SUNY Canton graduates 920 students at 104th commencement; last ceremony for 21-year president Kennedy
Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 8:44 am

SUNY Canton Students prepare to participate in the College's 104th Commencement CeremonySUNY Canton Students prepare to participate in the College's 104th Commencement Ceremony

CANTON -- SUNY Canton Pres. Joseph L. Kennedy conferred degrees for approximately 920 students at the College's 104th Commencement Ceremony Saturday, Convocation Athletic and Recreation Center, nicknamed Roos House.

"This is my 21st and final commencement at SUNY Canton," Kennedy said.

"I'm very proud of today's graduates and I'm honored to spend the day with them and their families. I look forward to further growth and development in the College's academic programs, with the end result of seeing even more students enroll, graduate and launch successful careers in the future."

The president is scheduled to retire on August 31. He said he is keenly interested in future commencement ceremonies as an indicator of the College's ongoing success.

"I will always feel a sense of accomplishment when I see SUNY Canton students complete their educations," Kennedy said.

The top five bachelor's degrees awarded, listed in order of popularity, were: management, criminal investigation, health care management, legal studies, and graphic and multimedia design.

The top five associate degrees with the most graduates were nursing, liberal arts, criminal justice, veterinary science technology, and business administration.

State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie was presented with the Honorary Alumna Award from the SUNY Canton Alumni Association for continually supporting and promoting SUNY Canton. She recently backed the College's newest educational options to benefit of both students and the greater North Country Community, and has demonstrated a remarkable interest in the ongoing success of the College and its graduates.

During the week prior to ommencement, the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence Law Enforcement Academy held a special ceremony for more than 20 graduates of the semester-long intensive course. Many of the Academy graduates were sworn in as new officers in area police departments.

Additionally, nearly 90 graduates of SUNY Canton's nursing program were recognized at a special ceremonial pinning ceremony. Registered nurses are in high demand, and many of the graduates will immediately start their employment at area hospitals and health-care facilities.

At Saturday’s commencement,

Karen M. Spellacy, professor of economics, received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in College Service. Spellacy was awarded for providing dynamic education in her business and economics courses, in addition to her inspirational leadership in a variety of roles. Based on her tremendous service, Spellacy will assume the role of Interim Provost on Sept. 1.

John F. Conklin, associate professor of nursing, received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Faculty members and students have said Conklin demonstrates a deep and genuine concern for his students and helps them to succeed in any way that he can. He also was instrumental in the development of the college's practical nursing certificate program, as well as the online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

SUNY Canton Student Government Association President Daynelle N. Richards, a health care management major from Ozone Park delivered the address on behalf of her fellow graduates. Richards was selected as the recipient of the 2012 David R. Maynard Student Activities Award.

Kristen B. Roberts, the College's associate director of residence life and residence director of the new Grasse River Suites was honored with the Northstar award. The award is completely determined by the student body to recognize a faculty or staff member. Roberts was selected for making a positive impression on students and their parents with her positive, can-do attitude. She's been a role model for many students and is involved with many student-run organizations. The student government association president presented the award to Roberts.