SUNY New Paltz to graduate 753 Saturday
NEW PALTZ -- Note to media: A media check-in table will be set up in the lobby of the Poughkeepsie Civic Center on commencement day. If you wish to attend the SUNY New Paltz December Commencement, please call the university's Public Affairs Office in advance. Contact director Ken Ross or editor Nancy Zellner Fenichel at (845) 257-3245.
More than 750 SUNY New Paltz students will be awarded degrees this Saturday in a commencement ceremony to be held at the Mid-Hudson Valley Civic Center in Poughkeepsie.
Nearly half of the graduating class are expected to participate in the ceremony, which will confer certificates of advanced study, and master's and bachelor's degrees. The keynote speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg.
This is the second year New Paltz will be celebrating a December commencement, and the first commencement held off campus.
"Moving the ceremony to the Civic Center gives our graduates the opportunity to share this milestone with more guests than we can accommodate in any on-campus facility," said Judy Albertson, New Paltz' coordinator for the event. "At the same time, the ceremony location highlights the fact that we are a regional campus with strong ties throughout the Hudson Valley."
The decisions made by these first graduates since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America will be different and the goals they set will be different, as the society in which they immerse themselves has been altered.
Schanberg, the first fellow under the James H. Ottaway Sr. Endowed Visiting Professorship in Journalism at New Paltz, returns to campus after his semester of teaching in spring 2001. He is an internationally known journalist who has written extensively on foreign affairs, particularly Asia, as well as American domestic matters, such as racial problems, government secrecy, corporate excesses and the weaknesses of the national media. For his reporting on the fall of Cambodia to the communist guerrillas known as the Khmer Rouge, Schanberg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting "at great risk."
The valedictorian for the December Class of 2001 is Kingston resident Shelly Marie Hamilton, who will receive a bachelor of science degree in art education and a bachelor of arts degree in art history.
The salutatorian is Schenectady resident Debra Helen Dannunzio, an Air National Guard flight nurse for the past 16 years, who is completing the university's "Diploma to Degree" program in nursing.
Dannunzio has chosen not to participate in the commencement ceremony because she has been put on alert for possible deployment since Sept. 11.
"My family is my priority right now," she said. "I feel really lucky I've been able to complete my education with all that's going on in the world."
She is a member of the Aireomedical Evacuation Unit which travels by C-130s to evacuate patients from war zones and natural disaster sites. She also works as a nurse at St. Clare's hospital in Schenectady.
Her academic success is even more impressive considering the fact that she commuted to New Paltz from Schenectady. "The Nursing Program at SUNY New Paltz is really wonderful because it is geared toward working adults," she said. "I would recommend it to anybody."
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.