Vaughn College celebrated its 90th Commencement on Saturday, May 21 in the William R. DeCota Hangar with more than 200 graduates and their families. The conferring of master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees in engineering, technology, management and aviation began with a welcome from Dr. Paul LaVergne, vice president of academic affairs followed by President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. This was the first in-person commencement since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Donovan Richards 11, Queens borough president and a Vaughn alum, delivered the commencement address and was awarded an honorary degree by the College. 

Richards entered politics inspired by a passion to get involved in the community. Prior to becoming president in 2020, Richards previously worked in numerous positions for the city council including being chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. As Queens borough president, Donovan Richards is leading the efforts to revitalize our great borough and make it one which works for all of its residents and workers. 

“My advice to all of you graduating today is to keep an open mind,” said Richards. “Understand that even if the path your life takes is not the path you envisioned, there’s possibility and promise around every bend. I guarantee there will be plenty of opportunities to put that Vaughn degree to good use, especially here in Queens County.” 

Wole Barnarde 22, this year’s student speaker, reminded his peers of the challenges and resilience the class of 2022 faced during their time at Vaughn with the COVID-19 pandemic. Barnarde implored his class to never forget to use the skills, knowledge and experiences learned at Vaughn in the future.  

President DeVivo closed the commencement ceremony by thanking the graduates for their contributions to the institution and wishing them well in the next chapter of their journey.  

“You are now an ambassador for Vaughn, and you can share with others the value of the knowledge you have gained,” said DeVivo. “We look forward to the contributions you will make to the future of this institution.” 

Missed this year’s commencement? Rewatch the ceremony

on our YouTube channel by clicking here. To view the 2022 Commencement program, click here.  

Wole Barnarde, 2022 Commencement student speaker.


Commencement speaker Donovan Richards delivers his address.