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May 09 2011

NYIT Names 2011 Honorary Degree Recipients

U.S. Surgeon General, Legendary NBA Player, and International Education Leader to Speak at 50th Commencement

Old Westbury, N.Y. (May 9, 2011) – NYIT will award honorary degrees to the U.S. Surgeon General, a legendary NBA player, and a leader of international education at Commencement on Sunday, May 22, at its Old Westbury, N.Y. campus.

The recipients, who will speak to an expected audience of 12,000, are Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, United States Surgeon General; former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, founder of Skyhook Foundation; and Denis Huisman, founder and president of Groupe EDH, a higher education group of schools in France with international programs.

This is NYIT’s 50th Commencement. NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., will send off the graduates and congratulate relatives during his address to the Class of 2011.

About the recipients:

Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A.
U.S. Surgeon General
Doctor of Humane Letters

Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., is Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. As America’s Doctor, she provides the public with scientific information on how to improve their individual health and the health of the nation. She oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve around the world to protect and advance the health of Americans.

Benjamin used her own money to rebuild her Alabama health clinic after it was destroyed by two hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, and then a devastating fire. She was the first physician under age 40 and the first African American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Retired NBA player and Founder, Skyhook Foundation
Doctor of Humane Letter

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He is a six-time MVP and a 19-time All-Star, setting NBA all-time records in nine categories. Since retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar led the Oklahoma Storm to a championship, has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, and has lent his support to many charitable causes.

In 2010, Abdul-Jabbar founded the Skyhook Foundation, with a mission “to motivate today’s youth to pursue higher education.” It achieves this goal primarily by developing, supporting, and promoting programs that focus on life-affirming aspects of the African-American experience.


Denis Huisman
Founder and President, Groupe EDH
Doctor of Letters 

Denis Huisman is a leading international educator and distinguished lecturer, author, and television producer. He is the founder and president of Groupe EDH, a group of higher education schools in France specializing in management, photography, and journalism. It has international programs in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. In addition, Huisman is the Dauphine and Tenured Professor at Paris I University.

For more information about NYIT’s 50th annual commencement, visit

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 15,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 85,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit


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