Commencements Set for Friday, Saturday

Commencements Set for Friday, Saturday


SUNY Cortland will conduct its graduate and undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21 in the Park Center Alumni Arena.

The graduate ceremony for students earning master’s degrees and certificates of advanced study is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. Two undergraduate ceremonies – one at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. – will be held Saturday.

An estimated 1,517 seniors will receive bachelor’s degrees during the undergraduate Commencement exercises, which will be presided over by SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. The College will award 296 master’s degrees and 24 certificates of advanced study at the graduate Commencement.

Two speakers will deliver Commencement addresses at the undergraduate programs. Jan Richards Whitaker ’65, a marathon canoe racer whose innovative programs have helped thousands of people with disabilities gain confidence and improved health through adaptive paddling, will address the graduates during the morning ceremony. Margaret Leng Tan, a classically trained pianist who explores alternative forms of music and unconventional instruments, will address the graduates during the afternoon ceremony. The State University of New York will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters upon Whitaker and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts upon Tan during Commencement.

President Bitterbaum will welcome the graduates at both undergraduate ceremonies. Mark Prus, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will recognize the honor graduates. The 2009-10 and 2010-11 Student Government Association (SGA) President Jesse Campanaro, a senior business economics major from Monticello, N.Y., will deliver remarks. Joining President Bitterbaum in conferring the degrees will be R. Bruce Mattingly, dean of arts and sciences; and John Cottone, dean of professional studies and interim dean of education.

At the graduate Commencement, Prus will offer a welcome, and Bonnie Jean Harding of Cortland, N.Y., a candidate for Master of Science in Education: Teaching Students with Disabilities, will provide remarks on behalf of the graduates. President Bitterbaum will deliver the charge to the graduates and Mattingly and Cottone will present the degrees and certificates to the graduates.

Nancy Niskin Sorbella ’82, the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association president, will officially welcome the graduates at all three ceremonies into the ranks of the College’s more than 62,000 alumni.

The Undergraduate Commencement Committee is co-chaired by Virginia B. Levine, executive assistant to the president, and Marley Sweet Barduhn ’76, assistant provost for teacher education, academic affairs. The Graduate Commencement Committee is co-chaired by Levine and Hailey Ruoff ’98, assistant director of instructional technologies and design services.

This year, both undergraduate Commencement ceremonies will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable access Channel 17 to viewers in the Cortland area. The ceremonies can also be viewed on campus in any classroom equipped with a television, on channels 2 and 17.

Graduating seniors wishing to acknowledge their multicultural heritage will also participate in a Kente Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 20, in the Corey Union Function Room. The traditional, woven multicolored kente cloth of Ghana, originally worn by royalty, has become an important symbol for many African-Americans to highlight their connection to the African continent.