More than 1,100 to receive degrees May 23
NEW PALTZ -- For the first time in the history of May Commencement at the State University of New York at New Paltz, graduate and undergraduate candidates will be separated into two different ceremonies on Sunday, May 23, on the Old Main Quad. The graduate ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m., and the undergraduate ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is expected to end at 3 p.m.
"Graduation is a major milestone in the lives of our students and their families," said Judy Albertson, the commencement coordinator at SUNY New Paltz. "Recognizing this, we have implemented changes to the commencement exercises to create a level of ceremony and formality that the occasion warrants."
With the change, the ceremonies will be shorter than in years past, allowing for a more pleasant experience for both the graduate and undergraduate candidates and their families. In addition, the graduate candidates will participate in a formal "hooding ceremony," where the dean of the department of the degree granted will officially "hood" the students as they walk across the stage.
"The hooding at the graduate ceremony allows us to appropriately acknowledge these students for their outstanding achievements," said Steve Poskanzer, president of the college. "In addition, by separating the graduates from the undergraduates, we have created two student-centered ceremonies that will make the day more enjoyable for everyone."
There will be more than 160 graduate candidates participating in the hooding ceremony in the morning, and more than 950 undergraduate candidates participating in the afternoon exercises. It is expected that there will be more than 5,300 family members and guests on campus for both ceremonies throughout the day.
This May, the class valedictorian is Jacob Hofer, a biology major from Rifton, and the salutatorian is Jessie Yaun, a Spanish major from Liberty. Hofer will speak at the afternoon ceremony. There are no honorary degree candidates this year.
Every graduate has his or her own interesting story to tell, but for James Perry, attending New Paltz has been a family affair. James, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English, has been attending New Paltz with his wife, Judith, and their son, Erich. The Perrys live together in Ulster Park, but New Paltz has become like a second home.
According to Judith, it's not strange for Erich to be in school with his parents. "A lot of students have commented on that, and he just tells them that we don't bother him because we have our own homework to do," she said. "Because we're all so busy, to actually be able to see each other on campus is nice; however, we get strange looks when he runs up and gives me a hug."
Before coming to New Paltz, where Judith is majoring in history, she worked as an administrative assistant at a mental health association in Ulster County and in the Registrar's office at Ulster County Community College.
James, who plans on enrolling in the MFA program in the fall, is also currently teaching computer science at Ulster County Community College and has worked at IBM for 23 years.
Erich, a graphic design major, is studying abroad this semester in Scotland.
For more information about the 2004 May Commencement Ceremony, visit www.newpaltz.edu/commencement.
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.