Graduation Profile: The Complicated Journey of Andrew Cory Greene

Among NYU Steinhardt’s 2,100 graduates this week is Andrew Cory Greene, banner bearer at the Baccalaureate Ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.

The road to Radio City was a complicated one for Greene who dropped out of high school at sixteen, spent eight years in prison for his part in a murder, enrolled in LaGuardia Community College upon his release, then transferred to NYU Steinhardt.   Through the support of NYU’s Community College Transfer Opportunity Program, Greene will earn a B.S. degree from the Department of Applied Psychology.

“Cory Greene is a great example of the transformative power of education,” says Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of education and history. “To me, Cory embodies the best ideals of the liberal arts: curiosity, enthusiasm, and especially persistence in the face of challenge. Few of us have faced the kind of circumstances and obstacles that Cory has overcome. But all of us struggle every day to make meaning of the world and also to make it a better place for human beings to live.”

Greene credits his young son with helping him turn his life around.  He’s committed to helping others, too, through H.O.L.L.A.!, a community-mentoring organization he founded.  H.O.L.LA! holds group sessions for middle school students in Brownsville, Brooklyn on Saturdays, “encouraging, engaging, and empowering them both socially and academically,” Greene says.

To many, Greene serves as an example of what can be achieved through sheer determination.  His struggle to rise above circumstance is the subject of Christine Pigott’s short documentary film, From Prison to NYU.

His journey continues next fall at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY),  where he has been accepted to the Ph.D. program in psychology.

(Photo:  Debra Weinstein/NYU Steinhardt)