CORNING | The SUNY Corning Community College Class of 2019 won the weather lottery Saturday with a beautiful, sunny, outdoor commencement ceremony at the college’s main campus on Spencer Hill.
The college’s graduates gathered in front of CCC’s Commons building for the exercises, presided over by President Dr. Katherine Douglas -- her last spring commencement before retiring at the end of June.
Douglas, addressing the gathered students along with friends and family in attendance, offered her most basic and profound advice for their continued success.
“Find something that interests you, learn all you can about it, then do something with it,” she said.
Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence winner and nursing graduate Samantha Orr kicked off her address to the class by first taking a selfie with her fellow graduates.
“Congratulations to each and every one of you,” Orr told them. “You have worked tremendously hard and should be proud of all you have achieved.”
She should know what that hard work means.
“It was scary to pursue a degree in a completely new profession as an adult student, a wife and a mother of two,” Orr said.
Douglas noted the diversity of experience in the class represented by Orr and others.
“While the average age of our students is 26, our most venerable graduates may be at an age when others are considering retirement,” she noted.
The Class of 2019 has two 64-year-old graduates among the 584 in total receiving degrees and certificates.
The graduates come from 14 New York state counties as well as more remote locations including India, Nigeria and South Korea.
The class also includes 17 military veterans, set apart by the red, white and blue cords they wore at commencement.
College officials also noted that among the class were 29 Presidential Scholars, who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class and therefore met the requirements to earn an associate’s degree with no tuition debt.