2017 Winter Commencement Video Transcript
Farmingdale State College
15th Winter Commencement
Class of 2017
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 11:00 A.M.
Good morning and welcome to Farmingdale State College. I am Dr. Louise Napolitano-Carman, Professor of English and your master of ceremony. We hope to make this day a very special one for you and especially for our graduates.
Please note: silence all cell phones and other electronic devices. Smoking is prohibited. If there is an emergency, please remain seated and wait for instructions. We ask that guests not leave their seats to take pictures during the ceremony. Professional photographers will take photos of each graduate and there will be ample time to take pictures after the ceremony. This will greatly help to alleviate confusion and distractions. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
The nearly one thousand year old tradition of Commencement begins with the entry of the Grand Marshal carrying the Mace. The procession is led by Dr. Lloyd Makarowitz, who is the campus presiding officer and chair of the Physics department.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President’s platform party, led by Grand Marshal Dr. Lloyd Makarowitz followed by Dr. Tom Corti, vice president for Student Affairs; Ms. Nancy Connors, vice president for Development and Alumni Engagement; Dr. Veronica Henry, executive assistant to the President; Mr. Greg O’Connor, vice president for Administration and chief financial officer; Mr. James Durant, College Council, Mr. Cal Jimenez, SGA president and College Council; Mr. Robert Sweeney, College Council; Dr. Laura Joseph, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Mr. Paul Caroleo, College Council; Mr. Joe Egan, College Foundation and Alumni Association President; Mr. Chad Lupinacci, supervisor and Commencement speaker, Dr. Patricia Hill Williams, chairperson of the Farmingdale State College Council and Dr. John Nader, president of Farmingdale State College.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the Farmingdale State faculty and professional staff.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand and welcome the Farmingdale State College Winter Graduating Class of 2017. They are led by Daniel H. Parks, class valedictorian,who is carrying our ceremonial College Flag. Escorting the graduates in the procession are: Dr. Charles Adair, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Michael Goodstone, interim dean of the School of Engineering Technology; Dr. Denny Ryman, dean of the Theresa Patnode Santmann School of Health Sciences, and Dr. Richard Vogel, dean of the School of Business.
I hereby declare the 15th Winter Commencement Exercises of Farmingdale State College to be in order.
Ladies and Gentlemen please remain standing through the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and the Invocation.
We invite you to join us in the Pledge of Allegiance,
I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America, and
to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.
And now, Meaghan Kruse and Rebecca De Turris, both Farmingdale State College students, will lead us in singing the national anthem.
We invite you to sing along.
Mr. Brian Maher, retired Career Employment Coordinator of the LIEOC, will offer the invocation for today’s ceremony. Please remain standing during the invocation.
Mr. Brian Maher:
Provident God, this New Year welcomes the Farmingdale State College Winter Graduating Class of 2017, which is now prepared to face an ever changing world with the knowledge acquired and the skills perfected in our classrooms. These graduates realize the value of their Farmingdale education and will use it in ways to help themselves and those around them.
During their years at the College, Enlightened Teacher, these students found time to discover the gifts and talents within themselves to reach this high academic plateau and made the sacrifices that are always necessary to accomplish great things. In addition, they wisely utilized the resources that surrounded them: a dedicated faculty, an involved professional staff, a supportive network of family and friends, and classmates that will be with them for a lifetime.
And now, Divine Spirit, these graduates are ready for their next step…whatever that may be. Stay with them as they find more academic mountains to climb, career opportunities to evaluate, social injustices to remedy. Let them see that the talents they possess are gifts that must be used to end the plights of poverty, homelessness, discrimination, addiction, and other social ills that are far too rampant in a society that has so much. Let these graduates be the beacons that others will follow to always help those in need.
And now, dear graduates, I leave you a final thought. As our academic procession was taking place, a familiar refrain was heard in the background. Most recognize it as “Pomp and Circumstance”; some know it was composed by Edward Elgar, but very few can recite the lyrics. It is my wish that the final two lines of this very traditional song will both give you hope for your future and prompt you to do more with the many gifts you possess:
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
Please be seated.
The College Council is appointed by the Governor to advise and guide the president in his leadership of the College. Representing the nine members of the College Council is the Chair, Dr. Patricia Hill Williams.
Dr. Patricia Hill Williams:
Congratulations! You did it!
Today, you students should be proud that you are graduating from SUNY’s hottest college and one of the best colleges in the region. And you parents should be proud too, because your students have received a quality education. I know this because I spent much of my professional life here—first as vice president for external relations and for the last 12 years as a member of the College Council.
We know you will do us proud and make important contributions to your field, your community, and the region. Farmingdale has prepared you well. Now it is time to put your education to use or to pursue additional knowledge. The best of luck no matter which path you travel. We hope that you will always remember that you are an alum of Farmingdale State College.
On behalf of all the members of the College Council, I wish you great success. And I hope you will always think as fondly of Farmingdale as we do of you.
Thank you for joining us at this largest winter commencement in the history of Farmingdale State College.
I would like to first recognize Alumna Patricia Christiansen, Deputy Mayor, Village of Farmingdale for her attendance at today’s ceremony.
On behalf of the college community I’m thrilled to welcome so many of our graduates’ families and friends to our Nold Athletic Complex.
Welcome. We’re glad you’re here.
Most importantly, congratulations to Farmingdale’s most recent graduates. We are proud of you, and you should be most proud of your accomplishments.
Before I begin my brief remarks, there are some very important acknowledgements that are in order.
The heart and soul of any successful college are its faculty and professional staff.
These are the people who on a day to day basis have given of themselves so that students can learn, engage, apply their talents, and thrive both at Farmingdale State College and beyond.
In addition, events such as this—which are so much a part of the College—could not happen without the diligent, but underappreciated work of our physical plant and classified staff who make these events, and the daily operations of our buildings, grounds and offices possible.
Graduating students, please join me in thanking your faculty, professional and classified staff---many of who have joined us today to celebrate your accomplishments.
Now, graduates, I am going to ask you to complete one more very important task before you hear the magic words.
First, please stand….now turn toward the parents, families, and friends who are here to celebrate with you.
Please join me in a round of applause to thank those people in your lives who’ve helped make this day possible.
Farmingdale State College is a unique institution. That term—unique—is overused. But it is quite appropriate here.
Last year at this very same ceremony I talked about some of the College’s outstanding accomplishments.
This year will be no exception.
At a time when higher education is receiving close and critical scrutiny, Farmingdale is a case study for what is right with both public colleges, and college students, and it is a great example of the mission and promise of public higher education to serve as an engine of opportunity.
We live that promise and that mission. By many measures, Farmingdale and its students stand out.
Commencement addresses often include pearls of wisdom or a quote from some philosopher who few really know, and fewer have actually read. So, last year—instead of offering advice—I concluded my remarks by paraphrasing Dr. Seuss’s great poem, The Places You’ll Go.
However, as I look back on the experiences of the students who are graduating today, it’s worth thinking about, and describing, the places you’ve been.
Today’s graduates have grown, changed, improved, and created a future for themselves, and the College has done so along with them.
This is not the same College you entered two, three or four years ago.
If you arrived at FSC during or after fall 2013—as nearly all of you did—you may not have realized that Farmingdale engaged in its own, unique version of the three Rs.
For us, it’s Renovation, Results, and Recognition.
Here’s what’s happened while you’ve studied here:
- A new Child Care Center
- A new School of Business building
- A renovated Nold Athletic Complex
- A new Conklin Hall for students
- The rededication of Bunche Plaza and installation of international flags
- A library renovation and upgrade to Books & Beans
- A revitalized Great Mall
Results that are remarkable such as,
- Enrollment growth that ranks among the nation’s fastest and is the fastest in SUNY during the time you’ve been here
- New partnerships with dynamic employers such as Tesla, Canon, Northwell, and D3
- A 90% employment rate within six months of graduation with vast majority being employed in a full-time job related to their field of study and working on Long Island and the New York Metropolitan area
- The addition of several new academic programs, including a rapidly growing graduate degree in Technology Management
- A nationally prestigious First in the World grant funding the highly successful RAM (Research-Aligned Mentoring) program.
- A shuttle service with over 20,000 riders per year
- 98 new faculty members
- The creation of the Nexus Center for Applied Learning and Career Development
These first two Rs have led to the third: Recognition—including:
- Recipient of SUNY’s initial award for advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
- A listing among the top 30 of America’s most affordable universities/colleges
- A US News ranking—9th among selective public colleges in the North—a significant jump since 2013-14, when many of you started
Your paths to graduation were not always easy. The degrees you earn today speak to things that you’ve done, the people you are, and who you’ve become. This is a remarkable student population.
Let me touch on some of what you’ve accomplished:
- The majority of you were employed while studying full-time
- 40% are the first generation in their families to attend college
- Nearly 200 of our students are veterans who’ve entered college after serving in our armed services - nine of whom are graduating today
- Over 320 students are from immigrant families who hold PRS and originate from over 72 different countries. This includes graduates today from places such as Cameroon, China and India…..
- One Farmingdale student won the National Collegiate Mathematics Championship
- 12 students were Fulbright Scholar finalists
- Our Dental Hygiene students participated in a Remote Area Medical project and served over 2,500 patients
- One of today’s grads will work in photovoltaic design for Tesla (Daniel Parks)
- Over 30 graduates have been hired by D3
- Since 2013, 24 students have won SUNY’s highest award - the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
- Farmingdale students won the grand prize in the regional business plan competition last year
- FSC’s National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) team has - for four years in a row - captured First Place in the Northeast Regional Competition
- Approximately 200 students have completed Construction Design Service Learning projects
- Eight SET students recently conducted, presented and published research in conjunction with a faculty member
- Since 2015 over 120 of our Bioscience and Health professions and STS graduates earned acceptance at nearly 100 different medical, dental, PA, Optometry, Veterinary, Pharmacy and PT programs/schools
Since the inception of the Applied Psych program over 100 alumni report having applied to a graduate program in their field and nearly all have been accepted.
Given all of this it is, perhaps, no surprise that we at Farmingdale State College have enjoyed the SUNY system’s most rapid rate of enrollment growth over the last six years---even as we became more selective. That is something very few colleges can claim.
We are selective, inclusive and thriving because of you and you have succeeded in many and varied ways.
And today you earn your degrees from the nation’s largest University System; one which still has among the lowest tuition levels in the USA.
As you can see, I love to talk with pride about the College, our students, and their achievements. And you should, too.
Everywhere I travel I hear from employers who’ve hired our graduates, or from graduates who’ve had great lives and careers.
So graduates, stay in touch. Join our ever expanding Alumni Association, and reach out to make the next generations of FSC graduates as outstanding as you.
I’m very pleased to introduce our keynote speaker. Chad Lupinacci is a conscientious and dedicated public servant who was recently elected Huntington town supervisor, having previously served as a member of the New York State Assembly for the Tenth District since 2012. As an Assemblyman, Mr. Lupinacci served as a member of the Higher Education committee where he was a great friend of the College and its students.
Chad is well known to the FSC community. He’s also a respected member of our business faculty, and regularly participates in campus events. Please welcome Huntington town supervisor Chad Lupinacci.
Chad Lupinacci’s remarks:
Dr. Nader, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, family and 2017 graduates.
This is a momentous year for all of us. Today, you mark a milestone in your life: completing the next, and for many of you, the final step in your education. You have worked hard for many years to reach this day, and you sit here today filled with nervous energy. You are excited, and maybe a little scared, about what is to come. Scared is not necessarily a bad thing as you set out on the next phase of your life. Keep on telling yourself: change is good, because without some degree of change, you will not achieve your long-term goals.
For many, if not most of you, this is the year that you begin your first “real” job – the one you have been preparing yourself for. The one you have been dreaming about. The one that will help define who you are.
Well, that is where I am today. On January 1, I started a new job, as the Supervisor of the Town of Huntington. This is not my first “real” job, but in many ways it is my dream job, one that I have been dreaming about for years. So let me tell you how I got there, and maybe you can pick up a tip or two as you start out on your journey.
Although I can’t remember exactly when I first learned there was such an office as Town Supervisor, once I did, I knew that was what I wanted to be. But how could I get there? I set out on a plan that would get me to where I am today.
I studied hard, and got into Hofstra University, where I majored in political science and government – a logical step for someone who wanted to make government his career.
I graduated from Hofstra and secured an internship at the White House – in the office of then First Lady Hilary Clinton. Yes, a Republican in a Democrat White House. It was quite a learning experience. It reinforced my decision to consider a government. That’s what internships do….they help you know whether you have chosen the right path.
But I knew my education wasn’t complete. I went to law school, and went back for a master’s in business. I went to work in the Assembly office of James Conte, who became my mentor. I learned about how government works to help people -- individually, to solve their problems…..and collectively, with legislation designed to make everyone's lives better.
The next logical step was to see if I liked elected office. I started with the area I knew best -- the South Huntington school district. After all, I had been a student in the district. I knew the important issues. As a product of the district, I cared deeply about the district's success.
I was elected to the school board, and I learned a lot while I was there -- about how an organization runs…about labor issues…about the importance of hiring the right people…about making the hard choices to balance budgets. This was good preparation for being a town supervisor.
I also began a college teaching career, including right here at Farmingdale. I taught…and still teach...business law. I actually first started teaching while I was in law school, when I taught high school math. I love teaching. I love interacting with students in the classroom and learning what is on their minds. It keeps me on my toes, and as much as I hope my students learn, I learn, too. And this back-and-forth in the classroom provides a great training ground for a public official. You develop skills in understanding different points of view and exchanging ideas. By the way, even though I am now the Supervisor, I plan to keep on teaching a course on weekends because I love it so much.
So there I was, happily teaching college courses and serving on the school board when a little over five years ago, my mentor, Jim Conte, passed away. I was nominated to run for his Assembly seat. I served five years in the Assembly. Among other important things, I learned about forging compromises to achieve your goals and saw first-hand how a large government -- the state -- operates.
And then, the Huntington Supervisor, Frank Petrone, announced last year that he planned to retire after 24 years in office. I was asked to run for his seat. After giving some thought about the timing, I decided that this was the right time for me to move on to the next phase of my life. So I ran for the office, and I won, and here I am, speaking to you as the Town of Huntington's 81st supervisor.
I felt that all of my experiences...my education....my time as a government intern and staffer...my school board service...and my tenure on the state legislature...had prepared me for the job. I was excited about the prospect of giving back to a community that has given me so much.
I have been in office for three weeks now. Each day, I learn more about how this complex and diverse Town of 210,000 people functions. And I hope and believe I will continue to learn as long as I hold this job. The Town will only grow if I continue to grow. And I will grow by listening and learning.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I believe the path that I took to get where I am today is no different than the path you are setting out on.
Think about what you have learned, and what you have yet to learn. Think about the journey you have taken to get where you are today. Think about all the success you have had, as well as the disappointments. Those past experiences, both positive and negative, are part of who you are today.
Think about what you want to be, and what you have to do to get there. And think about how to react when things don't go necessarily as planned, and how to make the most of the adversity we all must face at some point in our lives.
As you leave this ceremony, diploma in hand, think about how much you have accomplished and smile. You are all off to an excellent start. Continue working hard, and you should get to where you want to be. But as you head down your chosen life path, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as the end result.
Congratulations and good luck.
Thank you, Supervisor Lupinacci for your inspiring remarks.
The mission of any institution of higher education is teaching and learning. We gather here today to acknowledge the achievements of this community. To begin the first part of the awards and recognition segment, I introduce Dr. Laura Joseph, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
Each year Farmingdale State College recognizes those students who have achieved Academic Excellence in their designated programs. These students were selected by the faculty in their majors as having academic achievements that are outstanding and worthy of this special recognition. The Green and White honor cords further distinguish these students as recipients of this prestigious honor. At this time would all of our academic excellence award recipients kindly stand to be recognized?
Dr. Nader will now introduce our valedictorian of the Winter Class of 2017.
The Hilda Ward Valedictorian Medal is presented each year to a graduate who excels in scholarship. This medal is awarded in memory of Hilda Ward, who was a valued benefactor of the College and an early member of the College Council. I am proud to announce that the 2017 Winter Valedictorian will graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the 2017 Winter Valedictorian, Daniel H. Parks.
Daniel H. Parks:
Good afternoon President Nader, Provost Joseph, members of the administration, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, friends, families and fellow graduates.
On behalf of the graduating class, I would like to start by thanking the administration, faculty and staff who have really helped us realize our potential while here at Farmingdale. I would also like to thank our families for their endless support and encouragement over our entire college career. I would personally like to thank my Mom, Dad, siblings and girlfriend for always pushing me to be the best version of myself and to not give up when things get difficult but to always do what is best for me.
My fellow graduates we are gathered here today at winter commencement to celebrate our graduation as the Fall Class of 2017. Whether you realize it or not this is significant. This could mean that you are graduating a semester early, it could mean you started at another institution and then wound up at Farmingdale; it can even mean life got in the way on your journey toward your degree. The significance is that each one of us has had to face some sort of adversity or obstacle during our college career. That could be second guessing your major or having to pay bills instead of taking more classes. But, now that we have made it to this day, we don’t have to think so much about the hard times; we can look back and appreciate the path we took because it got us to this point.
From a young age, engineering and technology have always inspired and captivated me. Mechanical and engineering systems can range from simple to complex. Seemingly unrelated components can come together to perform a completely new task, almost like components of a larger system. Some of us here today will go on to be engineers, nurses, teachers, doctors, just to name a few professions. Each one of us will fit together in society and play a role in this large- scale mechanical system called life. As children some of us, dare I say all of us, have had grandiose dreams of dramatically changing the world for the better. Whether it was the biology major dreaming of becoming the researcher who cured cancer or the engineer who dreamed of creating a way to bring everyone in the world clean drinking water. As a naïve kid, I thought the only way to change the world was to invent something like a device that could supply endless clean renewable energy, or do something ground breaking like find a way to end world hunger in one fell swoop. Being older and slightly wiser (or more realistic), I can see that those grandiose ideas are amazing, but they are not the only way to create change in the world. If each one of us simply goes out into the world and loves the work we do, with that same wonder and enthusiasm we had as children, we will inadvertently change the world for the better. That biology major may not be the one who finds the cure, but her/his work can lay the groundwork for another team to find that cure. That engineer who wanted to create a source of clean renewable energy can go out and test different prototypes and then will inspire the next generation to make his/her dream a reality. These examples show that every journey starts with the first step. We can be the ones to take those first steps. I for one look forward to all of us creating, as Mahatma Gandhi said, the change we want to see in the world! I would like to end with a quote by Neil DeGrasse Tyson that has always inspired me: “We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.”
Thank you Daniel and congratulations.
Dr. Joseph will now present the Diploma Candidates to President Nader who will confer their degrees.
Will the degree candidates please stand.
President Nader, subject to verification, these candidates who stand before you have been recommended by the faculty as having completed requirements for the degrees of Associate in Arts, Associate in Applied Science, Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Technology.
On behalf of the College Council, and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, and by the State University Chancellor, the Honorable Kristina M. Johnson, I confer upon the successful candidates, the degrees of Associate in Arts, Associate in Applied Science, Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Technology. Congratulations!
Candidates, please line up and, as each name is called, walk across the platform to shake hands with Dr. Nader and to receive your diploma cover from Dr. Joseph. A souvenir ticket and lapel pin, gifts from the College, will be given to you by Dr. Tom Corti and Ms. Regina Vazquez after your photo is taken. To give each the courtesy of being recognized, we ask all guests to please remain seated.
Will Dr. Mary Caulfield and Mr. Gene Peters please come forward to announce our graduates.
(440 Graduates in Order of Procession)
Anne Sabine Mirville
George Evan Malafis
Addison Augustin Ii
Jennifer Isloa Morataya
Yvette Carmen Noriega
Cruz Rosario Jr.
Jose Manuel Perez Duque
Dillon E. Taylor
Qasim Muhammed Khan
Jacqueline Devin Lewis
William T. Walsh
Guru Prasad Nochikattuvalasu Thangarat
Maritza A Moya
Mary Grace Bullis
Taha Ali Alvi
Jared Forbes Issac Monah
Alejandro Ponaldo Senn
Kara A. Hendricks
Michael Anderson Jr
Tony Vito Palmer
Kanza A. Khan
Graduates, please stand. You may now move your tassels to the left. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride we present to you the Farmingdale State College graduating Winter Class of 2017.
As the Grand Marshal stands at the ready, it reminds us that Commencement begins and ends with an academic procession.
It does so in part, to sustain the honor and dignity of the event. We will now recess from this area, and I ask that all guests please remain seated until the platform party, faculty and graduates have left the arena. For safety reasons, please meet your graduate after the recession.
Will the platform party, faculty, and graduates please stand. Leading us out will be the President’s platform party, then the faculty/staff, and then our Winter Class of 2017.