Distinguished Community Leaders and Advocates for Social Change Address Graduates

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11, 2016   Today, Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY), one of the city’s most ethnically diverse institutions, celebrated its 39th annual commencement.  Five hundred students were awarded degrees at the ceremony which was held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  MCNY’s President Vinton Thompson presided over the ceremony, while Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, delivered the keynote address. Brian Silva, MCNY Alumnus and Executive Director of Marriage Equity USA (MEUSA), and Dr. Melvin Douglass, MCNY Trustee and Co-Founder of YOUniversity Bound, received honorary doctorates.

“Today marks a new beginning for our graduates and our college,” said Dr. Vinton Thompson, President of Metropolitan College of New York. “We celebrate the commitment that our students have made as they have earned the tools they need to help move our fellow citizens, our country, and our world forward.  We also celebrate our new Manhattan campus, which officially opened this week and will help us better serve students and our community at large.”

Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters were bestowed upon Jennifer Jones Austin, Brian Silva and Dr. Melvin Douglass.

jennifer-jones-austin headshotJennifer Jones Austin delivered the commencement keynote address to MCNY’s undergraduate and graduate candidates.  Jones Austin is the CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a prominent New York City social policy and advocacy organization with over 200 member human services agencies operating throughout New York City.  Prior to joining FPWA, Ms. Jones Austin served as Senior Vice President of United Way of New York City.

brian silva headshotBrian Silva, Executive Director of MEUSA, was recently named Director of Grassroots Engagement for the National Equality Action Team for Freedom for All Americans (FFAA) and is also an alumnus of MCNY.  Under Silva’s leadership, MEUSA is credited with galvanizing support around the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision affirming marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.  At FFAA, Brian is overseeing the transition of MEUSA/NEAT and other initiatives to bring volunteer, grassroots participation into the national campaign for LGBTQ non‑discrimination.

mel headshot croppedDr. Melvin Douglass, Co-Founder of YOUniversity Bound, is an expert in K-12 education, urban education, organizational administration and supervision.  As MCNY Trustee, Dr. Douglass oversees the Academic Affairs Committee. Civic-minded and deeply dedicated to New York’s educational community, Dr. Douglass has been described as “one of America’s most profound, insightful, engaging, sensitive and accomplished instructional leaders on the scene today.”

About Metropolitan College of New York

Audrey Cohen, educational visionary and activist, founded the Women’s Talent Corps in 1964. Through development and training for new professional positions, the Talent Corps created employment for thousands of people. It became The College for Human Services, later Audrey Cohen College, and today Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY).  For over 50 years, MCNY has continued the tradition of offering highly motivated learners an education that combines applied skills with professional knowledge to effect personal transformation and positive change in the workplace and community.  MCNY is a not-for-profit, accredited, independent college. Full year-round offerings accelerate degree completion, and a unique approach to learning permits close integration of workplace activities and study. MCNY locations are in the Financial District at 60 West Street, New York, NY 10006 and in the Bronx at 529 Courtlandt Ave., Bronx, NY 10451.  For more information on MCNY, visit www.mcny.edu or call 800.33.THINK.