June 9, 2011
College’s Northeast Center to Graduate 248
SUNY Empire State College Graduates More Than 3,000 Across New York State
(ALBANY, N.Y. – June 7, 2011) – SUNY Empire State College’s Northeast Center will recognize 248 candidates at its graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the Hart Theatre at The Egg. Robert Congemi, faculty mentor and author of four published books of short stories, is to be the keynote speaker. In addition, three students will speak about their experiences as adult learners.
“Graduation is the best day of the year in the life of the college,” said Dean Gerald Lorentz, of the Northeast Center. “Our graduates, faculty and staff who support them have worked hard and we are proud to celebrate this important milestone in their lives. Congratulations to our graduates and my appreciation and thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff.”
“The majority of our students are busy people who study part time and juggle careers, families, civic and volunteer responsibilities in their communities. After graduation, most stay here and continue to have a positive social and economic impact in New York,” said President Alan R. Davis. “Whether they have studied at any of our 35 locations in New York, online through our Center for Distance Learning, or increasingly a combination of both, we are proud to confer a SUNY degree to each and every one of them. They truly are ‘The Power of SUNY.’”
This year the Northeast Center graduation will feature three student speakers. Stacie Watters and Patricka Elliott were selected to represent the center and Brian Rhodes, the graduate school.
Watters is unique within the college because she completed all her credits with Empire State College. Most students have associate degrees, life experience credits or transfer credits. Her primary mentor, Richard Gotti, recommended her as a student speaker because she was a highly motivated student with a passion for learning and a desire to make a mark on her community. Gotti explains: “This semester became especially challenging for her when her brother was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Stacie managed to help him through his recovery while doing her internship at the NYS Assembly and maintaining her own home. As a student and parent she has juggled multiple roles. She even managed to start her own business offering services to home-bound people in the community. Her experiences highlight the challenges our adult students often face. However, Stacie was the only one of the assembly interns to be offered a job.
Patricka Elliott was nominated by two faculty at the center, Chris Grill, her primary mentor, and Bob Congemi, who noted that Patricka is “a true Empire State College Cinderella story,” who has worked extraordinarily hard to overcome family and neighborhood obstacles to obtain her degree. Her dogged determination in completing her degree program has shown itself in the great strides she made in improving her academic skills, they said. Academically, she successfully completed five consecutive 16-credit terms and her degree program and rationale essay were acknowledged as exemplary by the portfolio review committee. She is driven to serve as a role model for her own daughter and for the children with whom she works, and is a great example of how Empire State College can serve adult students, according to her mentors.
This year, 10 Dean’s Medals will be awarded for the first time to recipients in the School for Graduate Studies who have excelled in their research efforts. More information about, and a list of, the first-ever Dean’s Medal recipients is available here.
Dean Robert Clougherty, of the School for Graduate Studies, said, “It gives me great pleasure to recognize these graduate students in this way. Graduate work is challenging and rewarding – especially when juggling work and family responsibilities. And since we all know that the job market they face upon graduation is uncertain, I am truly thrilled that I have the opportunity to say to these hard-working students, job well done.”
All across New York state, from Long Island’s shores to Manhattan, the Canadian boarder, Albany, the Hudson Valley, Syracuse, Rochester and west to Buffalo, more than 3,000 SUNY Empire State College graduates will receive diplomas this spring.
About SUNY Empire State College
Celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout 2011, 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. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. Learners also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience.
The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 60,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, not-for-profit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.