Manhattan College Celebrates the Class of 2023 at Undergraduate Commencement

Celebrated chef and television host Lidia Matticchio Bastianich delivered the Commencement address and Alixandria James ’23, was the graduating class valedictorian.

Manhattan College’s 2023 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of more than 750 undergraduate students on Friday, May 19 at Draddy Gymnasium. The College community, family and friends, cheered on the graduates and sent them off with high hopes for the future. Undergraduate Commencement

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, an Emmy-award-winning public television host, bestselling cookbook author and restaurateur, delivered the Commencement address. Bastianich discussed the challenges of growing up in Communist Yugoslavia and the critical importance of education. 

“I am a firm believer that the education of our children can solve most of the problems in our world,” Bastianich said. “Education leads to a better place. You have that gift of education and this is your chance. You should continue to nurture yourself and your capabilities and go out there and work very hard. You can reach whatever goals you set.” 

The valedictorian address was delivered by Alixandria James ’23, a public health major, Joseph J. Gunn ’30, Alumni Senior Medal winner and Truman Scholarship awardee. James quoted the poet Langston Hughes and told her classmates that “Manhattan College is where I learned to not only be proud of the student that I am, but to actually be proud of what makes me who I am.” 

“I challenge you all to embrace and be proud of what makes you different,” James said. “Be the person that challenges predetermined thoughts and convictions. Be the person that inspires others to adapt and have the uncomfortable conversations that without you, they may never have been encouraged to have had.” 

In saying farewell to the class of 2023, Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC, president of Manhattan College, imparted a benediction to send them on their journey. 

“May you have the strength to make difficult decisions with kindness and honor,” Brother Daniel said. “May you always remember where you came from and understand where you are going in this life. May you maintain the values throughout your lives that Manhattan College has helped you to develop.”