SUNY Old Westbury held its 50th commencement ceremony Sunday at Panther Park Athletic Field at its campus in Old Westbury.

Number of graduates

1,070 undergraduates and 96 graduate students.

Commencement speaker

Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, spoke of his poor, Irish upbringing and provided maxims for post-college success. He suggested that students continue their education and be willing to handle new responsibilities as they present themselves. “Today is a step in the journey of life . . . You will be challenged, it is inevitable. Being defeated is optional.”

Student speaker

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Antoinette Metoyer, 21, of Brooklyn, who is receiving her bachelor of science in criminology and served as Student Government Association president, said: “As I’ve reviewed my tenure here, I’ve come to the conclusion that this school prepares students to fight against important societal issues such as inequality and unequal levels of power.”

Student reactions

Axel Padilla, 25, Bellmore, criminology

“I met a lot of cool people and also improved my academic skills,” Padilla said.

David Tavarez, 29, Freeport, criminology

“Society has to be better. I’m going into law enforcement to try to do the right thing and help people,” Tavarez said.

Joselyn Redrovan, 23, Roslyn, media/communication

“The most important thing is the sense of community and amount of responsibility that comes from being in a school like this,” Redrovan said.

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Francy Rios, 21, Bronx, media/communication

“Being here, I learned that you find yourself. School is what you make of it. I found myself. I stayed as involved as possible,” Rios said.