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Adelphi University holds 122nd commencement

Adelphi University held its 122nd commencement Friday at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum for more than 1,700 students.  Samantha Herskowitz, a nursing student, talks about how the university has prepared her for the next steps in her life.  (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Adelphi University held its 122nd commencement Friday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Number of graduates

23 associate degrees, 1,354 bachelor’s, 1,130 master’s and 46 doctoral degrees and 121 advanced certificates.

Commencement speaker

Dean Richard Garner, leader of the Honors College, an expert in classical languages, literature and philosophy, hearkened back to those times for his message of inspiration. “So, you’re going out into the world to live your lives. Your generation says ‘YOLO.’ I don’t think it’s such a great phrase. It’s just a statement: You only live once. One of my languages is Latin. The Romans said, ‘Carpe diem: Seize the day.’ I like that much better. It is an imperative, an order, a call to action. Seize the day! So do it.”

Student speakers

Isuri Wijesundara, of Sri Lanka, who earned a bachelor’s of fine arts in theater and is a graduate of the Levermore Global Scholars Program, thanked faculty, friends and staff — and her parents, who sent their only child 8,745 miles from home for her education. “It amazes me that I, among others, am able to say that I live in New York while truly living my dream and pursuing a career I had once hoped for. And that’s only because of all the sacrifices you and all of our families have made, for us . . . . I am stoked and excited for the next chapter of our lives, and I wish all the very best with all of your future endeavors.”

Cristin Sauter, graduate student representative, received a master’s in social work. She told students that she had surveyed classmates to gain insight for her remarks. “Shout out to those who suggested I highlight the strength, determination, perseverance and time-management skills of these graduates, [and] to my friend who suggested I divulge the immense potential we have as graduates in positively impacting the lives of others and making the world a better place for all — and thus how every action we take in our professional careers is a proleptic step forward in mending our world.”

Graduates

Rebecca Gotterbarn, 22, computer science

“I am feeling excited, but I don’t think it has really set in yet,” said Gotterbarn, of Garden City South. Adelphi, she said, has “prepared me in a lot of ways — especially with the field I would like to get into: security. I have had some really great mentors, people who have taken the time to help me develop into a professional. So I feel ready, but obviously very nervous, as most graduates are.”

Charlotte Champigny, 23, biology

“I can’t believe it. Really, it is a dream come true,” said Champigny, of Harrison. She overcame two debilitating strokes, suffered before she started college, and graduated with the help of many on campus, including the Bridges To Adelphi program. “It was amazing,” she said, adding that she wants to work in some aspect of the medical field to “help people.”

Lentz LeFevre, 36, master’s in public health

“I just want to thank God. Without Him, none of this would be possible,” said LeFevre, of Huntington. “This is a tremendous opportunity. I am very grateful for my family and the support I have gotten over the years. It is overwhelming. My plan is to pursue medicine.” He said he will take a gap year to take the Medical College Admission Test and then go to medical school. “Adelphi takes you by the horns and grabs you by the hands and uplifts you like no place I have ever seen.”

Safa Alsaidi, 24, master’s in speech pathology

“I have been working really hard for this moment and I am really happy that I made it here,” said Alsaidi, of Yonkers. “I have a job I am starting next week. I am going to work as an early intervention speech pathologist, so I will be treating infants to 3 years old. I did this all for Dad,” she said, referring to her late father, who died four years ago.

Matteo Cannavera, 22, finance

“I am going to work in the city in a real estate investment company,” said Cannavera, of Cagliari, Italy. “And my visa is for one year and I probably will go to grad school after.” At commencement, he said, he felt “a little bit lost. When you are in school it is easy, but you don’t know what to do after.”

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