Look Who’s Talking…at Commencement 2012

A film and education visionary; a restaurant icon; a distinguished federal judge; the longest serving HHS Secretary in history. Announcing Pace’s Honorary Degree Recipients for 2012 Commencement ceremonies. >>Read More

Honorary Degree Recipients at Pace’s Commencement 2012 ceremonies will be as follows:

Stephen Apkon, Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab
Westchester Undergraduate Ceremony: Friday, May 11, 2012, 11:00 a.m.
As Founder and Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, Stephen Apkon has combined a lifelong passion for film with his desire to revitalize Pleasantville, NY.  His vision and leadership of the Jacob Burns Film Center has brought national and international acclaim to Pleasantville and the Media Arts Lab, which opened under Apkon’s leadership in 2009, has served as a creative and educational community for storytellers in the digital age, offering one-time workshops, intensive courses, and weekend programs.

Pace President Stephen J. Friedman said: “Steve Apkon is a former Wall Street merchant banker who left the world of finance to follow his passion for film and education and brought leadership, vision, and direction to a burgeoning arts organization. In the past ten years, over one million people have seen more than 4,000 films at the JBFC, whose mission is to bring a diversity of film and educational programs to Westchester County and its surrounding communities. The JBFC is recognized nationally as a model for effective arts and education programming and management. Steve’s story is a powerful example to our graduates that one can achieve great things by following one’s passions.”

Read more about Apkon here.

Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group
New York Undergraduate Ceremony: Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 10:30 a.m.

Danny Meyer is a restaurant industry icon. As CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer oversees some of the most successful and lauded restaurants in NYC, including Union Square Café (voted Zagat Survey’s Most Popular Restaurant in New York City an unprecedented nine times), Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled, North End Grill, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning and consulting business. Meyer, his restaurants, and chefs have earned an unprecedented 24 James Beard Awards, including: Outstanding Restaurant of the Year; Outstanding Service; Outstanding Wine Service; Humanitarian of the Year; Who’s Who of Food & Beverage; Best Restaurant Design; and Best Restaurant Graphic Design. Four of USHG’s restaurants have earned three stars from The New York Times and in 2009, Eleven Madison Park was upgraded to four stars.

An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Meyer has long served on the boards of Share Our Strength and City Harvest.

Read more about Meyer here.

Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Graduate Level Ceremony: Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
Donna E. Shalala has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and  administrator. She served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Clinton from 1993-2001, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history. Shalala became Professor of Political Science and President of the University of Miami on June 1, 2001 and during her tenure, has led U of Miami to solidify its position among top U.S. research universities and successfully executed Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, one of the first billion-dollar capital campaigns completed in the United States, which raised $1.4 billion in private support for the university’s endowment, academic, and research programs and facilities.

She was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report in 2005; was handpicked in 2007 by President George W. Bush to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, to evaluate how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian society; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, the nation’s highest civilian award; and received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 2010, which recognizes individuals for outstanding dedication to improving the health and life chances of disadvantaged populations in South Africa and internationally.

Read more about Shalala here.

The Honorable Andrew L. Carter Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York (SDNY)
Law School Ceremony: Sunday, May 20, 2012, 10:00 a.m.
Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate in December 2011, the Honorable Andrew L. Carter Jr. is the youngest sitting judge in the Southern District of New York and has also served as United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. He began his career as a public defender representing those who could not afford legal counsel, and worked as a staff and supervising attorney with the Federal Defenders of New York and with the Legal Aid Society in the criminal defense and federal defenders division.

As a student at Harvard Law School, Carter co-founded the BELL Foundation, an organization that provides educational summer and after school activities for students from low-income communities. He continues to serve on the Foundation’s board of directors.

Read more about Carter here.