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Hundreds of Success Stories at 46th Annual Hudson Valley Commencement

CONTACT: Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Marion Rosenthal expects to be crying all day on Saturday.

Rosenthal, a 52-year-old Latham resident -- one of nearly 1,500 students slated to graduate from Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday -- started work on her Human Services degree in 1989.

After 11 years of classwork, she says "I'm very proud – I know I'll cry the whole day." Rosenthal started attending Hudson Valley in her early 40s, and took one course per semester while she raised two children and worked full-time. She currently works as a program administrator for The Ayco Company in Albany. "At first I was petrified," she said. "I was quite intimidated -- I wondered whether I'd be competent enough, based on my age, to study, to understand and to complete the assignments. I proved myself wrong."

Hudson Valley's commencement ceremony, to take place in the college's McDonough Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex on campus, will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 20.

Many of this year's graduates have compelling personal histories, and have widely divergent goals and plans. Hudson Valley Community College, known for its value, academic excellence and support services, attracts a wide variety of students. Hudson Valley is ranked 22nd of the nation's 1,500-plus community colleges in the number of degrees awarded annually.

"We are very proud of the Class of 2000," said President John Buono. "Like the 50,000-plus alumni who have preceded them, they will make an indelible mark on their communities. If this class follows past trends, approximately 80 percent of the 1,581 graduates will settle in the Capital Region."

The college maintains articulation agreements and joint admission agreements with 35 four-year colleges and universities, and more than 40 percent of its graduates transfer immediately to four-year colleges and universities. The rest seek immediate employment. Of those that choose to enter the workforce, more than 90 percent are employed in their field of choice within a year after graduation. Of students who must take national certification exams for their field of choice, Hudson Valley students consistently score in the top 10 percent.

In addition to Rosenthal, the 1,581 graduates in the Class of 2000 include:

* Fitz Bradford, 28, of Albany. Fitz, who chose to enroll at Hudson Valley to improve his career options, went through the Liberal Arts Honors Program and is transferring to Union College with a $16,279 scholarship. He plans to earn an MBA in finance and pursue a career in financial services.

* John David Houle, 33, of Clifton Park. John, after attending other colleges and working as a plumber, found his academic focus years after leaving high school. He will graduate with a degree in Engineering Science, and will transfer to RPI.

* Tara Nash, 19, of Bethlehem. Tara graduated from Coxsackie-Athens High School just last year, but spent her senior year in high school as a full-time, first-year student at Hudson Valley. She will graduate from Hudson Valley's Individual Studies program, and will attend Russell Sage College next year and study art therapy.

* Barry Sparks III, 41, of Albany. Sparks came to the Troy campus in 1997 after finishing a drug rehabilitation program. With the assistance of the college's Educational Opportunity Program and Minority Orientation Program and several scholarships, he has earned a 3.4 GPA and a degree in Human Services. He also landed a job as Medicaid service coordinator for the Rensselaer County NYSARC.

* Jeffrey Hawley, 20, of Watervliet. Jeff, who will graduate with a degree in Math Science, is transferring all of his credits to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he will study computer science on partial scholarship.

* Michael Dame, 22, of Cohoes. Dame, who will graduate from the college's Electrical Construction & Maintenance program, has landed a job with Intel Corp. in Hudson, Mass. He also received offers from ANECO Electrical Construction and MiCRUS. Dame is one of seven ECM students headed in early June to Intel, which has offered a competitive package including a $40,000-45,000 salary, personal home computer, $15,000 in relocation expenses, stock participation, education reimbursement and regular bonuses. He expects to spend the first six months of his employment training in one of the following: Israel; Ireland; California; New Mexico; Arizona or Oregon.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.