The sixth annual SUNY New Paltz Senior Toast saw the biggest turnout yet, as hundreds of students joined their faculty mentors and campus administrators in a salute to past achievements and bright futures.
“This event allows us all to come together as a campus community to celebrate a major milestone in your lives: the completion of your degree requirements and your graduation,” said College President Donald P. Christian. “Such traditions we hope help cement memories, and give us a chance to reflect on the high-quality academic, personal and intellectual experiences that you’ve had during your time here at New Paltz.”
Attending graduates-to-be shared hugs, handshakes and high fives with friends made over the years, and received commemorative glass flutes and single orange roses. Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Linda Eaton explained the significance of the latter gift.
“Bright orange is a color of warmth, enthusiasm and unlimited energy,” Eaton said. “When new ventures begin, the orange rose celebrates all new beginnings. The orange rose also indicates pride – when a person is honored to be associated with another, and believes that person deserves to be lauded, the orange rose says, ‘I am so proud of you.’”
The event also saw the presentation of the Senior Class Gift by Irina Demchenko ’15 (Digital Media Management) on behalf of the Class of 2015, which raised more than $1,850 for the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. Their Gift will go to support future student-oriented events.
When it came time to raises glasses in tribute, President Christian led the 2015 Senior Toast.
“To all that you’ve brought to us during your years here, and to all that you’re taking away with you; to the faculty and staff who have shown such commitment to your education; to your future, with wishes for every success and happiness. May your contributions make the world a better place. Congratulations and best wishes!”
A number of students shared their own toasts for the Class of 2015, as well.
“To all of the people who have changed my life here at SUNY New Paltz: I’ve learned so much from being here, and I’m grateful for all the opportunities I had here. I love it here so much – it will be in my heart forever.” – Megan McCambley ’15 (Psychology / Spanish)
“Make it worth it!” – Kevin Fagan ’15 (Digital Media Production)
“It’s all about the process, not the destination!” Marielayne Baez ’15 (Black Studies / Latin American & Caribbean Studies)
“Continue to expand your education after college. Learning doesn’t stop after college; in fact, it’s only beginning. There are no teachers and no classrooms now; the moment you graduate, life is your classroom.” – Kasper Garlicki ’15 (International Relations)
“Stay magical, New Paltz!” – Justin Bankos ’15 (Digital Media Management)