On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration, I congratulate you on a job well done!
You have arrived at an important milestone in your academic career— your first college graduation ceremony! Over the last few years, you have worked diligently to enroll during a global pandemic and a heightened awareness of ongoing social and racial unrest in our country. Through it all, you were resilient, and you demonstrated your commitment to academic excellence.
Commencement affords you the opportunity to reflect on a host of unexpected experiences and growth. Beginning with your arrival at 50 W. 40th Street, Guttman faculty and staff have been committed to your success, and we are so excited to be joining you, your friends, and your family on this momentous occasion.
Lastly, I am pleased to announce that we will host Commencement in Bryant Park, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Please continue to check back here for any important announcements.
Dr. Larry Johnson, Jr.
Andrea Shapiro Davis
Andrea Shapiro Davis, a lifelong public servant, and women’s rights advocate, has served as Senior Advisor and Director of Public Service Engagement for NYC Mayor Eric Adams since January 2022. In that role, she oversees a number of departments, works to enhance professional development and career advancement opportunities for City employees, and helps to lead innovative Mayoral initiatives.
Current projects include investigating the potential benefits of social prescribing and bringing the works of diverse artists into city buildings throughout New York City. Prior to joining the Adams administration, Ms. Davis spent eight years leading private fundraising efforts at the City University of New York (CUNY), first as Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate, Foundation, and Major Gift Development from 2013 to 2019, and then as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement from 2019 to 2022.
Ms. Davis also led CUNY’s Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY) program, a partnership between CUNY and Cornell Tech that sought to double the number of women majoring or minoring in computer science; created CUNY Arts, a multi-dimensional program designed to open up the cultural world to CUNY students; and helped create the CUNY Cultural Corps, a partnership between CUNY, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Rockefeller Foundation that provided paid internships for CUNY students in cultural institutions across the city.
From 2002 to 2013, Ms. Davis served as Executive Director of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Office of Appointments, and also as the Executive Director of the NYC Commission on Women’s Issues from 2011 to 2013.
Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Ms. Davis was the Director of Development and External Relations at the CUNY School of Law, spent four years as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County, and was an attorney in private practice.
Ms. Davis is the founder of the Women’s City Network and the Women’s City Network C-Suite, professional development collaboratives for women working in and leading nonprofit and public sector organizations.
Ms. Davis received her undergraduate degree from Queens College and her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. She is a proud mother of twin sons and Nana to three beautiful grandchildren.
My mother often said, “Demi, if curiosity killed the cat, you must have nine lives.” Allegedly, I had mastered the art of interrogation soon after my first words. From the random and bizarre to the profound and existential, my incessant string of questions sent most adults running the other way.
So, I learned to find answers myself – in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and by watching BBC World News with my grandfather. In fact, one of my proudest moments remains to impress my aunt, who had just returned from a diplomatic mission in Pakistan with the breaking news of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. I was five years old.
As an only child with endless time for self-amusement, I examined everything that piqued my interest, and it often took me down unexpected paths of discovery. For example, my love for math passed down from my mom, inspired my musical passions. In 5th grade, she dropped a GED textbook in my lap and told me to have fun. I thought “big kid” math was the best thing ever and began inhaling everything “big kid” related.
Suddenly it was bye-bye Ratatouille, hello High School Musical. I joined the orchestra, learned to play the cello, and started writing, composing, and singing.
Today, I’m still a fierce believer that there are no dumb questions, but I’ve learned to ask the pertinent ones.
That’s me, Demi, immortal feline, or perhaps, simply, an unapologetically curious young person who believes in the power of one question to change the world – what if?
That’s why I love Guttman. During my time here, I’ve had professors that nurture my curiosity and open my eyes to new interests. I’ve met librarians who’ve helped me refine my questions and hunt for answers. And I’ve dissected a cow uterus.
The two huge libraries around the corner don’t hurt, either. I’m going to miss it here when I transfer this fall.
Salvatore Oddo is graduating with a degree in Human Services. Born and raised in Queens, New York to a Honduran mother and Sicilian father, he has been in New York representing both parts of his culture. He has always been laid back and a hard worker and continued to stay true to his beliefs while continuing his education for two years at Guttman. As Salutatorian, throughout his two years at Guttman, he accumulated the second-highest grade point average while staying true to his character, continuing to have amazing Guttman experiences with the friends he meets throughout the semesters.
Human Services caught their attention of Salvatore when applying for future colleges in his senior year of high school. He wanted to pursue a career in psychology for the chance at becoming a therapist in the future. But what he wasn’t prepared for was the understanding of social work and how therapy functions alongside the techniques and areas social workers are linked to the work of therapy.
Salvatore would continue his education at Baruch College in the Psychology department in the fall of 2023. His goal of learning psychology has stayed the same and with the experience of social work, he is now aiming to become a child or adolescent therapist. His dream is to help young adults/ young children with different forms of psychological situations they may have in order to see a brighter future where the support of mental health professionals is sought out.
The two main reasons for Salvatores decision on coming to Guttman over other CUNY schools was the supportive financial aid that aided his first and second year and the other being the environment of the staff and students that Guttman had and their interactions with each other felt as if the professors cared more for their students and seeing them grow in the future.