As an ESPN anchor, Steve Levy '87 is used to getting some of the hottest tickets around — Super Bowls, World Series, you name it. But, his "golden ticket," he told graduates-to-be at the annual Commencement Eve Dinner and Torchlight Ceremony, is actually a letter dated March 2, 1983: a confirmation of his admission into SUNY Oswego.
"It was Oswego that gave me the confidence and the skills to succeed in the real world, where you're all headed Monday," Levy told more than 750 graduating seniors, their families and friends who joined alumni, faculty and staff May 13 in the Campus Center convocation hall and arena.
An even larger crowd assembled outside to take part in the annual Torchlight Ceremony, which this year marked the official kickoff of SUNY Oswego's Sesquicentennial.
"This is your shot right now. This is your time to go out and do something you love, something you are passionate about," Levy said at Commencement Eve Dinner, which precedes the Torchlight Ceremony. "If you love something that you're doing, chances are you're going to be great at it."
A 1987 graduate of Oswego, Levy got his start sportscasting at WTOP-TV and WOCR-FM as a communication studies major at Oswego. He joined ESPN and became an anchor on the network's flagship SportsCenter program in 1993.
Levy has also handled play-by-play for the NHL on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports; college football on ESPN2; and the NCAA Division I men's hockey "Frozen Four."
"I know all of you will make us, the alumni, very proud," he said. "So I leave you with this: Get out of here. Go be great at whatever you're great at and achieve your happiness."
The Class of 2011 also recognized two "Outstanding Seniors" in this year's co-award winners Adam King '11 and Michelle Hamann '11 at the Commencement Eve Dinner.
Oswego alumni spanning eight decades passed the flame from the "Torch of Learning" to Class of 2011 students at the Torchlight Ceremony.
With the exception of Commencement, Torchlight is the longest-standing academic tradition on campus. "The Message of the Torch" was written more than 70 years ago by Lida Penfield, for whom Penfield Library was named.
The Oswego Alumni Association presented Maynard Lonis '40 with the Keeper of the Torch award, which recognizes the member of the earliest class represented in the Inner Circle of alumni.
This year's Torchbearer was Tyler Hilliard '11. The student mistress of ceremonies was Jackie Costello '11, and Meghan Milewski '11 served as student speaker. The Class of 2011 was represented in the Inner Circle by Kyle Gargan '11 and Eric Kalichstein '11.
Jessica Osorio '11 emceed the Commencement Eve Dinner.