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St. Joseph’s College 2016 commencement

St. Joseph's College Bachelor's candidates are seen before

St. Joseph's College Bachelor's candidates are seen before their Commencement ceremony outside of the Westbury Theater on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

St. Joseph’s College held its 97th commencement Saturday in the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.

Number of graduates

776 bachelor’s degrees

Commencement speaker

Sister Helen Kearney, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, said the encouragement they received as students to “embrace service” in the Catholic tradition would become a “way of life” as they venture into careers.

“When you see forces that exclude, discriminate or undermine the human dignity or rights of others, you’ll be moved to use your imagination, your creativity and your energy to find solutions that reverse such realities,” she said.

Kearney, a 1967 graduate of the college, urged the students to keep faith at the center of their lives.

“Facing a challenge to find ways to use your gifts, you must never comprovise your spiritual and moral values — the ones you have learned here at St. Joseph’s College,” she said. “If you integrate them into your life, you will have a sense of personal integrity, true joy, and without a doubt, find others who will share them with you.”

Student speakers

Danielle Lynn White, 22, of Centereach, who graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in speech communication, said: “As we journey through life, we must ask questions, have discussions and embrace differences. We do not grow as individuals unless we have an open mind towards other viewpoints.”

Karthik Kamath, 22, of Coram, received a bachelor’s of science in biology, urged “social responsiblity” and said, “We must continue to do what we do now in service and apply it in our future careers by working towards, peace, justice and equality so that all people can be one.”

Student reactions

Joseph Salemo, 22, history and journalism

“My plan is to go to law school in the fall of 2017. I would like to go, obviously, into law, perhaps down the road into politics, because it’s an interest of mine,” said Salemo, of East Islip.

Lydia Kim, 22, English and general studies

“I have a bunch of ideas in my head. Really, I’m open to whatever I can try and whatever fits my style,” said Kim, who lives in Shoreham. “I like people so maybe I can work at a care center. I like to be around people.”

Shane Acosta, 22, accounting

“I like the challenge of it. It teaches you to never be complacent with yourself and always try to challenge yourself,” said Acosta, of Medford.

Ashley Gibson, 22, business administration

“I’d like to open my own business one day, like a clothing business. Fashion, that’s what I’m interested in,” said Gibson, of East Patchogue.

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