NEW YORK — On a beautiful spring day in New York state, 1,356 students were graduated from the Province’s two colleges — Siena and St. Bonaventure.
Siena College president Kevin Mullen, OFM, handed out diplomas to 738 students in Loudonville on May 16, while Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, president, conferred 618 degrees at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany the same day.
Friars who live at the two college campuses took part in the graduations. At SBU, Daniel Riley, OFM, and Harry Monaco, OFM, celebrated a baccalaureate Mass on May 15.
“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened,” said Siena class of 2010 president Bryan Daly. For the first time, 19 students earned master of science degrees in accounting.
Commencement speaker Andrew Young, a civil rights, political and business leader, former Georgia congressman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Atlanta mayor, encouraged graduates to take chances to improve the world.
Siena Graduates Encouraged to Succeed
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to suffer,” he said. “Do it with the confidence that even if you fail, the spirit and power of God can raise you up again. God has blessed you just by being educated in America in 2010. Go in peace and share that peace with the world.”
Young and world renowned physician, ethicist and educator Edmund Pellegrino, M.D., received honorary degrees. Associate professor of marketing and management Cheryl Buff, class of 1982, received the Jerome Walton Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“You are ready for the opportunities and challenges that life will present,” Buff said. “You can and will make a difference.”
Graduate Kelli Huggins, armed with her history degree, felt inspired. “I feel prepared for what is ahead.”
Sociology major Chris Ruff, a detective sergeant with the Colonie, N.Y., police department, has been in college for 27 years. He joined the police force in 1985, two years after enrolling at Siena. After advancing in his career, raising a family, and going to school part time, he was finally able to graduate.
“I have seen fashion trends, dialogue, hair styles and many faces change,” Ruff said. “I have seen the computer go from almost unusable in those times to totally necessary today. There were no cell phones in school then. Text was what one found in a book.”
SBU Speaker Inspires
Meanwhile, at SBU, commencement speaker Deb Henretta, group president of Procter and Gamble Asia, and a 1983 graduate, also encouraged graduates to make a difference.
Henretta, a native of suburban Rochester, N.Y., said her father, Elmer, a 1959 SBU alumnus, always told the family to “leave the campsite better than they found it” when they arrived.
“There are endless opportunities to make a difference,” Henretta told graduates. “Leave your world better than you found it. Find ways to make your world a better place.”
Henretta told the class how she worked her way up the P&G ladder. She urged graduates to demand excellence by being “positive, proactive, persistent and principled,” but she also stressed that great leaders can’t always be concerned with consensus.
“If you wait for everyone to agree, you’ll never get anything done,” she said.
Olean civic leaders Marianne Laine and Erick Laine, chairman emeritus of CUTCO Corp., received honorary degrees, along with Henretta.
The photo above shows Dan Riley celebrating the baccalaureate Mass. The rear photos show Kevin Mullen congratulating a Siena student and SBU student speaker Charlie Specht with board of trustees chair Jack McGinley and Sr. Margaret.
— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today