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Molloy College: 'We have refused to give up'

Graduates react as Molloy College President Drew Bogner

Graduates react as Molloy College President Drew Bogner speaks Monday during commencement at NYCB Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Barry Sloan

Molloy College held its 61st commencement Monday at NYCB Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Number of graduates

804 bachelor’s, 476 master’s, 13 doctoral and professional degrees.

Commencement speaker

Drew Bogner, Molloy's president, urged graduates to "Live your story," by taking on challenges and creating a rich biographical narrative complete with adversity, tension, humor and a heroic ending. He said he got the nod to take on a big assignment from his father, who told him he should go on to medical school and, if Bogner found it wasn't for him, he could drop it and move on to other things. "He gave me permission to try, and if it didn't work out the way I wanted it to, to move on and try something else," Bogner told the graduates and their families. "So I am giving every single one of you that same permission today: Go out there, give it all you've got, try it, see if it works for you, and if it doesn't work out quite right, pivot and do it again. Because life is a journey of the head and the heart."

Bogner said he dropped out of medical school after a year and a half, during which he met his wife. "So I always tell people that I went to medical school to meet Karen, so it was the best success of my life."

Student speaker

Valedictorian Elena Stanco, 21, of Glen Cove, challenged graduates to embrace bumps along the road in each one's personal journey as gifts that give them strength. "We're all sitting here today because we had the courage to continue," she said. "Along the way, we have all struggled. We have all encountered failures, but what matters most is that we have refused to give up. It's what we learn from adversity that transforms us into better people."


Afsha Malik, 21, Albertson, social work

"I'm very excited. I feel very prepared leaving today from Molloy, because just all the skills they have given me like leadership qualities, my ability to communicate with different disciplines and groups, also just my ability to handle multitasking. In that sense, I am very comfortable, and I feel very secure and very proud to be leaving Molloy and getting those skill sets — and to say I'm a graduate from Molloy College."

Brian Michels, 22, Patchogue, accounting

"I'm really proud of all the graduating seniors here. It's nice seeing everybody come in as freshmen and grow up together and celebrating everyone's successes as graduates today. After graduation, I will begin working at KPMG. … I'm just really happy to see everyone here enjoying themselves."

Jeffrey Lozano, 22, Uniondale, education

"I'm a first-generation graduate in my family, so it's a privilege and an honor to be graduating. My mom came to this country 33 years ago from Mexico. My dad came here escaping the civil war from El Salvador … With my degree, I hope to share the privilege that I had to get an education with children around Long Island providing them with an education that's free and fair."

Brianne Brunick, 41, Long Beach, music therapy

"Essentially, I've always believed strongly in the power of music and [that] combined with a therapeutic relationship, which is the essence of what music therapists offer clients and patients to inspire, promote change and personal growth," the class salutatorian said. "I'm working with hospice patients and their families, and I really would love to continue working in that area."

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