Farmingdale State College held its 97th commencement Saturday at the school’s campus in East Farmingdale.

Number of graduates

1,373: 192 associate degrees, 1,169 bachelor’s degrees, 12 certificates

President’s remarks

Outgoing President W. Hubert Keen congratulated the Class of 2016 on its achievements and reminded graduates that the learning process is never finished. Their graduation is a steppingstone to their next adventure — one they are more than prepared for, he said. “There is no more exciting time to go out into the world, to ply your special talents and expertise, to find your way in this new economy. You will engage in this new world with confidence,” Keen said.

Student speakers

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Valedictorian Samuele Riva is the first student from Italy to graduate from the college. He spoke of the challenges he faced moving to Long Island to earn his bachelor’s degree in sports management without speaking much English and encouraged his fellow students not to rest on their laurels, but to keep working toward their goals. “Do you, Class of 2016, have enough desire burning in your hearts that will help you reach your full potential in your new journey?” Riva, 22, of Varese, Italy, said. “If you do, you have already taken your first step in the long path toward success and excellence in life.”

Student reactions

Cynthia Cotto, 26, applied economics

“I’m very excited to graduate. I don’t know why I chose Farmingdale, but I know I made the right choice. I want to become a lawyer,” said Cotto, of Bay Shore.

Alex Farias, 22, business management

“I wanted to stay local and I wanted to go to a SUNY. I’m pretty excited,” said Farias, of Mineola. “Right now, I’m looking to go for my MBA.”

Devin Minott, 22, bioscience

“They had everything I was looking for,” said Minott, of Freeport. “The learning process wasn’t too daunting, the professors were understanding. I’m excited; this is just the first step for me.”

Erin Ramos, 21, liberal arts

“I feel really happy to finally graduate. It’s nice to move on from a starter school,” said Ramos, of Bay Shore. “I’m going to take this degree and all the credits I earned and do a bachelor’s in ultrasound.”