Molloy College held its 55th commencement last nightat Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Number of graduates
Number of degrees
783 bachelor's; 323 master's; 1 doctorate; 37 associates; 12 certifications
President Drew Bogner told graduates they are being called upon to act as "agents of transformation," saying they must "leave the world a better place for having been here."
John D. Cameron, chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council and son of a Scottish immigrant school bus driver, told students the world is a competitive place -- hard work and perseverance will be key. "Be a beacon of light in a world that too often appears dark. It will not be easy; it will often be unpopular. But it will be right."
Class of 2014 Valedictorian Ryan Lane, 21, of Levittown; biology and special adolescent education. "I've always felt I had good teachers," he said. "I'm most excited about the chance to inspire students to love learning."
Linwood Pitt, 25, of North Amityville; master's in criminal justice
Pitt wants to work in law enforcement. "I admire their work, the sacrifices they make daily. I want to be part of that family." He doesn't know where his career will start, saying, "I will work wherever I can get my foot in the door."
Gina Kearney, 47, of Baldwin; PhD in nursing
"I've always been passionate about nursing, with the ultimate goal of returning to the classroom as a teacher," said Kearney, who earned Molloy's first PhD. Both of her parents, now deceased, were ill when she was a child; her mother, Dolores Plowright, was diagnosed with breast cancer when Kearney was 3. "This is dedicated to her," Kearney said of her degree.
Ryan Welch, 31, of Ronkonkoma; master's in education
He looks forward to working with special needs children. "They keep you honest," he said, adding that such students will make him a better teacher, encouraging him to stay true to the craft. He hopes to foster in his students "the idea that they have the ability to achieve anything."
- JO NAPOLITANO