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New York University Holds 175th Commencement

May 10, 2007
N-449, 2006-07

Some 19,000 Graduates and Guests Attend in Washington Square Park

University Bestows Honorary Degrees on Jazz Artist Wynton Marsalis, Spanish Jurist Baltasar Garzón Real, Met Museum Head Phillipe de Montebello, NYU Mathematician Cathleen Synge Morawetz, and Anti-Apartheid Leader Mamphela Aletta Ramphele

Congressman Charles Rangel Receives NYU’s Rudin Award

Lester Pollack Receives NYU’s Gallatin Medal

New York University President John Sexton and Trustees Chair Martin Lipton today officiated at NYU’s 175th Commencement. Some 6,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, and 13,000 guests attended the morning ceremony. The ceremony, which was also attended by alumni, faculty, and other members of the University community, was held in Washington Square Park, at the heart of NYU’s Greenwich Village campus.

Wynton Marsalis - famed jazz trumpeter, composer, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center - gave a musical “Response on Behalf of the Honorary Degree Recipients,” his own interpretation of the NYU tradition; he received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa.

The University also bestowed honorary doctorates on:

  • Baltasar Garzón Real, renowned Spanish investigative jurist and a former fellow at NYU’s Center on Law and Security; he received a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa
  • Phillipe de Montebello, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and alumnus of NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts; he received a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa
  • Cathleen Synge Morawetz, NYU alumna and professor emerita, recipient of the National Medal of Science for her mathematics scholarship; she received a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa
  • Mamphela Aletta Ramphele, anti-apartheid leader, physician, academic, and Executive Chair of Circle Capital Ventures; she received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa

For his extraordinary public service on behalf of New York, Congressman Charles Rangel - NYU alum, recipient of an honorary doctorate, 37-year veteran of Congress, and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee - was awarded the “Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Public Service” during the Commencement ceremony, which honors service to the city and its communities typified by Lewis Rudin during his life.

Lester Pollack - an alumnus of the NYU School of Law, chair of its board, former chair of the Conference of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and a trustee of NYU for two decades - was awarded the University’s Albert Gallatin Medal at NYU’s Commencement. The Gallatin Medal, first presented to NYU alumnus Dr. Jonas Salk in 1957, is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to society.

Dr. Sexton said, “We surge with pride for our graduates. The culminating accomplishment as an educator is to see one’s teaching and knowledge pass into the world; we know these men and women, who have contributed so much to our campus, will take these lessons and do great good. We are overjoyed to welcome our graduates’ families to participate in this wonderful annual event that draws our community together and share their happiness. And we are proud to confer upon our distinguished guests honorary degrees and University awards in recognition for their service, achievements, and the example they set for our graduates and our entire community. On behalf of NYU’s faculty and the entire community, I offer my congratulations to our graduates and their families.”

The undergraduate student speaker at the 2007 Commencement Exercises was Marc Gustafson, who received a B.A. from the McGhee Division of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. After leaving college 1997, he founded a non-profit, Reach the World, to teach low-income students about world cultures and geography, and sailed around the world sharing his geographic adventures with New York City public school children. He returned to school in NYU’s Paul McGhee Division for adult learners, where he received the Schlansky Research Scholarship. He also received a Marshall Scholarship and will pursue a master’s degree at Oxford beginning this fall.

The graduate student speaker at the 2007 Commencement Exercises was Rahim Moloo, who received an LL.M. from the School of Law. A world public speaking champion and a national debating champion in his native Canada, he is a member of NYU’s International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team, a research assistant, and a graduate editor for the Journal of International Law & Politics.

In keeping with NYU tradition, Commencement included “The Ceremony of the Torch.” The University torch - designed and fashioned by Tiffany and Co. in sterling silver and donated to the University in 1911 - was passed from a senior member of the faculty - Professor Laurin Raiken, a founding member of the faculty of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study - to the youngest undergraduate degree recipient in the Class of 2007, Claire Sommers, an 18-year-old graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School.

Participants in the Commencement Exercises included degree recipients from all of NYU’s schools and colleges. The Hippocratic Oath was administered to the medical doctors graduating from the NYU School of Medicine at Commencement.


New York University is located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Founded in 1831, NYU is this year celebrating its 175th anniversary. It is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: John Beckman | (212) 998-6848


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