May 21, 2008
Farmingdale State's Class of 2008 Begin a New Journey
Two Honorary Doctorates Awarded at 89th Commencement Exercises
Cheers and applause erupted from families and friends as more than 400 students, including 75 with Latin honors, received their Farmingdale State's degrees as part of the Class of 2008. Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters were awarded to Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Spann Watson and Hollywood actor William Fichtner , class of '76, at the College's 89th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 18.
Watson and Fichtner expressed gratitude and humility in accepting their honors. It is an honor to be recognized by "this learned assembly of scholars and high achievers," said Watson. "Keep on making America a better place." Fichtner was overwhelmed with emotion, saying, "Every time I'm here, I get choked up." He credited Farmingdale for his discovery of performing arts and encouraged the crowd, "Don't ever settle for less than your heart wants."
President W. Hubert Keen welcomed the crowd saying, "You are embarking upon a new journey, and I hope the path is long. I hope your journey is filled with adventure, the kind of adventure that leads to greater knowledge for the benefit of your own self-enlightenment, and for the benefit of human society. I hope it is a journey that brings you satisfaction with your life. Farmingdale State College has prepared you for your travels. You have learned from the faculty, the staff, and from your fellow students. You will discover.that this college has not let you down, that it has prepared you for your journey. The greatest gift of the college.is that now you know.that there is much more to be learned, many experiences to be had on your journey. And you are ready; it is time to set out upon the journey."
Senator Charles Schumer was also present and addressed the graduating class.
Valedictorian Vincenza Sugamiele, who arrived only seven years ago from Sicily , earned a bachelor's degree in professional communications. Sugamiele explained the achievement was for oneself and success was in the eyes of others. "Always aim for achievement and forget about success," she said.
Almost thirty members of the class of 1958 reminisced about the "farm" at their 50th anniversary reunion, held the night before commencement .