Vaughn College paid tribute to its best and brightest Thursday (May 10) at its annual Honors Convocation Ceremony. The event, coming nine days before commencement, recognized student achievement in and out of the classroom.

Awards were presented to more than 50 students, including the Board of Trustees Award to December graduate and founder of the College’s Circle K club Don Raghunandan; Fiorello LaGuardia Awards to graduate students Kevin Gillen, George Hu and Yuecheng Feng; and Bessie Coleman Awards to Sehrish Butt and Camila Turrieta. The awards all recognize academic achievement and service to the Vaughn community.

“This is a very special day, one of a few that we have over the course of the year,” College President Dr. John C. Fitzpatrick said. “Commencement is one of them but this is just as important.”

The annual ceremony also recognized those students who, through service to the community, demonstrate the civic values the College espouses, including Service Awards presented to seven students active in club activities. Honorary cords were given to seven students who completed Vaughn’s Leadership Academy and cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude students were recognized with similar cords to be worn at commencement May 19.

The event also recognized Vaughn’s athletic best with most valuable player awards presented in six intercollegiate sports. Basketball players Jihad Ceaser and Estefania Collazos were named male and female Athletes of the Year and soccer player Melvin Okumu was named Student-Athlete of the Year.

Founders Awards and Casey S. Jones Awards were presented to high-performing students in associate and bachelor’s degree programs, respectively. Student Government Association Awards were given to Professor Joseph Zych and Rosanna Pichardo, Assistant Director of the Freshman Year Experience (FYE).

The ceremony featured an address from guest speaker Robert McAdams, general manager of Sheltair Aviation Services’  fixed based operator (FBO) at LaGuardia Airport, who reminded students that college graduation is only the beginning.

“Your future doesn’t end with your experience here at Vaughn,” McAdams said. “With the knowledge you have gained at Vaughn you will be the next generation of experts in your field.”

Raghunandan, who also will serve as student commencement speaker, followed with similar words for his fellow students, telling them that “this is where we should establish the foundation for the rest of our lives.”

Read and download the Convocation program and list of award winners here.


VAUGHN COLLEGE HONORS CONVOCATION 2012: Speaker Robert McAdams, who attended Vaughn College and who now manages SheltAir’s fixed based operator at LaGuardia Airport, told graduates they can be the future of their industries. Below, Board of Trustees Award winner and student speaker Don Raghunandan asked graduates to examine the purpose of their lives and how they can best make a difference.