TROY, NY — Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) held its sixty-eighth annual Commencement exercises with four ceremonies, organized by the program of study, in the McDonough Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Class of 2022 includes 1,454 students who earned associate degrees and certificates in 80+ program areas in the Schools of STEM, Health Sciences, and Business and Liberal Arts.
“Remember, you’re the problem-solvers, thinkers, builders, creators and the world needs you, so go out there and reach high,” HVCC President Dr. Roger Ramsammy said addressing the graduates.
“The world may not be perfect but it is yours and now’s the time to make it different,” Ramsammy noted.
HVCC graduate Kelly Hoffman, who this year became the first chairwoman in the history of the Rensselaer County Legislature, shared how much she has been able to achieve with her Associate’s Degree.
“All the while I was moving up the corporate ladder I kept hearing people say to me, you need to go on for your Bachelor’s Degree, you’re up against candidates who have their Master’s Degree but really all I needed was my degree from Hudson Valley Community College. Now, I’m the regional director for one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States,” Hoffman explained to the graduates about how well HVCC prepared her for the real world.
Student Trustee Talia Edwards detailed her time at HVCC and how she and her fellow classmates persevered through learning to deal with a pandemic.
“We made the best of our time apart but an interesting thing happened. Suddenly the thing we valued the most became togetherness and community. We all realized that we could not take the time we spent together for granted because in the blink of an eye we were behind a screen fixing our cameras and readjusting our audio,” Edwards said.
“Eventually, we did come back to campus. Even while socially distanced it was so heartwarming just to see the pure joy exuded by students able to be together again. Our senior leadership and clubs came together to navigate difficult topics like raising awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. We shared big moments like celebrating pride month and also our ball,” Edwards continued.
“Even with the pandemic we were still able to succeed in our college careers at the Hudson Valley,” Edwards added.
For its gift, the Class of 2022 is donating $185,000 back to the college for renovations, multimedia upgrades and financial assistance for struggling students.
There are 375 students who graduated with Honors and 144 who are members of Phi Theta Kappa. Plus, 44 graduates who either self-identified as being a member of the military on the admissions application or are veterans using education benefits. In addition, eight students (18% of the veterans graduating this year) are identified as graduating with honors.
Graduates range in age from 17 to 73 and come from 36 countries around the globe. In addition to the United States of America, students reside from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kuwait , Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Approximately 81 percent (1,133 students) of Hudson Valley graduates reside in the Capital Region. There are 432 graduates from Albany County (31%), 345 from Rensselaer County (25%), 212 from Saratoga County (15%) and 144 from Schenectady County (10%).
Among some of the highlights of graduates are:
Mariam Alyasin, Engineering Science. Mariam has completed the rigorous Engineering Science degree and hopes to continue her engineering education at a four-year university.
Dara Blanchette, Health Sciences. Dara, a mom of three, is returning to school and will continue her studies at Hudson Valley to become a dental hygienist.
Jalen Davenport, Individual Studies. Originally from the Bronx, Jalen’s collegiate football career was sidelined by a knee injury. The honor society student plans to become a physical therapist.
Sophia Lenigk, Biological Sciences. 18-year-old Sophia was homeschooled for much of her secondary education, and she is still deciding on her next step – medicine or research.
Emily Dayton, Electrical Construction and Maintenance. Emily is the mother of two children, one of whom was born while she was a student at HVCC.
Joe Mumtaz, Criminal Justice. Joe and his wife are successfully juggling school, working and raising a young family.
Blanca Parker, Liberal Arts and Science: Math and Science. Blanca (17) is the youngest graduate in the Class of 2022.