For Immediate Release
May 17, 2013
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BROCKPORT, NY—Nearly 400 graduate students became alumni of The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Friday evening during a ceremony inside Brockport’s new Special Events Recreation Center (SERC).
And Brockport President John R. Halstead, PhD, issued a challenge to each of them.
“My charge to you all today is to think outside the box, to challenge the status quo, and to contribute in meaningful ways to our society as you go forward,” Halstead said. “I’m immensely proud of you as graduates!”
Benjamin Young, the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Scholar Award, is an example of a graduate who is already fulfilling Halstead’s charge. Young, who completed Brockport’s combined undergraduate/graduate degree in history with a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average, aims to become a history professor.
Young has begun to hone his teaching skills as a Brockport student, something he also uses as an opportunity to give back to his community. He has served as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) tutor and has volunteered to help strengthen the English language skills of Korean students currently studying at Brockport. This summer, he plans on teaching English in South Korea and has interviewed with a human rights organization that helps North Korean refugees.
In his speech, Young encouraged his fellow graduates to utilize their degrees to make a difference.
“The graduate degrees we have earned do not entitle us to particular jobs and standards of living,” Young said. “But they have enabled us to identify meaningful paths forward.”
Historian Lynn Parsons, PhD, delivered the keynote Commencement address. Parsons, a Brockport professor emeritus of history and a longtime chair of its Department of History, has penned a biography of John Quincy Adams and has written a play, The Tye More Binding, based on the correspondence of Abigail and John Adams.
Parsons called on the graduates to be supporters of public higher education so that those who follow them will have access to high quality, affordable education.
“We can, and we must, stand by and support the cause of American public higher education, which has benefitted everyone in this room,” Parsons said. “We can, and we must, defend the notion that providing higher education for all those who qualify is a public good, not a public burden.”
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 * www.brockport.edu