Credit: Newsday / Chuck Fadely

Stony Brook University held its 57th commencement Friday in Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on the campus.

Number of graduates

4,292 bachelor’s, 1,999 master’s, 449 doctoral, 226 certificates, 129 doctor of medicine and 40 doctor of dental surgery

Commencement speakers

  • Michael J. Fox, actor, author, producer and Parkinson’s Disease advocate, told graduates that each of them has the power to impact the world. “When I look out on this sea of red, I’m filled with hope,” Fox said. “For you represent endless possibility. Among you may be the first human to walk on Mars, the engineer who revolutionizes the world’s energy technology, the next great investigative journalist to expose political corruption, or the scientist who discovers the cure for Parkinson’s.” He went on to give one piece of advice: “Don’t overthink it.”
  • Jon Oringer, an alumnus from the Class of 1996 who founded the billion-dollar company Shutterstock, talked about his years as a student at Stony Brook and the influential professors and experiences he encountered. He told graduates, “Stay curious, take calculated risks and embrace diversity.”

Student speaker

Danielle Jean, a biology major, told fellow graduates: “Whatever it is that the future has in store for us, no matter where we end up — whether it’s finding a job, landing an internship or figuring out how to tackle our student loans — there is one thing that I know for sure. We’re ready.”


Savannah Rose, 20, environmental studies

Rose, of El Segundo, California, said she will apply for a fellowship that will allow her to work on the environmental sustainability policies of local governments. “Witnessing the droughts and other environmental problems, I just think we need to do something and we need to do it now.”

Xingyuan Jiang, 24, applied mathematics

“New York is the center of the finance world and there are so many opportunities here,” said Jiang, an international student from China who will work at a hedge fund.

David Karp, 25, social welfare

“I plan to work with adolescents in the clinical mental health setting,” said Karp, of Miller Place. “Hopefully go into private practice eventually, and on the macro level do some policy and advocacy work — something where I might make transformational change.”

Yvette Adams, 45, business management

Adams, a Holbrook mother of three who went back to college, said she’s going on to graduate school. “My ultimate goal is to go on to get my Ph.D. and teach on the college level.”

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