Renowned Astrophysicist, Author & Science Communicator Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson Inspires Students and Families at Bronx Community College/CUNY Commencement

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Dr. Neil deGrasse TysonThe 64th Annual Bronx Community College (BCC)/CUNY 2024 Commencement took place on Friday, May 31, 2024 with 1,124 graduates receiving their degrees, supported by their families, friends and the entire BCC community. Keynote speaker Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson – one of the country’s foremost science communicators and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium – was awarded an honorary degree, the first in the history of the College.

Dr. Tyson, whose father was a professor at BCC 60 years ago (teaching Sociology and Contemporary Civilization in the Social Sciences Department), is a popular role model who dedicates himself to shaping and inspiring young learners’ interest in science and the universe and is a frequent guest on local, regional and national media. A graduate of Bronx High School of Science, Dr. Tyson was born in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx and attended public schools in the Bronx Borough. 

“Yes, this graduation is an achievement, but I hope it is the least achievement in your life,” Dr. Tyson said. “Five years from now, nobody is going to ask you what your GPA was.  They’ll ask you ‘Are you a hard worker? Are you a problem solver? Are you moral? Are you committed?’ Those are the kinds of things that actually matter going forward.”

Prior to introducing Dr. Tyson, Interim BCC President, Dr. Milton Santiago told students in his welcome remarks , “By simply being a part of BCC’s rich and culturally diverse student body, you have been exposed to people with varied life experiences, perspectives and beliefs. As our salutatorian, Lia Calderon Castillo eloquently said, ‘The diversity at BCC expands, changes and opens one’s mindset.’ This alone my friends is worth its weight in gold.”

Dr. Santiago noted that BCC’s graduates hail from more than 120 countries. “With diversity comes more opportunities for innovation and problem solving,” he said.

Dr. Santiago added, “We could not have been more thrilled to have Dr. Tyson as our keynote speaker. He was an inspiration to all of our students and their families. His work is so closely aligned with BCC’s mission to prepare, inspire and empower a diverse student body with a quality educational experience that facilitates innovation, engaged citizenship, life-long learning and economic mobility. ”   

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