NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The College of New Rochelle (CNR) will mark its 109th Commencement on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at The Beacon Theatre, awarding approximately 1,000 baccalaureate and master’s degrees on students from its four Schools and conferring honorary degrees on Robin Roberts, television broadcaster and co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, and Elizabeth LeVaca, Chair of the Board of Trustees at The College of New Rochelle. Roberts will give the Commencement address.
Elizabeth Bell LeVaca has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of The College of New Rochelle for over 14 years and since 2013, as Chair of the Board. She will step down as Chair after Commencement.
"The College of New Rochelle is truly blessed that Elizabeth Bell LeVaca chose to continue the enduring history initiated by her mother, alumna Mary Fischer Bell SAS’34, nearly 83 years ago. The College is considerably stronger today as a result of Elizabeth’s extraordinary leadership, generosity, and guidance,” noted Judith Huntington, President of The College of New Rochelle.
Under LeVaca’s leadership as chair, the College has undertaken many significant initiatives, including:
· the implementation of an institution-wide, collaborative Strategic Plan that provides the goals and framework for the future of the College;
· the receipt of over $15 million in federal and state grants, which has revolutionized the College’s ability to deliver outstanding educational opportunities and achieve superior student outcomes;
· the development of a unique shared-services collaboration with Marist College that has greatly accelerated the completion of CNR’s strategic objectives in technology;
· the historic decision to transition the all-women School of Arts & Sciences to coeducational, thus expanding its mission to provide quality education to both men and women in that School;
· the planned expansion of the School of Nursing to include programs in the health professions to address the critical workforce needs in the healthcare field; and
· the implementation of an institution-wide technology plan to address academic initiatives, such as online learning, technological competency, and technological infrastructure upgrades.
A registered nurse, LeVaca earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and certifications as a clinical nursing specialist and as a nurse practitioner from The Catholic University of America and has been a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Nursing Honor Society, for more than two decades. Elizabeth is a past board member for the AIDS/HIV Services Group in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Hospice of DC, and the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation. She is the founder of the Ralph & Mary Fischer Bell Foundation that provides scholarships to various schools and organizations.
Robin Roberts is a television broadcaster and the co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America. Under her leadership, the broadcast has won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program. Roberts launched her new production company, Rock’n Robin Productions in September 2014, which creates original broadcast and digital programming for ABC and other networks, ranging from documentaries, to lifestyle reality series and live special events.
“Robin Roberts is an accomplished woman who has excelled in her profession, while also demonstrating tremendous strength, perseverance, and courage when faced with personal health challenges. She has used these experiences to help others in significant ways, and we are honored to recognize her as a role model who reflects the College’s values of both professional achievement and service to others,” said Huntington.
In 2014, Roberts received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, and was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year. She has appeared on the Hollywood Reporter’s New York Power List multiple times, and was voted the “Most Trusted Person on Television” by a Reader’s Digest poll in 2013. Her public battle with a blood and bone marrow disease and subsequent bone marrow transplant, inspired her to create programming that led to an increase in bone marrow donor registration. For this endeavor, she received awards and honors from many organizations around the country, including The Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, and Gilda’s Club.
Roberts joined ESPN as a sportscaster in 1990, where she stayed until 2005. She began contributing to the ABC News show Good Morning America as a featured reporter in 1995, and was named co-anchor in May 2005.