SUNY Canton Celebrates Class of 2023
SUNY Canton held its 115th Commencement Ceremony for approximately 800 members of the class of 2023 Saturday, May 13.
College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill, class of 1963, opened the ceremony by recognizing the graduates’ resilience amid the challenges presented by a global pandemic.
“Reaching this amazing milestone in your education is certainly a testament to your strength, courage and confidence, as well as to your support network of parents, spouses, family members and all those who have helped and encouraged you along the way,” he said.
President Zvi Szafran welcomed the audience and expressed his pride in this year’s class, which comprises graduates who range in age from 18 to 61 years old and represent 16 U.S. states and eight foreign countries, including Cameroon, Canada, Finland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and the U.K.
He continued by introducing two recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence: Jonah R. Black, a Forensic Criminology and Applied Psychology double major from Canton and Samantha Dayter, a Nursing graduate from Cohoes. Szafran also congratulated:
- Muhammad H. Shabbir, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Kingston, who is the recipient of the Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence, a statewide honor that recognizes scholars in the Educational Opportunity Program.
- Danielle Giron Reyes, a Veterinary Technology graduate from Rockaway Park, who was the David R. Maynard Student Activities Award recipient.
SUNY Canton Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Courtney B. Bish then recognized Shabbir for his second honor – the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award. Gracyn J. Emmerton, a Physical Therapist Assistant graduate from Oro-Medonte, Ontario, received the Outstanding Associate Degree Award.
Class of 2023 graduate Abigale Fink, an Early Childhood Care and Management major and president of the Student Government Association, delivered the class address and told her classmates to be proud of their accomplishments.
“Graduates, as we sit here today and look around the room, we will find a connection between us all. We took a leap of faith coming to college and had to work extremely hard to get to where we are. Successes, sacrifices, defeat, and triumphs are a part of all of our stories,” Fink said.
Szafran then introduced guest speaker and a recipient of the 2023 SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professorship, Maureen P. Maiocco, Ed.D. Maiocco has worked for the college since 2004 and is a professor in the Early Childhood and Early Childhood Care and Management programs. She is
the first SUNY Canton faculty member to earn this designation, which recognizes a mastery of teaching and outstanding service to students.
“I am honored to receive this recognition for my life’s work,” she told the audience. “I am so fortunate, as you are students, to be surrounded by family, friends, faculty, and staff, many who are here today to celebrate your accomplishments and who have inspired you to persevere through challenges and whose encouragement lifted you when you needed it most.”
Szafran and leadership from the college’s three schools then began the conferral of degrees. The top three bachelor’s degrees awarded, in order of popularity, were Health Care Management, Criminal Investigation, and Applied Psychology. The top three associate degrees awarded were Nursing, Veterinary Science Technology, and Individual Studies.
Additionally, graduates from the college’s Veterinary Technology and Nursing programs were recognized at special pinning ceremonies held earlier in the week.
As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.