UDC News


May 10 , 2007


Contact:          Mike Andrews
                        (202) 274-5685

                        Paul Brock
                        (301) 627-8436


Profiles of the University of the District of Columbia’s Class of 2007


            Washington, DC- The University of the District of Columbia will confer degrees upon approximately 600 students at the University’s 30th Annual Commencement Convocation 10:00 a.m, Saturday, May 12, 2007 in the Verizon Center.  A total of 125 international students are included in the graduating class, representing 51 countries.  The Class of 2007 represents a population as diverse as the scholastic offerings of the only public university in the nation’s capital. 

             The University will graduate three bachelor’s degree recipients at this year’s commencement with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.  They include:

  1. Leandro Medaro - BA /History – Leandro completed all of her degree work at UDC
  2. Robert L. Yates – BA/English
  3. Nicola Santagata – BA/History


            The youngest graduate in the Class of 2007 is Cynteyech M. Colebrook, born September 12, 1987, who is graduating with an A.A.S. degree in Hotel Management.  The University’s “senior” graduate is Juliet Grant, who has earned a B.B.A degree in Business Management – date of birth is June 14, 1937.  Twenty-two of the new graduates were born before 1950.

            One new UDC graduate, Sylvester Felton, served in the United States Marine Corps.  He joined the University’s Veterans Upward Bound Program in the spring of 2005.  Mr. Felton is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management.  It’s not his first UDC degree - Mr. Felton has received an Associates Degrees in Accounting Technology (2001) and in Business Technology (2005).  He has maintained a 3.0 or higher grade point average and attributes his success in part to his participation in the UDC Veterans Upward Bound Program. 

            Howard Franklin, Jr. will receive his Bachelor of Music degree, making him the first in his family to receive a college degree.  The Washington, DC native and Ward 5 resident has already gotten his career underway, successfully launching Howard Franklin’s Music, providing musical performances for corporations, weddings and other public and private affairs.  In his time at UDC, Howard has acted as a “big brother” to incoming freshman students and is a well-know leader on campus.

            Two graduating seniors have distinguished themselves both in the classroom and on the athletic field.  Nerissa Peterson-Paul is graduating magna cum laude (with a grade point average of 3.73) with a degree in Biology.  The top women’s tennis player plans to enroll in medical school.  Cross country athlete Jeffrey Zulu is also graduating magna cum laude (3.64 GPA) with a degree in Chemistry.  He plans to become a pharmacist.


            Six graduating students from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law were selected to receive the Olender Foundation awards for excellence in the clinical program:

  1. Andre J. Barnett’s representation of a client with disabilities in the Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic prompted the resolution of a $25,000 IRS debt.  Mr Barnett also researched and wrote memoranda on broad tax principles, including the taxability of a settlement, award or judgment, which aided clients in the law school’s Housing Clinic.
  2. Nilo A. Cuervo’s work in the Juvenile and Special Education Clinic served clients with severe educational-related visibilities, language barriers, and involvement in the delinquency or criminal system.  Through his efforts, Mr. Cuervo successfully obtained, for one particular client, continuing Social Security income, access to drug treatment, and job readiness and vocational rehabilitation services.
  3. Pamela Eclar Dieguez’s work in the Government Accountability Project Clinic focused on whistleblower protection, wrongful discharge, and sexual harassment.  Through this clinic, Ms. Dieguez demonstrated excellence and presented a thorough analysis of the “clear and convincing evidence” standard for whistleblower cases pending before the Administrative Review Board and Administrative Law Judges of the U.S. Department of Labor.
  4. Daniel S. Piccaluga participated in the Community Development Clinic, a professional consulting service which provides transactional and business legal assistance to non-profit organizations and small urban enterprises.  Mr. Piccaluga’s extraordinary work in the clinic earned him the Community Development Law Clinic Book Award for best exemplifying professionalism in his relationships with colleagues and clients, an award whose recipient is selected by both the professors and the law.
  5. Leslie C. Shedd worked in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and successfully assisted a client who neglected to file tax returns for several years after inheriting a small amount of stocks.  Ms. Shedd analyzed the complicated situation, prepared several years of complex tax forms, and largely remedied the client’s initial tax debt of over $20,000.
  6. Sarah L. Cheever Tompkins demonstrated a dedication to her clients and love for public interest law in the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic.  Most notably, when a D.C. agency refereed a client to the clinic at the last minute, Ms. Tomkins quickly researched the issues, amassed evidence and expertly represented the client at a Social Security disability hearing.  She won the client’s claim and earned hem thousands of dollars in back benefits.


            The Honorable Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will be the keynote speaker for Commencement, which will be presided over by University President William L. Pollard, PhD.  As a part of the graduation activities for the University, honorary doctoral degrees will be conferred on Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender (Doctor of Humane Letters) and renowned civil rights attorney and former Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr. (Doctor of Laws). 





            The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities.  The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia.  The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro.  For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.