News and Events
Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity

Hudson Valley Community College Celebrates 59th Commencement; Largest Class in College History to Graduate

CONTACT: Dennis Kennedy (518) 629-8071; cell: (518) 331-6666 or Eric Bryant (518) 629-8072
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Facts about the Class of 2013

Class of 2013 Graduate Stories

59th Commencement Program

Commencement Remarks by President Andrew J. Matonak, Ed.D.

Photo Gallery

Hudson Valley Community College will celebrate its 59th Commencement on Saturday, May 18 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. This is the largest amount of graduates and honor students in the college's history. 

The college will confer 2,333 associate degrees and certificates. 488 students graduate with academic honors. 

John Gray hosts the live online broadcast on Capital Region Time Warner Cable Channel 50 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Producers/News Directors:
To download video highlights after the ceremony, utilize an FTP program, and visit - enter the username: "hvccevents" and password: "hvccevents"

Visit for updated information.


Saturday, May 18, 2013
Doors open at 7:30 a.m.; Ceremony begins at 8:45 a.m.


Joseph L. Bruno Stadium
Campus map
Inclement weather location: McDonough Sports Complex

Commencement Day Travel Advisory


  • Drew Matonak, Ed.D., president, Hudson Valley Community College

  • The Honorable Conrad H. Lang, Jr., chairman, Board of Trustees

  • Tina Good, Ph.D., member of SUNY Board of Trustees and president of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges

  • Kathy Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive

  • Martin Reid, chairman, Rensselaer County Legislature

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate’s degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and also sponsors an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 13,250 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 75,000 alumni.

Class of 2013 Graduate Stories

Dr. James Walker (Nursing)
James has a Ph.D. in philosophy, and has taught for more than a decade at colleges around the region. His academic research focuses on peace and conflict studies, and as he continued his teaching and research, his focus started shifting more toward playing an active role in shaping positive change. In 2010, just weeks before he started at Hudson Valley, he took his first trip to east Africa. He’s returned twice more and is now a board member of Engeye, a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure health and education in rural Uganda.

James’s short-term goal is to practice as registered nurse both here and in Uganda.

Jessica Squires (Electrical Construction and Maintenance)
During her very first week of classes, Jessica’s Rotterdam Junction home was devastated by Hurricane Irene. As she and her mother struggled to make the house livable again, her professor, Jim Countryman, and fellow students came to their aid - replacing old wiring throughout the house as part of a two-day hands-on training class.

Jessica starts her career at National Grid in a few weeks.

Marjorie Bleau-Waldorf (Individual Studies)
After watching her grandson graduate from Hudson Valley, Marge was inspired to enroll at the age of 72. The great grandmother 10 was nervous about returning to school but she made up her mind and never looked back. Marge earned a 3.82 GPA and a spot on our President’s List at 75 years old.

She and her husband are getting an R.V. and setting out on a new journey. Marge plans to take all she’s learned at Hudson Valley on the road as she begins to write her autobiography.

Robert Spain (Civil Engineering Technology)
A U.S. Army combat infantryman who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Bob epitomizes the growing number of citizen soldiers who are using Hudson Valley as a springboard to their future. He is one of nearly 90 Hudson Valley graduates this weekend who are veterans or are using veteran benefits from a spouse or family member. President of the college’s Armed Forces Club, he also is one of the college’s six Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients.

Bob will continue his education at RIT and hopes to return to the Army as a commissioned officer.

Laurie Buitrago (Chemical Dependency Counseling)
Laurie struggled with addiction from an early age, and after dropping out of high school in ninth grade, she let her education fall to the wayside. Years later, she found hope, guidance and genuine kindness from the faculty and staff at Hudson Valley. This weekend, she graduates with honors and already has two jobs that enable her to use both her personal experience and her education to improve the lives of others.

She hopes to enroll at the University at Albany to become a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Mark Noonan (Engineering Science)
The father of two teenagers, Mark Noonan spent ten years as a truck driver until a painfully chronic injury derailed that career. Out of work and concerned about how to provide for his family, Mark made what he called a “scary decision” to enroll in the Engineering Science program. Scary, in part, because Mark is required to take medication that interferes with his learning and testing. He found all the help he needed though, in the college’s Center for Access and Assistive Technology, which offered tutoring, special testing services, mentoring and support.

Mark plans to continue his higher education, and he’s deciding between RPI and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Kofi Asare (Biotechnology)
Kofi Asare, who came to the United States from Ghana, earns his second Hudson Valley degree. He first graduated in 2005 with a degree in Individual Studies and later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University at Albany. Seeking to advance his skills and improve his employment prospects, Kofi enrolled again at Hudson Valley with a certificate in Biotechnology.

He’ll attend SUNY Upstate Medical School in the fall, where he will continue working toward his ultimate goal of practicing medicine.

Zachary Pearson (Computer Aided Drafting)
17 year-old Zachary Pearson earns a degree in Computer Aided Drafting, and he’ll complete a second degree in Architectural Technology in January. He is considering RPI and other major universities to continue his education.