The University at Albany held its 173rd commencement ceremony on Sunday morning, where the school conferred thousands of degrees to the class of 2017.
Among the speakers were U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently returned from a 340-day stay in space. Here are some of the most notable quotes from Sunday’s festivities:
Interim UAlbany President James Stellar
“Get out there, and be those leaders that the world needs.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer
“For those of us who have gotten older and look back on life, one of the most difficult things is the ‘what ifs. What if I had only done that?’ So, my advice to the class of 2017 is very simple: Go for it.
“So, garner up the courage, garner up the strength, put aside your doubts and take a chance. And if you do, it is my hope, it is my prayer, indeed it is my confidence you’ll find true success and great joy in life.”
Commencement speaker and NASA astronaut Capt. Scott Kelly
“It is great to be here with you today. Actually, after being in space for a year, it’s great to be anywhere with gravity.
“On the space station, I changed positions so many times, you would’ve thought I was running for president.”
Kelly, speaking about the environment
“One of the incredible privileges of being in space for a really long time is we have the opportunity to look at the Earth, and despite its incredible beauty, when you look out at the atmosphere and our environment, the atmosphere is like a thin film over the earth. It’s absolutely scary to consider how this atmosphere of ours, everything that protects us from space and how it’s so very fragile. I think we need to do a better job of taking care of this planet.”
Akeela Makshood, undergraduate student speaker
“We have not shied away from pursuing what we love. We have not shied away from the challenges that come with. We have grown socially, intellectually and spiritually. And we will not shy away from the challenges that face us tomorrow. We are Great Danes, and we’re the class of 2017.”
Vice Provost Jeanette Altarriba
“It is a great day to be a Great Dane.”