• Gail Mellow - Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of the College

    Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as President of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens since 2000. A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a recognized leader among community colleges for launching programs and teaching methods that have become pilots for the nation.

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  • Kishauna Givans - Commencement Speaker

    Kishauna Givans

    Class of 2019 Representative

    Kishauna Givans hails from the island of Jamaica, where she was raised in a single-parent household. Her mother believed that education would open doors of opportunity and ensured that Kishauna had everything she needed. In 2014, Kishauna became paralyzed from the neck down and physicians told her she might never walk again. Refusing to accept this fate, Kishauna traveled to the United States seeking medical attention and was soon introduced to LaGuardia Community College. Though apprehensive at first, Kishauna enrolled at LaGuardia in 2016 initially majoring in Nursing but later changing to Therapeutic Recreation, a field she first encountered as a patient. Kishauna is passionate about advocacy and believes in equal treatment for all people regardless of the limitations that life or society has placed on them. “I believe I've come a long way in my educational journey and I still have a long road ahead of me, but with determination and perseverance, the learning curve for me will never stop. I am daring to do way more; I’m daring to be great.”

  • Aida S- Alumni Representative

    Aida Akim-Escriva

    Class of 2015
    Alumni Representative

    Aida Akim-Escriva is a Grants Coordinator for Global Fund for Women, the organization that supports the human rights of women internationally. Aida joined Global Fund for Women in 2018.

    Aida grew up in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Throughout her professional career, Aida has been actively involved in the women’s empowerment movement and AIDs awareness programs. She was involved in individual projects with various non-governmental organizations in Kazakhstan and served in Senator Gillibrand’s office assisting active veterans and US military personnel when she immigrated to the US.

    Aida holds an Associate of Arts degree in Journalism from LaGuardia Community College, and an Architectural Studies degree from Amherst College, Massachusetts. During her studies at Amherst, she served as a consultant at the Sulaiman Too Sacred Mountain National Museum in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Paul Arcario - Provost and Senior Vice President
    Paul Arcario

    Dr. Paul Arcario is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College. As the chief academic officer for the College, Dr. Arcario supervises the creation, development and assessment of over 50 academic programs and majors.

    He is responsible for the recruitment, hiring and personnel management of more than 300 full-time faculty, 700 part-time faculty and over 100 professional and clerical staff. Dr. Arcario oversees faculty development programs, monitors the promotion and tenure process, and administers a divisional budget in excess of $40 million.

    Dr. Arcario serve as dean of the Division of Academic Affairs, having overall responsibility for divisional initiatives such as outcomes assessment and strategic planning as well as providing guidance for program development, electronic portfolios, advisement, faculty development, and first-year experience programs.

    A prolific grant writer, Dr. Arcario has obtained nearly $15 million in grants for the academic division. He has also taught in the Education and Language Acquisition Department at LaGuardia.

    He has a long-standing interest in technology-based pedagogy, having conducted workshops in teaching ESL with video and other media for the ESL master’s degree program at Teachers College, Columbia University as well as having produced educational videos for teaching ESL, including the first American English-language teaching video broadcast in the People’s Republic of China.

    He has authored language textbooks as well as articles on LaGuardia’s ePortfolio, First-Year Experience, and online advising programs. Dr Arcario’s work with first-year programs and learning communities led to him being recognized as an Outstanding First-Year Advocate by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition in 2007. Dr. Arcario’s MEd and doctorate in TESOL are from Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a BA and MA from New York University.

    Henry T. Berger - City University of New York Board of Trustees
    Henry T. Berger, B.S., J.D.

    Henry T. Berger, B.S., J.D., was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a Trustee of The City University of New York for a term effective June 20, 2017 until 2021.

    Mr. Berger has been Special Counsel and Advisor to Mayor de Blasio since February, 2014. Previously, as an attorney in private practice, he worked on legal issues related to election law, such as campaign finance compliance and ballot access regulations, and labor relations and civil litigation.

    From 1995 to 2000 Mr. Berger was a partner with Fisher, Fisher & Berger, working on commercial litigation, election law and labor relations for clients including health care professional unions, university professors’ associations and major state, county and city political candidates.

    In 1977, Mr. Berger served as a Member of the New York City Council, representing the Fourth District of Manhattan. He served on the Transportation, Parks and Economic Development committees.

    Mr. Berger received a B.S. from Lehigh University in chemistry in 1967 and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1972.

    Mr. Berger serves as a member of the Board’s Committee on Academic Policy, Programs and Research and the Committee on Fiscal Affairs.