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Morrisville State graduates make history as college marks its 100th commencement

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. —Medallions hanging from graduates’ regalia told the story behind the added pomp and circumstance that was visible throughout Morrisville State College’s commencement ceremony today.

The keepsakes, embellished with the number 100, were among elements throughout the decorated ceremony that signified graduates were celebrating more than their accomplishments—they were also making history as the 100th graduating class.

Graduates celebrated alongside family and friends during the ceremony which was held in the college’s recreation center due to inclement weather. A lavish display of flowers, grown by students in the college's horticulture program and arranged by graduating seniors from the program, adorned the stage where graduates received their diplomas.

Morrisville State College Interim President Richard Carreno was joined by Vice President for Academic Affairs, David Rogers, school deans and members of the college council in presiding over the ceremony which began with a 20-piece Scottish bagpipe band and herald trumpeters leading graduates into the formal commencement exercises.

Carreno lauded the Class of 2011 for their achievements followed by Morrisville College Council chair Matthew Morgan of Homer, N.Y.

Lawrence Baker, of Hamilton, N.Y., who was chosen as keynote speaker based on his half of a century history working at the college, urged graduates to apply all they have learned at Morrisville State College to life.

“You’re special because of who you are, and even more special as a member of a historical class,” Baker said. 

His speech was spirited with anecdotes and stories about changes he’s been a part of on the Morrisville State College campus which have led to its growth and technological prowess.

Baker, who formerly led the commencement ceremony for 25 years and attended 44 of the college’s ceremonies, spoke about the college’s humble beginning with 11 faculty members and a handful of degrees and its growth including enrollment that has climbed to more than 3,300 throughout the years.

During his speech, he advised graduates to keep learning. “Formal education as such may cease, but informal education never does,” Baker said. “This is especially true for you in this age of rapid change. Be open to the new challenges of life thrust upon you and also open to acquiring new knowledge.”

Student Government Organization (SGO) president, Stephen Paravati, of New Hartford, N.Y., a health-related studies graduate, also addressed fellow graduates.

“Always remember you are a Morrisville Mustang for the rest of your life and you are part of the centennial class,” he said followed by hearty applause.

During the ceremony, several members of the college community were recognized.

Brian McDowell, of Hamilton, N.Y., assistant professor of journalism and chair of the Journalism Department was awarded the Morrisville State College Distinguished Faculty Award.

Alfred P. Muss II, of Fayetteville, N.Y., associate professor of Business Administration, was recognized for receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Jeriluanne “Jeri” O’Bryan-Losee, of Sherburne, N.Y., a native of Corning, N.Y., was recognized for receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, and Daniel Jackson, of Norwich, N.Y., a native of Cobleskill, N.Y., a motor equipment mechanic in the Physical Plant Department, was recognized for winning the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.

Graduating students Sabrina Johnson, of Syracuse, N.Y., a sports nutrition and fitness management major and Matthew Sourwine, of Alexandria Bay, N.Y., an electronic marketing and publishing bachelor of technology major, were recognized for winning the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, a prestigious SUNY-wide award.

During the ceremony, past recipients of Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Professional Service and Classified Service, and Distinguished Faculty Award winners were recognized as special guests, in addition to graduates from the Class of ’61, in observance of the 100th ceremony.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.