Honors Program sends off 2015 graduates with ceremony and reception

20150516-2_Honors Program Graduation Ceremony_0155The SUNY New Paltz Honors Program provides highly motivated students with an atmosphere conducive to independent thinking, creativity, respect and social responsibility, and offers opportunities to engage in deep learning practices and conduct major scholarly research. It challenges its member students to go above and beyond in their study and their pursuit of personal and intellectual development.

On May 16, the Honors Program lauded the high-caliber work ethic and performance of 32 graduates in a ceremony and reception on campus.

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“Our goal at New Paltz is to provide students with distinctive and transformative experiences they can use both during their time here and throughout their personal and professional lives,” said College President Donald P. Christian. “Our Honors Program is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and effective high-impact learning experiences at SUNY New Paltz, and we’re very proud of that. I commend our graduates for seizing opportunities to learn through the Honors Program, and I hope you share with us that sense of pride in the work you’ve done here.”

This class of Honors students produced exceptional work in a variety of academic disciplines. Many completed senior thesis projects on topics as far-ranging as international peacekeeping, community supported agriculture, cultural restaurant design and mental illness in communities of color.

Program Director Patricia Sullivan cited this rigorous work in articulating how this class of Honors graduates is exemplary of the potential of the program itself.

“When I encourage first-year, transfer or current New Paltz students to apply for admission to the Honors Program, I talk about the Honors cohort as engaged in learning, intellectually curious, creative, dynamic, collaborative and collegial,” Sullivan said. “The seniors with us today have been important ambassadors for the program, reaching out to potential students, offering tours and recounting experiences. I’m so proud of these students and I can only imagine what the future holds for them.”

President Christian commended Sullivan’s contribution to the success of Honors Students and the growth of the program.

“I want to give special thanks to Program Director Patricia Sullivan for the thoughtful leadership, time and energy that she provides to students and her faculty colleagues,” Christian said. “Professor Sullivan has made many contributions to an array of diverse efforts on the campus, but for my money, the success and the elevated profile that she’s brought to our Honors Program really stands out.”

The students who walked across the stage this year are members of the graduating class that came to New Paltz in the same year that Sullivan took on the responsibilities of directing the Honors Program. As such, this ceremony had a special significance for all involved. Following the recognition of the graduates, the students gave words of thanks to Sullivan and to Alicia Ivan, Honors Program secretary.

“We want to extend our warmest gratitude and thanks to Professor Sullivan and to Alicia,” said Miriam Ward ’15 (Digital Media Production / History). “You both have had such an impact on all of us students, and as your first graduating class we feel a special connection to you.”

“We wouldn’t be standing here today without both of you,” added Zameena Mejia ’15 (Journalism – Public Relations / Spanish). “You’ve been strong women in our lives, and have truly empowered us.”

More information about the Honors Program is available online.