Family, friends, faculty, professional staff and distinguished guests gathered Saturday, May 13, in the Roos House Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center to congratulate more than 900 graduates on their academic achievements.
“I am extremely proud that you have achieved this major goal in your lives,” said President Zvi Szafran. “I know that as you move forward, you’ll be able to accomplish many great things, as have the many alumni from SUNY Canton who have preceded you.”
The keynote address was delivered by Mohawk Bear Clan Matron Wa’kerakats:te Louise McDonald Herne, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her work to improve the overall health and economic standing of the Haudenosaunee during the past decade.
Herne spoke about her family’s personal connection to the college, and was enthusiastic about strengthening SUNY Canton’s partnership with the Mohawk Nation.
“I am humbled by this honored invitation, and I would like to use this moment to rekindle our relationship upon these indigenous lands,” she said. “I hope to bring home inspiration and renewed dedication to a joint quest for self-determination, justice, freedom and peace in our traditional territories.”
Speaking directly to graduates, she encouraged them to adopt the core Native American values of a unified approach to nature and the quest for balance and equilibrium in their lives. “Above all, love and respect mother earth,” she said.
Fitzroy Saunders, the Student Government Association vice president, offered words of encouragement to his fellow graduates and several students received special recognition, including:
- Mechanical Engineering Technology major Alex D. Sterling of Champlain, who earned the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award.
- Nursing major Claudette Dossou-Kitti of Brooklyn, who earned the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award.
- Healthcare Management graduate Julian S. Shaw of Jamaica, N.Y., who was chosen to receive the David R. Maynard Student Activities Award.
As students collected their diploma, the President of the Alumni Board of Directors Kelly Obermayer, class of 1979, welcomed each graduate into the alumni family by presenting them with a special medallion.
The top five bachelor’s degrees awarded, in order of popularity, were Criminal Investigation, Management, Nursing, Health Care Management and Sports Management.
The top five associate degrees awarded, in order of popularity, were Nursing, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, Veterinary Science Technology and Business Administration.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are conference members of the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Association.