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U.S Rep. John E. Sweeney '79 to Give Keynote Address at Hudson Valley's 50th Commencement

CONTACT: Janine Kava (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, May 5, 2004

U.S. Representative John E. Sweeney, a 1979 graduate of Hudson Valley Community College, will give the keynote address at the college's 50th Commencement on Saturday, May 22.

Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, who has represented New York's 20th Congressional District since 1999, is a graduate of the college's Liberal Arts program. He received the college's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002.

"We are honored that Congressman Sweeney has accepted our invitation to return to his alma mater and speak at Hudson Valley's 50th commencement ceremony," College President Marco J. Silvestri, Ph.D., said. "This is an important milestone in the college's history, and it is fitting that we not only celebrate the hard work and promise of the Class of 2004, but also highlight the achievements of a distinguished alumnus."

"Congressman Sweeney's accomplishments further illustrate to our graduates - and current students - that a Hudson Valley education is a solid foundation for whatever career they wish to pursue," Silvestri added.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in the college's McDonough Sports Complex. The Class of 2004 has approximately 1,500 members eligible to receive associate's degrees or certificates.

A native of Troy, Sweeney received his bachelor's degree from Russell Sage College. The following year, he was appointed head of the Rensselaer County DWI prevention program that, under his direction, became the most successful program of its type in New York State. He continued working while studying law, and earned his law degree from Western New England School of Law.

After completing his law degree, he was selected as executive director and chief counsel to the New York State Republican Party. Sweeney also served as the New York State Commissioner of Labor.

As a member of the House, Sweeney serves on the influential House Appropriations Committee. He also has been assigned to the Subcommittees on Transportation and Treasury, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and State, and the Subcommittee on Homeland Security. In addition, he has been named to the Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has graduated more than 55,000 students.