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College Confers Diplomas During its 58th Commencement Ceremony in Middletown

PHOTO: Johann Christoph Arnold '61 addresses the graduatesMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Speeches from alumni, continued encouragement from faculty members and the much-anticipated march across the stage with their well-earned diploma were among the highlights of the day for approximately 300 SUNY Orange graduates who participated in the College’s 58th annual Commencement Ceremony on the Alumni Green.

Friday’s steady rain and overnight showers cleared out of the Hudson Valley early Saturday, allowing the College to hold Commencement under sunny, cloudless skies, much to the delight of graduates, administrators and guests. Saturday morning’s ceremony was filled with the requisite hoots and hollers from proud friends as graduates raised their arms in triumph upon accepting their diploma. In all, Saturday’s Commencement signaled the culmination of studies for nearly 725 graduates who completed their degree or certificate requirements during August, December or May.

SUNY Orange graduate Johann Christoph Arnold (Class of 1961), shown at right, delivered the keynote address. A well-known counselor, author and speaker, Arnold has served peace missions in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Central America, Australia, Korea and Thailand. He has also ventured into schools, hospitals, nursing homes and prisons to deliver messages of non-violence, peace, sharing and service to others.

On Saturday, he encouraged the graduates to enjoy the freedom that the pursuit of academic enrichment can provide.

“However you look at it you will never again be as free as you are now. Marriage, for example poses obligations, so does the military, or your career,” he said. “So, if you have the opportunity to study, to row on the deep rivers of the mind, use it. Many of you are at a level of freedom you may not, and probably will not, experience again. Do not underestimate the worth and the wealth of this phase. Now is the time you can best move to change the world. And worlds can change, even if the change starts only in your mind, in your perception.”

PHOTO: A graduate accepts her diplomaJonah Brock, the College’s student trustee; Jennifer Doty ’00, president of the Alumni Association; and Stephen Winter, long-time professor in the College’s Business Management Department who has served at the College for nearly 45 years, delivered Commencement addresses. Dr. Catherine Chew, vice president for Academic Affairs, conducted the ceremony in place of College President Dr. William Richards, who was attending his daughter Jennifer’s doctoral graduation.

Board of Trustees Chair Joan Wolfe and Orange County Executive Edward Diana ’68 also offered remarks.

“Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’ I believe each of you arrived at the College clutching your dreams in one hand and determination in the other,” Wolfe said. “As you leave campus today, that one hand will still be holding onto your dreams, but the other will be gripping your SUNY Orange degree.”

Winter spoke on “the four degrees of success” that include the students’ “network” of family, friends and relatives; their “partnership” with SUNY Orange; the completion of their degree; and their future leadership endeavors.

PHOTO: Graduates during Commencement“Leaders are among our most importance resources. They do not push people; they pull people together to reach goals that were unattainable, individually,” Winter explained. “Leaders help energize successful organizations, governmental entities, and even families. And as, John W. Gardner said in ‘No Easy Victories:’ ‘Leaders have a significant role in creating the state of mind that is the society.’ Be a leader—go for it.”

“Your hard work and efforts have been affirmed,” Diana remarked upon the 40th anniversary of his graduation from SUNY Orange. “Forty years ago I sat exactly where you are seated. This is a day you will always remember. Today confirms that your courage, tenacity and plain old hard work is paying dividends.”

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.

2008 Commencement Speeches

Johann Christoph Arnold '61 (Keynote)

Joan Wolfe, Chair, Board of Trustees

Stephen Winter, Professor, Business Management

Jennifer Doty, President, Alumni Association

PHOTO: SUNY Orange Commencement 2008



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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
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Middletown, NY 10940