JOHNSTOWN – Fulton-Montgomery Community College awarded associates degrees to 285 graduates Friday as it celebrated its 58th annual commencement ceremony.
The class of 2023 entered the proceedings while an academic processional was played by The Schenectady Pipe Band, followed by the National Anthem, performed by Gloversville High School senior Amelia Baldwin.
College President Greg Truckenmiller delivered a welcome to the graduates and their loved ones.
“Education is not merely a means to personal success,” Truckenmiller said in his address, “but a catalyst to change the world.”
Graduate John Pertell, the distinguished graduate in the computer science program, then spoke on behalf of his class.
“We’ve all seen how effort can lead to great success,” said Pertell, who plans to continue his studies at SUNY Polytechnic University this fall.
Distinguished graduates from each program were honored at a ceremony Thursday, given medals to wear Friday. Taina Tirse was chosen for the recognition in the health sciences program.
“It’s so great,” she said of the award. “I’ve worked so hard to graduate. It’s been a struggle.”
Tirse will be continuing towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Utica University.
An array of awards was presented during Friday’s proceedings, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Nicholas Haddock and Tyler Jones received the award — the university system’s highest honor — this year. It recognizes students who have integrated the SUNY mission of success into their academic lives and beyond.
Paul Lomanto and Emilie Peterson received the Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Certificate for students whose academic rigor steps outside the classroom and has a positive impact on the community. Lomanto, Belton Dos Reis Teixeria and Tyler Jones were awarded the Distinguished Service Award for their commitment to community service. And five students— Regan Beck, Adam Drew, Yuka Shimizu, Lourdes Twente and Joshua Ulrich — were honored by the Student Senate Association for their devotion to campus clubs and activities.
Ulrich, who studied entertainment technology, hopes to find a job in the industry soon, preferably as a writer.
“They’re striking right now but I will wait my turn,” he said.
Students came from far and wide to study at FMCC.
Karen Madelongar, a business student, is from the Ivory Coast and has been in New York for about a year.
“I chose this school due to its affordable cost,” she said.
Tianting Gao hails from China, and also studied business. She currently lives in Schenectady.
“I don’t have too many feelings, I’m just really excited,” she said.
However, like many community colleges, there is still plenty of local representation.
Emily Kincheloe, from Gloversville, will be moving on to a job with the Head Start program for preschoolers in poverty.
“It means a lot to be able to give back to the community that raised me,” Kincheloe said.
Contact reporter Ameara Ditsche at [email protected]. Keep up with her on Twitter @amearaisawriter.