2023 Speakers

Gregory J Hlibok, JD, ’94

9 a.m. Undergraduate Commencement

Gregory J. Hlibok is chief legal officer for ZP Better Together, a communications service company consisting of two subsidiaries, Purple Communications and ZVRS. He possesses a unique expertise and vast experience in regulatory affairs, public administration, and community leadership.


Prior to joining ZP Better Together, Mr. Hlibok served as chief of the Disability Rights Office in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission. In this role, he administered a wide array of disability rulemaking proceedings and policy matters to ensure accessibility, including advancements in telecommunication relay service (TRS) and equal access to communication technologies.

Mr. Hlibok is known for his leadership role during the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University in 1988, which led to the selection of Gallaudet’s first deaf president. In 2015, he received the Individual Leadership Award from the Howard County Commission on Disability Issues. Admitted to the New York and Texas Bar, Mr. Hlibok holds a BA in Government from Gallaudet University and a JD from Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of two of his alma maters, Lexington School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. As a lifelong leader, he remains active in advocating for equal access and equal opportunities for deaf individuals.

Mr. Hlibok is married to Charmaine Jacobs Hlibok and has four children, Rainer (22), Brendan (20), Charlton (18), and Lauren (17). When he is not busy keeping up with family commitments, he enjoys outdoor activities such as pickleball, hiking, biking, and skiing.

The Honorable Letitia James, JD

Deane School of Law Commencement

The Honorable Letitia James is the 67th attorney general for New York. With decades of experience and a long record of achievements, she is a powerful, effective attorney and lifelong public servant. When she was elected in 2018, she became the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected attorney general.


In her first term, Attorney General James focused on protecting vulnerable New York residents and ensuring that individuals or companies that broke state laws were held accountable. She secured more than $7.5 billion for New York from those who broke state laws and took advantage of New Yorkers, including more than $2.5 billion from opioid manufacturers and distributors for their roles in the opioid epidemic. Under her leadership, the Office of the Attorney General helped remove more than 4,000 guns from New York communities, dismantled dozens of dangerous drug and gun trafficking rings throughout the state, and took legal action to stop the proliferation of ghost guns.

Attorney General James stood up to predatory landlords who harassed tenants and endangered children by violating New York’s lead paint laws. She protected New Yorkers’ health and the state’s natural resources by going after polluters and companies that flouted environmental protection laws. Attorney General James supported vulnerable populations by going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a question about citizenship from being added to the census and successfully preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

She has been a national leader in the fight to defend access to reproductive health care, leading dozens of legal actions across the country. Attorney General James also took strong action against officials who broke New York laws or did not enforce workplace safety measures, regardless of their status or political affiliation.

Before serving as attorney general, Ms. James began her career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society. She was elected public advocate for the City of New York in 2013. At that time, she became the first woman of color to hold citywide office. Her office passed more legislation than all previous public advocates combined, including a groundbreaking law that banned questions about salary history from the employment process to address the pervasive gender wage gap. Prior to serving as public advocate, Ms. James represented the 35th Council District in Brooklyn in the New York City Council for 10 years. As a council member, she helped pass the Safe Housing Act, legislation that forced landlords to improve living conditions for tenants in New York City’s worst buildings. Before her election to the City Council, she was head of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

A proud Brooklynite, Attorney General James holds an MPA from Lehman College and a JD from Howard University School of Law.

Sandra Lindsay, MBA, ’16; DHSc; RN

Graduate Commencement

Dr. Sandra Lindsay is vice president of public health advocacy for Northwell Health. In this role, she leads the health system in expanding knowledge of issues that affect community health, public policy, and other aspects of health care.


Dr. Lindsay has more than 28 years of nursing experience, most of which have been in critical care. On December 14, 2020, she became the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Raised in Jamaica by her grandparents, she moved to the United States with her siblings in 1986. She graduated with an Associate in Nursing (valedictorian) from Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) and joined Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital in 1994. There, she worked as a clinical nurse in various critical care units before assuming leadership roles.

She went on to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Lehman College (CUNY), where she was the 2022 commencement speaker. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Hofstra University and, in May 2021, she completed a Doctor of Health Sciences with a concentration in global health and leadership and organizational behavior from A.T. Still University. Dr. Lindsay recently published her first leadership research study in Nursing Management titled “Authentic Leadership: Does It Relate to Job Satisfaction and Engagement?”

Dr. Lindsay has become a vocal advocate for vaccinations and dispelling misinformation, and a supporter of medical research and global equity. She was recognized by President Joseph Biden at the White House, has met with the president of the United Nations and prime minister of Jamaica, and served as grand marshal in New York’s Hometown Heroes Parade. On July 7, 2022, Dr. Lindsay was one of 16 individuals awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Biden during a special ceremony at the White House. On August 6, 2022, His Excellency, The Governor General of Jamaica, conferred upon Dr. Lindsay the honor of the Order of Distinction (Commander) in recognition of her contribution to public health and the campaign against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Among other accolades, Dr. Lindsay received the 2021 Robert Nesta Marley Humanitarian Award from the Caribbean Heritage Organization, as well as the Jamaican Cultural Alliance Trailblazer Award. She was honored in February 2022 at the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce’s Black History Legends Breakfast, and the Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York recognized her as a Corporate Ambassador of Hope. She was a panelist at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival, where thought leaders from around the globe discuss issues that shape the world and challenges of our times.

When Dr. Lindsay is not engaging in lifelong learning or working, she enjoys traveling; visiting family and friends in her homeland, Jamaica; reading leadership books and articles; and gardening.

Judith Spitz, PhD

1 p.m. Undergraduate Commencement

Dr. Judith Spitz is the founder and executive director of Break Through Tech, a national initiative that propels women and underrepresented groups into higher education and careers in technology through curriculum innovation, career access, and community building. She is on the board of directors of Noodle and is a member of the advisory board of ASAPP, an artificial intelligence company.


Dr. Spitz is a recognized leader with over 20 years of advanced technology experience in the communications and entertainment industries. She is a proven senior executive with a record of leading and successfully delivering complex transformational programs that require both technology and business process innovation.

From 2005 to 2016, Dr. Spitz served as senior vice president and chief information officer at Verizon. She was responsible for the design, delivery, and management of all enterprise and wholesale operations and business support systems, product development, and production support on a global basis and for the systems integration resulting from the merger of MCI (WorldCom) and Verizon.

Dr. Spitz previously served as senior vice president for network and national operations systems, where she delivered the suite of systems that enabled Verizon to launch its high-speed, residential fiber optic service (FiOS).

Dr. Spitz began her career in telecommunications as a member of the technical staff and then as technical director of a speech technology group that was part of an artificial intelligence lab. In this role, she delivered advanced call center automation platforms.

Prior to her career in the communications industry, she was a research associate at the City University of New York in the Center for Research in Speech and Hearing Sciences and an adjunct professor at Hunter College.

Dr. Spitz was named to Forbes’ 2021 50 over 50 Women of Impact list, Crain’s 2019 list of Notable Women in Tech, and New York Business Journal’s 2018 list as a Woman of Influence. In 2017, she received the Above & Beyond Award for Outstanding Women in Business from City & State New York. And in 2009, InfoWorld named her a CTO 25 award winner.

Dr. Spitz’s passion is driving programs that address the urgent demand for women in technology and topics related to the leadership skills needed in the digital economy. She speaks frequently about this, about gender-based algorithmic bias, and about the future of work in an AI-enabled digital world.

Kevin J. Tracey, MD

Zucker School of Medicine Commencement

Dr. Tracey is president and CEO and the Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research; professor of Neurosurgery and Molecular Medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra-Northwell; and executive vice president, Research, at Northwell Health, in New York.


A leader in the scientific fields of inflammation and bioelectronic medicine, his contributions include discovery and molecular mapping neural circuits controlling immunity and identifying the therapeutic action of monoclonal anti-TNF antibodies. Professor Tracey received his BS (Chemistry, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Boston College in 1979, and his MD from Boston University in 1983. He trained in neurosurgery from 1983 to 1992 at the New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center and was a guest investigator at the Rockefeller University before moving in 1992 to The Feinstein Institutes.

An inventor on 120 United States patents, and author of more than 400 scientific publications, he cofounded the Global Sepsis Alliance, a non-profit organization supporting the efforts of one million sepsis caregivers in more than 70 countries. Dr. Tracey is co-founder of several biotechnology companies, including SetPoint Medical, the industry leader in bioelectronic medicine for developing vagus nerve stimulation technology to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

His numerous honors and awards include Doctorates honoris causa from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; from Hofstra University, New York, and from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University; and delivered the Harvey Society lecture in New York, as well as lectureships from Harvard, Yale, Rockefeller University, the NIH, and elsewhere. He was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2001), the American Association of Physicians (2009), the Long Island Technology Hall of Fame (2012), Alpha Omega Alpha (2014), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2020). Professor Tracey is a TedMed speaker and author of Fatal Sequence (Dana Press). He delivers lectures nationally and internationally on inflammation, sepsis, the neuroscience of immunity, and bioelectronic medicine.