Queens College President Felix Matos Rodriguez has announced that Grace Meng will be the main speaker for Queens College’s 93rd Commencement Ceremony for the graduating class of 2017.
Grace Meng is a lawyer and Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. Meng represents New York’s sixth congressional district in Queens, New York which includes Flushing, Bayside, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, and Glendale. She is the first Asian American to represent part of New York City in Congress.
Lauren Solano, a senior majoring in psychology, said she was looking forward to hearing Grace Meng’s speech at commencement.
“When I found out Grace Meng was going to be the speaker, I was so excited. She is so active with the Queens community, I feel she is the perfect person to speak at graduation, and will provide great advice to the Queens College graduating class of 2017 because of her background. Not only is she the first Asian American to be a part of congress in New York, she is the first female Member in Congress in a long time. Having someone like Grace Meng to speak at commencement would benefit Queens College because of how diverse the school is.”
Grace Meng has passed numerous pieces of legislation in law, such as religious freedom, protecting public housing residents from an inadequate amount of heat, striking “Oriental” from federal law, and making historic sites in Queens part of the National Parks Service. She also helped with increasing funds for Israel’s defense systems, creating New York City school holiday for Lunar New Year and Eid, and easier access to feminine hygiene products. Meng also signed into a law that assists veterans and members of the military.
Devon Maldonado, a senior majoring in accounting, said he is curious about what Grace Meng is going to do next and if she is planning to discuss her personal experiences at commencement.
“She has already done so much for our community, I wonder what else she plans to do and I’m eager to find out,” he continued, “As a fellow Queens native, I’m very proud that Grace Meng is going to be speaking to me and my fellow peers at graduation. It feels so genuine that she is going to be celebrating our big day with us.”
Born in Elmhurst and raised in Bayside and Flushing, Meng graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. She earned her law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and worked as a public-interest lawyer before entering public service.
Adrianna Butler, a senior who is a part of the pre-law program, said how much of an inspiration Meng is to her.
“She was one of us at point, she is at where I want to be after I graduate. I’m glad she is going to be the guest speaker at commencement because seeing her before I leave Queens College will motivate me to accomplish as much as she has. Not only is she an inspiration to me, but I’m sure she has been one to every other college student, especially from Queens. She is living proof that it doesn’t matter where you are from, it matters where you are going.”