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Suffolk County Community College 2016 commencement

Graduates line up outside Field House of the

Graduates line up outside Field House of the Health, Sports and Education Center waiting to enter before the ceremony begins, at Suffolk County Community College's Brentwood campus, as it holds its 54th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 15, 2016. Credit: Uli Seit

Suffolk County Community College held its 54th commencement ceremony Sunday at the college’s Brentwood campus.

Number of graduates

4,398 across 3 campuses — most in the college’s history

Commencement speaker

H. Carl McCall, chairman of the SUNY board of trustees, spoke about growing up in a family that received “welfare checks”, earning a college degree and having his name on every state check after being elected state comptroller. He urged the graduates to be VIPs - to be visionary, have integrity and participate in society. “Never underestimate the power you hold to change the course of policy and to change history,” he said.

Student speakers

Juhara Bushra, 21, of Ronkonkoma, who earned an associate degree in liberal arts/general studies and plans to become a physician, said, “You have made it here today because of your hardwork and determination — keep up the good work, listen to your heart and trust yourself with your own future.”

Matthew Sclafani, 20, of Lake Grove, who graduated with an associate degree in business administration and will attend the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, “Dedicate yourself completely to whatever it is you choose to do in life.”

Nkrumah “Nick” Gordon, 38, of Holbrook, who earned an associate degree in nursing and hopes eventually to become a nursing professor, said, “The faculty and counselors here have helped me to forge a key that can never be lost or broken: an education that will not only transform my life but the lives of my family and the patients that I will care for.”

Student reactions

Sue A. Washburn, 56, accounting

“Now that I have my degree, I hope I can move up at the environmental services company that I work for, maybe become controller,” said Washburn, of Patchogue.

Sattarock A. Blackwood, 23, criminal justice

“I’m going to CUNY/John Jay College in the fall and plan to become a cop, hopefully in Suffolk County,” said Blackwood, of Manorville.

Danielle M. Hartmann, 21, liberal arts

“I’m thinking about going into physical therapy because I like seeing people get better,” said Hartmann, of Hauppauge.

Matthew Williams, 20, communications

“I’ll be studying communications and sports management in the fall at the University of Connecticut and I hope to go into public relations for a professional sports team; if I’m lucky, it will be the Islanders,” said Williams, of Centereach.

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