SUNY Canton Graduates 950 Students at 103rd Commencement

A number of firsts highlighted SUNY Canton’s 103rd Commencement on Saturday, including the event taking place in the College’s brand new athletic facility and three four-year degree programs graduating their first class.

President Kennedy speaks to the audience at Commencement.

The College’s impressive growth in enrollment and academic offerings was illustrated in a variety of ways throughout the ceremony. Approximately 950 students participated in the commencement exercises as compared to about 700 in 2010. This is also the first year SUNY Canton graduated students from the graphic and multimedia design, nursing, and funeral service administration bachelor’s degree programs.

The first two graduates to receive funeral service administration degrees came to campus for their second degree from SUNY Canton. Heather Reszka Miller of Longmont, Colo., received her associate’s degree from the College in 2002, while and Heather A. Rauch of Frankfurt earned hers in 2006. They were pleased to have the opportunity to complete many of the degree requirements at their alma mater through online courses.

“Because of the nature of our work, our schedules are always unpredictable,” Miller explained. “Having the ability to complete our make time for school work based on our work schedules was one of the best parts about the program. It gave us the flexibility we needed.”

Birds-eye view of Commencement

Approximately 240 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, nearly twice as many as last year. The largest increase in graduates came from the School of Business and Liberal Arts, which awarded 137 bachelor’s degrees.

The College’s largest and most popular bachelor’s degree program was finance with 63 graduates. The criminal investigation program celebrated 37 graduates, while management was the third largest program with 35 graduates.

The most popular associate degree program was nursing with 103 graduates. The second largest two-year program was criminal justice which graduated 84 students, while both business administration and veterinary science technology graduated 34 students.

“The Class of 2011 will go as far as their dreams take them because they are armed with in-demand degrees and the skills necessary to be successful,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “As they’ve realized their potential, not only as individuals but as a collective group, they’ve contributed to ours. Their growth reflects our own.”

Among the honorees was Dr. Maureen P. Maiocco, recipient of the College’s Distinguished Faculty Award. She took a moment to thank colleagues and her students and then addressed the Class of 2011.

“Graduates, find joy in your work; put forth your best effort in all you do, be planned and prepared, and take advantage of every opportunity,” she said. “Always find excitement in discovering and learning. You are all capable of greatness, and all of you have something to teach.”

Maiocco concluded with the words of Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, a passage she has carried with her for years. “When I was young my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there.”

Other Commencement highlights:

  • For the second year, SUNY Canton held its simultaneous live videoconference Commencement with the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The College recognized 70 students who earned degrees from both institutions. The graduates earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from SUNY Canton. Last year, 20 Bosnian students were awarded dual degrees.
  • Professor Emeritus Richard W. Miller attended his 65th SUNY Canton Commencement. Miller has not missed the ceremony since 1946. He was a distinguished professor of electrical engineering technology for 37 years and served on the College Foundation’s Board of Directors. The College’s Campus Center is named in honor of Miller’s consistent support and generosity.
  • Three SUNY Canton seniors graduated off-site as they competed in the NAIA Softball National Tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala. Danielle F. Callahan of Kingston, Carolina Olivares of Adelanto, Calif., and Jenifer L. Shaw of Helendale, Calif., were surrounded by coaches and teammates for the ceremony, which also included a video message from Dr. Kennedy.
  • Six graduates earned a diploma and a badge having graduated from the SUNY Canton David Sullivan St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy on Friday, May 20. The class included Peter G. LaSala of Canton, a sworn officer of the Norfolk Town Police Department; Robert L. Latimer of Canton; Stephanie J. Reid of the Bronx; Jesse J. Sheen of Gouverneur; Mark C. Stewart of South Glens Falls, a sworn officer of the Norfolk Town Police Department; and Alex E. Stuart of Tupper Lake, a sworn officer of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.

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