SUNY New Paltz will hold its 2019 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, on the Old Main Quadrangle on campus.
The Saturday ceremony will recognize graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Sunday ceremony will recognize graduates of the Schools of Business, Education, Fine & Performing Arts and Science & Engineering. Both ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m.
The Graduate Commencement Ceremony for all academic units will take place on Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m. in the Athletic and Wellness Center.
This year, more than 2,000 undergraduate and nearly 600 graduate degrees will be conferred, as the College recognizes May and August 2019 candidates, and students who completed their degrees in January 2019, August 2018 and December 2018.
SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian will preside over each ceremony. All members of the campus community are invited to join in the celebration.
Undergraduate Commencement speakers and honors
At the Saturday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, the College will present an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree to Jane Delgado ’73 (Psychology). Delgado will provide the Commencement Address at the Saturday Ceremony.
Delgado is a SUNY New Paltz alumna, health care advocate, researcher, author and clinical psychologist who is widely recognized and admired in her field for her leadership in the movement to improve health outcomes and quality of life for members of underserved populations.
At the Sunday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, the College will award the President’s Medal, the highest recognition that can be bestowed by the campus president, to Nina Smiley and, posthumously, her husband, Albert K. “Bert” Smiley. Nina Smiley will provide the Commencement Address at the Sunday ceremony.
The Smiley family holds a special place in the New Paltz community as the stewards of Mohonk Mountain House, an iconic Hudson Valley resort celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and with which the College enjoys a strong and long-standing relationship.
Class of 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian to deliver Student Addresses
SUNY New Paltz has named Nicholas Piaquadio (Electrical Engineering; Physics) of Wallkill, New York, the valedictorian of the Class of 2019, and Reuben Slater (History; Anthropology) of Brooklyn, New York, the salutatorian of the Class of 2019.
Slater will give the Student Address at the Saturday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, and Piaquadio will give the Valedictory at the Sunday Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.
A member of the Honors Program and recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, Piaquadio completed multiple faculty-mentored research projects and performed with the College’s Symphonic Band. He will be pursuing a career as a research scientist and professor while working toward his Ph.D. at Binghamton University this fall.
In his four years at New Paltz, Reuben Slater honed skills as an historian, an archivist and a critical thinker, discovered a passion for archaeology, and grew into a student leader. He will apply skills developed through these experiences when he joins the Rockefeller Archive Center in Tarrytown, New York, as an archival assistant.
Faculty Grand Marshals
Faculty and staff processions at both Undergraduate Ceremonies and the Graduate Ceremony will be led by macebearing Faculty Grand Marshals, in the rich tradition of prior years’ SUNY New Paltz Commencements.
Glenn Geher, professor of psychology, will be Faculty Grand Marshal and macebearer at the Friday, May 17, Graduate Commencement Ceremony. Geher has served at New Paltz since 2000 and was the founding director of the Evolutionary Studies Program. He was a 2009 SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipient for Excellence in Teaching and a 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipient for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Ilgu Ozler, associate professor of political science and international relations, will be Faculty Grand Marshal and macebearer at the Saturday, May 18, Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Ozler joined the College in 2006 and was a 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipient for Excellence in Faculty Service. She is the director of the SUNY Global Engagement Program in New York City, and has committed considerable time and energy to expanding international opportunities for students.
Joan Hollister, associate professor of accounting, will serve as Faculty Grand Marshal and macebearer at the Sunday, May 19, Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Hollister is a SUNY New Paltz alumna who has been a valued mentor and advisor to accounting students, and provided leadership on a number of professional committees and review boards. She is retiring this year after 25 years of dedicated service to her alma mater.
SUNY New Paltz’s Commencement ceremonies will be webcast online at http://totalwebcasting.com/live/newpaltz.