Dinner with the Stars: Recognizing Alumnus and Community Leaders for Accomplishments, Student Support

Ira D. Cohen, Alumni Achievement; Dan Kane Jr., Community Leadership; and Vincent HoSang, Community Leadership

Lehman College recognized three individuals for their accomplishments in their fields, support of Lehman students, and extraordinary contributions to the Bronx, New York City, and international communities.

The Lehman College Foundation’s 2013 awards ceremony – Dinner with the Stars – took place October 24 at the New York Botanical Garden. The annual event honors the hard work undertaken by Lehman students every day, and the support of the 2013 honorees, each of whom embodies the values and qualities that Lehman College strives to instill in its students.

Ira D. Cohen, who earned a degree in accounting in 1973, received the Alumni Achievement Award. Mr. Cohen, who serves as managing director of Signal Hill Partners, has more than thirty years of experience in the technology industry as an investment banker, private equity investor and chief financial officer. He has advised on more than 200 transactions in the IT services, software and Internet sectors.

“I’m a first generation college graduate, as is my brother,” said Mr. Cohen. “I think it is more a testament to my parents, who were not college graduates. They pushed me pretty hard. And that transcends into business.”

Vincent HoSang, CEO/President, Royal Caribbean Bakery/Caribbean Food Delights, was awarded the Community Leadership Award. Mr. HoSang was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and immigrated to the Bronx in 1968. From a single fast food restaurant, he and his wife built a multi-million dollar business and the largest Jamaican frozen food plant in the United States. His company’s success has enabled him to support higher education and public health initiatives in Jamaica and the United States.

“I’m pleased and delighted that Lehman College over the years has provided quality education at affordable prices,” said Mr. HoSang. “So it’s very important to give back.  Education is very important – if you’re not educated, you can’t get a job.”

Mr. Dan Kane Jr., President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 202, also received the Community Leadership Award. Mr. Kane began his career working on the loading docks at Hunt’s Point Market and was elected Secretary-Treasurer of Local 202 at age 26. Ten years later, he was elected President of the 4,500-member organization responsible for supplying food to millions of New Yorkers every day.

“It’s humbling to be asked to come back to a working class school when you spend you life representing working class people,” said Mr. Kane. “I think it really matters to help working class people – to give them an opportunity that maybe wouldn’t be there.”

Mathematics major Nikita Shetty, Class of 2015, represented the student body. An aspiring neurosurgeon, Nikita also works as a tutor on campus.

“I am sure that I am not alone in the rewarding feeling that one receives when you have seen someone succeed academically,” she told attendees. “On behalf of all of the scholarship recipients, please accept our sincere thanks for the sponsorship of our academic journeys.”

“Post-secondary education has never been more important and the challenges have never been greater,” says President Ricardo R. Fernández. “We are grateful to supporters who recognize the urgent need to secure funds that enable our students to realize their dreams of attending college.”

The Lehman College Foundation Recognition Awards Dinner raises private funds that are vital to student scholarship programs, and recognizes the accomplishments of community and corporate leaders, alumni, and friends of the College. As the primary source of student scholarship support, this event is Lehman College’s most significant fundraiser of the year.

Darlene Rodriguez, award-winning journalist and co-anchor of “Today in New York” on WNBC-TV Channel 4, hosted the 2013 awards dinner.

View or download high-resolution photos of the 2013 awards ceremony.