New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies Graduates Overcome Obstacles to Pursue Their Dreams

2012 Degree Recipients Are Diverse and Determined

NEW YORK, May 14, 2012 – The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) held its 2012 Convocation exercises on Monday, May 14 at the Grand Hyatt New York.  For nearly 80 years, NYU-SCPS has delivered professionally oriented educational programs to students from New York City, across the country, and around the globe. This year’s graduating class features students of notable achievement, who have a hunger for learning and the staying power to pursue their education, while facing personal and professional challenges.

Overcoming HIV
Aundaray Guess will be graduating this spring after a previous attempt to earn his degree was derailed by his HIV diagnosis 25 years ago at the age of 19. He has faced the challenge of his HIV status by using it as motivation for his work as a writer and artist, as well as in his employment. He is currently the author of 20+, a blog in which he details his life with the virus, sharing both positive and negative experiences with blog readers so that they can feel less isolated. Guess also is a playwright and an actor who has written, produced, and performed in numerous one-man shows, the most well known being naked, which was funded by the Jerome Foundation. In February 2012, he revived his theater company, Flayva Cabaret, which showcases LGBT artists of color.

Combining School, Work, and Motherhood
Akira Barclay has combined part-time studies at the George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising with a demanding, full-time position leading the IMAGINE Your STEM Future project with AT&T at Girl Scouts of the USA. Despite her busy schedule, Barclay has been among the most serious and proficient students in the M.S. in Fundraising and Grantmaking and has contributed to important discourse within and outside the classroom. She served as marketing editor of PhilanthropyNYU and chaired the New York Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. She also authored articles for Philanthropy NYU and the blog Black Gives Back.

Commuting from Out of State
William N. Duffey III completed his studies with a 4.0 GPA and received written accolades from numerous faculty members. In addition to his excellent academic record, Duffey assisted in recruitment efforts by talking with new student applicants about his McGhee experience and by participating in admissions events. Duffey, who works full time in Boston, commuted for the entirety of his studies at McGhee. He received “honors” for his senior project and was chosen to be a speaker at the George Sideris symposium. Based upon his studies at McGhee, he wrote a value proposition for his company’s CEO, which led to a promotion. He will pursue an M.B.A. at Boston College beginning in Fall 2012.

The students are available for interviews. To speak with them, contact Syd Steinhardt at 212-998-7262 or

About the NYU School of Professional Studies

Established in 1934, the NYU School of Professional Studies ( is one of NYU's several degree-granting schools and colleges, each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of the School of Professional Studies arises from its place as the NYU home for study and applied research related to key knowledge-based industries where the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School's diverse graduate, undergraduate, and Professional Pathways programs in fields such as Accounting, Finance, and Law; Applied Health; Arts, Design, and Film; Creative Cities and Economic Development; English-Language Learning; Entrepreneurship; Fundraising and Grantmaking; Global Affairs; Hospitality and Tourism Management; Human Resource Management and Development; Languages and Humanities; Management and Systems; Marketing; Project Management; Public Relations and Corporate Communication; Publishing; Real Estate, Real Estate Development, and Construction Management; Sports Management, Media, and Business; Translation; and Writing.

More than 100 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/adjunct faculty members and lecturers to create a vibrant professional and academic environment that educates over 5,000 degree-seeking students from around the globe each year. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent professional education needs of local, national, and international economies, as evidenced by nearly 28,000 Professional Pathways enrollments in Career Advancement Courses and Diploma Programs. The School's community is enriched by more than 31,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members. For more information about the NYU School of Professional Studies, visit