Over 865 students graduate, 168 awarded scholarships

Dutchess Community College held its annual graduation ceremony May 19. Associate degrees and career certificates in 48 programs of study were conferred on 865 graduates, who ranged in age from 17 to 67. The event was held at the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center in Poughkeepsie with over 2,000 in attendance and hundreds more joining from home.

Associate in Science degrees were awarded to 65 percent of the students; 11 percent received Associate in Arts degrees; 16 percent received Associate in Applied Science degrees; and 8 percent earned certificates.

A posthumous degree for Melanie Chianese was presented to her mother, Cheryl Chianese. While at DCC, Melanie was a determined and passionate student in the Human Services program, relentless in her advocacy for children with special needs, families experiencing food insecurity and individuals struggling with substance abuse. As a 29-year-old student with a young child, Melanie was on the dean’s list and would have graduated with honors last fall.

DCC also recognized the fifth cohort of students graduating from the Think Ahead program, a partnership between the College, Dutchess County, Abilities First, Maplebrook School, the Arc of Dutchess and Taconic Resources. Young adults who graduate from Think Ahead spend two years on the DCC campus as college students, learning life and job skills.

Graduation speakers included DCC President Peter Grant Jordan, Ed.D., DCC Board of Trustees Chair Michael Francis Dupree and County Executive Willian F.X. O’Neil. The commencement address was given by retiring Professor of English Jacqueline Goffe-McNish, and the student commencement speaker was Kyle Bredberg.

In his remarks, Dr. Jordan said, “Class of 2023, you are masters of navigating uncertainty. Many of you entered DCC, starting or resuming your college career, in a time of great flux and confusion. Two years ago, it was still very difficult to see when our global situation would stabilize, when perhaps you wondered whether your plans to complete a college degree would ever be realized. Yet, you did it!”

He added, “Our country, our region, our state, and our entire country will benefit greatly from the knowledge, skills, passion and sense of purpose you have acquired here at DCC. I am excited to see the positive changes you inspire, how each of you will make our world a little better in your own unique way.”

The ceremony was livestreamed for those who could not attend. To view a video of graduation, visit www.sunydutchess.edu/live/.

At a May 17 Honors Convocation, 168 students, either starting their second year at DCC or graduating and entering four-year colleges in the fall, were recognized for outstanding achievements and received scholarships totaling approximately $170,000. The scholarships are funded by individuals and organizations to reward academic excellence.