For Immediate Release
May 16, 2009
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Brockport, NY — More than 1,400 College at Brockport undergraduate students received bachelor’s degrees during Commencement ceremonies in the Special Olympics Stadium today (May 16). The graduates, along with their families and friends, were welcomed by College President Dr. John R. Halstead.
"We've given you the foundation of being an educated person. Build upon it to achieve, aspire, and engage. The future is yours to shape. Learn all you life, Learn from your successes. There will be many,” Halstead said.
Dr. Halstead and Scott M. Turner, chair of the Brockport College Council, presented an honorary degree to Margaret Robinson Preska PhD ’57, a native of Parma, NY, who also delivered the Commencement address. 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.
“We all know that the times of our lives right now are threatening… we all know that threatening looming problems are also opportunities for growth in knowledge, for using what we have within us to turn the problems into pathways for improvement,” she advised.
She went on to describe how she was mocked as a 15 year-old Brockport College freshman by her friends when she told them that she wanted to be a college president and how that mocking spurred her to succeed. “They forced me to know that challenges are everywhere, and they make us focus our attention and energy on goals that are most important, she added.” For the full text of Dr. Preska’a talk click here.
Theresa Lou Bowick, a member of the class of ’09 and the recipient of the President’s Citation Award (the highest College award given to an undergraduate student), was recognized for her academic accomplishments and for her volunteer efforts in Antigua to improve educational and health care benefits for the disabled.
NYS Sen. Charles Schumer congratulated the graduates on their accomplishment, informed them about the $2500 tuition tax credit he introduced and was instrumental in getting passed, and encouraged them to find job they loved.
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
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