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Roald Hoffmann

Nobel Prize–Winning Chemist


Roald Hoffmann ’55 is an American theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


Thomas Chan

Chief of Transportation, New York City Police Department


Thomas M. Chan is the Chief of Transportation for the New York City Police Department.  Prior to being appointed to this position, he served as the Chief of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau.  Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science from St. John’s University and worked as a paramedic prior to joining the police force in 1982.  He is the first Asian-American to obtain both the two star and three star rank in the New York City Police Department.


Robert Fogel

Nobel Prize–Winning Economist


Robert Fogel, PhD ’44 was an economic historian and scientist, and won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions and the Director of the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


Saul Katz

Co-Founder and President of Sterling Equities


Saul B. Katz is Co-Founder and President of Sterling Equities. As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Katz directs Sterling’s day-to-day real estate operations. Mr. Katz also presides over Sterling’s non-real estate affiliates and subsidiary companies, which range from financial institutions to manufacturing, consulting, entertainment and retailing enterprises. Mr. Katz is President of the New York Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones. Mr. Katz serves as Chair of the Board of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, as well as serving as a Board member of many nonprofit organizations and institutions. He is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, which he received from Brooklyn College.


Robert L. Weinberg


Robert L. Weinberg, LL.B ‘49 was the valedictorian of his class and placed first in the State in the 1949 State Regents Scholarship Examination. Bob was also president of the SHS student government (then called the G.O.). Bob graduated from Yale College, where he was president of the Yale Political Union, and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He received a Fulbright Scholarship to the London School of Economics where he earned a Ph.D. (Econ) degree, and served as president of the LSE Students Union. Bob spent his entire career in law practice at the same place: in 1960 Bob joined the Law Offices of Edward Bennett Williams, the leading criminal defense attorney of his generation, and in 1967 became the most junior of the seven original partners who formed the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams and Connolly. For 35 years, Bob litigated criminal, civil and administrative cases at the Williams firm and office. Bob was active in professional organizations, serving two years as President of the District of Columbia Bar and five years as president of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and many years as a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Following retirement at 65, Bob has continued to teach law. He is an Adjunct Professor at GWU and a Visiting Lecturer at U.Va., Law Schools.


Amol Sarva

Co-Founder, Peek and Virgin Mobile USA


Dr. Amol Sarva SHS ’94, is an American technology entrepreneur who co-founded Peek and Virgin Mobile USA. He is currently developing a new cognitive enhancement technology called Halo Neuro and an application for better discussions called Knotable. He’s an advisor to Fon, the world’s largest wifi network. He also advises Payfone (mobile payments), Work Market (platform for labor resources), and Ouya (open source game console). Amol’s Ph.D. is from Stanford University and B.A. is from Columbia University. At Stuyvesant he was a city, state and national champion in debate and team captain.


Gary Shteyngart

Actor & Singer

Arts & Entertainment

Gary Shteyngart ’91 is the acclaimed author of the novels The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story. His latest book is Little Failure: A Memoir.


Bram Cohen

Founder of BitTorrent


Bram Cohen ’93 is the author of the peer-to-peer BitTorrent protocol, the founder of BitTorrent, and the co-founder of the CodeCon conference.


Lucy Liu


Arts & Entertainment

Lucy Liu ’86 is an actor. She was nominated for an Emmy and a SAG Award for her work on Ally McBeal, and has starred in such successful films as Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill, Chicago, and Kung-Fu Panda. She currently co-stars as Joan Watson on the hit series Elementary.


Denny Chin

United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals


Hon. Denny Chin ’71 is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was sworn in on April 26, 2010.

From September 13, 1994, through April 23, 2010, Denny served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He presided over both civil and criminal cases including the trial of an Afghan warlord charged with conspiring to import heroin and the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff.

Denny graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1971, from Princeton University magna cum laude in 1975, and Fordham Law School in 1978. He was born in Hong Kong. Denny was the first Asian American appointed a United States District Judge outside the Ninth Circuit.

The following is excerpted from Judge Chin’s address to the Stuyvesant High School Class of 2019 at their commencement ceremony on June 26, 2019.

“My grandfather was born in China in 1896. He came to the United States he was 20 years old, illegally because of Chinese exclusion laws. He returned to China only twice–once in the 1920s when he got married, and once in the 1930s when my father was born–and both times he had to leave his family behind in China when he returned to the United States because of the immigration laws. He could not bring his wife or his son to this country, but he could better support them here in America, working as a waiter in Chinese restaurants. He shared a railroad apartment in Chinatown in New York with other Chinese men, and every month, like them, he would buy a money order from the Post Office and send it home to his family in China.

“In 1947, my grandfather became an American citizen. The ceremony was held, I believe, in my courthouse, where I now have his naturalization certificate hanging on the wall in my chambers. By becoming a citizen, my grandfather was able to bring his family here, including me, after the immigration laws were reformed. By then, my father was a young man in Hong Kong with a family of his own, and my parents’ original Chinese passports show that we entered as political refugees.

“After we arrived in New York, my parents worked hard to raise five kids. My mother was a seamstress in garment factories in Chinatown, and my father was a cook in Chinese restaurants. In 1965 my parents were naturalized, and thus I became an American citizen as well.

“My parents spoke no English, but they knew the importance of education and hard work, and so we did okay. When I became a judge, I was given this privilege of performing the naturalization ceremony myself, swearing in new American citizens, and each time I did that, I told the new citizens about my grandfather. I showed them my grandfather’s naturalization certificate, which I would take off the wall, frame and all, and each time I showed it to them, I thought about my grandfather, of how hard he worked for so many years waiting on tables, of how he became a citizen in 1947, of how he brought my parents to this country, of how they became citizens, and how I, the son of a seamstress and a cook, the grandson of a Chinese waiter, became a federal judge.

All of you have someone like my grandfather in your family, and I know that I would not be here today, that I would not have presided over these cases, that I would not now be a federal judge, if my grandfather, my parents, and others like them had not let the way for me, had they not overcome so many barriers. When I was your age, when my grandfather was alive, I did not think of him as a hero. After all, I thought, he was just a Chinese waiter. It was only later that I came to appreciate all he did, and it was only later that I came to understand how much of a hero that he really was, as he traveled to a strange country at the age of 20 with no money, speaking no English, and had to work so hard, day in and day out, to make a better life for his family.”


Eric Holder

Attorney General of the United States


Eric Holder, Esq ’69 is the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, and the first African-American to hold that position. Prior to being appointed, he served as a Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and as US Attorney.


Eric Lander

Founding Director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard


Eric Lander, PhD ’74 was the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who has devoted his career to realizing the promise of the human genome for medicine. Rhodes scholar and MacArthur Fellow.