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QCC celebrates 2023 class of graduates at commencement ceremony

Jun. 7, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

Queensborough Community College on June 2 held a commencement ceremony at its Athletic Field to honor the graduates from the class of 2023. Nearly 1,600 students were recognized as candidates for graduation, including almost 500 students from the fall semester who graduated.


Photo courtesy of Queensborough Community College

“Graduates, as I look out at you, I am filled with so much joy,” QCC President Dr. Christine Mangino said. “I, like many of you, was a first-generation student. I once sat where you are today as a proud community college graduate and I will always remember the deep pride I felt crossing the finish line. You, too, will always remember this day which begins the next chapter of your lives!”


Queensborough Community College President Christine Mangino addresses the graduates. Photo courtesy of Queensborough Community College

Several elected officials offered their congratulations to the students. Among those to do so were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Councilwoman Linda Lee, Deputy Queens Borough President Ebony Young, Assemblyman David Weprin, state Senator John Liu and CUNY Board of Trustee and Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez. Schumer thanked Dr. Mangino and the school’s entire community for helping to make it what he considers to be one of the country’s best colleges.


Senator Chuck Schumer speaks to the graduates at Queensborough Community College’s commencement. Photo courtesy of Queensborough Community College

In addition to getting their degrees, several of the graduates received awards for academic excellence, exceptional athletic and scholarly achievement, outstanding college and community leadership and for promoting harmony and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Peter Hoffmann received the John P. Bevilacqua Athletic Scholarship Award, which honors a graduating student for their athletic and academic achievements. Valedictorian Raheem Popley-Carvey was given the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award, which is given to a graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the college and community. Hafiz Tariq got the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, which is given to a graduating student who demonstrates exceptional leadership in promoting racial harmony and appreciation of cultural diversity. The Salutatorian was Ho Martin Yuen.


Valedictorian Raheem Popley-Carvey with QCC President Christine Mangino.Photo courtesy of Queensborough Community College

According to Popley-Carvey, 25, he would commute about 80 miles each day as he went to and from QCC to his home in Staten Island.

“But this was a good problem to have,” Popley-Carvey said.

He had spent time being homeless at age 17 and again at 21. In the latter case, he was trying to take care of his 6-month-old son. He felt that his best way out of living in a shelter was to pursue an education. QCC caught his eye for its engaging website promoting research opportunities and rigorous science programs. He ended up enrolling in August of 2021, just one month after leaving the shelter.

As a student at QCC, Popley-Carvey took part in conducting cancer research as part of the NIH-Bridges program. He credits his academic success to the support provided by the school’s counseling center and his discovery of student club associations. He also helped jump start three such clubs: The Caribbean Students Coalition, The Science Research Alliance and the Renaissance Art Recognition Event (R.A.R.E.), to provide creative space for faculty and staff. He also served as President of the Environmental Sustainability Club.

Popley-Carvey is currently working at the nonprofit organization the Center for Popular Democracy. He is the field manager of the national canvas team. The team’s mission is to organize and activate communities across the country in the fight for social, political and economic justice. Beginning in the fall, he will start attending Queens College to study neuroscience.


Photo courtesy of Queensborough Community College

The 2023 class of graduates marked QCC’s 62nd graduation ceremony. According to a 2022 report from WalletHub, the school is New York state’s highest-ranked community colleges, as well as one of the best community colleges in the United States. That marked the fifth consecutive year in which WalletHub named QCC as a top institution of higher education. Equity, access, opportunities, education outcomes, career outcomes and affordability are all hallmarks of QCC and essential to the upward and inter-generational social mobility of its students.

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