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SUNY Plattsburgh Spring Commencement Exercises to be Held May 17

SUNY Plattsburgh’s spring commencement will pay tribute to the nearly 1,100 students eligible to graduate in May and in August from the Plattsburgh and Queensbury campuses Saturday, May 17.

Two ceremonies are scheduled at the Field House gymnasium, the first beginning at 9 a.m. honoring students graduating with degrees from the Division of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Business and Economics.

The second ceremony begins at 2 p.m. and honors students who have earned degrees in the Division of Arts and Science.

The student speakers at Saturday’s festivities will be Kym Taylor of Chazy, N.Y., and Matt McDonald of Red Hook, N.Y.

Taylor is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in English literature. She will address graduates in the morning ceremony.

Meanwhile, McDonald, an English writing arts major who is also graduating summa cum laude, will serve as the speaker at the afternoon ceremony.

This year, SUNY will bestow an honorary doctor of fine letters upon Dr. Noriko Hasegawa, an award-winning watercolorist who honed her craft at SUNY Plattsburgh under the tutelage of Edward Brohel, director emeritus of the Plattsburgh Art Museum, and Thomas Holland, a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh in the early 1970s. In addition to gifts of some 23 works of art to the museum, Hasegawa established the Hasegawa Art Collections Endowment, which helps the college maintain its collection. Stephen Hunt of the SUNY Board of Trustees will present the honorary degree to the artist and philanthropist.

Additionally, the 2014 Distinguished Service Award will go to Dr. Patricia Higgins, distinguished service professor emerita of anthropology and intern provost and vice president emerita of academic affairs. The Distinguished Service Award is presented by the College Council to honor individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the college, community, state, nation and/or to the international community. Salvatore Graven, acting chair of the College Council, will present the award to Higgins, who joined the anthropology department in the fall of 1973.

“The lasting quality of Dr. Higgins’ contributions is evident in many ways,” said Dr. Stephen Light, associate vice president for academic affairs. “ First and foremost, the thousands of students in her anthropology courses over the years have taken with them the many insights learned from her as they graduated and moved on to lead meaningful and productive lives.

Noting her influence on academic programs, policies, accreditation, student success programs and more, Dr. Stephen Light, associate vice president for academic affairs, said, “It would not be an exaggeration to say that the entire academic experience at SUNY Plattsburgh has been shaped by Dr. Higgins’ efforts and vision.”

Following the student commencement address, Dr. James Liszka, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will present the candidates for degrees.

Joseph DeSalvo, a member of the Class of 1989 and treasurer of the Plattsburgh Alumni Association, will formally welcome graduates into the Alumni Association

Musical selections will be performed by the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Bagpipe Band.

The graduation ceremonies are free and open to the public.

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