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Winter commencements to feature two valedictorians

Florence Mary Corbin

Florence Henderson, Mary Corbin

This December, not only have the commencement ceremonies come back to campus, but there is a tie for valedictorian.

Mary Corbin '07 (Communication Disorders) and Florence Nelson '07 (Electrical Engineering) will share the title of December 2007 valedictorian. Both students, each of whom achieved GPAs above 3.99, will speak to their fellow graduates. Two undergraduate ceremonies will be held to accommodate the number of people attending the events on campus.

Corbin will speak at the commencement ceremony to be held on Friday, Dec. 14. The event, which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., will celebrate the achievements of undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. Nelson will attend and will speak at the undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, which takes place from 10 a.m. to noon. The ceremony will include students from the School of Business, the School of Fine and Performing Arts and the School of Science and Engineering.

The Graduate Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Corbin is a transfer student and lives in Wappingers Falls with her three children. This semester, she completes her undergraduate degree, but will continue at New Paltz at the graduate level. Corbin, who is in the speech pathology track, has already completed several courses toward her Master of Science in Communication Disorders.

"The department is fantastic," Corbin said. "I was actually scared when I first arrived, because I didn't know where I would fit in, but everyone has been really great to work with."

Stella Turk, chair of the Communication Disorders Department, said that when she informed her faculty of Corbin's achievement "everyone was proud, but no one was surprised." Corbin is known throughout the department for her dedication and professionalism.

Nelson, a resident of Poughkeepsie, will begin her graduate studies at the University of Albany on Jan. 18. She chose to study nano-technology at Albany instead of attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.

Nelson came to New Paltz to pursue studies in a technical field on a campus with diverse programs.

"New Paltz was the perfect fit for me," Nelson said. "I enjoyed studying engineering while being able to explore the artistic and diverse atmosphere of the campus."

Nelson has been an intern in the product safety department at IBM at Poughkeepsie since her second semester.

Professor Julio Gonzalez (Electrical and Computer Engineering) described Nelson as "one of the best students that I have had in my almost 20 years of teaching."