Approximately 1,500 degrees will be conferred on May 25 at 11 a.m.

The 99th Commencement Exercises of The College of New Rochelle (CNR) will take place Thursday, May 25, at 11:00 a.m. at Radio City Music Hall.  Approximately 1,500 degrees will be conferred at the event.  As a central part of its Commencement celebration this year, CNR is launching a fundraising effort to assist in rebuilding efforts at Xavier University in New Orleans, which sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina.

"CNR and Xavier are in many ways sister institutions. Like CNR, Xavier started as a small liberal arts college founded by Catholic nuns to provide college degrees to a population excluded from higher education,” said Stephen J. Sweeny, Ph.D., president of CNR.

“There are many ways for Americans to support individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina.  We cannot personally meet all the needs of the people of New Orleans, as much as we might yearn to do so.  However, we can make a real difference in the future of one important part of this hurting city by supporting Xavier in its time of need. We encourage the entire CNR community and members of the public to join with the Class of 2006 in making a generous financial contribution to the rebuilding efforts of the university.” 

The Commencement Address will be given by Dr. Norman C. Francis, president of Xavier University. The College will confer honorary degrees on Dr. Francis, Linda E. Kelly, Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle, and Thomas E. Hales, CEO and Chairman of U.S.B. Holding Co., Inc.

"Since CNR was founded in 1904, our graduates have made valuable contributions throughout all segments of society,” added Dr. Sweeny.  “As we embark on our next 100 years of achievement, we are confident that this year's graduates will continue the fine tradition of service, integrity, and faith that CNR graduates are known for.”

Dr. Norman C. Francis

The first African-American lay president of Xavier University, and the longest serving university president in the U.S., Dr. Francis is nationally recognized for his unwavering commitment to educational and social freedom and equality, spiritual enlightenment and community service.  Since he became Xavier’s president in 1968, the university has more than tripled its enrollment, broadened its curriculum, expanded its campus and received national attention for its award-winning academic initiatives and programs.

Dr. Francis started his five decade-long association with Xavier when he enrolled in the class of 1952. After graduating with his baccalaureate, he became the first African-American to receive a law degree from Loyola University Law School. Dr. Francis returned to his alma mater in 1955 to begin an illustrious administrative career which began as dean of men and culminated in his current position as university president.  An advisor to five U.S. presidents, Dr. Francis has also served on many of the country’s leading civil rights, educational, civic and religious organizations. He holds 31 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education. 

Linda E. Kelly

The current Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle, Linda E. Kelly has spent her entire forty-one year career committed to educating the children of this city.  During her 14-year tenure as Superintendent, Ms. Kelly’s innovative and hands-on approach to learning has catapulted the city’s education to national recognition. The district earned a Blue Ribbon from the U.S. Department of Education and a Newsweek Magazine study ranked New Rochelle High School in the top 2 percent of the country’s high schools.

Ms. Kelly has published articles in a number of scholarly journals and magazines, drawing on her personal experience and research to further the dialogue in education on pressing issues of our times.  

In addition to serving as Superintendent of the district, Ms. Kelly’s career has included teaching in the New Rochelle High School Social Studies Department, serving as assistant to the Principal, and then Associate Principal of the district.  She assumed her current position in 1992.

Ms. Kelly received her baccalaureate degree from Wellesley College, Master’s degree at Columbia University Teachers’ College, and a certificate in Supervision & Administration from Hunter College.

Thomas E. Hales

Mr. Hales began his banking career in 1981 when he joined Union State Bank as chairman, president and chief executive officer of U.S.B. Holding Co., Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union State Bank. Under his leadership, Union State has become one of the fastest growing independent banks in New York State, with 28 branches throughout the metropolitan area, over $3 billion in assets and more than 325 employees.

Under Mr. Hales leadership, Union State Bank -– via the U.S.B. Foundation -- donates annually to various charitable organizations throughout the Hudson Valley region. Beneficiaries have included the Children’s Hospital and Trauma Center at Westchester Medical Center, the Cancer Care Center at Nyack Hospital, the Birthing Center at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, and the Emergency Department at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle.

A cum laude graduate of Iona College with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, Mr. Hales also completed his Master of Business Administration at Pace University and became a New York State Certified Public Accountant.

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Since its founding in 1904, The College of New Rochelle has been committed to intellectual development through the maintenance of the highest standards of academic excellence and educational growth. CNR reaches out to those who have not had previous access to higher education, emphasizes the concept of lifelong learning, and provides opportunities for spiritual growth in a context of freedom and ecumenism. It is the College’s mission to provide a supportive atmosphere which draws out the very best in each person. It is in this spirit that the John Cardinal O’Connor Campus today provides more than 1,000 students with access to a college degree.

O F F I C E  O F  C O M M U N I C A T I O N S
29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805

© 2006  The College of New Rochelle