‘You obviously have what it takes to win’

SUNY Sullivan graduates 211 students

Posted 5/26/22

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — SUNY Sullivan held its 58th annual commencement on May 14, on campus in the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.

The Hon. Josephine Finn, vice-chancellor of the New York State Board …

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‘You obviously have what it takes to win’

SUNY Sullivan graduates 211 students

Posted

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — SUNY Sullivan held its 58th annual commencement on May 14, on campus in the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.

The Hon. Josephine Finn, vice-chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, delivered the commencement address.

President Jay Quaintance, board of trustees chair Dr. Nancy Hackett and Marc Singer, vice president for academic and student affairs, conferred 211 degrees on students from the May and August classes of 2022 and the December class of 2021.

John Christian Plummer, Soka Gakkai Buddhist leader, gave the invocation and benediction, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther delivered remarks. Nichole Connal ’21 was the class speaker.

“You join prior graduates as the embodiment of our work here at SUNY Sullivan: educated, inspired, empowered citizens who will now sustain our culture of excellence in their lives and communities,” said Quantaince. “I ask that you consider this: You are only as strong as those around you. Working to improve the lives of others will reward you as well. When the opportunity arises, reach out, lift up others, be human.”

“Look around you; so many of you are here because you understood what a college education could mean for you, your future, and your family,” Hackett told the graduates. “You held on to your dream of a college degree, which is not easy in today’s world of endless challenges.”

Finn, who was a teacher at Sullivan County Community College for 13 years, praised the students for their vision and for their actions and told them to remember, when life gets hard, how they persevered through the pandemic to graduate.

“Reflection is good, but you could think about stuff all day long, and it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do something,” said Finn. “I want you to remember that reflection plus action equals transformation. You’ve learned how to do that… your action and your reflection is what got you here… you obviously have what it takes to win.”

Connal, who received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, encouraged her fellow graduates to be proud of their accomplishments.

“These past years have been rough for us all, in several ways. Some of us entered this school during the online period, others waited to be back in person to complete their degree, but all of us have at least one thing in common. Despite the challenges we might have faced, we are all here today,” she said. “You all are prime examples of what defines SUNY Sullivan, and I know that you should all be proud of your accomplishments.”

In a separate ceremony, the college held its pinning ceremony for graduates of the nursing and respiratory care programs.

Sen. Mike Martucci and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther spoke. Gunther, the first registered nurse to serve in the New York State Assembly, had high praise for the nursing and respiratory care graduates.

“In this profession, we need you more than ever,” said Gunther, who is the first registered nurse to serve in the New York State Assembly. “I’m proud of each and every one of you.”

Nursing program valedictorian and class speaker Brieanna Porter grew up in a family of nurses, with her mother, grandmother and sister all choosing the profession. After working at a credit union for 10 years, Porter decided, while driving to work one morning, that she wanted to be a nurse.

“I spent a lot of time working really hard but never really being fulfilled… I came home and I sat down with my husband and I was like ‘Yeah, I think I need to quit my job. I’m supposed to be a nurse’,” said Porter, who received her nursing pin from her mother, Delores Conklin-Duffy, at the ceremony. “Caring for people through their toughest times is one of the most incredible forms of service.”

As part of the Saturday afternoon’s commencement ceremony, Quaintance, Hackett, and Singer also presented 2022 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence:

Daneryl Weber, associate professor for liberal arts, sciences and health sciences, for excellence in teaching

Jeanine Nielsen, associate professor for liberal arts, sciences and health sciences, for excellence in adjunct teaching

Brent Wilson, head men’s basketball coach and assistant director of athletics, for excellence in professional service

Robert Psarudakis, registration database specialist, for excellence in classified service

For a full list of SUNY Sullivan student academic and athletic awards, visit https://bit.ly/3ahbM72.

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