Joyful graduates at SUNY Old Westbury's commencement Saturday.

Joyful graduates at SUNY Old Westbury's commencement Saturday. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

SUNY Old Westbury held its 53rd commencement Saturday at NYCB Live's Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Number of graduates

1,049 bachelor’s and 117 master’s degrees.

Commencement speaker

The Rev. Marvin McMickle, president of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, quoted from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and then said: “The road to be a public school teacher in New York City or elsewhere, or a physician in a rural community, or a nonprofit group leader seeking to remedy results of extreme and concentrated poverty, those roads are not so crowded … There are other roads less traveled. They don’t produce as much money, they don’t produce as much fame, but they can be the most important roads that you ever take. There are roads that are desperately, badly needed. And I invite you in the class of 2019 to find one.”

Student speaker

Evan Rufrano, 21, of Patchogue, who is receiving a bachelor's degree in politics, economics and law, said: “When we look to our future outside of the safety of Old Westbury, we might be filled with daunting questions. What will I do? And how? What are my next steps? And when? Will I find and continue my success? … Whenever faced with a challenge or a doubt, know that your education has equipped you with the skills and knowledge to create your own secret formula for success and to take ownership of your future.”


Stenley Talabert, 22, Uniondale, media and communications

Stenley Talabert.

Stenley Talabert. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

“It’s been a long journey, because my father died last semester. It made it easier for me to concentrate, because I had to do it for him. I had a purpose.”

Jada Dunn, 21, Roosevelt, accounting

Jada Dunn.

Jada Dunn. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

“My goal is to be a forensic accountant and hopefully work my way up to work for the FBI. I was always interested in numbers and math. I also wanted to be a lawyer at one point, and forensic accounting allows you to dabble in both.”

Jonathan Cedillos, 23, Brentwood, biology

Jonathan Cedillos.

Jonathan Cedillos. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

“I’m the first one in my family to go to college. This has been a family goal, and they pushed me to the limit. They’ve been my foundation, my support. I want to pay them back after graduation.”

Justin Stenn, 27, Seaford, psychology

Justin Stenn.

Justin Stenn. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

“At first I was interested in philosophy, but you can’t make money in that anymore. It’s kind of a dying trade. So I had to transition to something similar, and I figure there are a very large number of people in need that psychology can address.” 

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