Valedictorian Tvrtko Vrdoljak. Photos courtesy of St. Francis College

Hundreds of St. Francis College graduates and their parents, families and friends will enjoy two new venues for St. Francis College’s Spring Commencement 2015.

The commencement on Tuesday, May 19, beginning at 2 p.m., will be the first graduation ceremony held at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2 and will offer the spectacular vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan skyline for more than 300 students.

Valedictorian Tvrtko Vrdoljak is the third brother to come to St. Francis College from their home in Croatia and the second valedictorian from their family. Tvrtko is an economics major with minors in political science and philosophy.

Tvrtko’s first time at the college was to see his middle brother Andrija deliver the valedictory address in 2007. Tvrtko remembers hearing then-President Frank Macchiarola ’62 say that it would be good if the third brother also came to St. Francis. “It really struck a chord with me, and I thank Dr. Mac for most of this,” he says.

Tvrtko will be attending graduate school at the University of Toronto to study political theory.

The keynote speaker is John F. Tully ’67, J.D., chairman of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees since 2007. Tully will also receive an honorary degree for his service and commitment to St. Francis. A Brooklyn native, he is currently of counsel to the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright U.S. L.L.P.

Longtime Assemblymember Joan Millman, who recently retired after 17 years of service in the New York State Assembly, will also receive an honorary degree. Millman is a longtime supporter of the college, which served as host every year for Millman’s Senior Citizen Fair.

The commencement celebration begins a day earlier on Monday, May 18, with a Baccalaureate Mass to be held and newly renovated St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral at 856 Pacific St. beginning at 6 p.m. The college plans to welcome the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, as the main celebrant for the Mass.

If you can’t make graduation you can still watch live through Periscope.


Former Assemblymember Joan Millman

Among the students graduating are:


  • Jaymee Veney, a double major in criminal justice and psychology. A member of the Duns Scotus Honor Society, Jaymee was in the Psi Chi International Honor Society for psychology, the Psychology Club and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and worked on special events at the college. She also led the Women’s Basketball team in scoring and rebounding, helping to propel the Terriers to an NEC Championship and the first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in St. Francis history. Veney will attend graduate school at Touro College before becoming a teacher with Success Academy Charter Schools.


  • Nicole Cisek and Vincent Pagnotta continue the tradition of excellence in accounting at St. Francis College. They both graduate from the five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program. Nicole is president of the Accounting Society. She interned at JP Morgan Chase and then at O’Connor Davies, where she will begin working full time after graduation as an associate auditor.  Pagnotta was vice president of the Accounting Society and worked part-time at a small CPA firm. He has accepted a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers.


A new tradition of excellence begins this spring with the first graduates from the revitalized Health Care Management major. Under adviser Michele Montecalvo, five students have completed the requirements for their degree:


  • Brittney Mansfield interned at Project Achieve, a part of the New York Blood Center, as a clinical research intern facilitating National Institute of Health behavioral and clinical research studies.
  • Nesly Destin interned at Interfaith Medical Center. He interviewed every physician within the Interfaith network to create a Patient Resource Guide.
  • Afari Owusu interned at the New York Life Insurance Company as an entry-level health insurance sales agent. He will work for New York Life full-time upon graduation.
  • Kristina Primavera interned at North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center as an online patient portal adviser for the Obamacare program.
  • Kira Evans interned at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and organized the human resources components for the facility. She was recently awarded the St. Francis College 2015 Healthcare Management Medal of Honor for her leadership and academic efforts.

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