Pimental, McCann speak at Manhattan College graduation



Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, delivered congratulatory remarks and received honorary degrees at Manhattan College’s 2022 commencement exercises Wednesday.

Pimentel has said her organization is committed to responding to the needs of people in their community.

Time magazine named her on the 2020 list of the most influential people in the world.

After receiving an honorary doctorate in humane letters, James McCann, founder of, business leader, author, media personality, and philanthropist,  also addressed the graduating class at the commencement ceremony.

McCann founded one of the world’s leading floral and gourmet gifting companies based on his belief in the universal need for social connections and interactions. Pimentel is the company’s executive chair.

McCann is also the founder and chairman of Smile Farms, a non-profit organization that was established in 2015. The organization provides agricultural jobs to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities allowing them to connect with hands-on experience while mastering new skills, teamwork and contribute to their community.

This year students, family and friends and speakers traveled to the ceremony in Meadowland Expo Center in New Jersey due to COVID-19 concerns.


Hirschfield to be Bronfman fellow

Marisa Hirschfield, a junior film major at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, was selected as one of the 26 fellows to be in the 36th cohort of The Amitei Bronfman Fellowship program. As such, she will go on a free summer trip to Israel.

The fellowship is an international organization for teens interested in linguistics.

All fellows who come from a spectrum of the Jewish community will participate in a transformative experience.

Hirschfield considers herself to be a part of the reform Jewish community and attends the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan. She noted she loves bagels.

She is on the leadership board of the Jewish Board’s “HereNow” project — a teen-led community program for people with mental health issues. The goal of the program is to improve wellness and find a way for young adults of similar ages to connect.

While in Israel the fellows will travel with a tour guide to educate themselves through the complex tapestry of Biblical scholar texts.

They will also immerse themselves with a parallel section process as part of the Bronfman Israeli fellowship program. The program is a yearlong series of educational seminars for a group of 20 Israeli juniors.

Hirschfield is the editor, art and culture columnist for the school’s literary magazine — a periodical devoted to literature that usually publish short stories or essays.


This past summer she worked as an intern for a theater management company, and her responsibility was provide feedback to new plans and musicals after she read a playwright’s work.


Manhattan College, Sister Norma Pimental, James McCann, Marisa Hirschfield, Fieldston School, Amittei Bronfman