Berkeley College Student Commencement Speaker Says Faculty's Real-World Lessons Inspired Her Success

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122



Shamira Drakeford Berkeley CollegeShamira Drakeford credits the faculty at Berkeley College with inspiring her to excel in her studies and earn her degree, even while working 70 to 80 hours per week to help with family expenses. Ms. Drakeford, 24, of Wood-Ridge, NJ, will serve as the student speaker during the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony on Friday, April 29, 2016, at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. 

Ms. Drakeford said the best thing about her professors is that they integrated their real-world experience into the curriculum. 

“A lot of my professors own their own businesses, and several became my mentors,” she said. “They had amazing stories of what they had to do and what they had to fight for. Without them talking about how they got to where they are and encouraging me, I wouldn’t be where I am.” 

Ms. Drakeford earned a BS in Business Administration with Honors in the Fall of 2015 and was quickly hired as a full-time administrative assistant in the College’s Admissions department. 

She was recently selected by a College Committee to serve as the student speaker at Commencement. She plans to continue her education and was encouraged by one of her professors to pursue an MBA in Economics. 

As for long-term goals, Ms. Drakeford would like to own several businesses, including one providing consulting services on financial literacy to middle-class families. 

“I wrote my Honors thesis on financial literacy and how it can be a beacon of hope to middle-class families, because we’re about to be non-existent,” Ms. Drakeford said. She added that she wants to help families afford college so more students don’t have to work long hours to afford tuition. 

Ms. Drakeford credits her mother, Monica Drakeford, with being her greatest source of strength and support. 

“With much dedication and discipline, Shamira has pushed to excel in her personal, educational and professional life,” Monica Drakeford said. “Her ‘I can do all things’ attitude is reflective of her character and is contagious.” 

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. 

Berkeley College has five New Jersey campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, both for the third consecutive year. The website address is

- end -

To view a high-resolution version of this photo, visit:



Recent Releases

Oct 7, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Kingston Student Named to Dean's List at Berkeley College

Fabian Rivera of Kingston in Ulster County, NY, has been named to the Dean’s List at Berkeley College for the spring 2019 ...
Oct 7, 2019 8:28:00 AM

Dutchess County Students Named to Dean's List at Berkeley College

Students from Dutchess County, NY, have been named to the Dean’s List at Berkeley College for the spring 2019 semester.
Oct 7, 2019 8:09:00 AM

Carthage Student Named to Dean's List at Berkeley College

Michael Hernandez of Carthage in Jefferson County, NY, has been named to the Dean’s List at Berkeley College for the spring ...