Congratulations to our Class of 2015 Graduates!
You have worked hard to achieve this important milestone, and it is with great pride that we can now refer to each of you as graduates of Brooklyn College's Philosophy Department. A bachelor's degree marks the culmination of many years of hard work, beginning with the small steps in freshman year and concluding with the seminars, independent studies, and advanced courses of junior and senior years. We, the faculty, are honored to have played an integral part in expanding your academic horizons and augmenting your knowledge, and we are gratified that each of you has achieved a bachelor of arts.
We know that this is only the beginning of your success and we hope to be a part of your future as you shoulder your responsibilities as educated women and men, eager to share your knowledge and mindful of your duties in the world. To quote a commencement speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who laid the first cornerstone in what was to be named Roosevelt Hall), we urge you "to pursue truths relentlessly and to look at them courageously." Thus, as we congratulate you on your academic achievement, we simultaneously want to wish you all the best in your future endeavors. With boundless opportunities in front of you, we know each of you will do great honor to your alma mater.
The Philosophy Department of Brooklyn College is so proud of each of you!
Vincent Abruzzo, Class of 2010
Vincent has successfully completed his M.A. in philosophy at Georgia State and has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Irene Brodsky, Class of 2007
Irene has written her fourth book, Sixteen Candles Shine Forever in Memory of Johnny Maestro (Outskirts Press). This book is about the great singer Johnny Maestro, former lead singer of The Crests and The Brooklyn Bridge. "He gave the world 50 years of beautiful love songs, was a wonderful family man and a gentleman to everyone."
Winifred Chin, Class of 1974
Winifred went on to pursue graduate studies at Seton Hall University, where she studied Asian Philosophy. She transferred to NYU to complete an M.A. in comparative religions in 1978. She and her father coauthored a book, Paper Son: One Man’s Story (Temple, 2001), which is still in print and won the CHOICE Best Academic Book Award in 2001. This was followed by a historical novel in 2006, entitled Interchange. Winifred taught World Religions and Ethics at St. Francis College between 1989 and 1996, took five years off to be a stay‐at-home mom, and returned to teaching in 2001 — at NYU — where she is now an adjunct assistant professor of East Asian cultures. She is also a freelance writer, doing mostly op-eds for the Progressive Media Project.
Austin Duggan, Class of 2010
Austin is in his fourth year at Cornell University. He is currently crunching the data of an "ex‐phi" (i.e., experimental philosophy) survey funded by Yale, and he is beginning his dissertation. He is also entering his second year as the resident advisor of Sigma Phi Epsilon Beta Chapter.
Philip Ehrlich, Class of 1972
Philip is currently a professor of philosophy at Ohio University. In his recent work, The Absolute Arithmetic Continuum and the Unification of All Numbers Great and Small, he provides an overview of his theory of the absolute arithmetic continuum and shows how a wide array of historically important number systems are subsumed by this remarkable number system. He recently won a Baker Research Fund Award to support the completion of his paper, The Rise of Non‐Archimedean Mathematics and the Roots of a Misconception II: the emergence of non‐Archimedean geometry and the theory of non‐Archimedean ordered algebraic systems. Philip's paper, A Re‐examination of Zenoʹs Paradox of Extension: An Essay in Honor of Adolf Grünbaum on his 90th Birthday, which he presented at Brooklyn College in October 2011, will appear in the Philosophy of Science. In this paper, he provides a novel solution to Zenoʹs celebrated paradox of extension.
Sidney Gendin, Class of 1955
To bring the world up to date on his life and times, Sidney claims that the most important fact is that "I am still here, alive, well, and kicking." Sidney's most significant accomplishment is that, despite being away from Brooklyn for 55 years, "mostly banished to the hinterlands of Michigan," he has retained his "very severe, almost nonpareil Brooklyn accent." Nowadays, he maintains two blogs. One, www.watchingpolitics.com, is political, and the other is www.gendinsjournal.com, in which he posts items about anything that occurs to him, although his wife tells him that he should think twice before posting.
Therese Hartnett, Class of 2005
Therese is a public defender in Garden City, Kan., and has been practicing law for almost five years, exclusively representing indigent defendants charged with felony crimes. She reports that the job is challenging and essential. Therese got right into law school with a philosophy degree. In her view, there is no more important course of study in an undergraduate degree no matter what your vocation.
Marco Irizarry, Class of 1996
In Marco's 15 years in the corporate world, he can honestly state that his B.A. in philosophy was one of the primary causes of his success. Philosophy provided "the big picture view" and the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful. It allowed him to adapt to working with different people and to be open to their differences. Marco believes this made him a better leader and prepared him for the role he is in now. He shares his background with many others who question the need for liberal arts, especially philosophy. In his current role, Marco leads his company's diversity strategy by managing the company's employee resource groups, which allows him to work with people of diverse backgrounds, personalities and cultures. The love of knowledge and learning new ideas is very strong for him and the degree provided structure for his growth.
David Lyons, Class of 1960
David moved from Cooper Union to Brooklyn College in the 1950s. He and his wife wound up in Ithaca, N.Y., where they and their children thrived. At Cornell, he was drawn to work on law and politics (in theory and practice). After 31 years, David and his wife, Sandy, relocated to Boston, where they could be near one of their children (now two of them, plus grandchildren). As a non‐lawyer on the BU law faculty, he has been working on the color line in American history, some results of which are in his new book, Confronting Injustice. He hopes to complete a text on the subject before he retires in 2015.
Juan Pablo Munoz, Class of 2012
Juan has been working towards his Ph.D. at the CUNY Graduate Center. In addition to the classes that are required for his doctorate, he has been doing some research on robotics and artificial intelligence. The first year in the program was really intense for him, but he passed his qualifiers and is now in the middle of his second year of classes. Juan is a teaching fellow at the Brooklyn College Computer Science department. He is currently teaching Exploring Robotics and Intro to Multimedia Computing. Most importantly, on the personal side, Juan and his wife welcomed their first daughter, Amelia Elyse Muñoz, in October 2011.
Mary Pennisi, Class of 2008
Mary completed her J.D. at Fordham University Law School in 2011 and passed the New York and New Jersey Bar Exams last year. She is working as an associate in the Trial Group of Duane Morris LLP, focusing on commercial and securities litigation and white-collar criminal defense.
Adam Shmidt, Class of 2012
Adam just completed his first year of the master's program in philosophy at Georgia State University. He is currently teaching and working on a thesis regarding the history of international legal theory. He notes that he could not have accomplished this without the incredibly skilled professors and the one-on-one guidance he received at Brooklyn College.
Pawel Walczuk, Class of 2010
Pawel has been working in management consulting in the health and public service practice. He has undertaken two major initiatives. The first initiative is an effort within the firm he has been part of that is championing a new financing model called Pay for Success, which the firm hopes will help scale social programs across the country. Among the top candidates are programs fighting recidivism, homelessness or programs improving education or provision of social services. The second initiative is strategic reorganization of governmental agencies. Pawel and his team have helped one of their government clients handle an increase in service demand of 40 percent, which translates to more than 300,000 people in that state (approximately 9 percent of that state's population) receiving social services.