Nearly 900 graduates walked the dais in two ceremonies May 19 as SUNY Plattsburgh honored its newest alumni.
Arellano referred to a quote by Albert Einstein that said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Arellano used that as a metaphor for time spent at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“While riding our bicycles,” she said, “we have each encountered obstacles that block the paths of progress, and it is how we dealt with these obstacles that has defined us as individuals.”
She went on to discuss the challenges that graduates will likely face because of the economy, saying that the skills garnered at the college “can all be used to face uncertainty and overcome obstacles that we may confront in our lives.”
Samantha Retrosi, a Latin American studies major from Saranac Lake, N.Y., addressed fellow arts and science graduates during the afternoon ceremony.
She, too, discussed the challenges faced by the graduates, saying that they “stand at the precipice of unprecedented responsibility,” needing to find ways to heal the nation and world — resolving inequities, repairing the environment and creating a new global order.
“I believe that the prerequisite to this healing is the rejection of the concept of ‘The Other,’” she said.
She went on to ask “Why do we continue to divide ourselves along social, gender and racial lines? Why do we create imaginary boundaries among ourselves and our fellow humans, instead of seeking to see the commonalities that unite us?”
She called for people to come together for change.
“Now,” she said, “is the time for community. Now is the time to reject division both at home and abroad. Now is the time we must empower ourselves by empowering one another.”
Both ceremonies also featured the awarding of the Distinguished Service Award to Kathy MaGaw, an alumna from the Class of ’72, who recently co-chaired of the college’s successful Bright with Promise Campaign, a seven-year effort that raised a record $16,085,634 in gifts, surpassing a $15 million goal.
She has been a member of the Plattsburgh College Foundation Board of Directors for more than a decade, serving as treasurer and sitting on the executive and investment committees. She is also a long-time donor to the college. Among her many gifts was $10,000 to establish the Student-Managed Investment Portfolio. This fund allows students to gain experience in real-world investing.
Next story: SUNY Plattsburgh Reunion 2012.
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