Ma 17, 2011
Spotlight Set to Shine on the Class of 2011
At the 2011 Commencement, John Jay willsalute a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, apioneering jurist and a women’s rights advocatewith honorary doctorates.Tony Kushner is the author of
Angels in America
, a two-part, seven-hour epic about theAIDS epidemic in Reagan-era America that earnedhim the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama along with aTony Award and Emmy Award.Kushner’s newest work,
An IntelligentHomosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialismwith a Key to the Scriptures
, opened off-Broadwayin New York on May 6.The Hon. Judith S. Kaye, who retired in 2008after 15 years as Chief Judge of the New York
State Court of Appeals, was the rst woman tooccupy the state judiciary’s highest ofce, and
served during the administrations of four New Yorkgovernors — the longest tenure of any chief judgein state history.During her tenure, Kaye helped to establish the Center for Court Innovation, an independent
nonprot think tank that serves as the judiciary’s
research and development arm. She has been along-time advocate of court reform and problem-solving approaches to jurisprudence. In March
2008, Kaye became the rst recipient of the John
Jay Medal for Justice.As the founder and executive directorof National Advocates for Pregnant Women,Lynn Paltrow has worked to secure the health,welfare and civil rights of all women. She hasbeen a senior staff member at a number of leading reproductiverights organizations,including the ACLU’sReproductive FreedomProject the Center forReproductive Law andPolicy and Planned Parenthood of New York City.Paltrow combines legal advocacy withorganizing and policy work to secure the rights,health and welfare of all women, particularly thosewho are most vulnerable — low-income women,
women of color and drug-using women. She led the rst federal civil rights challenge to a hospital’s
policy of searching pregnant women for evidenceof drug use and then turning that information over to the police. The United States Supreme Courtagreed that such a policy violates the FourthAmendment’s protections against unreasonablesearches and seizures.More than 3,100 John Jay students willinaugurate a new venue for graduation onJune 3, as the College moves its 46th annualCommencement ceremony to the Jacob Javits
Convention Center North for the rst time.
The Class of 2011, comprising 2,497undergraduate and 617 graduate students,will bid farewell to John Jay in two ceremoniesdifferentiated by major, one at 10:30 AM and theother at 3:30 PM.“It is hard to believe, but we are rapidlyapproaching the end of the school year and thecelebrations that mark the awarding of degrees toour students,” said President Jeremy Travis. “Formy part, I look forward to this festive celebrationand to shaking the hands of each of our graduatesas they walk across the stage of the Javits CenterNorth.”The graduating class consists of approximately62.4 percent female and 37.6 percent malestudents. According to statistics provided by the
Registrar’s Ofce, 26.9 percent are white, 22.1
percent are black, 29.5 percent are Latino and 6.8
percent are Asian/Pacic Islander. They range in
age from 19 to 61 years old.The top two students in the class — thevaledictorian and salutatorian — are bothgraduating with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
Proles of Konrad Ornatowski and David M.
Marshall IV appear below,The College will also present honorary
doctorates to three leading gures in humanities
and the law: playwright Tony Kushner, former New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye and women’s
rights advocate Lynn Paltrow. (See proles below.)
Pre-Commencement activities will include aFor Konrad Ornatowski, earning the designationas the Class of 2011 valedictorian is the latest ina string of honors — and yet another strong pieceof evidence attesting to the triumphal power of dedication, effort and resiliency.Ornatowski, a 27-year-old Forensic Sciencemajor with a perfect 4.0 GPA, immigrated to theUnited States from Warsaw, Poland, at age 7,settling in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Atage 15, Ornatowski was on his own, following thedeaths of both parents — his mother when he was
10, and his father ve years later. Self-sufciency
was a lesson he had to learn quickly. “I knew thateducation would be my rescue,” he said.Ornatowski planned to follow a conventionalpath from high school straight to college, but the9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centerintervened. “We watched the whole thing from
2011 doctoral honorees(clockwise from upper left)Lynn Paltrow, Judith Kaye and Tony Kushner.
The road of life can be
lled with interesting and
unforeseen detours. The 2011salutatorian, David M. MarshallIV, appreciates the truth of that.Marshall began his collegecareer in 1993 fresh from highschool, but soon left to escapefrom what he described asan environment marked byhomophobic bullying. He was in
the midst of a career as a ight
attendant when two peoplehe knew were killed on 9/11,prompting the realization thatlife is too short. He decided to restart his collegecareer, this time at John Jay, where he has sincecompiled a perfect 4.0 GPA while majoring inculture and deviance studies, with double minorsin psychology and gender studies.“Coming back to college as an adult, youappreciate things in a totally different way,” saidMarshall, now 35. “Your perspective is totallydifferent.” The path to his bachelor’s degree hasbeen a voyage of discovery for Marshall. He hasworked on a variety of research projects, withDepartmental Awards ceremony on May 18, acollege-wide Graduation Awards ceremony andreception on June 1 and the Night of the Starsdinner/dance on June 2. A harbor cruise forgraduating seniors, including DJ and buffet, will take place on May 26. For more information about these and other graduation events, contact the
Ofce of Student Development at 646.557.4888,
or e-mail email@example.com.For complete information, visit theCommencement page on the John Jay website,www.jjay.cuny.edu.
What It Takes to Be #1 and #2 in the Class
Doctoral Honorees Hailedfor Art, Advocacy & Justice
‘I knew education would be my rescue’
the windows of our school,” hesaid, recalling his senior year atMurry Bergtraum High Schoolin lower Manhattan. Like manyof his generation, he heeded apatriotic call and enlisted in thearmed forces.During his four years with the Marine Corps, Ornatowskiserved in a variety of eliteroles, including the Presidentialhonor guard and the ForceRecon special operations unit,among other assignments. In2006, following the end of hiscommitment, getting a collegeeducation once again became his priority.“I enrolled in the forensic science program atJohn Jay in the hope of further developing mylove and curiosity for the sciences,” he explained.Focusing on molecular biology, he became amember of the lab group led by Professor DianaFriedland, and lost a valuedmentor with Friedland’s deathlast year from cancer. “She
was very inuential and always
cared about her students,”he said.Ornatowski said maintaining a perfect grade point averagewas something of a challenge.“Sometimes I wish the 4.0 hadgone away a long time ago, just to take the weight off me,”he said. “But it didn’t, so aftera while keeping it becamemore and more important.”Next on the agenda forOrnatowski is giving back to his wife and infantdaughter. “Right now I need to get a job to supportmy family,” he said. “My time at John Jay hasbeen extremely positive, and this program hasunquestionably prepared me for the employmentaspirations I have with the federal government.”
‘As an adult, your perspective is different’
many of them opening doors tonew areas of scholarly interestand new faculty contacts,including a study of underagesex workers in Atlantic Citywith Professor Ric Curtis, astudy of methamphetaminemarkets in New York City withProfessor Travis Wendel and,since completing his degreein December 2010, a six-week study of social networksin Labrador, Canada, withProfessor Kirk Dombrowski.Wendel has since askedMarshall to be project coordinator for federally-funded HIV behavioral study in New York.
“I love research and I love eldwork,” Marshall
said of his broad-ranging scholarly interests. “It’snot something I thought I would like, but I justlove it.” And while he gives much of the creditfor academic mentoring to Dombrowski, Curtisand Wendel, he is also quick to cite the supportprovided by his mother and partner. “It may soundcliché,” he says, “but I wouldn’t be where I amwithout them.”