he said they reminded him that life has purpose and meaning. Finally, said Cardinal Dolan, “You are letting us know in a very jubilant way that all we get is intended to be given away. I watch you in admiration, chafing to get going, to put your learning to good use, to move on, to get to work.”
A total of 573 students graduated – 105 with doctoral degrees, 64 with master’s degrees, 402 with bachelor’s degrees and two with associate degrees.
President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. told the graduates to receive their diplomas with a sense of pride in their accomplishment. “Be proud of your Alma Mater, as we are of you. Remember, once a Charger, always a Charger! Dominican College will ultimately measure its effectiveness, not by the degrees of its faculty or the size of its campus, although we treasure both, but rather by the competence and compassion, the vision and generosity of its over 15,000 graduates. How greatly the world needs your joyful and hope-filled lives,” she said.
In addition to Cardinal Dolan, several other individuals were honored during the Commencement Exercises.
- John E. Sorrentino, retired Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Pfizer in Pearl River, NY, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Science, in recognition of his outstanding work in the development of life-enhancing vaccines. He also led Pfizer’s corporate citizenship efforts and was helpful in upgrading the College’s biology and chemistry laboratories in Forkel Hall.
- Ronald Israelski, a hand/micro vascular surgeon, is currently Director of Medical Education at Orange Regional Medical Center and received the Veritas Medal. Dr. Israelski has done extensive relief and charity work in Haiti, working tirelessly to improve medical delivery to the people of Port-au-Prince. He has also improved medical services to the uninsured in Sullivan County and New York City.
- Abdul Sulaiman Jr, ’09, received the Badami Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. In 2013, Abdul founded a company called Project Pawn to mentor children through the game of chess.