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05/22/2010
Largest Graduating Class In History Of Hudson Valley Community College
2,020 Students Eligible to Participate
New Location to Accommodate Record Numbers - Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Photo Gallery Available

CONTACT: Paula Monaco (518) 378-3835 cell
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo Available Photo Gallery Available

Hudson Valley Community College celebrated its 56th commencement with 2,020 students eligible to participate, the largest class in the history of the college.  The ceremony was held in the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to accommodate the record number of graduates and their guests.

In 2009 the college had 1,732 graduates and in 2008 there were 1,796 graduates.  The college's first commencement in 1955 had 72 graduates.

In addition, the college had the largest number of honor graduates (GPA of 3.5 and higher) in the history of the college. There are 436 honor graduates in the Class of 2010 as opposed to 376 in 2009.

The commencement ceremony began at 9 a.m. Speakers included Andrew J. Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community; Kathy Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive; Martin Reid, chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature; and Robert H. Hill II, chairman of the college's Board of Trustees.

Drew Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community College told the graduates, "Becoming who you really are is a life-long undertaking; it does not end with the attainment of a certificate or degree. What we hope for you is that as a result of your Hudson Valley experience, you will accelerate the process of becoming who you are truly meant to be, armed with a new sense of confidence, curiosity and adventure. As you think back on your time at Hudson Valley, you will recognize how much you learned - not only about the subjects you studied, but also about yourself. Your Hudson Valley education has provided you with a solid foundation upon which, as the old Quaker adage says, to 'Let your life speak.'"

Members of the Class of 2010 range in age from 17 to 67. The oldest, Richard Radomski of Schodack Landing, is a graduate of the Chemical Dependency Counseling Program.  Radomski earned a bachelor's degree from Boston College (class of 1965) and 12 credits toward an MBA at the University of Connecticut. He spent the last 40 years working in materials control and purchasing for a variety of manufacturing companies around the country. Radomski came to the Capital Region after he married his wife, who is a RN at Albany Medical Center. He started out in the Respiratory Care Program, but then transferred to his current program.  Radomski is interested in pursuing counseling on a part-time basis.

More students from the Capital Region graduate from Hudson Valley than any other college in the area. Eighty-five percent of this year's graduates live in one of the four Capital Region counties: Albany County (35 percent); Rensselaer County (28 percent); Saratoga County (15 percent); and Schenectady County (7 percent).  Today's graduates join the ranks of Hudson Valley's 65,000 alumni, 84 percent of whom live and work in the Capital Region.

Typically, half of Hudson Valley's graduates transfer to a four-year college or university after earning their associate degrees.  This year, transfer institutions include Cornell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University, The University at Albany, Siena, Clarkson and SUNY Plattsburgh.

The remaining graduates enter the workforce and have been hired by companies like Vanderhyden Hall, General Electric, GE Healthcares, National Grid, Albany Medical Center, Center for Disability Services and Simmons.

This year, the largest academic departments (by number of graduates) are Individual Studies, 363 graduates; Business Administration, 279 graduates; Criminal Justice, 127 graduates; Computer Information Systems, 87 graduates; Liberal Arts, 85 graduates; Electrical Construction and Maintenance, 84 graduates; Nursing, 78 graduates; Early Childhood Education, 59 graduates; Human Services, 58 students; Dental Hygiene, 35 graduates; and Mortuary Science, 31 graduates.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and 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 13,500 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has nearly 65,000 alumni.

Graduates from the Class of 2010 include:

Barbara Hoenzsch of Stillwater.
Hoenzsch is a mother of three boys, one of whom will be graduating alongside her. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, Outstanding Service to Theatre Students, and the Learning Assistance Center Spirit Award for her work promoting the services of the college Learning Centers. A student in the Individual Studies program with a 4.0 grade point average, her written work has been published in the student literary magazine, Threads. Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges has recognized her campus and community service, which includes serving as a youth leader for her church. She plans to continue her education this fall at The College of Saint Rose.

Maria Cardenas-Grajales of Delmar.
Cardenas-Grajales, a native of Venezuela, graduated from the college's Criminal Justice program in December and is currently attending Columbia University. While a student at Hudson Valley, she served as president of the Alpha Xi Sigma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a national academic honor society. She also was president of the college's International Students Club, active in student leadership, a Spanish language peer tutor in the college's Learning Centers and was one of six students chosen to write about their college experience as a student blogger. Cardenas-Grajales also was an outstanding student in the Criminal Justice program and recognized by Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges

Lorena Craig of Valatie.
Craig was an outstanding student in the college's Biological Sciences program. She was a senior senator for the Student Senate, president of the Student Christian Association and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, a national academic honor society. Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges has recognized her campus and community service. She is a worship leader at Cornerstone Fellowship Church and Youth Group and also has volunteered at the Alpha Pregnancy Care Center.

Ryan Morris of Rotterdam Junction.
Morris earned a 4.0 grade point average in the college's Dental Hygiene department. He has been awarded several scholarships including one from the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter of the American College of Dentists for outstanding leadership and scholastic performance. He also was awarded the Frank Hanrahan Memorial Scholarship which recognized academic excellence. Morris was invited to become a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and is a member of the Student American Dental Hygienists' Association, Phi Theta Kappa, and was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He is active with volunteer work which includes missionary trips to Uganda to aid in creating safe water sources.

Matthew Sekellick of Clifton Park.
Sekellick, a Theatre Arts major, served as president of Theatre Club and was a freshman senator with Student Senate. He has directed plays, performed leading roles in numerous productions, and excelled in positions of technical support. He has been recognized for outstanding achievement and service by the Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Broadcast Communications Department at the college. Named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, he has been on the President's list for two semesters. Sekellick was an intern with the New York State Theatre Institute and continues to work with the company professionally. Additionally, he has performed summer stock theatre with the Classic Theatre Guild.

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

Commencement Program
Graduates listed reflect those whose names were submitted by April 15, 2010.