RECENT JOHN JAY EVENTS
College Salutes Its Vets
John Jay College counts many military veterans among its proud alumni, and on May 2, alumni veterans came back to reconnect with the College and with some of the many veterans in the current student body.
The “Salute to Vets” event drew nearly 100 alumni veterans, with New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano (BS ’76), a Vietnam veteran, making another of his frequent return visits to the College to be part of the celebration. Also on hand was New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who spoke about the advancements in education for veterans when they return from service, and praised John Jay College for being one of the largest educational institutions in the Northeast serving students with a military service background..
Special surprise greetings came electronically from alumna Candace Foster (BA '08) and alumnus Juan Agueda (BA '95), who are currently serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
The Pre Law Institute Celebration
The Pre Law Institute was celebrated this month at an event with opening remarks by The Honorable Judge Judith Kaye (on right), Former Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. The celebration featured a ribbon cutting debuting John Jay’s new Moot Court Room and recognized Microsoft as the first Partner of Pre Law and founding supporter Ernest Rubenstein on behalf of the Samuel and Anna Jacobs Foundation.
The Pre Law Institute at John Jay College builds student success. Our most recent graduates were admitted to more than 55 law schools and received more than $3.1 million dollars in scholarship awards including many full tuition scholarships to well-regarded law schools including several in the metropolitan New York City area such as Fordham, Cardozo and Brooklyn Law School.
Click here to view a film about the Pre Law Institute, see photos of this special event and support the Pre Law Institute.
John Jay and NY1 Host First Live Mayoral Debate
On April 24, John Jay, in partnership with NY1, hosted the first live mayoral Democratic debate. Moderated by Political Anchor Errol Louis, the candidates debated public safety issues. John Jay students also had a role in the evening, asking the candidates questions on domestic violence, the mishandling of DNA and Commissioner Ray Kelly’s leadership. NY1 Panelists Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 Noticias and Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger of NY1 also asked questions. The debate was cosponsored by John Jay's chapter of College Democrats. William Thompson, former New York City Comptroller; Reverend Erick Salgado; Christine Quinn, New York City Council Speaker; John Liu, New York City Comptroller; Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate; and Sal Albanese, former New York City Councilman all participated. (Photo above L-R)
Remembering Newtown Memorial Concert Features Mia Farrow
On May 6, the College’s Remembering Newtown Concert paid homage to the victims of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and to victims of gun violence nationwide. It also served as the capstone to a semester-long spring series of art and lectures that spurred dialogue and action to end gun violence. The series was launched on March 12, when John Jay students created the Remembering Newtown Expression Wall.
The producer of the Memorial concert, pianist Caroline Stoessinger, President of the Mozart Academy and Artist-in-Residence at John Jay, created a touching closing event program featuring music by the Children’s Orchestra Society, Bass Baritone Terry Cook, Violinist Sirena Huang, Soprano Janinah Burnett, and Clarinet Anthony McGill. Guest speakers included Actress and Activist Mia Farrow (above) and Richard Aborn, President, Citizens Crime Commission. Two students, Jaraed Thomas and John Cusick, read from “Our Forefathers' Promise.” The audience of more than 300 included civic leaders from Newtown Connecticut. The special evening included an invocation from Rabbi Shaul Praver from Congregation Adath Israel, a benediction by Reverend Matthew Crebbin from Newtown Congregational Church and remarks from John Jay President Jeremy Travis.
Click here to view photos and here to view video highlights of the semester-long Remembering Newtown Series.
John Jay on the West Coast
During a recent trip to San Francisco, President Travis hosted Northern California alumni at the Waterbar in The Embarcadero. (L-R/Back-Front): Emily Nolan, MA’03; Emily Lefson, MA’03; President Travis; Evan Barbier, BA’05; Carla Barbier (Guest), Nikolas Lemos, MS’96, PhD; Robert Kenny, BS’82; Diane McCarthy (guest); and Albert Cisneros, BS’77.
On May 3, John Jay’s Center for Private Security and Safety hosted a day-long seminar on strategies to address and prevent workplace violence. For more information on the Center click here.
John Jay celebrated its outstanding athletes on May 15 at the College’s 40th Annual Athletics Award Banquet. It was a night to be remembered with great food, music and wonderful friends!
Alumna Receives Awards for Outstanding Service to Latina Community
Claudia Espinosa, who earned a BA/MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay in 2010 and is graduating this May with a Master's in Public Administration from New York University, was the recipient of the 2013 NYU President's Service Award and the NYU Philip Vera Cruz/Pete Velasco Mentorship NIA Award for exceptional leadership in founding the Latinas On the Verge of Excellence – L.O.V.E. Mentoring Program.
Established in 2011, Claudia founded the L.O.V.E. Mentoring Program with the goal of supporting and empowering young Latinas to strive both in school and life through positive role modeling.
President Jeremy Travis congratulated Claudia saying, “We are all very proud of Claudia Espinosa and proud to call her one of our own.”
Through a series of structured mentoring and group activities that concentrate on personal empowerment, developing study skills, and college access, the L.O.V.E. Mentoring Program aims to provide a space in which young Latinas can learn how to strive personally and academically through positive reinforcement, consistency and understanding.
Originally from Colombia and a resident of Astoria, Queens, for the past 13 years, Claudia said,
“It’s wonderful to receive recognition for our hard work. The L.O.V.E. program is the result of great collaboration from amazing people. This is very empowering, and I am really grateful for it.”
The NYU President’s Service Award recognizes the distinguished achievements of undergraduate, graduate and professional students and student organizations for their promotion of learning, leadership and quality of student life at New York University.
The NYU NIA Awards are an opportunity to recognize the achievements of members of the NYU community for promoting diversity and social justice in their work for NYU and New York City communities.
Alumnus Kevin Schlosser Recognized For Top Verdict
John Jay alumnus Kevin Schlosser, BA’81, JD, the Chair of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., has been recognized in The New York Law Journal’s Top Verdicts for 2012 for winning the largest contract jury verdict of the year. Mr. Schlosser, successfully represented two Long Island residents in an action in the Supreme Court of New York in Nassau County.
In honoring Mr. Schlosser’s achievement, the Law Journal recognized him as among “the best of the best in 2012” who “represent the passion, determination and skillful expertise” of the Bar. The Law Journal observed that Mr. Schlosser was part of the elite trial lawyers whose work in 2012 was “outstanding and we salute them. … Their zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients is inspiring and deserving of our respect.”
In the breach of contract case that Mr. Schlosser won, at the conclusion of a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict after just one hour of deliberations, awarding Schlosser’s clients the entire amount they requested, $7.2 million, which then resulted in a total award with interest of $12.6 million. Mr. Schlosser represented the plaintiffs throughout the entirety of the action, including in two separate appeals, both of which he won. In addition to being cited as the top jury verdict of the year in contract law, The New York Law Journal recognized Mr. Schlosser’s victory as the 21st most prominent courtroom victory of all verdicts in 2012.
Mr. Schlosser is a partner at Meyer, Suozzi located in Garden City, Long Island, N.Y. He has been involved in all aspects of state and federal litigation since starting his legal career in 1984. As an experienced civil litigator, Mr. Schlosser has engineered the legal strategy for a broad range of cases and arbitrations, including complex commercial disputes, business torts, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, professional liability and malpractice claims, construction law, real estate and commercial landlord-tenant disputes, corporate and partnership disputes, ERISA, health law, Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class actions, employment and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, products liability, insurance claims and defense, including disability insurance claims and the prosecution and defense of other tort-related claims. His clients consist of some of the largest companies in the world, as well as local businesses and individuals, including senior law partners, accountants, doctors and others in the professions.
Mr. Schlosser is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level in professional excellence and was recognized by Long Island Pulse Magazine in 2010 and 2011 as the region's "Top Legal Eagle for Litigation." He has also been recognized by New York Superlawyers, two years in a row, as a leading litigation attorney.
To see The New York Law Journal’s Top New York Verdicts of 2012 article, click here.
Trustees Take Action to Support Vets
In an effort aimed at recognizing the unique assets that U.S. military veterans bring to the John Jay College community, the College has stepped up its efforts to address the specific needs and concerns of current and prospective students as well as alumni.
“Our goals are to be the college that military veterans want to attend — and to provide students and alumni who are veterans with the most effective opportunities for lifelong educational and work-life growth," said Peter Beshar, the John Jay College Foundation trustee who is spearheading the initiative.
Following more than 10 years of military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, a record number of veterans are coming home from active duty to the reality that in addition to their service, they must earn a college degree to succeed in the workplace.
To the College, this need is a welcome opportunity. In fact, more veterans are enrolled at John Jay than at any other college in the Northeast. From its very beginning, thanks to its focus on public service, John Jay College has provided a welcoming environment for veterans. The Founding Generation included many students who entered the New York City Police Department and other public safety agencies after coming home from Vietnam, and went on to earn their degrees at John Jay.
Students who are military veterans typically possess personal qualities and work habits that lend themselves to academic success. Focus, honesty, goal orientation and a strong work ethic translate easily from the battlefield to the classroom. In addition, veterans’ military experience fosters a level of maturity and compassion that gives them a leg up in the educational arena. "They are able to take the long view," noted John Jay President Jeremy Travis. “They don’t let distractions hold them back.”
The first-ever reception for veteran students and alumni took place on May 2. More than 70 attendees from every generation in the history of the College attended. The group heard from Richard Koehler, John Jay College Foundation trustee and Chair of the Alumni Campaign, who recalled his own experience serving in the US Navy during Vietnam.
On May 7, John Jay hosted a first-of-its-kind meeting for executives from major corporations and city agencies that have a stated commitment to provide workplace opportunities for veterans. Fifteen attendees represented eight different businesses.
Together with President Travis, Beshar and foundation Chair Jules Kroll, attendees explored the unique assets that veterans bring to the table, and the challenges they face when making the transition from active duty to civilian life. A follow-up meeting will be held in the fall to discuss ways that John Jay can help private- and public-sector organizations attract and retain more veterans to their employee rosters.
John Jay alumni who are veterans are encouraged to stay tuned for further information on programs and services that can help you use their unique background as a stepping stone for ongoing growth and success.
Let Your Fingers Do the Giving. . .
You can change lives and create opportunities with a simple text message. Text “JJAY” to “20222” and you will automatically donate $10 to the Campaign for the Future of Justice.
Alumni support is vital! The U.S. News and World Report college and university rankings are directly related to alumni giving. Your donation maintains the competitiveness of the degree you earned and raises the ranking of your alma mater. As important, the funds collected create scholarship opportunities for John Jay students. It’s a win-win.
DREAM Fellowship Awarded
Being an immigrant in the United States is tough enough. When you’re undocumented, the difficulties escalate exponentially. Just ask Mehdi Mahraoui, or Danyeli Rodriguez, or Korede Griffith – all John Jay students from other countries who have struggled to overcome the challenges of being an undocumented immigrant.
Mahraoui, Rodriguez and Griffith are among 14 City University students recently chosen to participate in the 2013 DREAM Fellowship Program, a leadership development and internship program that provides college scholarships to undocumented students who demonstrate exceptional commitment to community engagement. The program is run by the New York Immigration Coalition and the Fund for Public Advocacy.
The DREAM Fellowship provides crucial financial support for students whose undocumented status makes them ineligible for federal or state financial aid. Mahraoui, a native of Morocco, has been in the United States for 15 years, 14 of those illegally. (“I just got my Green Card!” he said proudly.) He recalled the heartbreak of his senior year of high school. “I never understood what it meant to be undocumented until I watched my peers get into the colleges of their choice and receive financial aid. I hid my status from my friends and teachers for a long time, but finally I couldn’t take it anymore and broke down in tears. It was my coach and my teammates who helped me raise money for my first year of college.”
One of John Jay’s inaugural Jay Walk Scholars last year, Mahraoui is now in the John Jay BA/MPA program, and has been accepted into a one-year City University pipeline program that will prepare him for doctoral studies in social work. He wants to work with the underprivileged, as a way of giving back for help he has received. “I will never forget the kindness of my community in helping me to reach my full potential. The DREAM Fellowship has helped me fulfill my desire to advocate for immigrant communities, and by sharing my story I hope to help change the immigration system in this country.”
Mahraoui, Rodriguez and Griffith were introduced at an April 29 press conference, where they shared their own stories of resilience, hope and perseverance, and spoke of their travels to Albany and Washington to advocate for meaningful immigration reform. Rodriguez, a 18-year-old sophomore majoring in Humanities and Justice, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age 8, to seek a better future. “Although my struggle has been hard, learning English, finding friends who could understand me, working to make it to college, programs like the DREAM Fellowship have helped me keep my hopes up and keep fighting for comprehensive immigration reform. I am more motivated than ever and will continue to persevere.”
Griffith, a sophomore Criminology major and a member of the John Jay men’s basketball team, is a native of Guyana whose family moved to the United States for better economic opportunities. “I have faced many barriers because of my legal status,” he said, “but I have always believed that life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent what you make of it, so I have worked hard in school in order to make it. Opportunities such as the DREAM Fellowship have helped make my life as an undocumented student easier, and is something I am grateful for.”
Learn about New Legal Translation & Interpretation (English –Spanish) Certificate Program.
• Become a legal translator
• Enhance your job prospects in any field
Click here for more information.
More than 3,300 students will become the newest John Jay alumni on May 28 when they receive their degrees in dual Commencement ceremonies. The College’s 48th annual Commencement will be held once again at the Jacob Javits Convention Center North, at 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM.
“It is hard to believe, but we are rapidly approaching the end of the school year and the celebrations that mark the awarding of degrees to our students,” said President Jeremy Travis. “For my part, I am looking forward to what promises to be a wonderful and festive celebration of our students’ accomplishments.”
The 3,339 graduates – the largest graduating class in John Jay history – include 1,967 females and 1,372 males, ranging in age from 19 to 71. There will be 2,642 bachelor’s degrees awarded, along with 624 master’s degrees, and 212 students will be graduating with honors. The graduating class includes 141 military veterans, and represents 20 U.S. states and 87 countries. There will also be six pairs of siblings graduating together, and one father-daughter pair: Ernest Morales III, who will be receiving his master’s degree in Protection Management, and his daughter, Justina Marie, who will receive a B.A. in Criminal Justice.
The Class of 2013 will be led by valedictorian Rizwan Ali Raja, who earned a perfect 4.00 grade-point average majoring in Political Science, with a minor in History. Salutatorian Elena Daniels completed her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies in February, with a minor in Psychology, and also with a perfect 4.00 GPA. The tiebreaker is based on credits earned at John Jay.
Honorary doctorates will be presented this year to two towering figures in the law, who have proven themselves to be fierce advocates for justice: criminal defense attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, co-founders and co-directors of the Innocence Project. (See profiles below.)
Pre-Commencement activities include departmental and College-wide awards ceremonies, a two-day Graduate Salute and a harbor cruise for graduating seniors.
For complete information, visit the Commencement page on the John Jay Web site.
Honorary Doctorate Recipients
At the 2013 Commencement, John Jay will award honorary doctorates to two nationally recognized criminal defense attorneys who have dedicated themselves to pursuing justice for the wrongfully convicted.
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld are co-directors of the Innocence Project, which they co-founded at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in 1992. Scheck and Neufeld had become involved in studying and litigating issues concerning the use of forensic DNA testing in 1988, and since then their work has shaped the course of case law across the country and led to influential research and important state and federal legislation.
Both began their lifelong involvement in criminal defense as staff attorneys for the Legal Aid Society, and both served on the legal “Dream Team” that successfully defended O.J. Simpson against murder charges in 1995. In addition, Scheck has represented headline-generating clients that include British au pair Louise Woodward and Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann.
Neufeld represented Abner Louima in his claim of having had his civil rights brutally violated by New York City police officers. He later won a $2.25-million judgment on behalf of Earl Washington, who was wrongfully sentenced to death for a 1982 rape and murder based on a confession fabricated by a Virginia State Police investigator.
The Innocence Project, which in 2004 became an independent nonprofit organization, although still closely affiliated with Cardozo Law School, is dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. Since the project’s founding, 292 people have been exonerated through DNA testing in the United States, including 17 who were at one time sentenced to death.
Every year, more than 3,000 people write to the Innocence Project for the first time asking for help, and at any given time the project’s staff are evaluating between 6,000 and 8,000 potential cases, through a nationwide network of clinics.
Scheck and Neufeld are co-authors, along with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jim Dwyer, of Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution, and Other Dispatches From the Wrongly Convicted, (Doubleday, 2000), based on actual cases of the Innocence Project.
In 2010, the College presented Scheck and Neufeld with the John Jay Medals for Justice.
FACULTY & STAFF NOTES
The Printed Page
Gerald Markowitz (History) has a new book, Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children, written with his longtime co-author, Professor David Rosner of Columbia University. The book was published by the University California Press. Watch him on PBS on May 19! Click here for more information.
R. Terry Furst (Anthropology) has had his article “Suboxone Misuse Along the Opiate Maintenance Treatment Pathway” published in the April 2013 edition of the Journal of Addictive Diseases.
David Kennedy (Criminal Justice/Center on Crime Prevention and Control) published an op-ed commentary, “Another Kind of Gun Control,” in the Los Angeles Times on May 5. In the article, Kennedy argues that instead of struggling to pass contentious legislation, government should focus police and social-service resources on “hot” groups and places.
John Matteson’s (English) book The Lives of Margaret Fuller has been named as one of the finalists for the inaugural Plutarch Award for the best biography of 2012. The Plutarch Award is presented by Biographers International Organization. The winner will be announced on May 18 at the annual Compleat Biographer Conference in New York.
Jeremy Travis (President) delivered the keynote address before a conference on “Education for All: Improving Educational Access in Correctional Facilities and Beyond,” hosted by the Department of Education and the Ford Foundation in Washington, DC, on April 29. Travis spoke on “Restoring College Education to the Nation’s Prisons: Assessing the Prospects for Change.” Click here to read more.
Susan Opotow (Sociology) was a guest on April 26 on the morning drive-time talk program “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick” on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Opotow discussed her research on the environment and justice and its implication for pro-environmental policy making.
Karen Terry (Criminal Justice) has received a $215,000 grant from the Foundation to Promote Open Society to assess the impact on crime rates of the New York City Police Department’s stop, question and frisk strategy. The study will examine the strategy’s impact across police precincts and microspatial areas from 2006 to 2011.
Jeffrey Butts (Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center) received a $250,000 appropriation from the New York City Council for implementation and outcome assessment of the New York City Anti-Gun Violence Initiative.
Jonathan Jacobs (Philosophy/Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics) received a $25,000 grant from S&E Hammerman to support the “Agency, Character and Identity” research project.
Cathy Spatz Widom (Psychology) has been named winner of the 2013 Edwin H. Sutherland Award presented by the American Society of Criminology. Widom is the first John Jay faculty member to receive the ASC’s highest honor, and one of only five female honorees since the award was established in 1960. Widom was cited for her “internationally renowned…scholarship on child abuse and neglect and its consequences.”