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SUNY Plattsburgh Commencement Dec. 17

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Accounting and business major Hira Shafqat recently made a frantic early morning phone call to her home in Pakistan. The news? She had just been chosen the student speaker for Winter Commencement at the State University of New York College of Plattsburgh on Saturday, Dec. 17.

The graduation ceremony is set for 11 a.m. in the Field House with more than 450 SUNY Plattsburgh students eligible to receive bachelor's and master's degrees and certificates of advanced study.

"I never believed I would get this honor," said Shafqat. "I didn't think I stood a chance. Dr. (David) Mowry called me and told me my speech had been chosen and I told him, 'You made my day.'"

Shafqat, who will be graduating Magna Cum Laude , has been an outstanding student as well as a very active one on campus. Among her many activities, she is a resident assistant in Wilson Hall, a founding member of the International Student Service Committee and treasurer of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).

"When I first came to Plattsburgh, I wasn't that involved, but then as I made friends from different countries, they were really helpful in talking to me about joining different groups," she said. "I first became involved with SIFE as the vice president. From there, I became a resident assistant then started doing community service. I had excellent people to guide me."

Her post-graduation plans include going to work for an auditing firm in Washington, D.C.

Shafqat said that she has enjoyed being a student at Plattsburgh and will miss the people she's met here.

"I will miss being an RA. That was a wonderful experience. I got to meet and interact with a lot of people. I will also miss my friends and my professors a lot."

Shafqat said that one professor in particular went above and beyond: "Dr. Gaber (associate professor and chair of accounting). I probably cannot ever repay him."

Shafqat said that her speech will focus on how students make choices -- the choice of Plattsburgh, the choice of what residence hall to live in, the choice of friends, the choice of majors.

"I called my grandfather to tell him the news of being the student speaker, because he has played a very important part of my life. I wanted to share this with him the most. He helped me with my speech," said Shafqat.

President John Ettling will preside over the commencement ceremony, and Dr. Charles I. Zinser, professor of geography, will serve as the faculty marshal. Zinser will lead the processional of faculty and students into the ceremony, carrying the College mace.

The Adirondack Brass will provide the music, including  "Pomp and Circumstance," and the Champlain District Pipe Band will also perform. The Cardinal Singers, under the direction of Jo Ellen Miano, associate professor of music, will also perform. 

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