Mets man gives grads advice

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Queens College students, including Geraldine Curatolo (c.) jump out of their chairs as the ceremony wraps up. Photo by Christina Santucci
Little Neck resident Thomas Dent (r.), who graduated from Queens College in 1942, attends this year's commencement exercises as part of his class' 70th reunion. He is accompanied by Beverly Berke of Douglaston, who graduated more than 30 years later. Photo by Christina Santucci
Queens College graduates, including Ibrahim Dincer (c.), celebrate during the school's commencement exercises. Flushing resident Dincer completed a bachelor's degree in physics. Photo by Christina Santucci
Ireen Ahmad (r.) gets a hug from her friend's mother Shaista Bashit. Photo by Christina Santucci
Marta Sokoloska waves to the crowd at Queens College. Photo by Christina Santucci
David Orner, who graduated with a degree in neuroscience, wears mice ears on his cap to represent his past research with mice. Photo by Christina Santucci
Music majors stand as their representative is hooded. Photo by Christina Santucci
John Traversa holds up a tiny beachball that would be circuated after the conclusion of the ceremony. Photo by Christina Santucci
Patrick Boursiquot (c.) jokes with Elsie Sampson. Photo by Christina Santucci
Eberg Beauzile places his cap on his daughter Kalina, 5. Photo by Christina Santucci

At the Queens College commencement ceremony last Thursday, graduates got a little bit of advice from the voice of the Amazin’s.

Howie Rose, the announcer for the New York Mets and the New York Islanders, spoke about his dogged pursuit of a sports broadcasting career after he graduated from the institution in 1977.

“The career you want is well within your grasp, as long as you are willing to pay the price to get there,” said Rose, whose trademark baritone made it seem like he was giving a play-by-play of his past instead of delivering an address to about 2,500 graduates and the thousands more sitting in the warm sun on the lawn of the campus.

Rose started paying his price long before he reached Queens College.

As a youngster, Rose was obsessed with sports. He would attend New York Rangers games armed with a tape recorder into which he would announce the game, annoying anyone sitting near him.

While at Queens College, Rose started his career at a company called Sportsphone, where customers could call in to hear a recording of his voice giving out the latest sports news. In fact, Rose convinced the school to give him 13 credits for his work there.

And that work paid off: The Queens native has also worked at CBS and NBC and bagged two Emmys.

“Do not let others dissuade you from your chosen profession,” Rose said, likely thinking of all the people who dissuaded him.

The college also gave out an honorary degree to another former student: philanthropist and publishing magnate Sara Miller McCune.

McCune made a name for herself through her company SAGE, which has offices all over the globe.

McCune also runs a charitable foundation that funds educational opportunities for low-income youngsters in her native California.

She urged students to seek wealth in the form of “social capital,” which she defined as the benefits of working together with different groups to have a positive impact on the world.

“To me, that’s much more valuable than making or having millions of dollars,” said McCune, who happens to have both social capital and millions of dollars.

The philanthropist has donated some of those millions to building schools in developing countries and starting a nonprofit magazine, among other projects.

Several potential millionaires may have been sitting in the audience listening to McCune’s words, but according to the class valedictorian Yakov Yakubov, a little bit of luck will be needed for the graduates to achieve their dreams.

The neuroscience major reminded all of those in attendance that they were already lucky to have been born into supportive families and lucky enough to have graduated from Queens College.

“Much of our successes will, too, depend on luck,” said Yakubov, in a speech peppered with well-received jokes and one-liners.

But that simply means graduates need to persevere when things do not go their way, he said.

Some of the students were already nervous about taking the plunge into a struggling job market, according to Fresh Meadows resident Julius Baltonado, who moments before officially earned a degree in poetry.

“We are most definitely unsure,” he said. “I’ve already been to a couple of job fairs.”

Baltonado will be going back to school to pursue his master of fine arts degree at Queens College, thus delaying the plunge for now.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 7:20 pm, June 6, 2012
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