DELHI, NY (05/14/2016)(readMedia)-- SUNY Delhi President Candace S. Vancko will deliver the keynote address at the college's 99th Commencement Saturday, May 21 in the Maines Arena, Clark Field House.
President Vancko will also lead the ceremony, awarding baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees and certificates to the more than 700 candidates for graduation. She will recognize the Baccalaureate Degree Student of the Year, Associate Degree Student of the Year and students, faculty and staff who earned the 2016 Chancellor's Award for Excellence, the State University's most prestigious honor. Provost John Nader and Vice President for Student Life Barbara Jones will also address the graduates. Anthony Galloro, assistant professor for hospitality management, will sing the national anthem and the alma mater.
Dr. Vancko is retiring in July after a distinguished 17 year career as Delhi president. "Her leadership has been transformational," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Candace's tenure as president is one that will leave a lasting impression on the campus and the community it serves – an era of leadership that I truly believe will serve as a model for SUNY presidents for years to come."
President Vancko has elevated SUNY Delhi to the national spotlight, thanks to a "smart growth" strategy that has emphasized building on the college's unique academic strengths to create new baccalaureate degrees, establishing baccalaureate completion programs on the campus of community colleges, and introducing innovative online degrees, including Delhi's first graduate program. Those initiatives have earned the college unprecedented recognition, including being named by U.S. News as one of the leading Baccalaureate Colleges in the North and among the Top 10 percent of Online Baccalaureate Colleges in the Nation. The accolades have contributed to record enrollment. When President Vancko arrived in Fall 1999, enrollment was at 1,844 Students. In fall 2015, 3,596 students enrolled.
President Vancko's network of contacts at the local and state levels has been instrumental in securing funding for massive infrastructure projects that have transformed the campus, providing modern facilities that meet the needs of students. Major initiatives have included:
• Renovation of Farrell to create a showcase Student and Community Center
• Facelift for Sanford Hall, creating high-tech classrooms and labs to serve the School of Nursing and Business programs
• Construction of a showcase athletic and recreation center-the Clark Field House
• Expansion of housing options-Catskill Hall, a suite-style residence hall, and Riverview at Delhi townhouses
• Building a state-of-the-art Child Care Center
President Vancko has made community service and service learning hallmarks of a Delhi education-82 percent of students participate in service learning through classes. As a result, the college has been honored as a national leader in service and engagement, earning elite recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement and being elected to the President's National Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service every year since the award was introduced in 2006.
President Vancko has also championed fundraising for student scholarships. She and her late husband established their own scholarship endowment early in her tenure and she led a highly-successful Centennial Campaign that raised over $3.4 million, including $1.7 million for scholarships.