Friday, May 19, 2017




SUNY Orange celebrates 67th commencement

Renita Johnson, chosen as the student speaker

MIDDLETOWN – More than 500 graduates received their college degrees Thursday evening as SUNY Orange marked its 67th commencement at the Middletown campus.

The graduates and the 4,500 friends and relatives who attended on the Alumni Green, did not seem to be bothered by the unusually hot evening spring weather.

Global Studies professor Heidi Weber encouraged the grads to “create a picture of what you want your life to be” and then make it happen. Student speaker Renita Johnson urged her classmates to “remember the lessons” they learned at SUNY Orange.

College President Dr. Kristine Young told the graduates not to “take lightly this accomplishment you celebrate this evening. You are entering a minority, and that minority is Americans with a college degree. Go out into the world and do great good.”

County Executive Steven Neuhaus offered the grads eight bits  of advice – let your conscience be your guide, always take time for family, find a career you enjoy, take risks, learn from your mistakes, never quit, embrace change and make a difference.

Two students graduated with perfect 4.0 grade point averages – Nicole Stone and Natassia Velez. Five grads had their degrees presented by a parent who works at the college – Angela Contarino, whose mother Rosamaria is chairwoman of the Medical Laboratory Technician Department; Michael Kelly, whose mother Laura is senior secretary in the Admissions Department; Alexandra Mansueto, whose mother Sue is director of student accounts, Kathryn Misiak, whose father Bob is interim chairman of the diagnostic Imaging Department, and Peyton Smith, whose father Wayne, is athletic director.

A total of 94 of the graduates earned their entire degrees at the Newburgh campus.

"What's next" ponders one student in her top-of-cap message to the world



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