Degrees Conferred at SUNY Plattsburgh Winter Commencement 2018
The SUNY Plattsburgh Alumni Association formally welcomed more than 300 newly minted graduates into its fold Saturday during the annual Winter Commencement held at the field house.
Marching in to “Scotland the Brave” and “The Rowan Tree” as performed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Bagpipe Band, students entered the field house to cheering and waving friends and family. Faculty then followed Richard Mikkelson, distinguished teaching professor of art, who carried the college mace at the Dec. 15 ceremony.
College President John Ettling, who presided over the order of exercises, led the group of administrators and invited guests to the dais.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2018 Winter Commencement,” he told those gathered before the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir performed the National Anthem.
After introducing the platform guests, Ettling gave special recognition to those students in attendance who graduated with honors, those serving in the military, and the faculty and staff who supported graduates throughout their educational careers.
Michaela Cahoon then took the podium who, as student speaker, encouraged her fellow graduates to pay it forward and help those in need.
“As we leave SUNY Plattsburgh and the campus community, we must use what we learned to become the mentors, advocates and allies that others can rely on when they are turned around,” she said. “We must use our voices and actions to incite positive change and speak up for those whose voices are silenced.
“It is now our turn to be the person who shows the way or holds someone by the hand to help. SUNY Plattsburgh has given us the ability to make a positive change for ourselves and others, and now we must go dot it.”
Ettling, who will be retiring as president after the academic year, thanked the graduates for choosing SUNY Plattsburgh and commended them for their “activism and attention on matters of diversity, inclusion and social justice. As a campus, we intend to be a leader for others to follow, creating a greater climate of understanding. Your role in this growing effort has been critical,” he said.
“After you leave here, I have great confidence many of you will contribute to making our world a better place for yourselves, your families and generations to come. You will take the opportunities you’ve had — from experiential learning and community connections to conversations with faculty mentors and fellow students — and achieve much.
“We join with your parents, family and friends on this special occasion because we are proud of the many students who have graduated from this institution, especially for the first-generation students who are graduating from college today. At this moment, in this building, I want you to know how proud I am of your accomplishments to this point in your lives,” he said.
Dr. David Hill, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the candidates for their degrees, after which Ettling conferred them. Once every student — graduate and undergraduate — crossed the platform to be greeted by the president, Jessica Falace, outgoing president of the Student Association, led the graduates in the official tassel change, from right to left, where it hangs over the heart.
Dr. Joseph Tolliver ’72 G’73, a member of the Plattsburgh Alumni Association Board of Directors, welcomed graduates into the association.
“I know I speak for my colleagues on the alumni board when I offer you our sincerest congratulations and tell you that we are most hopeful that you will continue your involvement with your alma mater. You have an important role as alumni of SUNY Plattsburgh,” he said. “We hope you will help us to ensure students following in your footsteps will also enjoy the ‘Plattsburgh experience’ we are celebrating today.”
Following a rendition of the alma mater by the Gospel Choir, the bagpipers led the recessional by playing“The Green Hills” and “Balmoral.”