Manhattan College Celebrates Its Undergraduate Students At The School’s Commencement

Chair of CAG Holdings for The Carlyle Group and Renowned Civic Leader, Dr. Gerrard P. Bushell Delivered the Commencement Address; James Washington ’24 Was the Graduating Class Valedictorian

Manhattan College held commencement exercises for its 2024 class of Undergraduate students on May 18 th at Draddy Gymnasium on the School’s campus. Degrees were conferred upon students in the Kakos School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the O’Malley School of Business. Dr. Rani Roy, interim Provost, served as the emcee for the activities while Dr. Milo Riverso, President, addressed the students stating that they each completed a rigorous course of study while developing their overall moral compass. Dr. Riverso also told the students that each graduate would receive a keepsake compass through the generosity of James Patterson, a distinguished alumnus (’69) and New York Times best-selling author. The compass rose is marked with four points - justice, kindness, equality and fairness - all attributes of the College’s Lasallian mission.

A male student shaking hands with President Riverso after receiving his diploma After the Invocation and singing of the National Anthem, the valedictory address was given by James Washington. Washington, a Yonkers, NY native is a US Army veteran, having honorably served in the military for eight years. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and a GPA of 3.84, he stated that he was “…incredibly humbled and overjoyed…” to be selected to give the valedictory address. In retelling a portion of his life story, Washington stated that before Manhattan College, he lost sight of the best version of himself, but the College was “…exactly what I needed to grow and adjust to civilian life.” He praised the tremendous support given to him by the Kinesiology Department which led to his desire to work in a service career; he plans to continue his education and pursue a career in nursing.

Another highlight of the ceremony was the awarding of the Doctor of Science, honoris causa to Dr. Gerrard P. Bushell. Introduced by Dean Donald Gibson of the O’Malley School of Business, Dr. Bushell stated that he was incredibly grateful to be recognized with an honorary degree. With a background working in finance, infrastructure design and construction, and civic leadership, Bushell is a true Renaissance man. In addition to his current leadership role as the Chair of CAG Holdings for The Carlyle Group, Dr. Bushell is the former President and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), one of the nation’s largest financing and infrastructure management issuers. During his speech, he urged the students to commit to a discipline of continuous learning and to embark on a mission of self-enhancement. Bushell worked with communities in need as an advocate, leading to a life focus on social justice and human rights. Having earned a Ph.D. in Political Science and Urban Political Economy from Columbia University, he stated, “I committed to a regime of learning,” and urged the graduates to be honest with themselves, be surrounded by knowledgeable people, and always move forward. He further stated, “Learning at college is your beginning; never be surprised by what
you can accomplish. Look to embrace the world anew.”

In his remarks at the conclusion of conferring the degrees, Dr. Riverso praised the depth and breadth of Dr. Bushell’s accomplishments as well as commenting on the unique skills and life experience that Washington brought to his studies at Manhattan College. Riverso also told the students that Manhattan College taught them to think critically, collaborate with others, and offered many opportunities to gain practical experience in their chosen fields of work. He urged the graduates to lead with compassion and moral clarity stating, “It is the Manhattan College way.”

By MC Staff