NBC Financial Journalist Gives Graduates Advice in Trying Job Market

President Ross dons bowtie for Irving R. Levine tribute; Harold and Patricia Toppel recognized with Boca Raton Award
NBC Financial Journalist Gives Graduates Advice in Trying Job Market

Published May. 15, 2009

In its first commencement ceremonies in almost a decade without world-renowned broadcast journalist and former dean and trustee Irving R. Levine, Lynn University paused to remember the iconic former NBC broadcaster who passed away in late March.

Kevin Ross“You could say that Dean Levine loved Lynn University almost as much as his trademark bowties,” said President Kevin M. Ross, who donned a bowtie of his own in tribute to his former boss and mentor.

“It seems only fitting that this year we welcome another journalist with ties to NBC and financial reporting,” said Ross in his introduction of commencement speaker Jean Chatzky, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and motivational speaker, who is the financial editor for NBC’s Today Show and contributor to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Chatzky gave the graduates at today’s and Friday’s ceremonies advice on their future finances – and life. The topic, Chatzy said, was “things I wish I knew before I graduated college.”

Student Body President Joey McNamara

“When I went to college, I thought I’d be an engineer, and I came out an English major,” said Chatzky. “There is more than one way to get where you’re going” Chatzky assured the more than 340 undergraduate degree earners. The path would not be straight, she said. But she advised them to be passionate about their professions, to manage their debt wisely, to always stand up for what they believe and to know that nothing is set in stone.

“No one else can tell you what it is that will make you happy,” said Chatzky. “This is one thing Irving R. Levine was so passionate about,” she said, citing his response to a producer’s request that he take the “R” out of his iconic sign off. “I’d rather drop the ‘B’ in NBC,” he famously said.

Chatzky’s advice came following remarks from hospitality management graduate and outgoing Student Body President Joey McNamara.

Graduate Student Lisa Gemmell

Saturday’s ceremony for students receiving undergraduate degrees was the second of two commencement services on the Lynn campus – and the second where Chatzky served as speaker. Together, Lynn awarded more than 500 degrees from five academic colleges. It was the fourth consecutive year that the university hosted separate ceremonies for evening and graduate students and those earning day-time undergraduate degrees.

Philanthropists and community leaders Harold and Patricia Toppel recognized with Boca Raton award

Following Chatzky’s speech, President Emeritus Donald Ross and former trustee Helen Ross joined President Ross to announce the awarding of the university’s Boca Raton Award to philanthropist and community leaders, Harold and Patricia Toppel, long-time and loyal supporters of Lynn University. Patricia accepted the award on behalf of herself and her late husband Harold. The award, which recognizes philanthropy, civic achievement, vision and leadership, is given to “an outstanding individual who has helped make this community an even better place in which to live and work.”

Boca Raton AwardHarold and Patricia Toppel established the Toppel Family Foundation to support charitable and cultural organizations throughout our area, and they were honored as outstanding philanthropists by the Palm Beach National Society of Fundraising Executives and received the Spirit of Youth award from the Palm Beach Education Foundation. They also established the Harold and Patricia Toppel endowed scholarship at Lynn’s Conservatory of Music to provide for deserving and talented student-musicians. Patricia Toppel is a founding member of Lynn University’s Friends of the Conservatory of Music and serves on its board.

Cynthia Patterson, vice president of academic affairs, and president of Lynn’s Student Government Association and student speaker, McNamara, followed the awarding ceremonies by personally delivering Lynn’s annual Professor of the Year award to Malcolm Asadoorian, associate professor of economics and education.