Adelphi University will conduct its 123rd Commencement ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, at NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. About 1,950 students will receive their bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

Adelphi University will conduct its 123rd Commencement ceremonies beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, at NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. About 1,950 students will receive their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Note: Commencement ceremonies will be webcast live on Sunday.

The University will confer honorary degrees on Patricia Schissel, M.S.W. ’95, L.M.S.W., executive director of the Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism Association (AHA), and Kevin McKenzie, artistic director and the Hamilton E. James chair at American Ballet Theatre. They will share greetings with graduating students and their guests, as will Adelphi President Christine Riordan and others, including representatives of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies.

Patricia SchisselPatricia Schissel, who graduated from Adelphi with a Master of Social Work in 1995, will be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa. A tireless advocate, pioneer and leader in the autism community, she has been executive director of AHA since 2002. Under her leadership, the organization established a preeminent, internationally known professional advisory board that has helped guide the not-for-profit in assisting thousands of individuals, families and the professionals involved in furthering the goals of independence, education and advocacy.

An adjunct graduate faculty member at Adelphi, she was instrumental in the formation of the Adelphi Autism Task Force and nurtured new program and curriculum development and served on numerous national committees and boards. She has played an instrumental role in the founding of new programs that have achieved national renown, including the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the first transdisciplinary regional clinical autism research center of excellence; the Westbrook Preparatory School, the first and only NYS-approved residential school dedicated to students with high-functioning autism, Asperger syndrome and related conditions; and Spectrum Services NYC, which offers specialized assessment, therapy and consulting services for clients with Asperger syndrome, autism, anxiety, trauma and multigenerational family and couple’s needs.

Kevin McKenzieKevin McKenzie, a leading dancer with both the Joffrey Ballet and the National Ballet of Washington before joining American Ballet Theatre (ABT) as a soloist and later principal dancer, will be awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa. McKenzie received his ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet. In 1972, he was awarded a silver medal at the Sixth International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria. McKenzie is a contemporary of acclaimed dancer Frank Augustyn, now associate professor and chair of the Department of Dance at Adelphi, which uses ABT’s National Training Curriculum to train its students in the art of ballet.

McKenzie danced leading roles in all the major classics, including the Prince in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s production of the full-length Cinderella. He performed leading roles in works by acclaimed 20th-century choreographers George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp, among others. McKenzie has appeared as a guest artist throughout the world, including Spoleto in Italy and Paris, London, Tokyo, Havana, Moscow and Vienna. In 1989, he was appointed a permanent guest artist with The Washington Ballet and was also associate artistic director and choreographer with the New Amsterdam Ballet.

Among McKenzie’s awards are an honorary degree from Saint Michael’s College, the Dance Magazine Award (1999) and the Medal of Honor for Achievement in Dance from the National Arts Club (2019). He is a founding member and board chairman of Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, New York. In 2017, ABT celebrated McKenzie’s 25th anniversary as artistic director.

“Together with the Adelphi community, we are extremely proud to honor these two remarkably accomplished individuals, who each have an enormous impact on humanity,” said President Christine M. Riordan and Provost Steve Everett in announcing the honorary degrees.

Other Adelphi Commencement-related events include:

Nursing Pinning Ceremony: Wednesday, May 15, 6:00 p.m.

Adelphi University Center for Recreation and Sports

Doctoral Hooding: Friday, May 17, 4:30 p.m.

Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, Concert Hall

See more about Adelphi’s Commencement at

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
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