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SUNY Plattsburgh Celebrates its Class of 2006

PLATTSBURGH, NY __There were plenty of hugs and signs of jubilation after nearly 900 students at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh walked across the dais in the Field House today during two commencement ceremonies.

President John Ettling congratulates a new alumnus of SUNY Plattsburgh. The first ceremony began at 10 a.m. for students majoring in programs within the Division of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Business and Economics.  The second ceremony commenced at 2 p.m. for students in the Division of Arts and Science.

Jaclyne Demarse-Marcil, a graduating senior from Plattsburgh with a double major in history and Latin American studies, told her fellow graduates during the 10 a.m. ceremony that the essence of dreaming was to reach high, to climb steadily and to be aware of the unexpected changes that can shift the course.

"We have obtained degrees in fields that we love - in nursing, in education, in business in social sciences, in Latin American studies and numerous other areas," said Demarse-Marcil during her speech. "And we are confident that we are heading for great things in our professional and personal lives - careers, graduate schools, relationships. This is our graduation. We are justifiably proud of ourselves because we have achieved an academic milestone."

A Presidential Scholarship recipient, Demarse-Marcil is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and had the opportunity to spend last fall in Washington, D.C., as an intern for the State Department, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

"We should continue to challenge our passions so that each day excites us, and we should never stop learning and searching," concluded Demarse-Marcil.

The second ceremony at 2 p.m. featured student speaker Jannel Gabriel, who talked about her experience in Plattsburgh as an international student from St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

"I remember just a few years ago my friends and family praised my decision to continue my education and told me that it was just the beginning of my journey to success," said Gabriel during her afternoon speech. "So I resigned from my job as teller number three at the local bank, left my homeland of St. Lucia and set off for a town that most people had never even heard of."

Hugs and jubilation marked SUNY Plattsburgh Commencement Ceremonies. Gabriel has been an active member of the Plattsburgh community and has served as a resident assistant in Wilson Hall, a member of Club Caribbean, a tutor with the Clinton County Literacy Volunteers and an on-air personality at the campus radio station, WQKE. She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies and was the recipient of the New York State Women's Farming Association Scholarship.

"You, as a Plattsburgh State graduate, have a responsibility to uphold the standards of excellence set by accomplished and talented alums who have gone before you." said Gabriel.
Several awards were also presented during the ceremonies:

* Ronald B. Stafford , who represented the citizens of the 45th Senatorial District for 37 years in the New York State Senate, was posthumously awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the State University of New York. His wife, Kay Stafford, accepted the honor on her late husband's behalf. 

* Dr. John Grant , a 1982 SUNY Plattsburgh graduate and geologist with the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, received the SUNY honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

* Arnold Amell , 1953 alumnus, received the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented by the College Council.

* Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu , 1983 alumna, was honored with the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award. Bauer-Wu is the director of the Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. She also holds faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts.

President John Ettling presided over the commencement ceremony as the 10th president of SUNY Plattsburgh. Donald Garrant, College Council chair and a 1957 graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, and Amell, College Council vice chair, presented the diploma covers to the graduates as they walked across the dais.

Dr. Lois Beach, associate professor and chair of adolescence/health education, was the faculty marshal for the first ceremony. Dr. Charles Zinser, professor of geography, was the faculty marshal for the second ceremony. The faculty marshal leads the processional of faculty and students into the ceremony, carrying the traditional College mace.

During both ceremonies, The Adirondack Brass played "Pomp and Circumstance" and the Champlain District Pipe Band played the bagpipes. The Cardinal Singers, under the direction of JoEllen Miano, associate professor of music, sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
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