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Class of 2004 celebrates Commencement in Events Center

By : Katie Ellis

Sophia Cazean celebrates the conferral of her baccalaureate degree during the Professional Schools ceremony.
Change for the better was an underlying theme running through Commencement ceremonies this year -- with the biggest change being the location of the ceremonies. For the first time in 20 years, the Binghamton University campus hosted Commencement –- with nearly 3,300 graduates, along with family and friends, bearing witness to the excitement in the new Events Center. "It is appropriate that these ceremonies are in a new building since we’re recognizing new intellectual growth," President Lois B. DeFleur said. "As students, you are well prepared for many future careers. We know that you will all make a difference in a world that really needs your expertise as scholars and citizens." U.S. Senator Charles Schumer attended the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences ceremony Sunday. "I will match Binghamton University’s undergraduate body to Yale’s any day of the week," Schumer said, as he told graduates they’ve received an education that puts them "at the top of the pyramid." Schumer’s advice was simple. "Go for it," he said. "If you make a wrong choice, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward. If you make the right choice, you’ll be enriched forever." With the Events Center playing host to Commencement’s three ceremonies, Carol Dean Nassau was the first graduate to cross the stage during Saturday’s Graduate School ceremony, receiving her doctoral degree in education. She was hooded by Judy Kugelmass, associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development. Eugene DeLoatch, current and founding dean of the engineering school at Morgan State University in Baltimore, addressed the Graduate School crowd, speaking of a world that has changed drastically since his childhood. "In 1900, our vision of a larger world was rather limited – on average, people traveled an average of only 1,200 miles during their entire lifetime," DeLoatch said. "Engineering achievements created changes." DeLoatch also impressed upon graduates that they should have a "sense of awareness that those who have much need to share with those who have the least. "In the past two years, 17 graduates from Morgan State have come to Binghamton University to receive advanced degrees in engineering," he said. "This greatly improves their odds for a better life and helps others." Composer and teacher Ezra Laderman spoke to Harpur College graduates about finding their passion as an artist does and living it. "We have many here who know where they are going, what they want to do," he said. "There are others who are not sure because they are multi-talented, or waiting for the right voice to tell them where they’re going to go. "An artist is one who spends the essential time of their day working on their craft," Laderman said. "Their passion is what they need to survive. Find what is essential in your life and find important time for it, and get to the point where it is the highest level you can reach and you will be fulfilled." Charlene Kahlor Kramer ’73, a philanthropist and senior executive at the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), told the professional school graduates about her hope that they will make a change for the common good. "Go out and find your own ways to make a difference," said Kramer, who with her husband Roger Kramer ’72, endowed a scholarship to help finance an education for others. "I implore you to find opportunities, to seek out that nexus of meaningful work and make a difference." The student speakers at each ceremony also set a tone of moving forward with enthusiasm and promise. Melissa Killeleagh addressed her fellow graduates at the Graduate School ceremony, speaking of the many communities we live in -- past, present and future. "Memories shape and inform the communities we inherit, create and those that await us," she said. "Our past, present and future come together and we will change the world." Addressing the Harpur College ceremony, Sean Lebowitz said it was incredible how he and those he knew had evolved since first stepping foot on campus – however, much remains ahead. "You have the power," he told his fellow graduates. "Live your life with no regrets and always be the best you can be." During the professional schools’ ceremony, Justin Hoch spoke of making the most of any situation. "Take advantage of opportunities," he said. "You may find serendipitous results. Look for those unintended consequences and remember to thank those around you. Thank yous go a long way."

Last Updated: 10/14/08