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For Immediate Release
May 16, 2009

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Nicholas Mascari

The College at Brockport Awards Graduate Degrees

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Press Release Photo Margaret Robinson Preska, PhD '57

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Brockport, NY — More than 200 College at Brockport graduate students received Master’s degrees during the College’s 59th Graduate Commencement ceremonies in the Tuttle North Ice Arena today (May 16). The graduates, along with their families and friends, were welcomed by College President Dr. John R. Halstead.

“Today’s ceremony is very much a celebration. We are here to honor you, to recognize your many accomplishments and reflect upon your future. I predict a bright future for each and every one of you,” said President Halstead. “It’s also a time to thank others who have contributed in multiple ways to your learning,” he added before inviting faculty, parents and friends to stand and be recognized.

The Commencement address was delivered by Margaret Robinson Preska, PhD ’57, a native of Parma, NY. Dr. Preska entered The College at Brockport at age 15. She graduated in 1957 summa cum laude. It was at Brockport that she first envisioned her career goal to become a college president a goal she realized in 1979 when she became the first woman president of the Minnesota State University, Mankato. She held the position until 1992. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities named her president emerita and distinguished service professor.

In 1998, Dr. Preska helped found and was the CEO/provost of the Abu Dhabi campus of Zayed University, the first university for women in the in the United Arab Emirates.

“Each of us has learned to recognize the closing of a door to the room in which we want to live our lives. If one door closes, get up and look for another door, another opportunity dressed up as a problem. Challenges are everywhere and they make us focus our attention and energy on the goals that are most important. People who have hope and use their gifts wisely can lead through open doors to a better world,” she advised.

Dr. Preska’s address was followed by a special presentation of a College Citation to Janice Wilcox, mother of Patrick Wilcox of Castile, NY. Patrick, who was left quadriplegic from a 1999 accident, was a graduate student in the class of ’09 who died during the fall ’08 semester. Janice was recognized for her devotion and work in enabling Patrick to pursue his studies.


The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 *

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