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Onondaga Community College Hosts Its 54th Commencement Saturday

Onondaga Community College will celebrate its 54th commencement ceremony Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center. Dr. Casey Crabill will preside over the ceremony. Approximately 800 students will be eligible to receive their degrees. These students will have completed their coursework in either the fall 2016, spring 2017 or summer 2017 semesters.

Onondaga Community College is a two-year college located on a 280-acre campus in Syracuse, NY. OCC operates under the State University of New York (SUNY) system and is locally sponsored by Onondaga County. Bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees are available on campus through the Regional Higher Education Center. OCC is an Achieving the Dream college and has been named a “Military Friendly” school by G.I. Jobs Magazine for its service to student veterans.

Henry Humiston

Student Speaker: Henry Humiston is the 2017 commencement student speaker. Humiston is 46-years-old and will receive degrees in both Nuclear Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. He grew up in Liverpool and was diagnosed with ADHD at age 12. Humiston earned his GED and became a professional drywall finisher. A back injury led him to rethink his career options. At his mother’s urging he enrolled in OCC. During the summer of 2012 he began taking classes at OCC @ Liverpool before eventually coming to the main campus. During the 2016-17 academic year Humiston served as an officer in the Student Association. In April he was named the top student in the College’s Nuclear Technology major. He has accepted a job offer from Exelon and will begin working at Nine Mile Point in June.

Student Success Stories: Mounted 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 2017 commencement include:

Hassina Adams


Hassina Adams, General Studies with an Honors minor: When Adams’ mother passed away two years ago, she became her siblings’ legal guardian. A short time later they moved from South Africa to Central New York. At OCC she participated in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, the History Club, Politics Club, International Club, earned membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and was named a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence winner. Adams also worked three nights a week at a refugee center where she taught middle school-aged girls. Her goal is to become a human rights lawyer and advocate for refugees.




Bianca Archange



Bianca Archange, Mathematics & Science: Archange is a survivor of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti which killed more than 100,000 people. In 2011 she moved to Central New York, started learning English and became a student at Henninger High School. Archange excelled at OCC, earning induction into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. She will transfer to SUNY Binghamton, then SUNY Upstate Medical University. She plans to become a doctor.




Natalia Montilla



Natalia Montilla, Mathematics and Science: Montilla graduated from Nottingham High School in 2015. She is co-leader of OCC’s NASA team which will travel to Texas later this month. During her time at OCC she participated in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program and was a STEM Scholar. Montilla plans to earn a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and a master’s in Engineering Management.



Heather Flewelling


Heather Flewelling, Liberal Arts: Humanities & Social Sciences with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies: Flewelling is a 34-year-old mother who is raising a daughter with disabilities. She earned her GED, came to OCC and became one of the College’s top students. Flewelling earned membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, was selected to the USA Today PTK All-New York team, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and was named a Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar. She will transfer to Syracuse University and pursue a bachelor’s in Public Health with a minor in Medical Anthropology.



Grand Marshal

Pamela Martin-Louer, Retiring Professor of Psychology and Chair of General Studies.

Honorary Degrees

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 four 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.


Daniel J. Cummings

Cummings is co-anchor of “The Morning News” on WSYR TV Newschannel 9 and host of the weekly public affairs program, Newsmakers with Dan Cummings. During his more than four decades in broadcasting he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Cummings was born and raised in southern Cayuga County, holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s degree from Cornell University. He has served as an adjunct professor at OCC since 2008 and volunteers as Master of Ceremonies for numerous events across Syracuse, including OCC’s own Celebration of Success.

Peter G. King

King is Partner-in-Charge at King & King Architects, a fifth generation family-run business and the oldest firm of its kind in New York State. His personal commitment to improving the quality of live in Central New York and his passion for environmental responsibility has led the firm to focus on sustainable design practices. In 2007 King relocated the firm to an existing 1913 structure on Syracuse’s near west side, in the process creating the city’s first LEED Platinum building. He serves on numerous boards including the Syracuse Center of Excellence, Golisano Children’s Hospital Advisory Board and the OCC Foundation Board of which he has been a member since 2002. King is a graduate of Syracuse University.


Sharon F. Owens

Owens has worked in housing, community development and human services for over 30 years. She is CEO of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc., an organization that provides a network of human services to Onondaga County residents who are predominantly African American and low-income. She serves on numerous boards including Greater Syracuse HOPE Initiative, Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization, City of Syracuse/Syracuse City School District Joint Schools Construction Board, I-81 Community Stakeholder Committee, Onondaga County Partnership for Youth Justice Steering Committee, Home Ownership Center at Home HeadQuarters, Inc., CNY Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and Jubilee Homes of Syracuse. Owens is a graduate of Syracuse University.


Kathleen A. Rapp

Rapp was a public servant for 25 years, first as Salina Town Councilor and Deputy Supervisor. In 1998 she was elected to the Onondaga County Legislature where her roles included floor leader and chair or vice-chair of every legislative committee. Rapp was a consistent supporter of OCC, sponsoring legislation for numerous capital projects on campus. She was also an advocate for workforce development funding initiatives and on-campus child care. Rapp served on numerous boards including the Erie Canal Museum, CNY Regional Planning Board, Visit Syracuse, Growth Council Executive Board and Hancock Field Development Board. She is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta.

WHEN: Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: SRC Arena and Events Center, Onondaga Community College, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY 13215-4585.


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 20 from 9-11:30 a.m. MeTV can be found at 9.2 with a digital antenna, Spectrum Cable channel 1240, Verizon Fios channel 470 and New Visions cable channel 23.


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