Newsroom Archive


Over 3,000 Students Set to Graduate From John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nobel Prize-Winning Chemist Mario Jose Molina and Pioneering Psychologist Charles R. Figley to Receive Honorary Degrees and Address the Graduating Class

3,011 students will become the newest John Jay alumni on May 28 when they receive their degrees in dual Commencement ceremonies. The College’s 49th annual Commencement will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center North, at 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

“John Jay students and alumni from across the disciplines have long made a difference locally, nationally and abroad,” said President Jeremy Travis. “I have every confidence that our newest graduates will make their own mark as fierce advocates for justice, and I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments in festive Commencement ceremonies.”

The graduates include 1,789 females and 1,222 males, ranging in age from 20 to 72. There will be 2,370 bachelor’s degrees awarded, along with 585 master’s degrees and 50 associate degrees. The graduating class also includes 115 military veterans, and represents 20 U.S. states and 85 countries.

The Class of 2014 will be led by valedictorian Cristine Fredericks, a native of Ecuador who achieved a perfect grade-point average majoring in Legal Studies. Salutatorian Venetia Siblal, who hails from Trinidad, completed her bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology.

Honorary doctorates will be presented this year to two leading figures in environmental chemistry and traumatology: Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Mario Jose Molina-Pasqual Henriquez and pioneering psychologist Dr. Charles R. Figley. (Profiles below)

For information about the Commencement ceremonies, visit

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit

Profiles of Honorary Degree Recipients

10:30 AM Ceremony

Dr. Charles Figley, a psychologist, family therapist and pioneer in the fields of post-traumatic stress and traumatology, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree . He holds the Paul Henry Kurzweg, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health and is a School of Social Work Professor at Tulane University. His experience as a Vietnam War veteran and antiwar advocate set the stage for his distinguished career dedicated to alleviating human suffering. To help his fellow veterans, he found the Consortium on Veteran Studies, and developed the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Figley has applied his visionary scholarship to such specialized areas as combat stress, natural disasters, shootings and terrorist incidents. Following the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, he founded the Green Cross project, an international humanitarian organization that has provided consultation, training, counseling and other emergency traumatology service in response to events such as the to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, among others. Dr. Figley is co-founder, along with his wife, Dr. Kathy Regan Figley, of the Figley Institute, which seeks to alleviate human suffering resulting from traumatic life experiences.

3:30 PM Ceremony

Dr. Mario Jose Molina-Pasqual Henriquez, who will be awarded a Doctor of Sciences degree, shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his work linking the environmental release of chlorofluorocarbons to the destruction of the atmosphere’s ozone layer. Due in large part to Dr. Molina’s groundbreaking discoveries, the United States enacted a ban on aerosol-based CFCs in 1978 and led the effort to adopt a global ban on all CFCs in 1985. In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. As Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California-San Diego, he oversees a research group concerned with laboratory studies of atmospheric chemical processes, as well as science-policy issues related to urban and regional air pollution and to global change. Dr. Molina donated most of the money from his share of the Nobel Prize to scientists and science educators working in developing countries. He also created the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies in Energy and the Environment, located in Mexico City, where important, cutting-edge research is conducted into complex environmental problems facing major cities, particularly in the developing world.