April 15, 2013
St. John’s University is proud to announce New York Congressman
Peter King and Rev. Patrick Griffin,
C.M . as commencement speakers for the University’s
graduation ceremonies in Queens and Staten Island, respectively.
The ceremony on Staten Island will take place on Saturday, May 18
and will be followed with the Queens campus ceremony on Sunday, May
FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano
(Staten Island) and Suzanne Halpin (Queens),
Executive Vice President, Rubenstein Communications, will also
receive honorary degrees conferred by University President,
Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.
“A theme of this year’s Commencement Exercises
is the remarkable collaborative efforts of New Yorkers in times of
distress in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. We are fortunate to have
our Class of 2013 hear of the valiant efforts of two major
contributors to that recovery effort, as Congressman King addresses
our students in Queens and Commissioner Cassano is honored at our
Staten Island ceremony,” said Rev. Harrington, C.M. “We also honor
Father Pat Griffin, current Director General of the Daughters of
Charity in Paris, and former Executive V.P. for Mission and Branch
campuses, who is a colleague, Vincentian and lives our mission of
St. Vincent de Paul every day, and St. John’s alum, Suzanne Halpin,
communications professional, public relations advisor/counsel and
current Board of Trustee member. Both of these individuals have
played invaluable roles in the success of the university for which
we are truly grateful.”
Queens Commencement: Sunday, May 19,
2013 at 10 a.m.
(Procession of undergraduate and graduate students,
faculty and honored guests to begin at 9:15 a.m.)
Commencement Speaker: Congressman Peter King, Honorary
Doctor of Laws recipient; Communications Expert, Suzi Halpin to
receive Honorary Doctor of Laws
Approximately 2,800 graduates will receive
their degrees at this ceremony and more than 19,000 family,
friends, administrators and students will attend.
Staten Island Commencement: Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 10
of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and honored guests
to begin at 9:45 a.m.)
Speaker: Rev. Patrick Griffin, C.M., Honorary Doctor of Humane
Letters recipient; FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano to receive
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Approximately 300 undergraduate and graduate students will receive
degrees at this ceremony and more than 2,000 family, friends,
administrators and students will attend.
Congressman Peter T. King, a Republican, is serving his
eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. King is
a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the
Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves
on the Financial Services Committee and Permanent Select Committee
on Intelligence. Congressman King, who previously served as
Chairman of the Committee in 2005-2006 and again in 2011-2012, has
been a leader in the ongoing effort to have Homeland Security
funding based on threat analysis and is a strong supporter of the
war against international terrorism, both at home and abroad.
of the Homeland Security Committee he stood up to the pressure from
special interest groups and the media to hold a series of hearings
on Islamic radicalization. Chairman King has led the fight to
continue funding to the Secure the Cities Program to protect the
New York-Long Island region from nuclear dirty bomb attacks.
years in Congress, Rep. King has attained a reputation for being
well-informed and independent. Following the ravages of SuperStorm
Sandy, Rep. King led the successful fight in Congress to obtain
$60.4 billion in emergency funding for the victims of the storm.
Even Newsday has admitted that Congressman King is a "stand-up guy
who isn’t shy about tangling with the powerful, even those in his
own party. King has become a national figure who delivers for the
region and his district."
serving in Congress, Rep. King was elected to three terms as the
Comptroller of Nassau County. Before serving in county government,
Rep. King had extensive experience as a practicing attorney and
civic leader. He began his political career in November 1977 by
winning election to the Hempstead Town Council. Rep. King is also a
member of the Knights of Pythias.
was born on April 5, 1944 in Manhattan and was raised in Queens. He
is a graduate of St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and the University
of Notre Dame Law School.
Cassano was appointed Fire Commissioner by Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg effective Jan. 1, 2010. He is the 32nd Fire Commissioner
in the 145-year history of the New York City Fire Department.
Commissioner Cassano, who has 40 years of experience in the FDNY
and has held every uniformed rank, heads the world’s largest fire
department with more than 16,000 fire, EMS and civilian members and
an annual budget of $1.6 billion.
Prior to his
appointment by the Mayor, Commissioner Cassano served as the FDNY’s
Chief of Department - the highest-ranking uniformed officer - from
2006 through 2010, overseeing many of the agency’s most important
bureaus including Fire and EMS Operations, Training, Safety, Fire
Prevention and Communications. From 2001 to 2006, he served as
Chief of Operations - a position he was appointed to immediately
after Sept. 11, 2001. Not only is the FDNY better equipped, trained
and prepared than ever before in its history, it also has achieved
unprecedented success with the fewest civilian fire fatalities ever
and the fastest response times on record.
Cassano’s extraordinary career with the FDNY began with his
appointment as a firefighter on Nov. 29, 1969. He steadily rose
through the ranks with promotions to Lieutenant (August 1977),
Captain (April 1984), Battalion Chief (August 1987), Deputy Chief
(June 1993), Deputy Assistant Chief (November 1999) and Assistant
Chief (April 2001). Five times during his career he was cited for
bravery, each time for rescuing New Yorkers from burning
joining the FDNY, Commissioner Cassano served in the U.S. Army from
October 1965 through July 1967 and was deployed to Vietnam in
September 1966. While a firefighter, he attended John Jay College
of Criminal Justice and received a Bachelor of Science degree in
Patrick J. Griffin, C.M.
Patrick Griffin, C.M. is a priest of the Congregation of the
Mission, Eastern Province, professor, and currently serves as
director general of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. He
previously served as director of Vincentian seminarians at the
Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY, and has
taught at Mary Immaculate Seminary, PA, St. John’s University and
Niagara University. Father Griffin was a scriptwriter for the
Paulist Bible Study Program and served the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops Censor Deputatus. He served in Rome for five years
as the International Treasurer for the Congregation of the Mission.
Since 1996, he has served on the Board of Trustees of St. John’s
University. Father Griffin holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from
The Catholic University of America.
Suzanne Halpin is Executive Vice President
at Rubenstein Associates, Inc. and leads a group focused on public
affairs and strategy. She has more than 20 years of media, event
and crisis management experience. Her clients include Rockefeller
Center, New York Cares, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum,
and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, St. John’s University, New
York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center,
UJA-Federation of New York, and the Archdiocese of New York Inner
City Scholarship Fund. She previously worked as press
secretary for the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation, New
York City’s public health system.
Ms. Halpin came to Rubenstein after serving
as vice president for external affairs for St. John’s University.
In that capacity she supervised all media coverage for the
University, acted as University spokesperson, directed all
promotional and marketing activities and managed the content of the
University web site. Prior to her appointment at St. John’s, Ms.
Halpin served as director of media and community relations for the
Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). Over the course of her
five-year tenure at LILCO, Ms. Halpin acted as corporate
spokesperson and presided over all aspects of media relations,
including strategic program development, active promotional work
and crisis management.
Ms. Halpin received her BA and MBA from St.
John’s University and currently sits on St. John’s Board of