The Oswego Alumni Association ensures the bonds among 78,000 alumni remain strong. By Margaret Spillett Commencement Eve for nearly 90 years, SUNY Oswego alumni have ceremoniously passed the torch of learning from one generation to the next, with the charge—penned in 1936 by then Chair of the English Department Dr. Lida S. Penfield ’19—to carry
Joseph Coughlin ’82, who is internationally known for his work in gerontology and public policy, received an honorary doctor of science degree from the State University of New York May 12 at Oswego’s 151st Commencement. Coughlin, the founding director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, shared the words of an Oswego professor who deflected Coughlin’s gratitude toward future generations. “Perhaps the best advice I still carry with me from Oswego — give thanks to those who invested in you by being generous with others tomorrow,” Coughlin told the graduates and their families. The Oswego Alumni Association honored him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003, and he has been the keynote speaker at Quest, the college’s annual symposium of scholarly research and creative activity.
The State University of New York conferred two honorary degrees at the Oswego Commencement: an honorary doctor of science degree to Augustine Silveira Jr., emeritus distinguished teaching professor of chemistry at Oswego, and an honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Frank G. Pogue, president of Grambling State University in Louisiana.
“Seek your place in the world by following your own dreams, while at the same time, cultivating inner strength and a set of values and ethics that will guide you through life,” urged Silveira, who was honored at the morning commencement ceremony.
“Colleges and universities may be the only hope we have left to ensure the creation of a civil democratic society,” Pogue told graduates at the afternoon Commencement.
The official College Medallion donned by the SUNY Oswego president at Commencement and other official ceremonies was a gift of the Class of 1966.
Designed by Art Professor Emeritus Dominic T. DiPasquale, the medallion commemorated President James Perdue’s inauguration. It contains two dates: 1861 for the college’s founding and 1948, which marks the date Oswego became a SUNY school.