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Commencement Set for May 15

PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK __ More than 900 students at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh are eligible to participate in Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 15 at 11 a.m. at the Field House.

Among the special awards to be presented during the ceremony, two important individuals to the College will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

Robert Garrow and Dr. John Clark will be recognized for their contributions and service by the College Council.

Garrow graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in education. He received his master's degree in education administration in 1959 from Plattsburgh.

Garrow served as chair of the College Council for nearly 18 years. He was appointed in June 1986 and stepped down from the council this past March.

"The opportunity of serving my alma mater for nearly 18 years has been a joy and wonderful experience," said Garrow. "I've been most fortunate to have served with many college council members who, like myself, have a deep love for the College."

Clark began his tenure as the interim president of Plattsburgh State last June. When he came to campus, Clark said that there were three main goals he wanted to accomplish during his time at the College.

"The first goal is to prepare the way for the new president," said Clark. "The second is to set short term goals and keep the ship moving. The third goal is to set a positive tone on campus."

Chancellor Robert King  said, "This has been John's first assignment in higher education. I frankly cannot imagine that anybody could have done a better job -- he far exceeded everyone's expectations."

Ashley Gambino The student commencement speaker will be Ashley Gambino, a communication disorders and sciences major from Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. She will be graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Gambino, a Presidential Scholarship recipient, has been very active in the Honors Program and the Honor Student Association.

She's not done with her higher education experience just yet. She had several top universities courting her for graduate school. Her decision: SUNY Buffalo, where she'll be in the four-year audiology doctorate program.

"I'm excited, nervous, but excited," said Gambino, who spent a semester of her junior year in Florence, Italy as part of the Study Abroad Program.

Gambino said she found it impossible not to get involved. Among a list of activities, she is a Student Ambassador, a Resident Assistant in Kent Hall and has been a teaching assistant for Dr. David Mowry, director of the Honors Center. She's a member of the Honors Council, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

Several awards will also be given at Commencement.

Nancy Kress, a 1969 graduate of Plattsburgh State with a degree in education, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. She is one of America's most distinguished authors of science fiction and has written 21 books, including 13 novels of science fiction or fantasy, one novel for young adults, two thrillers, three story collections and two books on writing.

Sussy Komala, will receive the Distinguished Alumna Award during Commencement. Komala graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1974 with a degree in English. She left an 18-year career in international marketing and management in 1997 to become a full-time writer. A Chinese-Indonesian native of Hong Kong, Komala is now one of Asia's leading English language novelists. An author of five books of fiction, she also co-edited an anthology of Hong Kong writings in English. Other published writings include essays, op-eds and book reviews. Her work is taught and anthologized internationally.

A few faculty and staff members will be honored during the ceremony. Dr. Mark Cohen will be singled out for his promotion to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor. This academic rank is the highest honor that SUNY can bestow. Cohen is the first faculty member at Plattsburgh State to achieve this rank.

Richard Mikkelson will be honored for his promotion to SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Art, and Dr. Nancy Church will be honored for her promotion to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing and Management.

The Chancellor's Award recipients will also be recognized during Commencement. Dr. Nancy Elwess, associate professor of biology, is the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching while Dr. Donald Adams, professor of earth and environmental science, is the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. Dr. Kathleen Camelo, director of the Center for Student Health and Psychological Services, is the recipient for the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

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