By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
The distinctive, celebratory skirl of bagpipes and drums filled the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena on May 18, 2023 in honor of SUNY Broome’s 74th Commencement Ceremony. The 748 graduates, who ranged in age from 17 to 60, proudly walked across the stage to collect their diplomas for their respective degrees and certificates.
Prior to the ceremony, graduates were invited to come to campus dressed in their regalia to have their photos taken professionally with their families, friends, and with President Drumm.
The 74th Commencement Ceremony marked Dr. Drumm’s final graduation as the President of SUNY Broome. “As you can imagine, tonight is especially bittersweet for me, but I promised myself that I would not rival the proud parents in the room when it comes to tears. So instead of allowing myself to focus on this being my last commencement, if it’s alright with you, I would much prefer to pretend to be a member of the Class of 2023, celebrating my first… In honor of my belief that the briefer the commencement speech, the better, I settled on seven pieces of advice from the SUNY Broome’s 7th president,” said Drumm.
Dr. Drumm’s 7 pieces of advice included:
- Embrace the Region
- Be an Engaged Citizen
- Stay Connected to Your Mentors
- Don’t Allow Criticism to Defeat Your Spirit
- Celebrate the Populations Who Make Us Diverse
- Appreciate Those Who Support You
- Be Kind
While most of the graduates were personally handed their diplomas by President Drumm or Kathy Connerton, Chair of SUNY Broome’s Board of Trustees, some students, including Paramedic: Certificate graduate, Samuel Leslie, received his diploma from a special member of SUNY Broome’s faculty. When Sammy’s name was called, his mother, Erin O’hara-Leslie, Associate Professor/Chairperson of Health Studies, proudly stepped forward to award her son his diploma, while friends and family cheered along in support.
“My mom was my professor for one class, and I was really hoping that some nepotism would take place, but it didn’t… Today was great and it was so special to celebrate with my mom,” said Leslie.
Amongst the graduates were three of SUNY Broome’s own. Special congratulations were given to:
- Angela (Angie) M. Bergholtz – Individual Studies: A.S.
- Dr. Jennifer Musa: Chemical Dependency Counseling: Certificate
- Leigh T. Martindale – Individual Studies: A.S.
Student speakers Laura Lee Sanford and Ethan Roselle, encouraged their classmates to acknowledge and celebrate their individual successes and remember that SUNY Broome will remain a resource to them throughout their lives. “Whether you feel like it or not, I want everyone in this room to know that you are important and valued. I recognize this and SUNY Broome recognizes this. If someone outside of this College somehow challenges you on your worth, remember that we value you, your unique talents, and your special gifts. Pay them no mind! You have things to do, places to go, and lots to accomplish,” shared Roselle.
Special thanks to the Graduation Committee:
- Ashley Blackwell
- Silvia Briga
- Justine Dadamio
- Matt Ebbers
- Sara Forbes
- Rae Palmer-Jones
- Chris Keaty
- Dr. Nick Kocieniewski
- Diana Lenzo
- Samantha Potter
- Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart