The 71st graduating class of SUNY Erie Community
College walked across the stage at Commencement on Wednesday, May 22 at the
SUNY Buffalo State Sports Arena.
SUNY Erie President Dr. Dan Hocoy presided over his second
commencement ceremony, while Board of Trustees’ Chairman Leonard Lenihan served
as the Master of Ceremonies.
In addressing the graduates, President Hocoy congratulated the students
for their service to the College extolling the many projects and accolades of this
class. “This year, you have been pioneers in helping to address issues of food
insecurity and domestic violence among college students, as well as hunger and
homelessness in the community,” Dr. Hocoy said. “This year, you have been award
winners and keynote speakers. You are artists on and off the stage, and you are
innovators in and out of the classroom. You are athletes who shone in the
national spotlight. You are leaders among your peers. You represent the best of
who we are as a college. You are SUNY Erie.”
The commencement address was delivered by Dennis Murphy, former
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, owner of The Mansion on Delaware and Hotel
Henry, and a SUNY Erie alumni. In his address, Murphy noted that he moved out
of the region shortly after his graduation but he always took the spirit of
SUNY Erie with him and encouraged this year’s graduates to do the same. For his
nine years of service to the college, President Hocoy presented Murphy with the
President’s Award for Distinguished Service to the College.
Students awards were presented during the ceremony, recognizing
individual students for their accomplishments this year. The SUNY Chancellor’s Award
for Student Excellence was created in 1997 and is the highest honor bestowed
upon a student by his or her SUNY college or university. SUNY Erie’s 2019
awardees include: Fahmo
Abdullahi, Liberal Arts & Science – General Studies; Kyle
Harris, General Studies; Kevin Joseph, General Studies; Michael Malama, Business Administration; and Ahmad Rashid, General Studies.
The SUNY Erie President’s Award, given annually to a student who embraces
the SUNY Erie philosophy of holistic growth, was awarded to General Studies
student Amhad Rashid. As a Student Government Officer, Rashid was a tireless
advocate for City Campus students and the community.
Rashid along with Social Science graduate Kelly Riviera received
the 2019 All-New York Academic Award, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta
Kappa in recognition of their high GPAs, as well as leadership and service
outside the classroom.
Ryan Woodring, a United States Army Combat Veteran who served more
than six years including a deployment to Afghanistan, was the 2019 recipient of
the Veteran’s Achievement Award. Woodring’s focus on mission, discipline, and courage
in the face of adversity helped him to excel during his time at SUNY Erie.
Nearly 1,000 students participated in the 2019 commencement