Hofstra University held its commencement Sunday in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Center on the Hempstead campus.

Number of graduates

1,350 undergraduate degrees and 575 graduate degrees.

Commencement speakers

Mariko Silver, president of Bennington College in Vermont, who during the Obama administration served as acting assistant secretary for international affairs and deputy assistant secretary for international policy for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told graduates, “Remember that you are ready ... because you have Hofstra degrees. You are ready to make the world as you want it to be.”

Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and chief executive of Henry Schein, a health care products distributor based in Melville, said: “Think big. Look, if you don’t think big you’ll be safe. If you think big, there’s a big chance you’ll be successful. You have nothing to lose in life, but to dream big.”

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President’s remarks

University President Stuart Rabinowitz told graduates that “commencement is a celebration. We are here to celebrate the accomplishments of the hardworking graduates and the sacrifices that they made on behalf of their family and friends.”


Brett Wargo, 21, community health

“It’s been a long journey,” said Wargo, of West Islip, who will work with Planned Parenthood on HIV prevention. “I’m going to feel sad to leave Hofstra, but I’m also excited to see what the future’s going to be ... My heart’s always going to be at Hofstra.”

Maya Williams, 21, mechanical engineering

Williams, of South Huntington, is headed for work in Manhattan as a mechanical engineer. “I’m excited to enter the work field. I feel confident. I feel prepared. I’m pretty confident in my skill set leaving Hofstra.”

Tal Weiss, 23, computer science

Weiss, of Westbury, said “I’m happy and sad at the same time.” He said he is eager to begin a career. “I can finally move on, look for a job, and look to be successful. At the end of the day, if you put a lot of hard work into what you study, you can be successful and you can make a big difference.”

Margaret Vogelgesang, 22, community health

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Vogelgesang, of Middle Village, will head to graduate school for a master’s degree in health administration in the fall. “Do what you love, and if it’s scary ... give it a try and pursue it. Pursue your passion.”