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Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 9:45am

Dobbs Ferry, New York – May 18, 2017 - Mercy College’s 82nd Commencement Exercises took place on Wednesday, May 17 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.  Commencement speakers included Cynthia Rivera Weissblum who spoke in the morning at the Schools of Liberal Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences ceremony and Gregory H. Williams, Ph.D. who spoke in the afternoon at the Schools of Business, Education and Health and Natural Sciences ceremony.  Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino also spoke to the graduates at both ceremonies.

Watch both ceremonies here.

Cynthia Rivera Weissblum received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.  Weissblum is the President and CEO of the Edwin Gould Foundation, Weissblum leads the Foundation’s initiatives – a unique combination of supports that include incubation services, grant making and advocacy focused on improving educational outcomes for low-income youth.  Prior to her work at the Foundation, Weissblum was Founder and President of Results Collaborative Group, where she advised emerging foundations on their strategy.  She also served as CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) and Executive Director of the New York State Mentoring Program.

Early in her career, she honed her skills in student development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The University at Albany and Rutgers University.  Weissblum earned a B.A., M.S. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling Psychology and Student Development from The University at Albany. She currently serves on the board of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, Philanthropy New York, The Fund for Modern Courts and Year Up New York and is a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy.  Weissblum has been a featured lecturer at Columbia University, Philanthropy Roundtable Annual Conference, Brooklyn College, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships and the New America Alliance Economic Summit.  In addition, she often speaks with policy makers, journalists, thought leaders and program specialists to inform legislation and strategies designed to address the financial, academic and social obstacles that prevent low-income students from succeeding in college.

Gregory H. Williams, Ph.D.  received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.  Williams who sits on the Mercy College Board of Trustees was recently also honored at the College’s Trustees’ Dinner.


Williams holds a J.D., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from The George Washington University.  He joined the University of Iowa Law Faculty in 1977 as an Assistant Dean rising to Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs of the University of Iowa.  He later served as Dean of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and as President of the Association of American Law Schools.  He received the Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Award from the National Bar Association, and “Dean of the Year” Award from the National Association of Public Interest Law. Dr. Williams later served as the 11th President of The City College of New York where he led the Renaissance of City College and later became the 27th President of the University of Cincinnati where he completed his third billion dollar fund raising campaign.  In 2016 he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from The George Washington University.


Dr. Williams overcame racial and economic obstacles in his childhood, which he chronicled in his 1995 best-selling autobiography, Life on the Color Line for which he received the Los Angeles Times Prize for Book of the Year.  Dr. Williams has been recognized for his contributions in Scholarship, Academic Leadership, Fundraising, Diversity, and College Athletics.  Notably, Dr. Williams received the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class in 2006. In 2014, Dr. Williams received an MBA with Distinction from Mercy College. Dr. Williams has received five honorary degrees: Ball State University, California Western School of Law, College of Wooster, New York Law School and Skidmore College.

About Mercy College

Mercy College is the dynamic, diverse New York City area college whose students are on a personal mission: to get the most out of life by getting the most out of their education.

Founded in 1950, Mercy offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs within five schools: Business, Education, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Mercy College challenges its faculty and staff to make higher education work for anyone hungry enough to earn a better place in life.  With campuses in Dobbs Ferry, Bronx, Manhattan and Yorktown Heights, the vibrancy of the College culture is sustained by a diverse student body from around the region.  

Committed to supporting students throughout their education, Mercy College offers a personalized learning experience that includes the College’s Personalized Achievement Contract (PACT) program. PACT is a nationally recognized mentoring program that serves as a model for student success. 877-MERCY-GO.