Erie Community College held its 63rd annual commencement May 18, 2011 in the sports arena at Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.
ECC graduated a total of approximately 2,000 students for the 2010-2011 academic year, including students who received associate degrees in September 2010 and January 2011.
Buffalo City Drug and Mental Health Courts presiding Judge Robert T. Russell was the keynote speaker.
Russell established the nation’s first Veterans Treatment Court in collaboration with the Western New York Health Care Network, Western New York Veterans Project and volunteer veterans from throughout the community. He also created Buffalo’s Drug Treatment and Mental Health Treatment Courts.
Russell currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Judges’ Criminal Justice Mental Health Leadership Initiative. He is the past chairman of the board of directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the past president of the New York State Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals.
For his work, Russell has received the Erie County Bar Association’s Award of Merit; the New York State Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution; the Vietnam Veterans of America Achievement Medal from the National Vietnam Veterans of America and the James E. Van Zandt Citizenship Award from The National Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. He has also been honored with the Nancy D. Smith Memoriam Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Professional Service Award from the Mental Health Association of Erie County.
Erie Community College meets the needs of a diverse student body and contributes to regional economic vitality by providing excellent, flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in a multi-campus environment committed to continuous improvement.