College of Liberal Arts & Sciences graduates in the SUNY New Paltz Class of 2018 joined in a tradition linking them to generations of alumni at the Saturday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 19, 2018.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is the largest single academic unit at SUNY New Paltz, with 18 departments offering 21 major degree programs, contact majors and numerous interdisciplinary minors, in subjects ranging from history, Black Studies and sociology, to digital media, journalism and English.
Approximately 750 students and thousands more friends and loved ones endured a rainy morning on the historic Old Main Quadrangle to reflect on their years at New Paltz, and look ahead to what will come.
“We recognize the achievement of these students, who have completed the hard academic work of earning a degree,” said President Donald P. Christian. “We recognize our graduates’ families, whose support made their education possible. We recognize faculty for their dedication in sharing knowledge, guiding and motivating students in their intellectual pursuits, and contributing to the growth of knowledge and human understanding.”
“Equipped with the intellectual tools, habits of mind and inquisitive spirit they’ve developed at New Paltz, today’s graduates are embarking on the next stage of their life’s voyage.”
“I had a lot of great professors, amazing people who helped me so much. I’m going on to graduate school and I’m excited about the next chapter.” – Kristen Chiriani ’18 (Psychology)
The Commencement Address at the Saturday Ceremony was given by SUNY New Paltz alumna Janus Adams ’67 (Theatre Arts), an Emmy Award-winning journalist, producer, historian, speaker, musician, and bestselling author of 11 books, who also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the State University of New York during the ceremony.
In addressing the Class of 2018, Adams wove a narrative exploring the renewing energy of spring, the blooming backdrop against which students across the nation graduate into their next stages of life.
“There’s a reason commencements are in May, the season of new beginnings,” Adams said. “You can feel it in the air, everywhere: May, when Earth’s northern half springs to life, fat with green, the color of new life. Class of 2018, in the wondrous fulfillment of your being green is the potential and the power to be all you are, at one with the universe. Go now, be green, and be great!”
Student speaker and salutatorian Julia Friedman ’18 (Communication Disorders) of Centerport, N.Y., also took to the stage to share thoughts and reflections with her peer graduates, before they walked to accept their degrees.
“The last four years were filled with change: for our campus, for the world, for us. As our campus changed, so did the world; and in trying times, people are looking to our generation as a force for great change. I share this podium with all of you, because our success depends on community, and community depends on our success – one is nothing without the other.” – Class of 2018 Salutatorian Julia Friedman ’18 (Communication Disorders)
As they prepared to walk across the (slightly damp) stage and receive their degrees, a few students took a moment to look back on how far they’ve come, and look forward to what’s next.
“I was a transfer student into this program. It was really difficult, but also worth it. My senior project was a lot of work, but I learned a lot of real-world stuff, very relevant to the state of the world. I just got a job offer at a media company, and I’m ready to start building up my experience.” – Colin Schroeder ’18 (International Relations)
“It’s exciting, and kind of a weird feeling. I’ve been in school my whole life, following this linear path, but after this it’s wide open. I’m eager to join the workforce, but my main goal is just to stay motivated while I figure it out.” – Anthony Morales ’18 (Digital Media Management)
“I’m going to remember my classmates, honestly. By the time we had Senior Seminar there were like 15 of us, and we all knew each other already so we felt more comfortable talking in class. Everyone was super smart – obviously we learned a lot from our professors, but I learned so much from them also.” – Dakota Francis ’18 (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies) and Olivia Lane ’18 (Psychology; Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies)
The Saturday Ceremony was part of a weekend-long celebration of New Paltz students’ academic achievement, as more than 2,500 graduate and undergraduate degree recipients representing the graduating classes of August 2017, December 2017 and January 2018, and candidates for May 2018 and August 2018, were honored at Commencement ceremonies held on May 18, 19 and 20.
Complete coverage of SUNY New Paltz Commencement activities is available at https://sites.newpaltz.edu/news/category/commencement/.