SUNY Delhi 99th Commencement at a Glance

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President Candace Vancko greets Dove, SUNY Delhi's Guiding Eyes for the Blind dog.

DELHI, NY (05/23/2016)(readMedia)-- SUNY Delhi held its 99th Annual Commencement May 21, 10 a.m. in Floyd L. Maines Arena, Clark Field House, awarding 428 associate's degrees, 192 baccalaureate degrees and 102 certificates.

The Class of 2016 included students enrolled at SUNY Delhi, those enrolled in the college's online RN to BSN program, and students enrolled at its branch campuses at Schenectady County Community College, Onondaga Community College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and Suffolk County Community College.

President Candace S. Vancko gave the welcome and keynote address. To begin her remarks, she commented that the focus of commencement should be the graduating students, and instead of a formal speech, President Vancko shared a few of her thoughts and memories of SUNY Delhi.

In addressing the students, President Vancko noted that they are about to open a new chapter in their lives, and that she is doing the same, stating, "We have lots of wonderful memories of SUNY Delhi-some of the best years of our lives!"

President Vancko went to describe to the significant changes to campus during her tenure, including many upgrades to campus facilities. She mentioned that students have become more involved with the Village of Delhi community through many college activities. Then President Vancko described what she would miss the most-her wonderful Delhi family, walking her dogs on campus, Signatures (the student-run restaurant), the energy, excitement and enthusiasm of Delhi students, and the pleasure of celebrating their successes.

She ended with a story about her first trip to Delhi. "I stopped for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and naturally got a fortune cookie," she said. "My fortune read: 'Wonderful things await you.' And that turned out to be true. As you graduate from SUNY Delhi and start a new chapter in your life, I am confident that wonderful things await you too!"

Following President Vancko's address, she recognized graduates receiving community service honors, and faculty, staff and graduates who served their country in the Armed Forces.

Students, faculty and staff members were recognized as recipients of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence, the State University's highest honor:

• Rachelle Cassatt of Buffalo, N.Y., a Restaurant and Food Service major, Cum Laude-Student Excellence

• Samantha Travis of Cortland, N.Y., a Carpentry and Building Trades major, Summa Cum Laude-Student Excellence

• Theresa Brosche, Adjunct Nursing Instructor-Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.

• Dr. Kathryn DeZur, Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences-Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

• Elizabeth Sova, Director of the O'Connor Center for Community Engagement-Excellence in Professional Service.

• Stephen Tucker, Professor of Automotive Technology-Excellence in Teaching.

Student speakers included:

• Alexia Ploetz of Springville, N.Y., Student of the Year - Associate Degree, Hotel and Resort Management

Quote from her speech: "Delhi has been our home away from home for years, but now it's time to leave. No matter where you go, remember that life brings tears, smiles, and memories. SUNY Delhi is a part of us now, and while our tears dry and smiles fade, our memories? They will last forever."

• Rachelle Cassatt of Buffalo, N.Y., Student of the Year - Baccalaureate Degree, Restaurant and Food Service

Quote from her speech: "We're going to be the class that saves lives, creates and builds the most beautiful buildings, designs computer software or successful businesses, makes the most delicious food you'll ever taste, and strives to make the world a better place. But most importantly, we'll be the class that goes after our dreams."

Veterinary Science Technology graduates Alysha Hedding and Ellie Anderson raised a seeing-eye service puppy on campus as part of the college's partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Dove, a yellow Lab, "graduated" with her raisers at the ceremony.

Provost John Nader and Vice President for Student Life Barbara Jones also addressed the graduates. Anthony Galloro, assistant professor for hospitality management, will sing the national anthem and the alma mater.

SUNY Delhi College Council members who were present included Anthony Cucci, Nancy Deming, Michelle Fisher, Katherine Mario, Carol O'Beirne, Wayne Oliver and Joseph Sutaris.