DELHI, NY (05/20/2017) (readMedia)-- SUNY Delhi held its 100th Annual Commencement May 20, 10 a.m. on the college's outdoor track, awarding 10 master's degrees, 228 baccalaureate degrees, 414 associate's degrees and 67 certificates. The ceremony marked several milestones for the college, including the first graduates of the Master of Science in Nursing Education program, the first graduates of SUNY Delhi's Automotive Technology certification partnership with Delaware Academy, and the retirement of the college's first mascot, Lucky.
President Michael R. Laliberte offered the opening remarks, pointing out that it was a day firsts and a cause for celebration, noting, "We also want this to be a day of celebration for your entire family, so we encourage you to applaud, have fun and make good use of the noise makers and party accessories that we have provided."
President Laliberte recognized two students-Monica Randazzo of Bronx and Callicoon, N.Y., Student of the Year - Associate Degree, Criminal Justice, and John Quagliano of Jefferson, N.Y., Student of the Year - Baccalaureate Degree, Business and Technology Management. He also recognized faculty, staff and graduates who valiantly serve in our country's armed forces.
Provost Kelli Ligeikis honored the members of the college's honor societies-the Delhi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students; Phi Eta Sigma, the national honor society for four-year students; Beta Kappa Chapter of Chi Alpha Epsilon, which recognizes the academic achievements of Educational Opportunity Program students; and Epsilon Alpha Chapter of Delta Alpha Pi International, which recognizes students who have identified themselves as having a disability, who have achieved academic distinction, and who have demonstrated an active interest in disability issues.
Provost Ligeikis also recognized graduates who achieved cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude status, Delhi's largest class of graduates from the College Honors Program, and students who have earned baccalaureate degrees at Delhi's branch campuses at Schenectady County Community College, Onondaga Community College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Vice President for Student Life Barbara Jones honored graduates who earned community service awards and graduating members of the National Residence Hall Honorary Society.
Dr. Bret Meckel, Dean of Veterinary Science and Applied Sciences, honored Lucky the Bronco, the college's first mascot, "For decades, Lucky the Bronco has worked day and night as SUNY Delhi's loyal mascot, earning the love and respect of everyone who met him. Earlier this year, Lucky announced his retirement. We would like to honor Lucky by presenting him with an Honorary Degree and extend our best wishes as he gallops off into the sunset..." Dr. Meckel explained that following a national search, Lucky's nephew, Blaze, has been selected to succeed him in August.
SUNY Delhi College Council members who were present: Sashagay Watt, Nancy Deming, Michelle Fisher, and Katherine Mario.
• President Michael R. Laliberte: "To the Class of 2017, I want to express my heartfelt congratulations. You are incredibly talented and possess the knowledge and skills needed to succeed far beyond SUNY Delhi. It has been a privilege to get to know many of you. Your success stories are remarkable and make me proud. I wish I was able to relay to the crowd all of the amazing stories about our remarkable students." Following this, the president relayed five compelling stories of Delhi graduates -- Lia-Marie Rinaldi (Warwick), the first female to graduate from the Business and Professional Golf Management program; Arthur Grady (Oneonta), a 29-year-old Army veteran who will compete nationally this summer on Delhi's Hot Food Team, Nick Hurley (West Hurley), who worked for a plumbing and HVAC company while attending classes; Gabrielle Caroompas (Endicott) whose alumni grandfather inspired her to attend Delhi; and Francisco Wilson-King (Yonkers), whose father passed away while pursuing his college degree at Delhi.
• Monica Randazzo, Student of the Year – Associate Degree: "About five years from now, I will be graduating from law school, and many of you will be off either graduating from another school, finishing your next degree, or working in your dream job. That's when we will all look back at the time we spent here on this campus. We will remember all the fun times we had here, all the friends we made, and the events we went to, including Dr. Laliberte's inauguration. You'll remember that time."
• John Quagliano, Student of the Year – Baccalaureate Degree, who graduated Summa Cum Laude, along with a Community Service Leader of Excellence Award, a Student Life Leadership Award, and prestigious scholarships: "The power of a support system is absolutely incredible. It can lead you to do things you didn't think you were capable of. Most of my education has been funded by the 4-to-6 part-time jobs I have held at any given time. I have been very fortunate to have been able to graduate with minimal debt and my experiences have taught me quite a bit. The remainder of my college bill has been paid by the generosity of others. Scholarship funds and donors have been more than gracious and have helped me avoid what I've coined, the debt sentence. Thank you for helping me with school."