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College to hold its 58th Annual Commencement this Sunday

DATE: 05-15-2012

For the first time in its history, Cayuga Community College will award an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during its 58th Annual Commencement at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 20 in Auburn Campus’ Spartan Hall, 197 Franklin St. Auburn native and retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski, will be recognized with the honorary doctorate for his accomplishments and service to the College and Auburn community. He will receive his degree with 680 graduates who are earning their associate’s degrees.

The Karpinski name has been associated with the College since its founding.  Dr. Karpinski's brother, John, served on the original Board of Trustees.  Dr. Karpinski succeeded him from 1977 to 1986.  His nephew, John, continues the Karpinski legacy today.  As a trustee, Dr. Karpinski helped lead the College through growth and change, including the transition in 1975 of its sponsorship from the Auburn City School District to Cayuga County.  He spearheaded the creation of the Cayuga Community College Foundation in 1982, serving as its first President until 1986.  He worked tirelessly to secure funding from others, and he has been a generous donor himself.  In 2005, he gave generously for the Karpinski Rotunda at the College and consistently has supported the College through his resources, time, and talents over many years. Several scholarships at the College are funded by Dr. Karpinski.

In addition to Dr. Karpinski, two members of the graduating class—Alicia Frame of Skaneateles and Marin Valentino of Sennett—will be the featured speakers at the event. Both graduates are recipients of the 2011 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the highest recognition given to students by the State University of New York.

Frame of Skaneateles completed an associate's in liberal arts with a theater concentration in January, and matriculated into the bachelor's in psychology program at SUNY Geneseo this spring. At Cayuga, Frame started off playing women's soccer until an injury and the academic challenge of an early graduation impeded her ability to continue to play. She also served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa and worked as a math tutor and on the Prom Dress Project. But she made her biggest impact as vice president and a standout actor with Harlequin Productions, the College's theater company.

A 2010 graduate of Skaneateles High School, Valentino of Sennett will graduate with honors in May with an associate's in math/science liberal arts, with concentrations in chemistry and biology. During her two years at Cayuga, she was an active campus member, serving as president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the graphic designer of the Chemistry Club. She also served as vice president of the Tutor Club and chaired the group's highly successful Warm Coat Drive, An Apple a Day (faculty appreciation event), and the Prom Dress Project. In the fall, Valentino will head off to the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where she will be in the Doctorate of Pharmacy program. Her long-term goal is to be part of a research hospital working as a clinical pharmacist, so she can be a part of a hospital atmosphere and take an active role in patient care.

Leading the academic procession is Mace Bearer Thomas J. Paczkowski, Fred L. Emerson Foundation Endowed Chair in Enterprise and Innovation; College Marshals Associate Professor Patricia McCurdy and Professor Howard Nelson will lead the faculty; and leading the Class of 2012 are Class Marshals Stephanie Ann Davis and Heidi Donahue. The Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band will open the procession.

In collaboration with our peer schools in the Veteran Regional Consortium, the College will recognize its U.S Armed Forces veteran graduates with red, white, and blue cords. The five participating CNY colleges have extended invitations to the more than 235 graduating veterans, including 22 at Cayuga, to wear the special cords at their respective Commencement ceremonies in the coming weeks.

The ceremony is open to the friends and family of the graduates as well as the general public. Tickets are not necessary for general seating. The 2012 Commencement ceremony will be televised live on local (Auburn) Time Warner Cable Channel 12.  For more details on the ceremony, visit