» View photo gallery

Rain Can’t Dampen Spirits, Excitement as Graduates Accept Degrees

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Nothing, not even the intermittent rain and unseasonably cool temperatures that forced SUNY Orange officials to move the College’s 57th annual Commencement ceremony indoors for just the second time in the last 10 years, could dampen the spirits of nearly 400 graduates who proudly stepped on stage to accept their degrees Saturday morning.

PHOTO: One Millionth Graduate PresentationFeelings of happiness, relief, excitement, anticipation, satisfaction and pride were among a wide range of emotions exhibited by the graduates, and their families and friends, who stuffed the Physical Education Building to create a standing-room-only crowd for the ceremony. In all, Saturday’s Commencement signaled the culmination of studies for nearly 750 graduates who completed their degree or certificate requirements during August, December or May.

Jenna Boyce, the College’s student trustee; Robert Coffey ’96, president of the Alumni Association; and Ed Irlbacher, a retiring professor from the social sciences department who served the College for 40 years, delivered Commencement addresses. SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards, Board of Trustees Chair Joan Wolfe and Orange County Executive Edward Diana ’68 also offered remarks.

Additionally, SUNY Orange recognized graduate Laura Butler (in photo at right), of Eldred, N.Y., during a special presentation. In addition to serving in the elite capacity as Student Marshall for the ceremony, in which she led the graduate processional into the building, Butler was tabbed as the College’s representative of the State University of New York’s “One Millionth” community college graduate initiative this spring. With the SUNY system due to confer its one millionth community college degree this year, each of the state’s 30 community colleges are making similar symbolic presentations in honor of that milestone achievement.

Boyce reminded her fellow graduates to “look at how much you have accomplished, and use those experiences as a stepping stone for your future.” Reprising a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, she encouraged each graduate: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and create your own trail.”

“Today is your honor day,” Irlbacher told the graduates. “Promise yourselves that you will make the most of it. Keep yourselves informed. Participate in the life of your community, and exercise your liberties and responsibilities.”

Diana, a SUNY Orange alum, passionately spoke of the role his SUNY Orange degree has played in his life. “You are at the gate of your future. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Act on those dreams and there is nothing that you can’t achieve.”

Coffey praised the graduates for having worn “many hats” throughout their time on campus as they maintained roles as parents, commuters, students and workers. He also informed them that they acquired a “new hat” on Saturday, the hat of “SUNY Orange Alumni,” and he urged them to recall fondly their times at the College and to “come back to campus” often.

Each year, SUNY Orange awards diplomas to students who earn Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, while presenting graduation certificates to those who complete the College’s various certificate programs.

» Graduate Lists (.doc files):

May 2007

December 2006

August 2006

» Commencement addresses (.doc files):

Bob Coffey

Ed Irlbacher

» View photo gallery

» Back to Headlines

Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940