Winter Commencement 2023 Set for Dec. 16
Nearly 300 graduate and undergraduate candidates are eligible to cross the dais at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Winter Commencement.
The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 in the university’s Field House gymnasium.
In addition to conferral of bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificates of advanced study, two people will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award, given by the Plattsburgh University Council in recognition of those who have directly or indirectly played a key role in advancing the university.
The featured speaker will be Andrea Garcia, a nutrition major and chemistry minor from Nyack, N.Y., who will welcome her classmates into the fold of SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal alumni. It is a university tradition for the student speaker to be a member of the graduating class.
The first of two recipients of the Distinguished Service Award will be Jacqueline Madison, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Association in Ausable Chasm, N.Y., an organization that celebrates the lives of abolitionists and freedom seekers and rediscovery of the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad, with a special concentration on seven northeastern New York counties.
Madison, a native of North Carolina, is a U.S. Army veteran having served in the Vietnam War. After a tour in Germany, where she met her husband, Calvin, the pair lived at Fort Riley, Kansas, and then Washington State and Champlain, N.Y., where her degree in chemistry was applied first at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Washington and then at Wyeth/Pfizer in Champlain, from which she retired in 2010.
Madison’s community involvement includes membership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Commemoration Committee, the Women’s Rights Alliance of New York State and the Rotary Club of Plattsburgh.
Keith Tyo will be the second recipient of the honor, having served at SUNY Plattsburgh for nearly 23 years, first as executive director of communications and later executive assistant then chief of staff to the president.
As chief of staff, Tyo was a key component of the leadership team of former President John Ettling. Tyo’s range of responsibilities included SUNY system and governmental affairs, special projects, and work on a range of issues, from emergency response to public relations. He led the university’s engagement with economic development efforts, including early work on the state START-UP NY program.
A Chancellor’s Award for Professional Service recipient, Tyo is a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Plattsburgh, having been named a Paul Harris Fellow and Rotarian of the Year, among other awards. Prior to work at SUNY Plattsburgh, he served as director of public relations at Paul Smith’s College, special legislative assistant to former New York Assemblyman John G.A. O’Neil, director of public relations/corporate development for the Adirondack North Country Association and as a radio announcer for WPDM/WSNN in Potsdam, N.Y., making use of his communications studies degree from SUNY Oswego.
This year’s student speaker originally planned to attend a nursing program in Philadelphia, Pa., but Garcia said she noticed SUNY Plattsburgh had a BS/MS physician assistant studies track in collaboration with Albany Medical College.
“I had applied in February and gone through the interview process in March, and by the end of the month, I had received an acceptance letter from AMC,” she said. “The physician assistant profession was one that I thought I wouldn’t be able to achieve despite my sincere desire to be a part of it. Nursing would have still allowed me to work with patients, work with Pas and live a comfortable lifestyle. It was my safety.
“My decision to apply to SUNY Plattsburgh’s pre-PA track was my way of shooting for the moon, and in my case, I landed. This program is one of SUNY Plattsburgh’s hidden gems, and I’m forever grateful that I had stumbled upon this opportunity by sheer curiosity and ambition.”
University President Alexander Enyedi will preside over commencement exercises with Dr. Brent Carbajal, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, presenting candidates for degrees. Matthew Veich ’94, first vice president, Plattsburgh Alumni Association, will welcome the new alumni into the association.
As has become the custom, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Bagpipe Band will perform “Scotland the Brave” and “The Rowan Tree” in procession as well as “The Green Hills” and “Balmoral” in recession.
The Dec. 16 event will be livestreamed at https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/commencement/livestream.html.
For more information, contact the Office of the President at 518-564-2010 or email [email protected].
— Photo, Story by Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs