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SUNY Orange Celebrates Nearly 770 Students who Earned Degrees During 2009-10 Academic Year

PHOTO: SUNY Orange Commencement 2010MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Student speaker Corrina Stoker applauded the accomplishments of her classmates Saturday and business professor Lucinda Fleming urged SUNY Orange’s Class of 2010 to “make a difference in the lives of those you meet” as the College celebrated its 60th annual Commencement Ceremony on the Alumni Green of the Middletown campus.

On a cloudy and humid spring morning, College President Dr. William Richards presided over the landmark event being held at the exact location of Orange County Community College’s first Commencement on June 17, 1951. That day in 1951, the College issued 13 degrees. This year’s event celebrated the culmination of studies for 769 graduates who completed their academic degree or certificate requirements during August, December and May.

In all, 420 students walked across the College’s new permanent Alumni Green stage to receive their degree in front of a crowd that swelled beyond 3,000 people.

Joan Wolfe, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, welcomed the audience and Richards offered a few remarks before conferring the degrees and certificates. Once all 420 participants had received their diplomas, Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana (Class of 1968), Stoker and Fleming took to the podium.

PHOTO: SUNY Orange Commencement overhead view“The best way to teach someone to ride a bike is to provide supportive guidance, but then you need to let go when the time is right. It feels like today the time is right,” said Fleming, a recipient of the 2010 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence who was selected to speak on behalf of the College’s faculty. “Today your teachers, your parents, your mentors – we are letting go of that bike. We want each of you to go out into the world and make a difference in the lives of those you meet.”

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award is among the highest honors bestowed upon community college faculty in the SUNY system. Earlier in the event, Fleming and biology professor Monty Vacura, also a Chancellor’s Award recipient, were presented with medallions in honor of their selections.

Stoker was one of two SUNY Orange students to receive the 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence. She also served as Student Trustee and president of the Student Senate.

PHOTO: Student Speaker Corrina Stoker“One thing I have learned through my experience here at SUNY Orange is that you can never accomplish any task alone. All the various student accomplishments I mentioned earlier happened because of the support network we have here at SUNY Orange and because of the support encouragement and love we have at home,” Stoker said. “On that note I would like to ask my fellow graduates to take a moment to really appreciate those loved ones and the SUNY Orange family that gathered here today to support us and who have given their time, energy, love encouragement and commitment throughout all of our time here.”

Wolfe, speaking to the Class of 2010 regarding past graduates of SUNY Orange, said “Each came to this institution of higher learning with their own hopes and dreams. Each conquered obstacles along the way. Each matured and grew in their own special way. And each left behind a small part of themselves that has been woven into a 60-year tapestry that tells the tale of Orange County Community College.

“I pray that each of you realizes your hopes and dreams. I urge you to be proud of the obstacles you’ve overcome in reaching this most hallowed day. I trust you have matured and grown during your time here. And I know you will leave a small part of yourself behind as SUNY Orange prepares for the next generations of students,” she added.

PHOTO: Faculty congratulate studentsDiana, who 42 years ago earned his degree from SUNY Orange, praised the College’s rich history. He also encouraged the graduates to utilize their skills and talents to help improve their communities throughout Orange County.

“Tomorrow you are no longer college students. Today you are college graduates and for that you should be most proud,” Diana said. “Today you stand at the gate to your future. Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams.”

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.

Lists of Graduates for 2009-10 Academic Year

August 2009

December 2009

May 2010

Links to Speeches

Joan Wolfe, Chair, Board of Trustees

Lucinda Fleming, Professor of Business

Corrina Stoker, Graduate


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940