Daemen College’s 64th annual commencement was the beginning of a new tradition for the institution as for the first time ever, two ceremonies were held for undergraduate and graduate students receiving their academic degrees.
The May 16 ceremonies were filled with excitement and joy as the Daemen Class of 2015 celebrated the momentous occasion of earning their degrees.
“While you have demonstrated mastery of your academic area of study, perhaps the most important ability you have acquired is a habit of mind – the ability to think critically and analytically about the world,” Daemen President Gary A. Olson told the Class of 2015 graduates. “This is an ability that will help you make wise choices for the rest of your life. And this ability may well be the greatest asset that you take away with you when you leave here today.”
Olson added, “Graduates, 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.”
At the afternoon undergraduate ceremony, commencement speaker John K. Castle, chairman and chief executive officer of Castle Harlan, Inc., a private merchant bank with more than 42,000 employees, commended the graduates for their commitment and focus.
“Many of your courses and activities at Daemen have served to foster your overall intellectual growth and leadership capabilities, thus contributing to the person you will become,” said Castle, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters at commencement. “Education is not a static thing, over and done with once you have a diploma in hand; it is, and must be, an ongoing, lifelong process, and you will have a lot to learn. I encourage you to embrace that challenge.”
Castle said, “I am confident that your time at Daemen College has given you a firm foundation for future leadership and success.”
For the evening graduate ceremony, the commencement address was given by Dr. John J. Connolly, president and CEO of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a New York City-based publisher of guides that assist consumers with finding the best health care.
Awards presented at 64th ceremony
Presented an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony, Connolly shared perspective on the ways the career and life of today’s graduate will differ than generations before as demographic changes with an aging population will “reshape the economies and cultures of nations and societies in ways that will have a profound impact on your generation. By simply being aware of it, you may be able to create your own solutions.”
In closing, Connolly said, “Although we tend to think of commencement as the end of our college careers, the word commence actually means to begin. So you are embarking on a new stage in your life. It is a new beginning, a new opportunity, and a new chance at life. Take advantage of it.”
During the graduate commencement, an honorary doctorate of humane letters was also awarded to Peter F. Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Real Estate Corp., who served on the Daemen College Board of Trustees from 1986–2014 and was board chair from 1995–2003.
Top 2015 Undergraduate Awards Were Presented To:
- Hayley Brown who received the President’s Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has exhibited dedication, care and concern for their fellow students. Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in human resource management.
- Hannah Marvin, who received the Alumni Senior Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the larger community. Marvin earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences.
- Jessica Rosenburg, who received the Charles L. Lumsden Award, the most prestigious academic award, which is presented to the student with the highest GPA throughout their undergraduate years. Rosenburg earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Daemen’s commencement ceremonies also included the presentation of two posthumous degrees. Jennifer “Jenny” McAlmont, who passed away in November 2014, was awarded a bachelor’s degree in health care studies, which was accepted by her mother. A posthumous master’s degree in executive leadership and change (nursing) was awarded to Kathleen Field, who passed away in February 2015. Her husband accepted the degree on behalf of the family.