By GREGORY ZELLER //
Adelphi University is offering an innovative multimedia salute to several standout graduates.
With hundreds of students set to toss their mortarboards in commencement exercises Friday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Garden City-based university is sharing a unique preview with the world: “Lives Transformed,” a series of short video segments highlighting a “compelling” selection of graduates and their personal stories, delivered via social media.
The first three videos – honoring Class of 2018 grads-in-waiting Rebecca Gotterbarn, Lentz Lefevre and Chitralekha Kar Pooja – were posted Monday, with more expected to premier prior to Friday’s graduation ceremony.
While the university is slated to confer degrees upon more than 1,700 graduates and is “proud of them all,” each of the highlighted students boasts a backstory that goes beyond the typical college experience.
Gotterbarn, a Garden City South resident, is an Academic All-American who earned an athletic scholarship (bowling) and has worked in both Adelphi campus computer security and as a tutor. Embarking on a professional IT career, she’s set to receive a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in history.
“I believe my dream job would be as a chief information security officer,” Gotterbarn, who actually entered Adelphi as a history major, notes in her video. “Making information security an accessible topic for a wider range of people is something that really interests me.”
Lefevre, a resident of Huntington, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and a former professional banker, including a stint as an assistant vice president for Chase Bank in Huntington. The veteran, who also served as an American Red Cross volunteer in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, is receiving a master’s of science degree in public health, the first step on his path to becoming a doctor.
“To come back (from overseas) to see there was still a war going on at home, that’s what led me to leave a very successful career on Wall Street and go into the field of public health and potentially medicine,” Lefevre says in his clip, which runs a little over two minutes. “To really be able to continue to serve my community.”
The pending graduate, who will earn a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting, created a sustainable clothing supply chain in Bangladesh and a “sustainable earnings system” for acid-attack victims, according to Adelphi, and hopes to bring her talents and experiences to the UN.
“What I realize after going to the United Nations a couple of times is, it’s us – we have to change first,” Kar Pooja says in her video. “Before we want them to make a movement, we have to make the first action. We have to change ourselves.
“It’s not about pointing to the other global leaders and pointing out what they are doing wrong,” she added. “It’s about me, as a citizen of this world, what I am doing and how much I am doing.
“Being passionate for one day is not enough.”
Adelphi University’s 122nd Commencement, honoring the Class of 2018, is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Friday at the Nassau Coliseum. The ceremony is also slated to be livestreamed here.
Separately, the university’s annual Doctoral Hooding is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Adelphi Performing Arts Center in Garden City.