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Grads anticipate jobs, travel, love (with photo gallery)

Grads anticipate jobs, travel, love (with photo gallery)

Dwight Smith, the commencement speaker at Saturday’s graduation ceremony at SUNY Cobleskill, encoura
Grads anticipate jobs, travel, love (with photo gallery)
Felipe Castellanos of Rhinebeck waves to his family during SUNY Cobleskill&rsquo;s 92nd commencement Saturday.
Photographer: Barry Sloan

Dwight Smith, the commencement speaker at Saturday’s graduation ceremony at SUNY Cobleskill, encouraged the many degree recipients of the class of 2010 to go out into the world and spread the word about their school.

Smith is the founder and CEO of a successful general contracting firm in Florida called D&D Smith Construction. He received an associate’s degree from SUNY Cobleskill in 1976, before earning a bachelor’s at Union College.

“I want you to go to California, I want you to go to Florida. I want you to talk about the education you received here. Cobleskill, is like being on a private campus within the State University system,” he said. “You’ve received an education that is something to be proud of. I’m proud of every one of you.”

SUNY Cobleskill conferred associate degrees on 450 students Saturday and bachelor’s degrees on 279.

Joanna Westrack, from Smithtown in Suffolk County, received an associate’s in equine studies and will transfer her credits to SUNY New Paltz, where she intends to major in childhood education. She’d like to be a public school teacher and run a horseback riding camp for kids during the summer. She took Smith’s message to heart.

“He wants us to spread the word about Cobleskill. It’s not a very big school. It’s definitely important to support the school that you went to, they support you,” she said.

Queens native Sandra Cholula and David Linnell, from Poughkeepsie, said they both owe a lot to their time at SUNY Cobleskill, including their romance. Cholula received a bachelor’s in plant science and Linnell a bachelor’s in culinary arts. She has a job and he expects to get a job managing a restaurant.

Cholula and Linnell said SUNY Cobleskill brought them together and provided them opportunities to grow as people. Both worked for the school as residence hall assistants.

“We met on a Friday, it was a dance night. Luckily, we were able to chill-out those dance moves and from there I got her,” Linnell said.

Saturday’s ceremony featured a musical interlude during which the SUNY Cobleskill Choir sang “America the Beautiful” and “You Raise Me up.”

The final speaker was Jennifer Regelski-Rotman, Cobleskill class of 1997, who spoke for the school’s alumni association. Regelski-Rotman said the next few years will be milestones in the history of SUNY Cobleskill and she encouraged the graduates to stay involved with their alma mater.

“You will always be welcome here. We hope you will come back and visit. Homecoming is only five months away and by then I’m sure you’ll be dying for a good party,” she said. “In 2011 we will celebrate the college’s 100-year anniversary of when it received its charter. There will be plenty of events across the state for you to participate in. In 2016 we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class of SUNY Cobleskill. We will be looking for opportunities and input as we gear-up for the celebration.”

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