SUNY Oneonta celebrated the Class of 2022 during the college’s 133rd commencement ceremonies on campus Saturday, May 21, the hottest day of the year so far.
Students, family and friends gathered inside the Alumni Field House to recognize the 1,101 undergraduate students and 143 graduate students who have completed graduation requirements this semester. Depending on their academic major, graduates were recognized at either the 9 a.m. School of Sciences ceremony, the 1 p.m. School of Liberal Arts and Business ceremony or the 4:30 p.m. School of Education, Human Ecology and Sports Studies ceremony.
Outside the Field House, college employees worked in 90-degree heat, directing traffic, taking tickets, running shuttles, answering questions from guests and preparing refreshments for the after-ceremony receptions held under a tent in the academic quad. Red, the college’s dragon mascot, posed for photos with students and families.
“It was definitely the hottest day of the year so far,” confirmed SUNY Oneonta alumnus Michael Kistner, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Binghamton. Kistner graduated in 2002 with a degree in meteorology.
“Behave Everyday with Radical Compassion”
During the ceremonies, college President Alberto Cardelle welcomed students and their families and friends and commended the graduates for their resiliency. He also asked the graduates to commit themselves to “proving the wisdom of those that have invested in your education.”
“Your first and immediate task will be to serve as a constant antidote to the toxic polarization and loathing that has distorted our national discourse and our basic mutual respect for each other,” President Cardelle said, followed by applause from the audience. “Be sympathetic, be empathetic, and behave every day with radical compassion, because as the Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú says, ‘The people are the only ones capable of transforming society.’”
Other speakers who offered congratulatory remarks included Keith Jones, presiding officer of the faculty; College Council Chair Patrick E. Brown ’78; and Dennis Craig, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Purchase College. Craig, who served as Acting President of SUNY Oneonta for a year, gave the address to graduates and was recognized for his service to the college with a special College Council Resolution.
Senior Class President Jillian Martelle also spoke.
“Looking back, I can confidently say that I took one of the biggest leaps of my life attending SUNY Oneonta,” she said, “and it has without a doubt been the best decision I could have made for myself.”
The Catskill Brass provided musical selections for the event, the Leatherstocking District Pipe Band performed the processional, and Joslyn Shepard-Stivers, Class of 2022, sang the national anthem and alma mater.
After the conferral of degrees by President Cardelle and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Lee, Alumni Association Board Member Jessica Sinopoli ’20 encouraged the graduates to stay connected with the college.
“Today you will walk out of this auditorium and go on to do whatever you see fit, but we encourage you to never forget where this all started,” she said. “Because in this humble little town that students and alumni alike call home, you created the closest of friendships, tackled the grandest of obstacles and made the fondest of memories.”