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SUNY College at Old Westbury commencement 2013

Members of the SUNY Old Westbury graduating Class

Members of the SUNY Old Westbury graduating Class of 2013 celebrate during their commencement ceremonies. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Number of graduates

1,039: 967 bachelor's, 72 master's degrees

Student speaker

Student government association president Regis Burton told graduates: "We will walk across this stage and enter a society where children are still unable to obtain an education; a society where our friends have had to drop out of school to work and support their families, and a society where safety, now, more than ever, is not guaranteed."

Faculty speaker

Gary Wadler, chair of the college council, told graduates that they were stepping into a world "that stands in desperate need of your knowledge, passion and energy."

Commencement address

The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, president of the school and pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, said that graduates had weathered storms, both metaphorical and actual, and would weather more. "You will face a number of challenges," he said. "When you walk through the storm . . . hold your head up high."


Anthony O'Neal, 21

computer and information systems

"I'm feeling relief, but also some aggravation -- you've got to clean up stuff and make sure you get through in tiptop shape."

Killian Taylor, 22


"I'm going to take a semester off before grad school and do some temp work. . . . I'm a cashier now, but I'd like to do something in a nonprofit. I'm trying to be optimistic."

Betsy Rivas, 25

Spanish language, Hispanic literature and culture

"I've always had three jobs -- part-time teaching assistant, housekeeping and baby-sitting. I'm proud of making it through, and I'm graduating with no student loans."

Mamadou Thiam, 22

politics, economics and law

"I don't really like politicians, and lawyers bend the truth. I'm interested in how the economy works, and how to make it work better."

Patricia Silva, 41

childhood education

"I got tired of being in the corporate world. I wanted to do something more meaningful."

Siara Arnette, 23


"I actually graduated in December, but I'm walking today. I'm a social worker, and I started grad school last week."

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