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News Stories

SUNY Erie Celebrates Commencement 2019

Article by: Paula Sandy

The 71st graduating class of SUNY Erie Community College walked across the stage at Commencement on Wednesday, May 22 at the SUNY Buffalo State Sports Arena. SUNY Erie President Dr. Dan Hocoy presided over his second commencement ceremony, while Board of Trustees’ Chairman Leonard Lenihan served as the Master of Ceremonies.

In addressing the graduates, President Hocoy congratulated the students for their service to the College extolling the many projects and accolades of this class. “This year, you have been pioneers in helping to address issues of food insecurity and domestic violence among college students, as well as hunger and homelessness in the community,” Dr. Hocoy said. “This year, you have been award winners and keynote speakers. You are artists on and off the stage, and you are innovators in and out of the classroom. You are athletes who shone in the national spotlight. You are leaders among your peers. You represent the best of who we are as a college. You are SUNY Erie.”

The commencement address was delivered by Dennis Murphy, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, owner of The Mansion on Delaware and Hotel Henry, and a SUNY Erie alumni. In his address, Murphy noted that he moved out of the region shortly after his graduation but he always took the spirit of SUNY Erie with him and encouraged this year’s graduates to do the same. For his nine years of service to the college, President Hocoy presented Murphy with the President’s Award for Distinguished Service to the College.

Students awards were presented during the ceremony, recognizing individual students for their accomplishments this year. The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 and is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by his or her SUNY college or university. SUNY Erie’s 2019 awardees include: Fahmo Abdullahi, Liberal Arts & Science – General Studies; Kyle Harris, General Studies; Kevin Joseph, General Studies; Michael Malama, Business Administration; and Ahmad Rashid, General Studies. 

The SUNY Erie President’s Award, given annually to a student who embraces the SUNY Erie philosophy of holistic growth, was awarded to General Studies student Amhad Rashid. As a Student Government Officer, Rashid was a tireless advocate for City Campus students and the community. Rashid along with Social Science graduate Kelly Riviera received the 2019 All-New York Academic Award, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa in recognition of their high GPAs, as well as leadership and service outside the classroom. Ryan Woodring, a United States Army Combat Veteran who served more than six years including a deployment to Afghanistan, was the 2019 recipient of the Veteran’s Achievement Award. Woodring’s focus on mission, discipline, and courage in the face of adversity helped him to excel during his time at SUNY Erie.

Nearly 1,000 students participated in the 2019 commencement ceremony.

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