Media contact: 
David M. Henahan, director of communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918
David.Henahan@esc.edu

518-321-7038
(after 5 p.m. and weekends)

May 20, 2014

Statewide Celebratory Events Mark SUNY Empire State College’s 42nd Commencement

Graduate Melissa Stanley is surrounded by her husband Paul, at her left and sons Jephy and Zak

Melissa Stanley is surrounded by her husband Paul, at her left and sons Jephy and Zak at last year's event at New York City. (Photo/Empire State College).

(NEW YORK STATE – May 21, 2014) Celebratory events marking the 42nd annual SUNY Empire State College Commencement began in Buffalo on May 31 and will conclude June 14 on Long Island.

Events also will be held at Albany, New York City, the Hudson Valley, Rochester, Saratoga Springs and Syracuse. More than 3,000 students are expected to graduate this year, swelling the ranks of the college’s more than 70,000 alumni.

“My admiration and congratulations go to each and every one of the members of the Empire State College class of 2014 for their hard work and success in earning their degree,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “To the families and friends of the graduates and to the college’s outstanding faculty mentors and staff, let me share my gratitude and appreciation for all that you have done to support the members of the class of 2014.”

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40. Women comprise more than 60 percent of the college’s student population. Most of the student population, approximately 60 percent, studies part time. Nearly 90 percent of all students are seeking degrees from the college.

“Very often Empire State College students get up early in the morning and study before their children wake up then get the kids to school, go to work and return to homework after everyone else is asleep,” said Hancock. “At Empire State College’s commencement, parents wear a cap and gown, get hugs and flowers from children and other family members, and not the other way around.”

The college’s 20,000 students engage in learning face-to-face onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn. Students also have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

“Empire State College students and the SUNY degree they earn are worth bragging about,” said Hancock. “For example, Ashley Caldwell made the U.S. Olympic Team for the second time and finished 10th at Sochi. She then returned home and became the U.S. National Champion in women’s aerials. Lori Mould, a grandmother of two, is the first Empire State College student ever to be elected president of the SUNY student assembly.  As president, she also will represent all 463,000 students as the student trustee on the SUNY board.”

Both Caldwell and Mould graduate this year and are 2014 recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student honor.

“Lori is going to pursue a graduate degree with the college in the fall and Ashley will continue to compete nationally and internationally,” said Hancock. “The determination, perseverance and talent demonstrated by these two remarkable students, and the success they now enjoy, are shared by the entire Empire State College class of 2014.”

About the 42nd Commencement Events

Student speaker Ruth Njoroge-Vondran and SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin share smiles after graduation.

Student speaker Ruth Njoroge-Vondran, left, and SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin are all smiles at last year's event at Saratoga Springs. (Photo:Empire State College)

Students graduating from the college’s School of Nursing will participate in the event at Saratoga Springs. Students graduating from the School for Graduate Studies may participate at any one of the events across the state.

Additional information about the each of the college’s commencement exercises, including time, day and date, location and speakers follows. Additional information about the speakers will be provided as it becomes available.

Buffalo | Syracuse | Albany | Saratoga Springs | Hudson Valley | Rochester | New York City | Labor | Long Island

About Buffalo

The college’s commencement at Buffalo took place Saturday, May 31, at Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College. Christopher L. Jacobs, Erie County clerk, gave  the commencement address.

Degree candidates Iris M. Rivera ’14 and Christopher L. Post ’11, ’14 provided remarks on behalf of their classmates.

The Buffalo event honors students educated at the Cheektowaga, Fredonia, Jamestown, Lockport and Olean offices.

Jane Cudmore, the event contact, can be reached by email at Jane.Cudmore@esc.edu, or at 716 686-7800, ext. 3836.

About Syracuse

The college’s commencement at Syracuse was on Saturday, May 31 at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center, Syracuse.

Degree candidates Sara Tomerlin-Hedger ’14, Kristin L. Angello ’14 and Wayne Paul Britton ‘13 provided remarks on behalf of their classmates.

The Syracuse event honors students educated at the Auburn, Binghamton, Fort Drum, East Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica and Watertown offices.

Tracy Zappola, the event contact, can be reached by email at Tracy.Zappola@esc.edu, or at 315 460-3176.

About Albany

Master’s recipient Michael DeMasi of Clifton Park, is joined on stage by his daughters as Tai Arnold, acting dean of the School for Graduate Studies, left and Acting President Meg Benke, right, look on.

Master's graduate Michael DeMasi is greeted by his daughters at last year's event a Albany.

The college’s commencement at Albany takes place beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 7, Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre at The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Degree candidates Kristen Labatt-Simon ’14, Susan Savas '14 and John Viggiani ’14 will provide commencement remarks on behalf of their classmates.

The Albany event honors students educated at the Latham, Johnstown, Plattsburgh, Queensbury, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Troy offices.

The event contact is contact is Pat Pillsworth and she can be reached at Patricia.Pillsworth@esc.edu, or at 518 783-6203, ext. 5965.

About Distance Learning at Saratoga Springs

The college’s commencement event for distance learning takes place beginning at 3 p.m., Saturday, June 7, Saratoga City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Degree candidates Sandra Barkevich ‘13, '14 and Lisa Pimpinella '14 will provide remarks on behalf of their classmates. Barkevich is a 2014 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student honor.

The college’s distance learning commencement event honors students educated online throughout New York state, across the country, and around the world, through the college’s Center for Distance Learning.

The event contact is Janet Aiello-Cerio and she can be reached at Janet.Aiello-Cerio@esc.edu, or 518 587-2100, ext. 2470.

About the Hudson Valley

The college’s commencement for the Hudson Valley takes place beginning at 3 p.m., Sunday, June 8, Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, The State University of New York College at Purchase, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase.

Bachelor’s degree candidates Guerlande Dormeus ’14 and Susan Viola ‘14 will provide commencement remarks on behalf of their classmates.

The Hudson Valley event honors students educated at the Hartsdale, Nanuet and Newburgh offices.

The event contact is Joan Altman and she can be reached at Joan.Altman@esc.edu, 914 948-6206, ext. 3588.

About Rochester

The college’s Rochester commencement event takes place beginning at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 8, Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 East Main Street, Rochester.

College alumnus Robert Johnson ’86, philanthropist, community activist and former owner of Bob Johnson Chevrolet, will give the commencement address. He also will be presented with the Citizen Laureate Award.

Degree candidates and 2014 recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients Lori Mould, Mark A. Rider and Franz Washington will provide remarks on behalf of their classmates.

Mould was sworn in as the president of the SUNY student assembly on May 27. She is the first Empire State College student ever to lead the student assembly and will represent all 463,000 SUNY students on the board as the student trustee.

The Rochester event honors students educated at the Alfred, Batavia, Canandaigua, Corning and Irondequoit offices.

Audrey Lynch, the contact for the event, can be reached at Audrey.Lynch@esc.edu, or 585 224-3267.

About New York City

The first of the college’s New York City commencement events takes place beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 12, Alfred Learner Hall, Columbia University, 2920 Broadway, New York City.

College alumna Deborah Gregory ’86, author of the best-selling “The Cheetah Girls” book series, will give the commencement address. She also will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Degree candidates Mary Copeland ’14, Verona Rowe ’14, Edward Sciarrillo ’14 and John D. Velasco ’11, 14 will give remarks on behalf of their classmates.

Tara Maldonado, the contact for the event, can be reached at Tara.Maldonado@esc.edu, or at 646 230-1278.

This New York City event honors students educated at the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island offices.

About New York City and the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies

The second of the college’s New York City commencement events takes place beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 13, Alfred Learner Hall, Columbia University, 2920 Broadway, New York City.

Elizabeth Schuler, secretary-treasurer AFL-CIO will give the commencement keynote address.

The second New York City event honors students who also are apprentices of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 1, paraprofessionals represented by the United Federation of Teachers and other students who are educated at the college’s Center for Labor Studies.

Degree candidates Danny Ferreyra ‘13, ’14, Valerie Simpson ‘14 and Hector Cadeaux ’14 will give remarks on behalf of their classmates. A 2014 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, Ferreyra earned his associate as an IBEW Local 3 apprentice at last year’s commencement and will be awarded a bachelor’s this year.

Jennifer Bent, the contact for the event, can be reached at Jennifer.Bent@esc.edu, at 646 230-1474.

About Long Island

The college’s commencement event for Long Island takes place beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 14, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville.

Alumna Marian Conway ’01, ’04, New York Community Bank Foundation executive director, will give the commencement address.

Bachelor's candidates April Lowry '14 and Vickie Moller '14 will provide remarks on behalf of her classmates.

The Long Island event honors students educated at the Old Westbury, Hauppauge and Riverhead offices.

Clara LaPort, the contact for the event, can be reached at Clara.LaPort@esc.edu, or at 516 997-4700.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

In addition to evaluating learning and awarding credit for prior college-level learning, which saves students time and money, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout her or his college career.

Working with their mentors, undergraduate students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.

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Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

David.Henahan@esc.edu

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