SUNY New Paltz virtual Commencement celebrates graduates’ exceptional achievements and resilience

SUNY New Paltz conferred more than 2,700 undergraduate and graduate degrees at its first-ever virtual Commencement on Friday, May 22.

The complete, pre-recorded virtual Commencement ceremonies can be viewed online using the following links, and will remain available for viewing for one year.

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“Commencement ceremonies at their core are about recognition,” said President Donald P. Christian. “We recognize that your accomplishments are especially meaningful this year, as you have had to adapt quickly to remote learning and a very different kind of spring semester. Today we recognize your achievements at this challenging and unique time in our history.”

[Use this link for full coverage of SUNY New Paltz Commencement 2020 and related end-of-year celebrations]

The virtual Commencement event includes pre-recorded remarks and a brief greeting from the following distinguished speakers:

  • SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian
  • SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson
  • United States Senator Chuck Schumer
  • New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
  • Ed Carroll ’85 (Communication & Media), the Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks, a distinguished SUNY New Paltz alumnus and SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board Director
  • Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara Lyman (speaking at the Graduate Commencement ceremony)
  • 2020 Valedictorian Majessa Pedrozo ’19 (Communication Disorders) (speaking at the Undergraduate Ceremony)
  • President of First World Graduation Kiana Graham ’20 (International Relations) (speaking at the Undergraduate Ceremony)

“SUNY New Paltz has given us the opportunity to evolve as people, to expand our knowledge and skills, and to be independent,” said Majessa Pedrozo ’19 (Communication Disorders), 2020 Valedictorian. “We have made unforgettable memories and built relationships with people who inspire us. As we close this chapter and open the next one, I hope that we all consciously choose kindness and gratitude and ardently use our passions, talents, and experience to lift those around us.”

“This is a time when society needs more than ever the greater expertise and skills that your program has provided,” said Barbara Lyman, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We make greater progress in tackling a whole range of societal problems, such as economic inequality, environmental threats and educational barriers, when a more highly educated cadre like you applies to these problems the critical analysis, bold leadership and communication skills that you have strengthened during your graduate studies.”

“We have persevered, we have adjusted, and we have conquered,” said Kiana Graham ’20 (International Relations), President, First World Graduation. “We have been through adversity long before these times arrived, and we will continue to humbly do so until we cannot anymore. Congratulations, to the strongest class I know.”

“This is a disruption like we haven’t seen, but it can lead to change and new ways of doing things, and create a need for contributions from new people with new approaches,” said Ed Carroll ’85 (Communication & Media), Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks. “You have what it takes to succeed, and most important, you have the ability to define what success will look like for you.”

As previously announced, the virtual Commencement event on May 22, 2020, does not replace an in-person Commencement celebration for our August 2019, December 2019 and January 2020 graduates, and May 2020 and August 2020 candidates. An in-person ceremony for these graduates is planned for May 2021.

Diplomas for August and December 2019 and January 2020 graduates have already been mailed. Diplomas for May and December 2020 candidates will be mailed once their degree requirements are completed and their degrees are certified by the College Registrar.

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