May 2, 2013

Hudson Valley Center Alumnus Robert J. Castelli '95 to Address Graduates

Laurel Massé '05 to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

Robert Castelli '95 is the 2013 commencement speaker for the Hudson Valley Center Graduation

Robert J. Castelli '95

(HARTSDALE, N.Y. – May 3, 2013) The Hudson Valley Center of SUNY Empire State College, with locations in Hartsdale, Nanuet and Newburgh, today announced that former member of the New York State Assembly and college alumnus Robert Castelli '95 will deliver the commencement address at the center’s 2013 graduation.

Vocalist Laurel Massé '05, founding member of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer, will receive the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

The ceremony will take place Sunday, June 9, at 3 p.m. at the State University of New York College at Purchase, Performing Arts Center, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase.

About Robert J. Castelli '95

Robert J. Castelli dropped out of high school in 1967, joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam from '68-'69.

Returning to the states, he completed high school, earned his associate degree from Palmer College, which has since merged with two other institutions to become Midlands Technical College, part of the South Carolina Technical College System. Castelli also began a distinguished career in law enforcement as a South Carolina state constable.

He then joined the New York State Police where he served for 22 years. Promoted from trooper to sergeant, criminal investigator and finally to station commander, he was responsible for more than 1,000 criminal arrests.

Castelli was trained in narcotics enforcement and in the supervision of narcotics cases, by both the state police and D.E.A. and functioned in that capacity.  While attached to the state Organized Crime Task Force, he served as an investigator and case manager of organized and white collar crimes in the elite Special Investigations Unit of the state police. 

While serving with the state police, Castelli returned to school and graduated from the college’s Hudson Valley Center in 1995 with a B.S. in community and human services. He went on to receive his graduate degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was awarded the John B. Pickett Fellowship in Criminal Justice Policy Management.

After retiring from the state police and earning his degrees, Castelli began a career in higher education, joining the Iona College faculty, where he went on to become chair of the criminal justice department. He now serves as an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and at Marist College.

Currently, Castelli is president of Robert J. Castelli Associates, Inc., a security consulting firm. He is certified as a frauds examiner, crime prevention specialist, criminal analyst, protection professional, firearms instructor, police and security officer instructor and he is a licensed private investigator.

Laurel-Masse head shot for Distinguished Alumna award

Laurel Massé '05

About Laurel Massé

Vocalist Massé, founding member of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer, is an internationally recognized solo artist now celebrating her 40th year as a professional singer. She is held in high esteem by audiences, critics and fellow musicians as both a performing and recording artist, and is also a sought-after teacher, speaker and writer.

Massé graduated from the college’s Hudson Valley Center in 2005 with a B.A. in the arts.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 66,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)