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Nearly 900 two- and four-year graduates, their families, professors, and friends were on hand Sunday, May 16, as Alfred State College honored its 99th graduating class. Presiding over the ceremony, which was held at McLane Center on neighboring Alfred University’s campus, was Dr. John M. Anderson, college president.
Giving the welcome from students was AJ LaMere, Rochester, chair, ASC Student Senate. In addition to his responsibilities as Student Senate president, LaMere also serves as a resident assistant in Peet Hall, is a member of the Alfred Community Coalition and the Beautification Initiative, and is an honorary member of Business Professionals of America. He is the son of Mechell and Alfred LaMere, Rochester.
LaMere characterized his fellow Alfred State collegians as people who are “young, radiant, and ready. Ready to dream, ready to believe, and ready to experience the world we live in.” He continued, “Our preparation has geared us toward a new age of responsibility. I am confident that this class of graduates and the ones to follow will change the world we live in. We will re-create the formula for success that will lead us back to a prosperous society. This generation will learn how to be more accountable for its mistakes, and rely on itself to get up and go again.”
On a final note, LaMere, quoting Gandhi, advised his fellow students: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world!’ So I leave you with that thought – the thought that YOU are now in control of your own destiny! Congratulations and good luck.”
The 2010 student speaker was Elizabeth Brutsch, East Chatham, who received a bachelor’s degree in architectural technology as well as an associate’s degree in interior design at the ceremony. During her time at ASC, Brutsch has been involved in the Architecture Club where, for the past two years, she has served as president. Additionally, Brutsch has served as president of the Alfred State College American Institute of Architecture Students. She is a student leader and lector at St. Jude’s Chapel and Student Center on campus; a member of the Alfred State College Equestrian Club, where she has served as treasurer; a member of WINS (Women in Nontraditional Studies) Club; editor-in-chief of the ASC yearbook, The Statonian; and a member of the Hornell Sportrifle Competition Team.
Brutsch was also named a 2010 SUNY (State University of New York) Chancellor Award winner for Student Excellence; she is also the winner of Alfred State College’s highest student honor, the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence, School of Management and Engineering Technology, baccalaureate level.
Brutsch, a familiar name on ASC’s Dean’s List, also received an honorable mention for Interior Design Excellence from the College.
A 2006 graduate of New Lebanon Junior-Senior High School, she is the daughter of Michael and Dawn Brutsch, East Chatham.
After congratulating her classmates and thanking faculty, staff, and family members for their support as the graduates worked toward this goal, Brutsch noted that “We have learned the skills we need to confront obstacles and overcome them. Many people may doubt us; they say we spend too much time on the Internet or too much time ignoring the world with our IPods and Mp3 players blaring in our ears. They have called us a generation of entitlement. But we have seen more change in a shorter period of time than any generation before us and these technological examples prove that we can handle a fast-changing future. We are prepared to enter in to the fast-paced society and lead the charge to a better future for the next generation. Alfred State has given us the ability to realize our full potential and overcome anything. It time for us to do just that…to prove that we do not believe in entitlement, but in hard work, sweat, and a little sacrifice to get to where we need to be in life.”
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Alfred State College alumnus William H. Goodrich,’84, president and CEO of LeChase Construction, Rochester. Goodrich, an integral member of the LeChase organization since 1985, was named president in 2002 and CEO in 2007.
In his present role, Goodrich is responsible for setting and defining the vision and culture of the organization, managing day-to-day operations, promoting a safe work environment, fostering business opportunities, and maintaining the core ideologies and philosophies of the organization. Goodrich has also been instrumental in the ongoing geographic expansion of the organization.
Goodrich has been an active board member of several organizations, including Nazareth Academy School, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts of American, General Building Contractors, and Rochester Downtown Development Corp. In addition, he is a member of the ASCE and American General Contractors.
Goodrich’s education includes business studies at SUNY (State University of New York) at Buffalo, a BS in business from Roberts Wesleyan College, and an AAS in construction engineering technology from ASC.
Goodrich’s talk, titled “What Life Are You Waiting For?” outlined the key attributes graduates need to propel themselves on their life journey.
Amidst Goodrich’s personal anecdotes was much career-building advice, including the “three P’s: preparation, perseverance, passion…PLUS a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, flexibility, perspective…and one extra degree of effort. These are just a few of the attributes young professionals need to possess and demonstrate in this current economy. All else being equal, employers will be looking for that someone who puts forth that extra effort,” he said.
Additionally, he noted that “Hard work does pay off. Every day you are performing, you are on a stage, your actions and your in-actions are all being judged, measured, and compared.”
There are some “Simple steps you can take when you hit the ground running in search of that perfect job: interview preparation, know the company, not just the obvious; identify mentors and coaches and observe and glean what is effective; follow through and always be open to feedback – there is always room to improve.
“Don’t wait for the opportunities, find them or create them; most importantly, love what you do and do what you love!”
Additionally, following his address, President Anderson honored Goodrich with the President’s Medallion, for his support and many contributions to the college. Anderson noted that Alfred State is proud of this special alumnus who has accomplished much, personally, professionally, and on behalf of his alma mater and read a proclamation which stated:
“Bill has effectively advocated on behalf of the Construction Workforce Development Center at the School of Applied Technology in Wellsville; has consistently served as an advocate for Alfred State College; has consistently served as an advocate for the State University of New York; is recognized as one of Western New York’s most effective and successful business leaders; is a leader of LeChase Construction, a company that employs over forty Alfred State College graduates; has been a consistent investor in the College and a persuasive advocate for others to do the same.
“Therefore, on behalf of Alfred State College and its constituents, I am delighted to present the President’s Medallion to William H. Goodrich in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Alfred State College.”
One of the highlights of the ceremony was the presentation of the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence, 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.
Honored at the commencement ceremony were: Robert C. Assad, East Aurora, electrical construction and maintenance electrician program, School of Applied Technology; Bethany J. Williams, Hornell, nursing program, School of Arts & Sciences; Tara M. Daly, Malta, court and realtime reporting major; School of Management And Engineering Technology—associate degree recipient; and Brutsch, School of Management and Engineering Technology--baccalaureate degree recipient.
Rev. Carol W. Stewart, assistant professor, ASC Mathematics and Physics Department, gave the invocation and benediction. Stewart, an Episcopal priest with the Allegany County Episcopal Ministry, serves in St. John’s, Wellsville; St. Philip’s, Belmont; St. Paul’s, Angelica; or Christ Church, Cuba.