more than 240
By Dan Hust
LOCH SHELDRAKE In dramatic fashion, the midcourt curtain slowly rose Saturday to reveal more than 240 brand new graduates inside Sullivan County Community College’s fieldhouse in Loch Sheldrake.
The accompanying roar from the crowd cued the beginning of SCCC’s 45th annual commencement ceremony, filled with the requisite pomp but even more so with hope and pride.
“I hope this day is a preparation of greater things to come for all of you,” SCCC President Mamie Howard Golladay told the grads and their families.
“Like it says in the brochure,” remarked childhood education graduate Thomas Olton in his speech to the crowd, “this is just ‘the start of something great,’ not the end.”
Calling himself a “terrible student” in high school, Olton flourished at SCCC, becoming president of the honor society, joining a host of clubs, and on Saturday, earning the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
“Do all the things you never intended to do,” he advised his classmates. “You’ll be richer for it.”
And there’s certainly more to come, added Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.
“This is the first of many milestones in your life,” she said with admiration. “... You’re graduating from a fine college that has nurtured so many successful individuals.”
Some of those nurturers, in fact, received accolades themselves. Chancellor’s Awards were given to professors Diane Riegal, Michael Fisher, Anne Ruskiewicz and staff member Sandra Burn, all for outstanding service to the college community.
“Seeing you here today,” said County Legislator Leni Binder to the teachers and students, “we know we have made the right choice as the steward of your tax dollars.”
Gunther gave the graduates one last charge before they moved on to bright futures:
“Be ready, be aware and be assertive.”