Vaughn College will celebrate its 86th Commencement on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 10 a.m. in the William R. DeCota Hangar. Rick Cotton, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), will deliver the commencement address to more than 180 graduates. He will also be awarded an honorary degree by President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo at the ceremony.
As executive director, Cotton is responsible for the entire agency that builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country, including a comprehensive $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport that will result in an entirely new airport, and will be the first new airport constructed in the United States in more than 20 years.
“Vaughn College is proud to have Executive Director Cotton deliver the commencement address to our graduating students.” said DeVivo. “The role of The Port Authority in driving economic development for our region is critical and we will honor his role in leading that investment, most importantly, in our area airports. We look forward to his remarks about the future needs of the transportation industry and how Vaughn graduates can play a role in that development.”
Serving as Governor Cuomo‘s special counsellor for interagency initiatives, he was the point person within the Governor’s office for most of the Governor’s major downstate infrastructure priorities including LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Moynihan Train Hall and Penn-Farley Complex, the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the expansion of the Javits Center, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Second Avenue subway project. Cotton joined the administration following 25 years at NBC Universal, where he held a number of positions including 20 years as executive vice president and general counsel, and four years in London as president and managing director of CNBC Europe.
He also served as executive secretary to the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Jr. and special assistant for renewable energy to Deputy Secretary of Energy John Sawhill at the United States Department of Energy.
Cotton holds a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard College and a juris doctor degree in law from Yale Law School. He also served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court.