Alfred State recognized approximately 700 May 2017 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 14. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held on the Alfred campus.
The student speaker was Kaleigh R. Daggs, of Rochester, a May 2017 graduate of the forensic science technology baccalaureate degree program. She is a member of the Alfred Cru church group, the Alfred State Science Society, and is a junior black belt at Caparco Martial Arts in Chili, where she studies Goshin Jitsu, a form of karate.
A major highlight of the ceremony was the conferment of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Albert R. Styrcula, a 1959 general business management graduate. Styrcula’s career started out at Foodcraft, a small processing and distribution company that dealt in dairy products. Initially, his jobs varied from accounting work to driving trucks to delivering milk to washing bottles.
However, by 1972, Styrcula had worked his way up to the top of Foodcraft, becoming CEO and chairman of the board, positions he held until 1988, when Uni-Marts Inc. acquired the company. During that time, the company’s sales increased from $2 million to $50 million under his leadership. In the mid- to late-‘80s, he even fended off corporate raiders, having to use much of his own money to assure he maintained control of his company.
Despite all of his success, Styrcula has remained as down-to-earth as ever, never forgetting from where he came. He not only credits Alfred State with giving him the knowledge and knack necessary to run a small business, but also for Judith, his wife of more than 57 years, whom he met at the college.
Styrcula has also been a generous donor and dear friend to the college for several years. He is a longtime member of the Alfred State President’s Society, and also created the Albert and Judith Styrcula Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to hard-working students with financial need from Dundee, Marcus Whitman, or Penn Yan High Schools or from Yates County.
Another major component of the ceremony was the presentation of the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence to five graduating students. 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 the criteria of service, leadership, character, and scholarship.
Receiving the award were Jacob Fassett, Cooperstown (School of Applied Technology associate degree recipient); Michael J. Shoemaker, Buffalo (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate degree recipient); Elisabeth Wolff, Camden (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate degree recipient); Heather Fumia, Holley (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate degree recipient); and Gordon Trahan, Canajoharie (School of Arts and Sciences associate degree recipient).
Abigail C. Campbell, a construction management major from Geneseo, sang the national anthem, and the Alfred State Men’s Quartet performed the college’s alma mater. Students were led out in recessional to the music of the Gates Keystone Police Pipes and Drums.