Commencement Scheduled for May 17

Nearly 900 two-and four-year graduates, their families, professors, and friends will be on hand Sunday, May 17, at noon, as Alfred State College honors its 98th graduating class.

Presiding over the ceremony will be Dr. John M. Anderson, college president.

The ceremony will be held at McLane Center on the neighboring Alfred University campus. Graduates will need to use the tickets in their graduation packets for their families' admission.

The 2009 student speaker will be Tracey Parks, Fillmore, who is scheduled to receive her associate in applied science degree in nursing at the May 17 ceremony.  She is also one of the four Paul B Orvis Award for Excellence winners. This award is presented to the outstanding two-year graduates in each of the college's schools of study, as well as to a baccalaureate graduate. The award honors Paul B. Orvis, a former president of Alfred State and State University of New York dean for two-year colleges.  Recipients must meet four criteria:  service, leadership, character, and scholarship.  Faculty, staff, and fellow students appraise the first three.  Scholarship is determined by an analysis of the student's academic standing in comparison to other students in the academic area. 

Parks is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a recipient of the Robert J. Love Award, the Hunter Family Scholarship, and a Salvation Army Scholarship.  She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average (out of a possible 4.0).  This non-traditional student (she holds a BA from Houghton College in psychology and art, holds certifications in dispute resolution and heavy equipment operation, and a NYS hairdressing license) worked as a paralegal and serves as a literacy volunteer.  She is the daughter of Hudson and Mary Jane Parks, Caneadea.

Giving the welcome from students is Adam Nash, a senior in the surveying engineering technology program.  Nash was born and raised in Barneveld, graduating from Holland Patent High School in 2005.  He has been a member of the swim team and the club hockey team at ASC.  He has also held the position of the president of the Surveying Club, president of Braddon Hall Council, Student Senate Student Activities chair, and APB honorary board member. For the past year, he has served as the Student Senate president and co-captain of the club hockey team.

This year, an honorary doctor of humane letters degree will be conferred upon B. Thomas Golisano, a 1962 graduate of Alfred State College, who will also address the students.

Golisano, a self-made billionaire, is widely known for his business acumen, his philanthropy, and his interest in government, particularly that of New York State.

Golisano founded Paychex in 1971 with $3,000 and an idea about how to make payroll outsourcing easy and affordable for small businesses; he is chairman of the Board of the Company. Until October 2004, he served as president and chief executive officer.  Paychex began with one employee and 40 clients. Today, Paychex serves more than 500,000 clients from over 100 locations across the United States and employs more than 12,000 people.

Paychex and Golisano have received numerous national honors over the years. In 2009, the company was recognized for a sixth year by FORTUNE magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America.   Paychex has also been recognized by Training magazine as one of the top 100 training organizations in the country, FORTUNE has named Paychex one of the most admired companies in the country, and Forbes honored Paychex as one of the best-managed companies in America.

The Irondequoit native is a member of the board of directors of several private companies, and he serves on the board of trustees of the Rochester Institute of Technology. He owns the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team. Golisano has served as a member of the board of directors of numerous non-profit organizations, and founded the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1986 to provide grants to organizations serving persons with disabilities.

Golisano has also made major donations to leading health care and educational centers.  Golisano has also been a major underwriter of former President William Clinton's Global Initiative.

The Alfred State College alumnus has served on the college's Development Fund Board as an honorary member and was a sponsor of the ASC Entrepreneurship Program, established in 1998.

Golisano is a founder of the Independence Party of New York State and has run for governor of New York as that party's candidate three times. In 2008, Golisano formed a PAC called Responsible New York, to support candidates for the New York state legislature. The goal of Responsible New York is to guide true political reform in the state and to return government to the people.

Stephen B. Richard, an instructor in the Building Trades Department at Alfred State College and pastor of Chenunda Creek Fellowship Church, will give the invocation and benediction.