NYPD commish to speak at graduation

By on April 26, 2006

Before Quinnipiac seniors are sent out into the “real world,” a place where they will face new obstacles, they will be given advice from a man who the university thinks knows a little something about perseverance.

Raymond Kelly, Commissioner of the New York Police Department and the commencement speaker for the undergraduate graduation ceremony being held on May 21, is the only person to date to hold every rank in the NYPD. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Kelly commissioner shortly after the September 11 attacks, making Kelly the first to hold the position for a second, separate tenure (his first was from 1992-1994).

Despite all his success, Kelly’s career has not been without controversy. He was criticized by some for his handling of protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden. More than 1,800 people were arrested during the protests, which included marches, demonstrations and performances.

Despite this criticism, students like Michelle Streckenbach, a Quinnipiac senior, believe that Kelly was a good choice to speak: “I think he will do a fine job. I’m from Long Island.I’ve heard of him before.”

Other students feel differently.

“I do not know what he will bring to commencement,” says senior Hilary Sexton. “I know how important 9/11 is, but there comes a time where you need to talk about something else. I was looking forward to listening to a well-known speaker too.”

In 1994 and 1995, Kelly was sent to Haiti by the United States to head a team that was responsible for ending human rights abuses and setting up an interim police force there. President Clinton and General Shalikashvili presented him with awards for his duties in Hati.

From 1996 to 1998, Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the United States Department of Treasury, where he supervised department enforcement bureaus, such as the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, among others. When elected President of the United States, Bill Clinton asked Kelly to be his F.B.I. Director. Kelly declined so he could fulfill his position as N.Y.P.D. Commissioner.

Senior Peter Gallay is also slated to speak at the May 21 ceremony.

Gallay feels honored to speak in front of his fellow classmates on the special day.

“I’m excited to be able to stand in front of my class on graduation day and be able to reminisce about our four years,” Gallay said.

Gallay is very involved on campus, serving as a resident assistant, an orientation leader, a member of the Residence Hall Council, Students Helping Advocate Diversity Education, Hillel and the STAR Program.

For the Law School graduation ceremony, Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Christine Vertefeuille will talk with the students as their commencement speaker. In 1995 she was awarded the Judicial Award from the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. Vertefeuille was appointed to the State Supreme Court on January 3, 2000, and in 2001 received an award from Quinnipiac’s Italian Law Society student organization.

Burt Saxon was chosen as commencement speaker for the graduate graduation ceremony.

Saxon, Connecticut’s 2004-2005 Teacher of the Year, has been teaching in the New Haven school system for over 35 years and teaches part-time at Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University. Saxon is also a free-lance writer, and the author of eight published textbooks.

The law and graduate commencements will be held on Sunday, May 14, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively.


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