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Shark Tank host named 2019 commencement day speaker

This year, for the 93rd commencement, Queens College is proud to have Alumnus Matt Higgins, ABC’s Shark Tank Shark and Miami Dolphins Executive, named as Queens College’s 2019 Commencement Speaker. Queens College has had honorable commencement speakers throughout its past for the graduation ceremonies including “Genius Award” recipient, Cristina Jiménez Moreta, Congresswoman Grace Meng and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

“The bigger the dream, the less likely you alone have what it takes to achieve it. I have found the most successful founders surround themselves with the best minds in different areas,” detailed Matt Higgins in regards to his thoughts on entrepreneurship.

A New York native, Higgins grew up in Bayside, Queens. Higgins dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and enrolled at Queens College to pursue and complete a political science major. He then became a journalist, working as a (now award-winning) investigative reporter at the Queens Tribune.

Higgins now has a high powered career as an American businessman and the co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, a private investment firm that focuses on sports and entertainment, media and marketing, food and lifestyle and technology. Upon returning to the campus for the commencement speech, there is much about the university that has personal significance. “Higgins’ lifelong connection to the college was fostered by his mother, a single working parent in whose memory he established a scholarship,” as detailed by the Queens College website.

Higgins elaborated on this, “The foundation of my entire career was poured at Queens College, so it is incredibly meaningful for me to come full circle and celebrate the 2019 graduating class as commencement speaker,” Higgins said. “At a time in my life that was marked by abject poverty, my earliest memories are of this wonderful campus, which served as a beacon of hope for my family. Before my mother lost her health battles, Queens College conferred upon her more than just degrees and diplomas; it affirmed her dignity and self-respect. To so many who work their way through school, or who battle struggles at home, or who summon the will to return to college after years of prolonged absence, this is an oasis; it is a place where the promise of an excellent education is not contingent on means, but on mettle.”

Queens College President, Felix Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, discussed his joy in having Higgins as the 2019 Commencement Speaker. “It brings me great joy to invite stellar alumni like Matt Higgins back to their home campus in the role of commencement speaker,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “It’s a unique opportunity for our students—on the brink of a new life chapter—to hear from individuals like Matt who used his Queens College education to build an extraordinary career and, like Matt, as a means to give back to the community. By recognizing Matt’s accomplishments, we also celebrate those of his mother, Linda, a Queens College graduate. Today, Matt’s scholarship program for single mothers honors his roots while making success stories like his possible for the next generation.”

This year’s Commencement Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 30, on the Queens College Quad.

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