Meet the Reunion Honorees

The 2013 Alumni Reunion will honor four outstanding individuals for their achievements and contributions to John Jay College.


This year, the Alumni Association will add a new award, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, which will be presented to Dominick R. Cromartie (BA ’00), who used his John Jay education as a springboard to Harvard Law School, where he earned a JD degree in 2003.


Following law school, Cromartie has held positions as a litigation associate at two top New York law firms, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Davis & Gilbert LLP. His tenure at Paul, Weiss, where he worked on securities fraud cases, was interrupted by a 12-month appointment as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the Eastern District of Michigan. In his current role with Davis & Gilbert, Cromartie handles intellectual property litigation, entertainment and contract disputes, among other matters. He serves on the firm’s diversity committee.


Joining Cromartie in the winner’s circle will be Thomas Belfiore (BS ’79, MA ’96), who will receive the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Belfiore enjoyed a 20-year career with the New York City Police Department that was marked by a succession of command positions, including head of the Police Academy and commanding officer of the 19th Precinct on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He retired in 2001 as commanding officer in the Office of the First Deputy Commissioner, and became Director of Security Operations for Major League Baseball. He has also worked in private security and investigative consulting, served more than six years as Commissioner/Sheriff of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and was Chief Security Officer for The Related Companies, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers. He is currently Deputy Chief Security Officer of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


Belfiore is also treasurer of the John Jay Alumni Association.


The Distinguished Faculty Award will be presented to Gerald Markowitz, Distinguished Professor of History, who is known college-wide as a profound and trailblazing scholar and a dedicated teacher, mentor and colleague. Markowitz joined the John Jay faculty in 1970 and has written numerous acclaimed books, including his history of John Jay, Educating for Justice. His long-time colleague, Distinguished Professor Blanche Wiesen Cook, said of him: “Jerry Markowitz is a leader for justice, a model of activism for the public good…. The truth is, Jerry Markowitz is central to the historic achievement and future well-being of John Jay.”


The 2013 winner of the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship is Milton Pelotte, who is on track to graduate from John Jay in 2015 with a BS in Criminal Justice. He hopes to follow his John Jay career with launching a nonprofit organization that helps youth from low-income families connect with career-building mentors. Law school is also in his plans. Pelotte has been a tutor and mentor in the Upward Bound program, a Thurgood Marshall Scholar, and has studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.


You can meet this year’s honorees and congratulate them in person by attending the Alumni Reunion on April 9. Click here for more information and to register.




Calling All Alumni Veterans!

Set aside the evening of May 2, 2013, for a very special John Jay Salute to Veterans.  You’ve done so much for us, now let us celebrate you! Click here to share your experiences with fellow alumni and student veterans.




Expression Wall Captures Thoughts on Newtown & Gun Violence

Angry. Saddened. Baffled. Introspective. A full range of emotions and reactions was on display starting March 12 as an Expression Wall went up in the Kroll Atrium of the new building, signaling the opening of a semester-long Remembering Newtown event series.


John Jay President Jeremy Travis called on the College community to come together in the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, to build on President Obama’s challenge to turn pain into positive action. The first step in the process of healing and remembering, the Expression Wall, inspired the College’s students, faculty and staff, to put thoughts into words on simple green paper ribbons.


“I’m delighted to see how this community has come together on this,” said President Travis, “and grateful that we have become stronger in our commitment to do something about gun violence.”


Student Council President Mehak Kapoor read a poem, “We Will Remember,” written by Kathleen Casey Nazarenko for the Newtown/Sandy Hook Poem Project, before pinning a green ribbon bearing the words “JJC Remembers Newtown” on President Travis. The two then posted the first of the sentiments on the wall, and others quickly followed. The postings included:


“R.I.P., Little Angels”
“In memory of Andrew Wyckoff, who might have lived if guns weren’t available”
“…we will get through this together, one step at a time”
“Should never have happened!”


Travis said of the wall, which will remain up through the end of the school year: “This sets the stage for the rest of the semester, as we do our part to pay homage to victims of gun violence and spur meaningful dialogue and action.”


All of the events in the Remembering Newtown series are free of charge and open to the public. For a complete schedule, including dates, times and locations, visit the John Jay homepage at www.jjay.cuny.edu.




Dr. Hazel Dukes Keynotes Annual Malcolm/King Breakfast

Capping Black History Month at John Jay, the 23rd annual Malcolm/King Breakfast on February 22 was a vibrant celebration of African American history, heritage, scholarship and community.


Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Jannette Domingo provided welcoming remarks in which she noted that the Malcolm/King Breakfast has been held every year since 1991 amid a backdrop of political, economic and social challenges. “Today our challenges range from economic uncertainty to threats of violence, be they terrorism, gun violence or domestic violence. But in the midst of all of this, we need to create many opportunities to celebrate and nourish our spirits,” Domingo said.


Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jane Bowers welcomed the event’s honoree, the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, and keynote speaker, Dr. Hazel Dukes, saying that both individuals follow in a long line of distinguished Malcolm/King Breakfast speakers. “The message of King and Malcolm X still rings true today,” Bowers said. “God knows we still need fierce advocates for justice in a world so full of injustice.”


Forbes, known as “the preacher’s preacher,” is the Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary, and Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church. “John Jay College was always open to everyone in the community,” he observed. “Diversity was not some philosophical theory or practice. This school seems to say if you have the commitment to the task, we don’t care what your previous conditions of servitude were. You come on in. It was normal and natural for all God’s children to have a place at the table. That’s why I like you.”


Dukes, who is president of the NAACP New York State Conference and a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors and Executive Committee, told attendees: “Once you’re accepted in this college, each one of you has the obligation to be the Martin and the Malcolm in your own way.”


“You have the right to have your own direction of how you want to make your mark,” Dukes said. “But remember, to be a leader you need to have followers, because if there are no followers you’re just a leader taking a walk.”


Proceeds from the Malcolm/King Breakfast are used to support a leadership scholarship for John Jay students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and success in African American studies. The 2013 Malcolm/King Scholarships were presented to Alejandro Madi and Hathor Nefertiti Williams.


The 2013 breakfast was the last for Domingo, who was a founding member and first chair of the Breakfast Committee and is retiring this year. Professor Delores Jones-Brown of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration presented Domingo with a plaque recognizing her years of leadership, mentorship and vision. “Words cannot express the hole left in John Jay College by your departure,” said Jones-Brown.


Alumnus is on Duty in Liberia


The international scope and impact of John Jay has been affirmed yet again, with the recent appointment of alumnus Abe Kromah as Deputy Director of Operations of the Liberian National Police (LNP).


Kromah, 46, was already a veteran Liberian police officer when he relocated to the United States amid the protracted civil war that erupted in 1989. Kromah moved with his family to New Jersey, where he worked as a probation investigator.  He also discovered John Jay, and enrolled in the master’s program in Criminal Justice, earning his degree in 2012. (He also holds an MA in Human Resources Development from Seton Hall University.)


The end of the factional fighting in Liberia in 2003, and the subsequent election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the country’s President, brought about a call for a return to traditional democratic institutions, including the police. “The population was war-weary and ready for professional policing and the rule of law,” said Kromah. “I think that’s why the President thought a guy from John Jay would be a good fit.” Newly appointed Police Director Chris Massaquoi recommended Kromah as his deputy. “I couldn’t say no, even though I was about to start a PhD,” said Kromah. “But I can boast that what I learned from John Jay has prepared me for leadership anywhere in the world.”


A disciple of former New York Police Commissioner Lee Brown’s ideas on community policing, Kromah wrote his John Jay master’s thesis on how the LNP can learn from the mistakes of the NYPD, and he expects to be putting his John Jay-gained knowledge to good use in his new position. “Before the war, there was an NYPD-like structure in Liberia, but that started to break down with nepotism and factionalism,” he said. “When the war ended, the United Nations started building a merit-based system.


“I believe in reaching out and doing things with the community,” Kromah asserted. “Even at border hot spots you can do community policing. You just have to be tactical with the methods you employ.” He will have his hands full, as the police work to address armed-robbery problems, mob violence, and abysmal traffic and road conditions.


Kromah plans to create a Police Cadet program at the high school level, and hopes to have Liberian police travel anywhere and everywhere in the world for training. Increasing the size of the LNP – from its current 4,000 officers to a level closer to the pre-war strength of 10,000 – is also on his agenda, but he quickly adds, “We are no rush to hire, because that would only end up being counterproductive.”


Kromah visited New York in the fall for a conference at the UN, and took time from a busy schedule to pay a call on his alma mater. He noted with a smile the shopping bag full of books from John Jay he was bringing back with him, to show people that “these are the yardstick for professionalism and integrity.”



Request for Alumni Board Nominations


In late May, an election will be held to fill the following positions on the Alumni Board: President; First Vice President; Second Vice President; Third Vice President; Secretary; Treasurer, and Historian. The election will be conducted online. Any active member may nominate a candidate (including oneself), for one or more of these positions.

For a description of the duties of these offices, click here.


To nominate a candidate, click here.



Where in the World is John Jay?


Whether you’re on vacation, traveling on business or just lounging on your patio, don’t forget to show your John Jay spirit!


Send us a photo of yourself wearing John Jay garb – t-shirt, hoodie, ball cap, etc. – and let us know where in the world the photo was taken. We’ll post it to the John Jay page on Facebook and other social media outlets, as well as future issues of Alumni News, to share with the rest of the College community. (Send your “Where in the World” photos to mgarcia@jjay.cuny.edu.)


Don’t have any John Jay garb? The college bookstore has plenty of the latest styles, and you can even order online! Click here to visit the virtual bookstore.



A Winner On and Off the Court

John Jay men’s basketball player Jamar Harry has had a season to remember, and only two things were missing that might have made it better – a conference championship, and his mother.


Harry, who was named 2012-2013 Player of the Year by the CUNY Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) on February 13, saw his championship dream fall just short 10 days later when the Bloodhounds lost to the College of Staten Island 80-74 in the conference tournament final. The absence of his mother, Tessa Warren, is something he has been dealing with since 1994 when, just a month before his fourth birthday, she was fatally shot by fans celebrating a New York Knicks playoff victory on the street below their Crown Heights apartment.


A soft-spoken 6-foot-2 senior who dreams of playing semi-pro basketball overseas, Harry lit up the conference during the regular season with a scoring average of 16.8 points per game, in addition to 8.3 rebounds per game. His end-of-season honor follows the Rookie of the Year award he earned in 2010-2011. Eventually, the Criminal Justice major hopes to become an FBI agent.


The full story of Harry’s lifelong love affair with basketball, including his rise to conference stardom and the tragic death of his mother, was recently featured in the New York Daily News. To read the full article, click here.


Harry was one of four men’s and women’s basketball players from John Jay to win conference honors this season. His teammate, senior Isaiah Holman, was named a first-team All Star after averaging a team-high of 18.1 points per game. From the women’s team, which was eliminated by Hunter College in the conference quarterfinals, Jamecia Forsythe, a junior, was named a first-team All Star after leading CUNYAC in rebounding with 13.8 per game, and senior Victoria Story was named a second-team All Star.


Harry and Forsythe were also both named first-team All Stars by the Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro Region.



From the South Bronx to the White House: An Advocate and an Intern


Kalema Boateng, a graduate student in Public Administration, recently became John Jay’s second student to win a prestigious White House Internship.


“I’m excited and determined to do the best that I can,” said Boateng, who came to John Jay from Barnard College, where she majored in psychology, education and women’s leadership. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work, and I am grateful to the White House and to John Jay for this opportunity. I’m going to try to make John Jay proud and everyone who is supporting me.”


Boateng says that it was John Jay’s mission of “Educating for Justice,” its curriculum, faculty and diverse student body that drew her to the school. She decided to pursue a dual specialization in Operations and Emergency Management in the MPA program because it would provide her with the broadest range of education and skills in event/emergency management.


But her true passion, she admits, is in youth advocacy, women’s leadership and helping people of color in underserved communities.


“I was born and raised in the South Bronx — one of the hardest communities in the Bronx,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of teenage pregnancies, high unemployment rates, drug-related issues, high incarceration of youth and men of color. These experiences of my own life as well as the political and economic climate honed my interest and passion in public policy and in helping young girls.”


Will Simpkins, Director of John Jay’s Center for Career & Professional Development, said of Boateng’s achievement: “The White House Internship Program is one of the most prestigious internships, and certainly one of the most competitive, available to college students in the United States. That Kalema successfully applied, interviewed and was offered a position speaks tremendously of her professionalism. Kalema will bring our philosophy of ‘Educating for Justice’ to Washington.” 


Boateng hopes that the White House Internship Program will help her reach her long-term goal of securing a job in federal government that focuses on issues affecting inner-city youth, particularly girls. “I could not walk this earth without trying to help someone know their own rights and without knowing that I was representing justice,” she said.


The AIDS Crisis: Learning from the Past

The early years of the AIDS epidemic may have occurred before most current John Jay students were born, but on March 5, the College community got a vivid introduction to (or reminder of) that watershed period in recent U.S. history, with a special screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague.”


The screening, in the Gerald Lynch Theater, brought together students, faculty and staff to learn about the early years of the AIDS crisis and to celebrate the achievements of advocacy groups in taking on Washington and the medical establishment to save lives. The evening also included a panel discussion featuring (in photo from l. to r.): Laura Pinsky, founder of the Gay Health Advocacy Project; Peter Staley, an early leader of ACT UP and the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Group; Professor Abby Stein, panel moderator, and Whitney Brown, former president of the John Jay Student Council, and passionate AIDS activist.


The event was hosted by the College’s LGBTQ Task Force and co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, the Center for Careers and Professional Development, the Division of Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, and Spectrum, the student club for LGBT students and their allies.



Helping Homeless Vets

Building on the success of the latest Treats for Troops drive, the College’s Office of Community Outreach and Service Learning launched a new initiative to provide survival kits to homeless veterans in the New York area.


Treats for Troops typically provides care packages for John Jay students who are in the military stationed in Afghanistan. The fundraising component of this year’s fourth annual collection effort succeeded to an extent that allowed the office’s cadre of student Community Service Representatives (CSR) to purchase essential items for similar care packages earmarked for veterans whose military service is completed but who have ended up homeless on the streets of New York.


“One of our CSRs, Alison Lazaro, researched the best prices for the greatest abundance of essential items, and then ordered all the supplies,” said Declan Walsh, director of the community outreach office. Lazaro got in touch Veterans’ Affairs Coordinator Welby Alcantara, who recruited students from the John Jay Veterans Association to help with the logistics of properly packaging the survival kits.


“The kits include emergency space blankets, toiletries, information of available services and even document protectors,” said Walsh.


CSRs will help distribute the survival kits to New York homeless shelters that focus on veterans in need, including Reality House, an Astoria, Queens-based shelter and service provider.


“The veteran’s love for helping other vets and doing community service, that’s what being a vet is all about,” said Alcantara.




Trustee Ron Moelis Shares Expertise with Students

One of the newest members of the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees, Ron Moelis, brought his considerable experience and expertise to bear as a “Professional in Residence” during a February 25 seminar hosted by the Center for Career and Professional Development.


Moelis, who spoke on careers in law, real estate and public service, is co-founder, CEO and chairman of L+M Development Partners Inc., a leader in developing affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing. He met with students for a group discussion, and then had follow-up one-on-one conversations with them.


Professor Sondra Leftoff of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program participated in the event with interns from the internship course she teaches that focuses on community problem-solving and housing. 


The Professional in Residence series was created in 2012 to provide students and alumni with opportunities for career exploration, networking and mentorship. The series continues throughout the spring semester, with other presenters who include Rossana Rosado, Publisher and CEO of El Diario La Prensa, March 12; Johnny Marines, former John Jay student and NYPD sergeant, and now manager of the Latin music artists Aventura and Romeo Santos, April 4; Alan L. Blass, forensic accountant and president of the New York City Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners, April 8.


For more information on the Professional in Residence series, contact the Center for Career and Professional Development at careers@jjay.cuny.edu.


Trustees in the News

Here in the media capital of the world, the John Jay Foundation’s trustees continue to make news. Here are some recent write-ups:


Paula Anderson
Trustee and John Jay alumna Paula Anderson is the subject of a profile, “The Voice of Experience,” on the Web site theglasshammer.com. She discusses her work as a litigator for Shearman & Sterling LLP and her activism on behalf of diversity within the legal profession. The Glass Hammer is an online community for women executives in financial services, law and business. Click here to read the profile, which appeared on February 27.


Arthur Mirante II
“The 30-Minute Interview,” a feature of The New York Times Business Section, focused on Foundation vice chairman Arthur Mirante II on March 12. Mirante talks about his work as a “rainmaker” for Avison Young, the Canadian commercial real estate firm for which he is a principal and president of its Tri-State division. To read the interview, click here.





It’s budget time in Washington and Albany, and your alma mater needs your help. Click here to learn how, in as little as one minute, you can support John Jay.