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Molloy College holds 59th commencement at Jones Beach

Graduates embrace Robert C. Houlihan, vice president for

Graduates embrace Robert C. Houlihan, vice president for student affairs, at Molloy College's 59th commencement on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Credit: Johnny Milano

Molloy College held its 59th commencement Saturday at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.

Number of graduates

1,210 degrees: 768 bachelor’s degrees, 432 graduate degrees, 10 doctorates.

Commencement speaker

Robert C. Houlihan, the college’s vice president for student affairs, told graduates to seize opportunities and not fear failure. “A lot of people think they have one shot at success,” said Houlihan, who is retiring after more than 36 years at the college. “That’s not true. They have many, many shots. . . . Look at your failures as preparation for success. I believe that every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Without the obstacles, you’re not going to grow.”

Houlihan also urged graduates not to “fixate on what you can’t control. Concentrate on what you can control. It is up to you to fix what you can in your life, and that starts with fixing your attitude.”

Student speakers

The valedictorian, Joanna Verde of New Hyde Park, and salutatorian, Eve Kaczmarczyk, also of New Hyde Park, spoke at a pregraduation event Thursday.

Verde, who received a bachelor’s in early childhood education, heralded Molloy’s Catholic heritage. “Through the school’s dedication to the Dominican tradition of study, community, service, and spirituality, we have grown tremendously as individuals,” she said. Kaczmarczyk, who earned a bachelor’s in psychology, told classmates to always look forward. “It is easy to look back and think ‘what if,’ ” she said. “But we must live in the present. We cannot change the past. We can only create the future.”


Sarah Losner, 21, accounting

“My long-term dream is to be a CFO [chief financial officer] one day, and I think my experience at Molloy has prepared me to start thinking in the way that a CFO would think,” said Losner, of Merrick.

Jamelee James, 25, nursing

“You have great professors who are there for you . . .,” said James, of Central Islip. “They notice a difference in you, although you don’t see it. That’s what I love about going to such a small school.”

Ronnie Amato, 22, communications, media and new media

“I really wasn’t the same person four years ago that I am today,” said Amato, of Long Beach. “Molloy really helped build the foundation and opened a lot of doors for me. It showed me anything is possible as long as you put in the hard work.”

Melissa Guida, 21, business management and marketing

“Molloy is really where I found my passion for marketing,” said Guida, of Old Bethpage. “The best thing Molloy did is encourage me to get a lot of intern experience early on. Once I started interning, I got my feet in the water and realized what I liked and what I didn’t like.”

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