Number of graduates

1,500 undergraduate degrees

Keynote speaker

Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS Corp., who grew up in Valley Stream, told graduates: "Always keep your options and your heart open -- open to change, open to opportunity, open to that thing you love. Look on life not as a fully programed schedule, but a search. When the right opportunity comes you'll know it, and then you jump. You can jump because you've been practicing all along."

President's address

University President Stuart Rabinowitz told students to "ignore the negative hype" about the sluggish economy and to "stay optimistic." He added: "Keep working hard, you will create a path to your own success."

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Students' reactions

 

Max Zdrada, 22, liberal arts

"I'm going to miss the friendships and sense of community here," said Zdrada, of Atkinson, N.H. He plans to attend chiropractic school in Florida, but is also considering moving to Australia for a year.

Mike Marro, 22, psychology

"It's an exciting day realizing that all of your hard work has paid off," said Marro of Hauppauge. He would like to go back to graduate school to conduct research on brain development. Eventually he'd like to be a university professor.

Samantha Owens, 22, dance

"I couldn't have asked for a better college experience. It's been an overwhelming last few days, but it's been great being around my friends and family," said Owens, who hails from Essex, Vt., and plans to move to Brooklyn and audition with various modern dance companies.

Samantha Morill, 21, dance

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"It's a proud day for all of us," said Morill of Danbury, Conn., who wants to pursue a career in dance.