College graduation season begins with St. Rose, Albany College of Pharmacy ceremonies

Two commencement speakers stressed the importance of morality and hard work Saturday at the 87th Ann

Two commencement speakers stressed the importance of morality and hard work Saturday at the 87th Annual Commencement of the College of Saint Rose, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The soon-to-be graduates and advanced degree candidates listened to commencement speeches from Jeremiah Lowney, the founder of the Haitian Health Foundation, and CNBC news anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences also conducted its commencement Saturday, hearing U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. Those events, the 130th for the college, were at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

At SPAC, Lowney, an orthodontist from Connecticut, told the students about his efforts to provide medical and dental care for people in Haiti. If he concentrated on the big picture in the earthquake ravaged island he might agree that it was a “big mess” and not worth the trouble of helping. He said looking at the smaller ways to help people is more constructive.

“You should look at helping people as an opportunity.”

Bartiromo, who recently wrote a book called “The 10 Laws of Enduring Success,” stressed the importance of maintaining a good reputation, integrity, doing what you love and preparation as some of the most important rules of success. She told a story about being asked to throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game. She was determined not to bounce the ball in front of 60,000 fans, and started preparing months ahead of time.

“After two months, I learned how to pitch and I think I was pretty good. That day, I went to Yankee stadium and started throwing the ball around in the Yankees dugout to practice. One of the Yankees said you’re going to bounce it, you’re not doing well,” she said. “That’s when the fear set in.”

Bartiromo said a friend of hers, who helped her train for the pitch, told her to remember she was “exactly where she was supposed to be.”

“I got up to the mound, and right over the plate. The catcher didn’t even move. That confidence came from preparation,” she said.

The commencement took place at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. College officials touted the event as one of the largest commencements in the school’s history, in part because Saint Rose has returned to one commencement ceremony a year, nixing the mid-year ceremony it held for a few years. The college granted 688 bachelor’s degrees and 1,014 master’s degrees and certificates of advanced study Saturday.

Corey Anthony Soprano, from Lake George, was one of those graduating Saturday with a bachelor of science in business administration. He said he has a job already, working for a law firm in Glens Falls. He said as a business major he appreciated the college’s selection of Bartiromo, known for her business journalism on CNBC, as a commencement speaker.

“I thought her speech was great because it got right to the point. You like to see that as a business major. You like to see someone who can relate to our industry,” he said.

Kathleen Devoe, also from Lake George, received her master of science in education degree Saturday, said she could really relate to Lowney’s message of helping people. She said it was a struggle for her to earn her master’s over the last four years, and she benefited from those who helped her.

“I thought what he said was interesting. It was very current events and relatable to my own experience. My experience here has been a bumpy one. It hasn’t been easy, but I persevered and I had a lot of help from the school, the faculty, my family and my friends.”

Two musical performances proved to be highlights of the ceremony. Class of 2010 graduate Madalyn Parnas performed a violin solo, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Presludio from Partita No. 3 in E Major and the College of Saint Rose Chamber Choir performed a song called Twa Tanbou.

Categories: Schenectady County

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