Over 835 students graduate, 215 recognized at scholarship ceremony

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — MAY 20, 2024 — Dutchess Community College held its annual graduation ceremony May 17. Associate degrees and career certificates in 46 programs of study were conferred on 835 graduates, who ranged in age from 18 to 68. 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; 9 percent received Associate in Arts degrees; 18 percent received Associate in Applied Science degrees; and 8 percent earned certificates.

DCC also recognized the sixth cohort of students graduating from the Think Ahead program, a partnership between the College, Dutchess County, Abilities First, Maplebrook School, the Arc Greater Hudson Valley and Taconic Resources. 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 Sue Serino. There were two sets of welcome remarks: Professor of Art Margaret Craig ’99 gave a welcome in English, and Diversity Council Co-Chair Steven Posada welcomed guests in Spanish.  The commencement address was given by Commissioner, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health Livia Santiago-Rosada, M.D., FACEP.

For the first time this year, there were two student commencement speakers. Human Services graduates, Amani Deloatch ’24 and Amanda Faustini-Wiersum ’24, shared their inspiring story of finding friendship and camaraderie in an online class, then connecting in person and supporting each other to become leaders on campus. Among their many accomplishments, Deloatch and Faustini-Wiersum established a club called Active Minds to advocate for their classmates’ mental health, leaving a legacy to benefit future DCC students. 

In his remarks, Dr. Jordan said, “Tomorrow, you’ll pursue career paths which previously had been out of reach. Whether your next steps are into the job market or on to a baccalaureate degree, you’re unquestionably more skilled and marketable than when you began at DCC, and your professional trajectories are pointed higher.” 

He added, “Even more importantly, during your time at DCC, you’ve grown as a person. More than half of you began your studies during, or in the immediate aftermath of, the pandemic . . . It was a time when it might have been easy to lay low and retreat from your goals and aspirations. Yet, you chose to use that time as motivation. You reached out to expand your circle, take on a new challenge, and actively connect with and support one another . . . I’ve been inspired by your humanity, and I’m proud to be connected to each of you.”

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

At the DCC Foundation’s May 16 Honors Convocation, 215 students, beginning at DCC in the fall, starting their second year, or graduating and transferring to four-year colleges, were recognized for outstanding achievements and received scholarships totaling approximately $315,000. The scholarships are funded by individuals and organizations to reward academic excellence.

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Founded in 1957, Dutchess Community College is a two-year community college that has earned a reputation for providing an outstanding education with the lowest tuition in New York state. The College currently has four locations including its main campus in Poughkeepsie, DCC @ Fishkill, DCC @ HVR Airport, and DCC @ the Partnership. For more information visit www.sunydutchess.edu.