Packed house enjoys December Commencement; graduates prepared

honor graduatesMore than 600 students took steps toward their future at December graduation ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 17. 

A packed house of nearly 3,400—including family, friends and members of the campus community—enjoyed the Commencement ceremonies in Laker Hall’s Max Ziel Gymnasium.

In all, the most recent crop of Oswego graduates were eligible for 463 undergraduate degrees and 169 master’s or advanced degrees. Many of those are on target with new jobs or new experiences by the new year.

Tammie Sullivan, who will collect her MBA this month in addition to the bachelor’s in accounting she earned in May, will start at PricewaterhouseCoopers in January.

“I think the education I received and the focus of working within a team setting was extremely important,” she said.

An officer and member of Oswego’s chapter of the business honor fraternity Beta Alpha Psi, she participated in professional development at regional and national levels. “One of the most important things I’ve learned is the importance of friendships and networking,” said Sullivan, a native of Martin, La. She sees classmates as peers and support networks in the business world who can later provide help and advice.

“The faculty has also played a huge part in my experience,” she added. “They are truly concerned and want you to succeed.”

Kellie McGuire will take her dual degree in English and secondary education to a teaching position in Baltimore in January.

The Lockport native cited having a lot of support outside the classroom—from her parents and her boyfriend Luke Sinkler, a December 2004 SUNY Oswego graduate—as well as four years on the women’s swimming and diving team, serving as team captain her senior season.

“Being a part of this program has taught me many important skills that a person needs to be successful in life, such as discipline, time management, hard work and many others,” McGuire said of the swimming team.

McGuire also credited two years in the Student-Athlete Mentor Program for helping prepare her. “Being a SAM taught me to be a leader and to help others that may need it, even if they don’t ask,” she said.

Chris Cherkis said his Oswego experiences changed what he wanted to do for a living while giving him a foundation to follow this path.

A theatre major from Beaver Dams, Cherkis originally had an interest in set and scenic design. Serving as the assistant producer for the recent launch of the Campaign for Oswego has channeled him toward working in special event design and production.

“I had an opportunity to see the big picture and work with everybody” in the cross-campus campaign launch team, he said. “I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction people took away from it. That was my reward.”

Cherkis, who also participated in the college’s new arts management minor, just accepted a full-time internship at the Kennedy Center Institute for Arts Management. Only 20 of these internships, which run for a few months and offer a stipend, are given during any session from a competitive pool of applicants. Cherkis has also had some leads and interviews on work that may pan out further in the future.

Designing campus theatre productions of “[sic]” and “Our Town” also helped hone his skills. “The theatre department is very hands on, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to design,” Cherkis said. “It’s a great opportunity to work with faculty and peers outside of class.”

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(Posted: Nov 30, 2005)