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Young Alumni of Distinction

The theme of this year’s RCC Foundation Leadership Luncheon was “Men of Distinction” and we honored four outstanding men who have contributed significantly to the College and community.  The honorees included the following:

Dr. David Beisel
Professor, History

Francisco A. Garcia-Quezada
Adjunct Professor, Spanish

Bill Longhi
President and CEO
Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc.

Lawrence Saint-Victor
Actor & RCC Alum

At the luncheon we also featured some recent graduates who have already distinguished themselves academically and professionally. The current status of the academic achievement of success of young men, however, is changing dramatically. Last year our Foundation Luncheon focused on “Women of Wisdom” and apparently, young women have the maturity and understanding of their matriarchs and in the words of Virginia Slim, “They have come a long way baby”.

What follows are the graduation statistics for Americans for the 2011-2012 Academic Year.

Graduate Degree
% Men
% Women

There is, in reality, a crisis in education related to young males and maybe there is some truth in the current joke I heard recently, “Regarding males, 27 is the new 17”.

But, there is hope and there are exceptions as demonstrated by these very special young RCC alums.

Chad Agrawal

Chad AgarwalI'm Chad Agrawal and I graduated from the M/TS Honors Program with highest honors in 2009. I came to RCC as an early admit student and during my freshmen year, not only gained membership in Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Beta Gamma, but I also earned my Eagle Scout badge with a campus beautification project for RCC. I also served as the student member of the Board of Trustees. I am a 2011 graduate of the Stern School of Business at New York University. My long term goal is to be a successful business owner. RCC MADE ME THE MAN I AM.

James Birnbaum

James and Rick BirnbaumI am James Birnbaum and I graduated from the M/TS Honors Program in 1994. I then attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in history, with a concentration in diplomacy. I then attended the Boston University Law School and earned a Juris Doctorate. I am currently a Partner at Cornell & Cornell, LLP in New City, NY and a general practitioner of the law. In my free time, I'm a busy musician and a member of the Board of Directors of the Rockland Conservatory of Music. I also sit on the Boards of Directors of the Rockland County Bar Association and the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center.

Rick Birnbaum

My brother Rick Birnbaum, who unfortunately could not be here today, is a 1996 graduate of the M/TS Honors Program. Rick then received a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Last year he earned his Educational master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a Researcher at the Center for Applied Special Technology. RCC MADE US THE MEN WE ARE.

Robert Chapklin, Jr.

Robert Chapklin, Jr.I am Robert Chapklin, Jr. and I graduated from the M/TS Honors Program with high honors in 2009. I recently completed my degree requirements last Fall semester, and will be receiving my bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University as a Marketing and Management double-major upon commencement this May. While at Georgetown, I had several wonderful experiences including a visit to the White House, coaching a team of high school students in the Year-Up Case Competition, and interning with the Washington Wizards, where I found my passion for sports. I am currently attending New York University where I am pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Business. RCC MADE ME THE MAN I AM.

Jesse Cifuni

Jesse CifuniI am Jesse Cifuni and I graduated from Rockland Community College in May 2008. When I came to RCC, I had been away from high school for many years and was not sure I was even prepared to earn a college degree. RCC gave me the education and skills to successfully earn my degree and I have made the Dean's List since my return in 2006. With the tremendous influence and continuing educational support of the faculty and friends at RCC, I received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during my studies at RCC. These events really fostered the dedication to continue in my education.  Because of my experiences in the Sciences at RCC I was able to transfer to Purchase College, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and a concentration in Biochemistry in 2011. In the Fall I was admitted to medical school to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. Many may say it’s too soon to pick a specialty so I remain open-minded though I already have a strong interest in Endocrinology. RCC MADE ME THE MAN I AM.

Christopher Day

Christopher DayI am Christopher Day and in 2005 I graduated with highest honors from RCC's M/TS Honors Program. I then transferred to Yale University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry. While in the military, I earned a Bronze Star and achieved the rank of Captain, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I am now earning my MBA at Columbia Business School.


Rockland County Sheriff
Sheriff Louis Falco

Sheriff Louis FalcoI am Louis Falco and I graduated from Rockland Community College in May 2005.  There is a new Sheriff in town. RCC MADE ME THE MAN I AM.

Wen Zhang

Wen ZhangI am Wen Zhang and I graduated with highest honors from RCC in 2002. I then transferred to Cornell University where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science in 2004. After graduation, I continued my studies at the University of Chicago and earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition in early 2011. I decided to pursue a career where I could combine my life science training with my English background, and was fortunate to secure employment as a developmental editor at John Wiley & Sons in Hoboken, NJ, where I currently live. I work in the Current Protocols division and manage several titles that focus on advanced protocols for research techniques; I also manage a title that focuses undergraduate-level labwork.

One of the first lessons I learned as a graduate student was the educational value of hands-on benchwork, as well as the importance of reliable information. Therefore, on behalf of the Current Protocols division and Wiley, and as a gesture of my appreciation for the pivotal role that RCC played in my career, I would like to present the college with a complimentary one-year subscription to our undergraduate title as well as three hard copies of the newly released print version. I hope that this information will provide current RCC students with an edge as they transfer to four-year universities and beyond. RCC MADE ME THE MAN I AM.


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