Ceremony to Feature Record 483 Participants; Unprecedented Total of Nearly 860 Degrees Earned in Past Year

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – A record 483 graduates will be joined by alumni from the Classes of 1961 and 1986 for SUNY Orange’s 61st Commencement Ceremony, planned for 10 a.m., Saturday, May 21 on the Alumni Green of the College’s Middletown campus.

Business professor Dr. Elizabeth White and student Daija Russell will serve as the featured speakers. In all, an unprecedented tally of approximately 860 graduates have completed their associate’s degree or certificate requirements during August, December or May of this current academic year. That total is pending final review of all May graduate candidates’ transcripts.

PHOTO: A photo from SUNY Orange's 2010 CommencementAny student who completed the necessary academic requirements during the 2010-11 academic year, and who completed the appropriate Commencement application paperwork, is eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony. It is believed that this year’s total of graduates participating in Commencement surpasses 400 for the first time in the College’s history.

College President Dr. William Richards will conduct the Commencement, with addresses to be delivered by White, Russell, Orange County Executive Edward Diana and Board of Trustees Chair Arthur Anthonisen. Caitlyn Kennedy, of Walden, will serve as the student marshal.

SUNY Orange issues diplomas to students who earn Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, as well as graduation certificates to those who complete the College’s various certificate programs. With milestone reunion anniversaries for the Classes of 1961 and 1986, SUNY Orange invited graduates from those years to participate in this year’s ceremony. The returnees will march in the Commencement procession and be provided with special seating for the event. They will also be invited to a 2011 Reunion Commencement breakfast on Saturday morning, to be held by the SUNY Orange Alumni Relations Office.

White is one of two SUNY Orange professors selected to receive the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence this spring. She is concluding her 20th year as a business professor at the College. She has taught a variety of business courses throughout her tenure at the College. This past semester she taught Introduction to Business, Business and Society, and Entrepreneurship courses. White serves on the Finance Committee of the College Association and has maintained membership on numerous college-wide, departmental and advisory committees.

Russell, who will earn her degree in liberal arts, has been a leader in student activities and organizations on both SUNY Orange campuses. This past year she served on the Board of Activities and Student Senate, while also helping to establish a student leadership group on the College’s growing Newburgh campus. The New Windsor resident also represented her fellow students by speaking at the groundbreaking of Kaplan Hall in October 2008.

Kennedy was one of two SUNY Orange students to earn the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She completed her liberal arts degree requirements during this past Fall semester. An active campus leader, she served as secretary and, later, president of the student Board of Activities. She was also a student orientation leader and volunteered for community fundraising efforts to include Toys for Tots and the SUNY Orange Adopt-A-Family program. She organized a student leader retreat with the Student Senate and Board of Activities.

Commencement will begin with the graduate procession at 10 a.m. Music will be provided by the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band and the national anthem will be performed by the College’s Choir. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the Physical Education Building.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940