The State University of New York at New Paltz will hold the May 2011 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday May 22 on the Old Main Quadrangle. The graduate ceremony will be held on Friday, May 20 at 6 p.m., the same location.
This year’s ceremonies will recognize and celebrate the achievement of more than 1,700 undergraduate candidates and more than 600 graduate candidates in the presence of their family and friends. All members of the campus community are invited and encouraged to attend the ceremonies, which will recognize two cohorts of students: August/December 2010 and May 2011 candidates. Interim President Donald Christian will preside over the ceremonies.
Noah P. Dorsky, chair of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, the philanthropic arm of SUNY New Paltz, and son of Samuel Dorsky, the namesake of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the New Paltz campus, will be this year’s commencement speaker.
The Dorsky family’s commitment to public education and to the transformative power of art is exemplified in their generous bequests to the museum. Samuel Dorky’s lead gift was the impetus for the transformation of the former, single-room College Art Gallery into the new museum building. The family has contributed to the creation of the Sara Bedrick Gallery and the establishment of the Museum Directorship named in honor of Neil C. Trager. They continue to support the museum’s high quality exhibitions and programs.
Interim President Christian will award the President’s Medal to retired Dean of Education Robert Michael. This medal is a special honor that recognizes former Dean Michael’s 37 years of commitment and service to SUNY New Paltz’s School of Education, its students and his colleagues and to the enrichment of the teaching profession.
As dean of the School of Education since 1998, he secured national accreditation from he National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, oversaw the design of the Old Main Building renovation, increased external funding, established greater links with local school districts and increased opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to enter education.
New Paltz will recognize two valedictorians this year. Sallie McPherson, (Rifton, N.Y.) a cellular/molecular biology major with minors in Black studies and chemistry, plans to attend SUNY College of Optometry in the fall, pursuing her doctorate of optometry.
“I have enjoyed these two years at SUNY New Paltz and have made many friends among the students and faculty,” McPherson said.
Ghady Al Rahhal, (New Paltz), a molecular biology major with minors in philosophy and chemistry, plans to attend medical school in the future. Both valedictorians will give short speeches at the ceremony.
Also at the ceremony, four seniors who received 2011 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence will be acknowledged. They are Hope Dobrzynski with a major in psychology, Alyssa Finck majoring in communication disorders, Jennifer Sánchez with a Black studies/communication disorders major and Robb Webb with a major in management/marketing. Finck was also a recipient of 2010-11 Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award.
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, created in 1997, honors State University of New York students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts.
Five members of the College’s academic, professional and classified staff will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the categories of Teaching, Classified Service, Professional Service and Faculty Service.
Nurse Denise Sirrine in Student Health Services will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service; Associate Professor Hamid Azari-Rad, chair in economics will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service; Professor Peter Kaufman in sociology will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Associate Dean Lynn Spangler of the College of Liberal Art and Sciences will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; and Professor Reva Wolf of art history will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are system-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. These programs underscore SUNY’s commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction, and serving the public good.