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Farmingdale State College holds 99th commencement

U.S. Navy veteran Lawrence Perez, 54, of Westbury,

U.S. Navy veteran Lawrence Perez, 54, of Westbury, waves to family and friends as he enters the commencement ceremony at Farmingdale State College on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Farmingdale State College held its 99th commencement Tuesday on the Farmingdale campus.

Number of graduates

1,286 bachelor’s degrees, 180 associate degrees, 9 certificates

Commencement speaker

President John S. Nader highlighted some of the achievements of the graduating class, which included veterans, accomplished scholars and athletes. “Many of us would be well-advised to learn from the examples of so many of our students and graduates,” he said.

Student speaker

Valedictorian Elizabeth Antonelli, 23 of Islip, who graduated with a bachelor’s in business management and a minor in legal studies, gave her classmates three pieces of advice.

First, “Never waste your time. Don’t waste it at a job you don’t like, with a partner you don’t love, in a city that doesn’t inspire you,” she said. “Time is everything, it’s all we have, so use it wisely.”

Second, she told her classmates not to forget to say thank you. “It is often overlooked how powerful those small words can be.”

And finally, “Do good and be good,” she said. “Do good deeds, be a good person, be a good citizen, good partner, be good to the environment, to animals and to strangers. Do good for yourself and for others. Do good even when no one is paying attention and you’re not going to get anything in return.”

Graduates

Michelle Santiago, 23, aviation administration

“I’m excited. It took me so long,” said Santiago, of the Bronx, who said she earned her bachelor’s degree in six years, after joining the U.S. Army during her freshman year and completing a tour in Iraq as a senior. She plans to attend the Hult International Business School in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her advice to graduating seniors: “Definitely keep pushing. It will pay off.”

Megan Foertsch, 22, criminal justice

“I’ve gotten the farthest and it feels great,” said Foertsch, of Farmingdale, who is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree. She plans to attend law school and hopes to be a criminal justice lawyer.

Nabeel Nayyar, 25, global business management

“I’m finally graduated. It took some time, but I did it,” said Nayyar, of Medford. His sister, Aqsa, 23, also graduated from Farmingdale on Tuesday, with a degree in business management and math. “It’s hard work and it paid off,” he said.

Krystina Nelson, 31, criminal justice

“I’m so excited. It’s been a long time coming and I’m just ready for my next chapter,” said Nelson, of Wheatley Heights. She applied several times to Farmingdale State and went to community college to raise her grades until she got in, she said. “Ever since then, I’ve maintained a 3.9 GPA, three honor societies, and like I said, I’m 31, so this is a like a huge milestone for me overall.”

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