By Madina Toure
Queensborough Community College in Bayside conferred degrees to 2,300 students of many ages and hailing from a wide variety of countries last week.
The two-year college located at 222-05 56th Ave. and one of seven community colleges in the City University of New York system, hosted its 54th commencement ceremony in its athletic field last Friday morning.
Diane Call, Queensborough’s president, gave an introductory speech and announced the conferring of degrees. Paul Marchese, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduates.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who is allocating $1 million for the college’s cafeteria project, encouraged graduates to stay in contact with the college and the borough.
“Please remember that Queensborough Community College gave you your start, that Queens gave you your start, so come back,” Katz said. “Remember that someone, somewhere, some way helped you get to where you are today.”
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), described as friends of the college, also spoke during the ceremony.
Stavisky called for passage of the New York State Dream Act, which would expand the Tuition Assistance Program to provide funds to illegal immigrants who want to go to school.
She said the graduates have “the ability to change the world” with the education they received at Queensborough.
“I love the word community because that’s what this college is all about—community—and some of you have come from all over the world, you came to the United States, the land of opportunity,” Stavisky said. “But you’re not alone. We are a nation built on immigrants.”
Weprin said the college is representative of the diversity present in the borough.
“You are at the center of it at all. Just looking around this gorgeous campus and the incredible diversity of the student body, one can immediately understand why QCC is truly the lifeblood of our community and our educational system,” he said.
Patrick Boucicault, president of the Queensborough Student Government, told the graduates to maintain courage and not become discouraged by any setbacks along their journeys, noting the diversity of the students’ situations.
“Some of us have jobs, some people have kids,” Boucicault said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour