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May 24, 2021 -- Dutchess Community College's 2021 commencement ceremonies were different from previous years but no less celebratory as graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 crossed the stage at Dutchess Stadium.
In her remarks, Acting President Ellen Gambino recognized the strength and tenacity of the two classes during what has been truly an unimaginable time. "Your academic journeys were turned upside down and you had to adjust," said Gambino. "And you did - with the resilience and grit that is an integral part of who DCC is as a community and who we are as individuals."
"What you've been through this past year and how you've adapted will remain with you as a measurement of courage for the rest of your lives. You should feel a great sense of accomplishment today as we come together to celebrate your triumph."
Lucia Cherciu, professor of English and Dutchess County Poet Laureate, wrote special reflections in word in honor of the graduates, encouraging the students to be supportive of each other, family and friends. “Sometimes keeping quiet will save you a headache later,” said Cherciu. “Sometimes speaking up is worth the headache later.”
Matt Murray, assistant professor of government in the History, Government and Economics Department, and chair of the Instructional Staff Council, shared his congratulations on behalf of the faculty and reflected on the adversity that the graduates have endured-together and alone-over the past 14 months. “The faculty - the community’s faculty - are proud of you and your collective performance and stand in awe of those of you who have dealt with this and other adversity all too often,” said Murray.
Highlights of the DCC graduation ceremonies:
- The ceremonies began with the singing of the national anthem as performed by Cheyenne See, DCC Class of 2015.
- Guests included Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, a DCC graduate; and Michael Dupree, chair of the DCC Board of Trustees.
- Video remarks and congratulations were provided by:
o SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.
o Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
- Kyle Troia, president of the DCC Student Government Association, served as the student speaker at the 10 a.m. ceremony
- Kaitlyn Cohn, student trustee on the DCC Board of Trustees, served as the student speaker at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
- Between the two classes, DCC awarded close to 2,000 degrees:
o Class of 2020 = 934 degrees
o Class of 2021 = 1,020 degrees
- Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 71.
- Graduates represent 48 different academic programs, including:
o 205 from the Business Administration Transfer program.
o 229 from Humanities and Social Sciences.
o 133 from Human Services.
o 102 from the Criminal Justice Transfer program.
o 96 from the Nursing program.
o 47 from DCC’s jointly registered education program with SUNY New Paltz.
- Graduates included 142 who began in one of DCC’s programs designed to strengthen academic preparation. These include the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP); the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP); and the Federal TRiO program.
- One third of the students graduated with honors.
- Over 40% of graduates earned a cumulative average of at least 3.2.
- Thirty-one students graduated with a perfect 4.0.
- The first cohort of the College’s Public Health program graduated as part of the Class of 2021. Five students graduated on May 21; a sixth will graduate in August.
- During the morning ceremonies, students in the College’s 2020 and 2021 Think Ahead program were recognized. Think Ahead is a unique partnership between Duchess Community College, Dutchess County, Abilities First, the Arc of Hudson Valley, the Maplebrook School and Taconic Resources for Independence. Young adults who graduate from Think Ahead spend two years on the DCC campus as college students, learning life and job skills.
- During the ceremony, Acting President Ellen Gambino recognized the support of the DCC Foundation, which over the past two years has awarded over $300,000 to close to 350 continuing and graduating students.