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Campus readies for 2007 commencement

Jumpei Onozuka
Valedictorian Jumpei Onozuka

Daniel Tzvi Cohen
Salutatorian Daniel Tzvi Cohen

Daniel Tzvi Cohen
Award winner Stella Deen

Daniel Tzvi Cohen
Award winner Jonathan Raskin

For valedictorian Jumpei Onozuka '07 (Finance and Accounting) of Sakado, Japan, achieving a cumulative 4.0 grade point average isn't the highlight of his time at New Paltz.

"Five or ten years from now what I'll remember the most are the times I spent with friends, faculty and staff members," said Onozuka, who will address the campus community at the May Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 20.

Onozuka's acomplishments include receiving a State University of New York Chancellor's Award; recognition in Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities; and being named the School of Business Hall of Fame 2006 Student of the Year.

After graduation, Onozuka will work at Ernst & Young LLP in New York City. Also standing out among the 1,090 candidates is Daniel Tzvi Cohen of Monsey, N.Y., a chemistry major and the May 2007 salutatorian. Cohen has presented his research in organic synthesis at a number of national and local colleges and conferences. He will attend rabbinical school before heading to graduate school.

Onozuka, Cohen and the campus community will be joined at the commencement ceremony by Thomas Kean, former New Jersey Governor and Chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Kean will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters, the highest honor the State University of New York can bestow, and will address the candidates.

Recognition will also be given to New Paltz faculty members Stella Deen, associate professor and chair of the English Department, and Jonathan Raskin, professor and graduate coordinator for the Psychology Department, both of whom have received a State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence.

At the ceremony, Deen and Raskin will be presented with medals and certificates for their achievements. Deen, who has taught at New Paltz for 13 years, has set aside her own research to focus on the development of the college's English Department at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She will be recognized with the Award for Professional Service.

"It is a terrific honor," she said. "I hope that it inspires nominators from other departments to recognize the work of their colleagues."

Raskin has taught at New Paltz for 11 years. He receives the Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity for his research on an individual basis and with students in the area of constructivist psychology, which is the study of how people construct meaningful ways of making sense of their ongoing experiences.

Raskin, who has also written many papers on personal construct theory, is flattered by his award, but said, "I am just doing my job."

Rudolf Kossmann (English) will serve as Grand Marshal for the undergraduate ceremony and Nancy Nielson, collection access librarian at the Sojourner Truth Library, will serve as Grand Marshal at the graduate ceremony on May 18.

The undergraduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the Old Main Quad. The Graduate Commencement Ceremony will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at the Athletic and Wellness Center. Both ceremonies are ticketed events.