Onondaga Community College will celebrate its 53nd commencement ceremony Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center. Dr. Casey Crabill will preside over the ceremony in which 1,597 students will be eligible to receive their degrees.
Graduating student Marissa DeLand will be the keynote speaker. She is a 2013 graduate of Marcellus High School. DeLand earned degrees in Mathematics & Science and Business Administration. She was also active outside of class working as an officer in the Student Association, a Peer Connector assisting students with the class registration process and a Student Ambassador giving campus tours to prospective students and families. DeLand will transfer to SUNY Oswego and major in business administration. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in project management.
Noteworthy stories of Achievement
Around the upper walkway of the SRC Arena and Events Center will be a series of colorful posters highlighting student success stories. Noteworthy stories at the 2016 commencement include:
- Sharon Hill and Toni Jones: They are mother and daughter. Sharon is 58-years-old and is receiving a degree in Human Services. Toni is 36-years-old and is receiving degrees in Communication Studies and Humanities + Social Sciences. Sharon and Toni both plan to pursue master’s degrees.
- Glenn LaPoint: Glenn is known to thousands of Central New Yorkers as “Gomez Adams,” the radio morning show co-host on station WTKW, “TK-99.” Glenn graduated from Marcellus High School in 1978, came to OCC but left the College when he was offered a full-time job. Glenn returned to class for the spring 2016 semester and took the final three classes he needed to earn his degree.
- Bill Quigley: Bill was recently named the top student in the Nuclear Technology major. He is 47-years-old and a 1990 graduate of Clarkson University. Bill was laid off in 2011, struggled to find work and decided to come to OCC. Near the end of his first academic year Bill was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He underwent treatment last summer and never missed a day of class. Bill is a father of five whose oldest son is a Business Administration major here at OCC.
- Ahmad Salah: Ahmad was named the top student in the Mathematics & Science major. He’s a 20-year-old native of Baghdad, Iraq. Ahmad and his family left Iraq when he was 10-years-old. He graduated from Liverpool High School in 2014. Ahmad will transfer to Syracuse University, then the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine. He plans to become an orthodontist
Grand Marshals for the commencement are, Deborah G. Irwin and Engracia A. Schuster. Irwin is a professor in the English/Reading/Communication major who started at OCC in 1983. Schuster is a professor in the Spanish major who began teaching at the College in 1995. Both are retiring.
The honorary doctorate degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the State University of New York to persons of exceptional distinction. OCC is honoring two distinct individuals who have exhibited professional excellence, meritorious and outstanding service, and whose accomplishments serve as examples of the SUNY system’s diverse student body.
- Sean Kirst: Sean is a columnist, writer and storyteller. He has worked for four newspapers during his career, including 27 years with The Post-Standard. Kirst earned a place on the Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction, its highest honor for career achievement. He was the recipient of the 2008 Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing, a national honor given annually to a single journalist. He has written two books, is considered the founder of international Tolkien Reading Day and has written many stories of student achievement at OCC. He is deeply involved in civic initiatives in Syracuse, where he and his wife Nora, a city school teacher, raised their three children.
- Edward Kochian: Edward is a dedicated community member and literacy advocate. He worked for Onondaga County for 41 years, 28 of those as Deputy County Executive. In 2009 the Onondaga County office building was renamed the Edward Kochian Office Building in his honor. Kochian was pivotal in negotiating the City-County solid waste agreement and the amended consent judgment for Onondaga Lake improvements. He was project director for the OnCenter Convention Center, Onondaga County Justice Center and NBT Bank Stadium. Kochian resides in Skaneateles with his wife, Lena.
Watch Commencement Live and Later:
- The ceremony can be viewed live online at www.sunyocc.edu.
- The ceremony will be rebroadcast on WSYR TV’s “MeTV” channel Saturday, May 21 at 9am. The “MeTV” channel can be found at 9.2 with a digital antenna, 1240 on Time Warner Cable, 470 on Verizon FiOS and 23 on New Visions.