SUNY New Paltz to celebrate commencement on May 20

SUNY New Paltz will hold its May undergraduate gommencement ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. this Sunday, May 20, on the Old Main Quadrangle. The graduate ceremony will be held on Friday, May 18 at 6 p.m. in the same location. This year, there are more than 1,900 undergraduate and 605 graduate degrees being conferred. There will be 1,291 undergraduates and 231 graduate candidates participating in the ceremonies who will celebrate their achievements in the presence of their family and friends. All members of the campus community are invited and encouraged to attend the ceremonies, which will recognize two cohorts of students: August and December 2011 and May and August 2012 candidates. President Donald P. Christian will preside over the ceremonies.

College of Staten Island President Dr. Tomás Morales, an alumnus of New Paltz, will be this year’s undergraduate commencement speaker. He will also receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony. This is the highest honor that SUNY can bestow upon an individual and is authorized by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Danielle Brown was selected as this year’s valedictorian. Brown, who achieved a perfect overall grade-point average of 4.0 during her four years at the college, will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in adolescence education/English. She will deliver a short speech to her fellow graduates during the ceremony.


Corinna L. Rideway is the salutatorian. Ridgeway, who also has a 4.0 GPA, will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a cell and molecular concentration.

At the ceremonies, five members of the college’s academic, professional and classified staff will receive the 2012 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in the categories of classified service, faculty service, librarianship and professional service. They are: Cecelia Donato, secretary in the department of elementary education will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in classified service; Gwen Havranek, director of business operations for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Linda Smith, senior instructional technologist in the department of academic computing, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in professional service; and Susan Kraat, associate librarian and coordinator of instructional service in the Sojourner Truth Library, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in librarianship. Tom Meyer, associate professor in the department of secondary education and director of the Hudson Valley Writing Project, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in faculty service at the graduate ceremony on Friday evening.