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05/18/2002
President John L. Buono 48th Commencement Exercises Welcoming Remarks

May 18, 2002

As we gather here this morning to close the book on an outstanding academic year and send you off on a new journey in life, it is impossible not to reflect on the profound events that changed our world – almost from the moment this school year began.

I'm sure every one of us can remember where we were on the morning of September 11th when we learned the unfathomable news. It was a chilling moment – a horrible day.

But we have moved on from that awful morning, as we always do. We took comfort in our loved ones, we took stock in our lives and we continued with the work we had started before that day.

For the more than 14-hundred of you who will receive your diplomas shortly, you went back to your schoolwork -- back to the pursuit of the finish line you have reached here today. We congratulate you on that achievement.

The rest of us here at the college went back to our work, too.

We went back to class to help you continue on your way. … We went back to work improving the campus around you. … We went back to planning and preparing this college to be an even more dynamic place for the thousands of students who will follow in your footsteps.

Just as you remained focused on your objectives, we as an institution remain committed to our goals.

We have held the course in our dedication to access and excellence – the foundation of all that we do here. We have held steady in our plans to enhance the academic and physical landscape of this campus.

We have been busy this year. Our faculty, staff and administration have continued making significant strides as we move rapidly forward in our evolution to a school for all seasons.

*****

I recently read a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt that I wanted to share with you this morning.

QUOTE
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
END QUOTE

The future belongs to you – the members of the Hudson Valley Community College Class of 2002. You believed in your dreams … you believed in your plan … you believed in yourselves.

The future belongs to you, Roman Radomyslsky

You believed in yourself when you first came to this country from Russia. You were a high school exchange student then, back in 1996 – fresh from your success as "The Best Accordion Player in the State of Smolensk."

You believed in yourself when you returned to Russia to attend two universities in your hometown, where you studied foreign language and economics both day and night. You believed in your dreams when you returned to the United States in 1999, and when you enrolled at Hudson Valley a year later.

Four semesters of straight A's later, you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges. You are about to receive an accounting degree, fulfilling this part of your plan. Then it's on to a four-year school, another part of your plan.

Congratulations, Roman. We hope you always will look back fondly on your time at Hudson Valley. Never stop believing in your dreams.

*****

And the future belongs to you, too – Loren Felsman.

I'm sure it must have been a little hard at times to believe in your dreams when your initial attempt at a four-year college didn't work out.

But you believed enough to try again, here at Hudson Valley and succeeded admirably.

You recorded a perfect 4-point-0 grade-point average. You were named to the second team of the national All-American Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa – making you one of the best two-year college students in America.

You were one of Hudson Valley's four recipients this year of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence – joining Frances Suggs, Lindsey Bradt and Sean Grady.

You were president of the Student Senate and actively involved in campus life. And this fall you will attend Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

You should be very proud this morning Loren – we certainly are very proud to have had the opportunity to get to know you.

After you leave us, promise that you'll never stop believing in your dreams.