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Budding entrepreneur among graduates during Morrisville State’s 103rd commencement ceremony

MORRISVILLE, NY—While she was attending Morrisville State, Amanda Slader, of Ballston Lake, was already dipping her toes in entrepreneurial endeavors.

In her line of work as a licensed cosmetologist, she saw a distinct need for a delousing service. So she set out to turn her idea into reality. Through the support and knowledge she obtained from professors and classes, she launched her brainstorm, Miracles on Lice.

Today Slader graduated with a bachelor degree in entrepreneurship and small business management and joined the ranks of students who view starting a business in college as a great way to put what they’re learning in the classroom into practical use.

She credits Morrisville, a college that embraces entrepreneurship, with giving her the tools to build the successful business she started a year ago and runs with her mother, Helaina.

“I learned so much in class that helped me, including devising a solid business plan, researching target markets and gathering financial information.” the 21-year-old entrepreneur said.

Slader was among students who graduated during Morrisville State College’s 103rd commencement exercises held in the college’s recreation center today.

Graduates celebrated alongside family and friends amid a stage adorned with a lavish display of flowers, grown by students in the college’s horticulture program and arranged by graduating seniors from the program.

Dr. William J. Murabito, president, was joined by Dr. David Rogers, provost, school deans and members of the college council in presiding over the ceremony which began with a 20-piece Scottish bagpipe band that led graduates into the formal commencement exercises.

Keynote speaker, Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley, a former Morrisville State student, praised graduates for their achievements and encouraged them to never let go of their dreams.

He also offered advice on how they can make a difference, touching upon ideals that have helped him succeed professionally and personally throughout his career, including overcoming various forms of discrimination to become the first African American Madison County Sheriff.

“I have never let the discriminatory thoughts of others affect my dreams, my hopes or my goals. Neither should any of you when you are discriminated against,” he urged.

He quoted civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “I hope for the day, when our children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”

“What is Character? It is a trait that will make you or break you. It is moral or ethical quality: quality of honesty, quality of courage, quality of integrity,” Riley said. “I believe this is how we all should be judged, no matter what walk of life you come from.”

“Character may or may not make you rich, but I can guarantee you that it will open many doors for you. It will give you opportunities that you never would have dreamed of. It has for me.”

He also advised graduates to follow some important life lessons including setting goals early and setting them in stages so they can be attained.

Student Government Organization (SGO) president, Nathan Compton, of Cortland, a resort and recreation management bachelor degree student, also addressed graduates.

“Use the resources, the keys Morrisville has given you to unlock and keep the door of opportunity open,” he advised fellow classmates. “When one door closes, don’t stop there—knock on another one. You will seldom regret anything you’ve done. It’s what you haven’t done that you will regret one day.”

“As we leave Morrisville and embark on our next venture in life, remember to take big swings at opportunities. Be bold and courageous,” Compton urged his fellow classmates. “You will never know what you are capable of unless you try.”

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

Victoria Fry, of Hamilton, professor of social science and humanities, was recognized for receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Enrico D’Alessandro, of Frankfort, Chief of New York State University Police at Morrisville, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, and Dr. Benjamin Ballard, of Manlius, assistant professor of renewable energy and director of the college’s Renewable Energy Training Center (RETC), received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

William Snyder, of Morrisville, professor and chair of the environmental sciences department, received the Morrisville State College Distinguished Faculty Award.

Graduating students Amanda Watkins, of Cazenovia, an entrepreneurship and small business management bachelor degree student and Daniel Mirocco, of Morrisville, an automotive technology bachelor degree major, were recognized for winning the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.