Excitement reigned on a brilliant spring day as nearly 910 undergraduates and graduates in the Daemen College Class of 2014 began the next journey of their lives and were cheered on by exuberant family and friends at the college’s 63rd commencement ceremony held May 17.
With a capacity crowd filling Kleinhans Music Hall to celebrate this milestone moment, Daemen President Gary A. Olson urged the Class of 2014 “to employ the intellectual skills you have acquired, and to do so not just in the workplace, but in your daily life. You are members of a very special college, and I feel confident that no matter what challenges you experience in your life, you will continue to meet those challenges with wisdom and integrity.”
“When you do fail or hit a bump in the road, don’t dwell on it. Instead take it as a lesson learned and move on.” – John Catsimatidis
Addressing Daemen’s newest graduates, commencement speaker John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group and a self-made billionaire, reflected on some of what he’s learned in life since coming to the U.S. with his family from Greece.
“Treat everyone with kindness and respect and be reliable, forthright and honest – your word is your bond,” said Catsimatidis, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters at commencement.
Daemen’s commencement ceremony also included the presentation of top awards to:
- Maverick Cummings, who received the Mary Angela Canavan Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has made significant contributions to the betterment of student life at the college. Cummings earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
- Brittany Jensen, who received the Alumni Senior Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the larger community. Jensen earned a bachelor’s degree in health care studies with a specialization in community health.
- Hollie Kishel, who received the President’s Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has exhibited dedication, care and concern for their fellow students. Kishel earned a bachelor’s degree in health care studies with a specialization in community health.
- Samantha Maiarana and Kenzie Reynen each received the Charles Lumsden Award, the most prestigious academic award, which is presented to the student(s) with the highest GPA throughout their undergraduate years. As Daemen students, they both achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA. Maiarana earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in human resource management, and Reynen earned a bachelor’s degree in global and local sustainability with a specialization in sustainable agriculture education.
“I hope that I can serve as a positive example of what a person can achieve even though there may be obstacles to overcome.” – La’Quisha Pompey
Among this year’s Daemen graduates was La’Quisha Pompey, who was paralyzed in a shooting when she was 16-years-old. With great optimism and determination, she has persevered and realized her college dream by receiving a bachelor’s degree in early childhood special education with a minor in history.
“Despite the challenges I have faced, I always had faith I would achieve my college degree and having reached this goal is the most wonderful feeling,” said Pompey. “Ultimately, I hope that I can serve as a positive example of what a person can achieve even though there may be obstacles to overcome. ”