Hundreds of graduates enjoy December commencement

graduates walkHundreds of SUNY Oswego students celebrated their achievements at December commencement on Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Campus Center Arena and Convocation Hall.

But even before the nearly 600 students crossed the stage, many had already taken steps toward their futures.

December graduate Lacey Kimpland’s years at Oswego included success in the classroom, on the basketball court and through community service. Kimpland was part of the Laker women’s basketball program’s transformation from cellar dwellers to Division III NCAA tournament contenders in back-to-back years.

“Being a part of this special team meant more than just a bunch of girls breaking school records,” the education major from Fulton said. “It was an opportunity for me to make lifelong friends while fulfilling my dream of playing college basketball.”

Kimpland’s determination brought Mark Sterner to detail his deadly experience with drinking and driving to around 350 student-athletes and community members last fall. “His story was powerful and inspirational and I truly believe it had a positive impact on all who attended that night,” Kimpland said.

For that and other efforts, Kimpland received the Outstanding Senior Award from the Oswego Alumni Association in May. “Outside of the classroom I always felt that it was important to be involved in the community and display good character while continuously being a role model for younger children,” she said.

“In the classroom during my four years at Oswego State, I viewed my school work as a ‘practice’ for life after college,” added Kimpland, who will substitute teach while looking into full-time opportunities for the fall. “I always tried to display the quality of work that I will expect someday soon from my own students.”

Brittany Horine’s path will lead to ESPN as production manager for baseball, basketball and golf. The marketing major and arts management minor from Vestal explained that the key behind-the-scenes position involves events coordination, assembling components such as a marching band or guest talent, special set pieces and other elements viewers see onscreen.

Horine said a summer ESPN internship prepared her for this nine-month maternity-leave replacement job that positions her for other opportunities at the network. Her internship provided experience working with events ranging from Monday Night Football games to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Involvement on Oswego’s campus also honed the skills she will need. “I worked public relations for intramurals and recreation one semester, and this semester I’m their special-events intern,” Horine said. “I’m an RA and president of Onondaga Hall, so I’ve done a lot of events planning in that way.”

Jeffrey Kimball started his career while still in college as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Watertown, where he will work full time after graduating with his master’s in business administration in December. He is currently in first place in the company among eastern-region college agents, Kimball noted.

“The business classes really challenged your ability to work with diverse groups of people through team projects that really help you analyze your personal strengths and weaknesses along with your interpersonal communication skills,” Kimball said. “The small-class environment allowed everyone to feel comfortable with one another and it really helped the learning experience. The business classes also really challenged your critical thinking skills.”

Kimball took growth opportunities throughout his college experience, like becoming a teaching assistant for the “Gateway to Business” class, taking group leader positions in classroom projects and studying abroad in London. “The time management skills established from freshman year on really helps for real-world work when it comes to planning your schedule,” he said.

The graduating students agreed that taking chances and following dreams were important. “My advice is to apply for everything, even if you don’t think you have the slightest shot in the dark,” Horine said. “I think a lot of people look at competing with big colleges and think they don’t have a chance. But you can go to Oswego and have some real opportunities.”

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(Posted: Nov 28, 2007)