Writer, Director, Producer & Actor Edward Burns to Receive an
Honorary Degree at Hunter College's 184th Commencement

The College Also Honors Our City's Heroes: Former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, Current Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Former Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority Ronald Shiftan To Receive President's Medals

WHAT:

Hunter College's 184th Commencement.
 

WHEN:

Thursday, January 24, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. sharp
 

WHERE:

Hunter College Assembly Hall, North Building, Ground Floor, 69th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues
 

WHO:

788 students will receive undergraduate degrees and 358 students will receive graduate degrees from President Jennifer J. Raab.
 

Honorary Degree Recipient and Commencement Speaker
Edward Burns
studied filmmaking at Hunter College before making "The Brothers McMullen," his first feature film, which premiered in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize.  The film also won "Best First Feature" at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards.  He wrote, directed, and starred in the film which was shot on a budget of $25,000 and went on to gross over $10 million at the domestic box, making it the most profitable film of 1995.  Burns' second film, which he also wrote, directed, produced and starred in, was the romantic comedy "She's The One," with Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.  His third film was "No Looking Back," with Lauren Holly and Jon Bon Jovi.  In conjunction with the release of this film, Three Screenplays by Edward Burns was published by Hyperion.  His fourth feature, "Sidewalks of New York," co-starred Heather Graham, Brittany Murphy and Stanley Tucci.  The first film that Burns acted in but did not also write and direct was Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan."  More recently he starred in New Line's "Fifteen Minutes" with Robert DeNiro.  He is currently finishing post production on a film he wrote, directed and acted in called "Ash Wednesday."  Also in post production is a film called "Life, or Something Like it" in which he acts opposite Angelina Jolie.  Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, and raised on Long Island.

President's Medal Recipients
Bernard B. Kerik
was the 40th Police Commissioner of the City of New York.  Appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on August 21, 2000, he oversaw a uniformed force of more than 41,000 officers, a civilian force of more than 14,500 and an annual budget of more than $3.2 billion.  On September 11, 2001, the terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City forced the NYPD into a tragedy of immense proportions.  Led by Police Commissioner Kerik, the NYPD and the New York Fire Department banded together in courage and hope during the rescue and recovery efforts, proving the incredible strength and heroism of New Yorkers. Prior to this appointment, Commissioner Kerik served as Commissioner of the Department of Correction after having served for three years as the Department's First Deputy Commissioner and, before that, as the agency's Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Director of the Investigations Division.  He is credited with bringing dramatic safety improvements to the city's jail system and reducing inmate-on-inmate violence by 93%.  He is the author of the recently released The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice, and In the Line of Duty:  A Tribute to New York's Finest and Bravest.

Nicholas Scoppetta was recently named the 31 st Fire Commissioner of the City of New York.  He served as Commissioner for the Administration for Children's Services in the Giuliani administration.  His extensive experience in government and management spans more than four decades.  His leadership abilities will play an important role in rebuilding the Department, which lost 343 members on September 11, 2001. Fire Commissioner Scoppetta is a former Deputy Mayor and Commissioner of Investigation for the City of New York. He achieved his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1962. While attending school at night, he worked by day as an investigator for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He is a past President and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Children's Aid Society. 

Commissioner Scoppetta was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. When he was five years old he was placed in a children's shelter and lived in various foster care institutions until he turned 12. He attended public schools in Manhattan. After serving two years in the Army, he attended Bradley University on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1958 with a degree in Engineering. Upon graduation from law school, he was appointed an Assistant District Attorney in New York County by District Attorney Frank S. Hogan. He also served as Associate Counsel to the Knapp Commission, as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and as the Deputy Independent Counsel in the investigation and prosecution of a former Special Assistant to the President of the United States.

Ronald Shiftan served as Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ since 1998.  Following the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, he also served as the Port Authority's Acting Executive Director.  He is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA, 1966) and Columbia University's School of Law (JD, 1969).  After law school, Mr. Shiftan joined the Corporate Finance Department of Smith, Barney & Co. Incorporated.  In 1973 he joined Bear, Stearns & Co., where he rose to become a General Partner and was responsible for the firm's International Corporate Finance Department.  While at Bear, Stearns, Mr. Shiftan initiated the first issuance of non-U.S. Dollar denominated securities in the U.S. capital markets, as well as the first initial public offering of equity securities simultaneously offered in multiple international markets.  In 1992, he became Vice Chairman of HealthCare Ventures LP, a private venture capital firm specializing in start-up and early stage investments in science-based healthcare companies. 

Background
Hunter College, founded in 1870, has long enjoyed a national reputation for excellence in liberal arts and sciences and professional education. Hunter's main campus, located on 68 th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side, consists of the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Education.  The college also includes a school of Social Work on East 79th Street as well as the Schools of the Health Professions (Nursing and Health Sciences) located at the Brookdale Health Science Center on East 25th Street; an MFA building and art gallery on the West Side; and the Hunter College Campus Schools serving gifted and talented students, preschool through grade 12.

Return to Hunter College News Releases