Undergraduates to Walk on May 21

Undergraduates to Walk on May 21


SUNY Cortland will conduct two undergraduate Commencement ceremonies — one at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. — on Saturday, May 21, in the Park Center Alumni Arena.

An estimated 1,517 seniors will receive bachelor’s degrees during Commencement exercises, which will be presided over by SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum.

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. A prelude, processional and recessional music will be provided by the Cortland Brass Ensemble.

President Bitterbaum will deliver the charge to graduates.

During the morning ceremony, David Hollenback, associate professor emeritus of communication studies, will carry the mace, a ceremonial staff used as a symbol of institutional authority at the College’s Commencement and academic convocations. Four multi-colored gonfalons, representing the College, its School of Arts and Sciences, its School of Education and its School of Professional Studies, will be carried, respectively, by Thomas Mwanika, professor of communication studies; Karen Zimmerman, associate professor (music) of performing arts; Kimberly Rombach, assistant professor of childhood/early childhood education; and John Foley, associate professor of physical education.

During the afternoon commencement, Lawrence Ashley, professor emeritus of philosophy, will carry the mace. Carrying the gonfalons will be: Margaret Anderson, professor of psychology, with the All-School banner; Paulo Quaglio, associate professor of modern languages, representing the School of Arts and Sciences; Judith Bentley, assistant professor of foundations and social advocacy, representing the School of Education; and Sharon Todd, associate professor and chair of recreation, parks and leisure studies, for the School of Professional Studies.

President Bitterbaum will welcome the graduates at both 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.

A total of 113 students are scheduled to graduate summa cum laude — the highest academic honor — with grade point averages of at least 3.75 on a scale of 4.00.

The largest number of majors set to graduate in each of the three schools are: 210 physical education majors in the School of Professional Studies, 178 childhood education majors in the School of Education, and 81 communication studies majors in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Nancy Niskin Sorbella ’82, the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association president, will officially welcome the graduates 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.

Other committee members include: Sila Argyle, supervising janitor, custodial services; Seth Asumah, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, professor of political science and chair of Africana studies; Ashley Aurilio ’11, student representative; Darci Bacigalupi, special events coordinator; Laurie Barton, assistant to the president; Mary Kate Boland, assistant director of leadership and community development, campus activities; Terence Cahill, College Store director; Mark DePaull, university police assistant chief; Ralph Dudgeon, professor of performing arts; junior Benjamin Herman, student representative; David Horrocks, assistant director of buildings and grounds services; Cheryl Jewell, assistant manager of sports facilities and manger of the Alumni Arena; Emilie Kudela, associate professor and early childhood coordinator of childhood/early childhood education; Kathleen Lawrence, associate professor of communication studies; Eric Malmberg, professor of physical education; William McNamara, director of dining services; Megan Munson, campus catering manager; Mary Murphy ’87, university police lieutenant; Tracy Rammacher, director of publications and electronic media; Susan Rayl, associate professor of kinesiology; Hailey Ruoff ’98, assistant director, instructional technologies and design services; Lee Scott-Mack, associate registrar; Timothy Slack, director of physical plant; Brad Snyder, associate director of classroom media services; and Brooke Weidman ’11, student representative.

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 seen on campus in any classroom equipped with a television, on channels 2 and 17.

Under a tradition inaugurated at the 2004 ceremony by President Bitterbaum, undergraduates may honor a special person who has helped them achieve their academic pursuit or goals. The respective name of the honoree will be read along with each graduate.

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.