By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

Thousands flocked to the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena on May 23, 2024, to celebrate SUNY Broome’s 75th Commencement Ceremony. Over 780 of the College’s graduates, ranging in age from 18 to 62, proudly walked across the stage to collect their diplomas for their respective degrees and certificates. 

Commencement Day festivities started early, as graduates were invited to spend their morning on campus dressed in their regalia for professional photos with their families, friends, and President Hawkins.

Dr. Hawkins addressed the group during his first commencement ceremony as President of SUNY Broome.
Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

The 75th Commencement Ceremony marked Dr. Tony D. Hawkins’ first graduation as the President of SUNY Broome.

“The class of 2024 will always have a special place in my heart, as you were the cohort of students who taught me the most about the mission of SUNY Broome in action,” shared President Hawkins. “Thank you for your kind welcome at the beginning of the academic year and for consistently including me in your events, activities, and ceremonies. You have no idea how much I appreciate the honor of being with you and for you throughout the year.”

The ceremony featured two student-led musical performances, including an electric guitar rendition of the national anthem and a vocal performance of “For Good” from Stephen Schwartz’s musical Wicked.

Graduate musicians included:

  • Cooper Ely – Music: A.S.
  • Emily Dimock – Environmental Science: A.S.
  • Kirsten Groats – Music: A.S.

In addition to an address from President Hawkins, the ceremony also included remarks from SUNY Broome Board of Trustees Chair, Kathy Connerton, and Student Speaker, Alejandro Chavarria Gonzalez. 

“Our graduating class is filled with students who may have had to work full-time while earning their degrees,” said Gonzalez.  “We are parents who may have had to study after our children fell asleep each night. We are first-generation college students or students who are giving college a second chance for a brighter future. We are immigrants, like me. This is who we are!”

Graduates received a yellow rose to share with a family member, friend, or mentor who served as an inspiration throughout their SUNY Broome journey.
Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

The Class of 2024 helped President Hawkins to initiate a new SUNY Broome tradition. In addition to receiving their diplomas or certificates, each graduate received a yellow rose. President Hawkins encouraged each graduate to extend their rose to  someone who inspired and encouraged them throughout their SUNY Broome journey. The highlight of the evening was watching the graduates give their roses to a parent, spouse, child, SUNY Broome mentor, or friend.

Special thanks to the Graduation Committee: 

  • Matt Ebbers
  • Sara Forbes
  • Kerry Gallagher
  • Chris Keaty
  • Ashley Kemak
  • Dr. Nick Kocieniewski
  • Diana Lenzo
  • Rae Palmer-Jones
  • Samantha Potter
  • Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

Tags: , , ,