JCC Celebrates 49th Annual Commencement Ceremony

Jefferson Community College will hold its 49th annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the McVean Gymnasium.  During the ceremony, Jefferson president Carole A. McCoy and the Class of 2013 will recognize a milestone achievement as Jefferson awards its 20,000 degree since the College’s inception in 1961.   

Jefferson’s class of 2013 is comprised of 591 students who graduated in December 2012 or are candidates for graduation in May or August of 2013 pending satisfactory completion of coursework. Twenty students will receive two degrees each, bringing the total number of degrees awarded to 611, of which 185 are associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degrees, 119 are associate of arts (A.A.) degrees, 293 are associate of science (A.S.) degrees and 14 are certificates.   The class of 2013 includes the first graduates of Jefferson’s new chemical dependency and winery management and marketing programs.

Nearly 45% of graduates are adult learners, aged 25 years or older.  Distance learning continues to grow in popularity with students.   Approximately 71% of the degrees awarded include at least one online class, while 17 degrees were earned completely online.  

Jefferson continues to be a strong educational partner of Fort Drum with nearly 36% of the Class of 2013 comprised of active duty soldiers and their family members, veterans, retirees or members of the Army Reserves.  In special recognition of their service to our country, Jefferson’s active duty and veteran students, along with faculty and staff veterans will be distinguished during the ceremony by the red, white and blue cords worn in recognition of their service to our country.

This year, in another special component of the evening’s ceremony, sixteen Keuka College students will receive their baccalaureate degrees from Stephanie E. Craig, chair of the social work division of Keuka College.  These sixteen students, fourteen of which are Jefferson graduates, earned their bachelor of social work (B.S.W.) through Keuka’s accelerated studies for adults program, attending college one evening per week on Jefferson’s campus through Jefferson’s Higher Education Center initiative.  Of the fourteen Jefferson alumni receiving the B.S.W degree, thirteen earned their Human Services A.S. degree from Jefferson.  

The College is privileged that Stephen H. Can, distinguished alumnus of Jefferson Community College, class of 1980, will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2013.  Mr. Can, of New Hope, Pennsylvania, is a managing director with Credit Suisse based in New York.  During the ceremony, Mr. Can will be awaded the 2013 Jefferson Citation from the JCC Board of Trustees and President McCoy. The Jefferson Citation was established by the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees to “recognize an individual or organization whose leadership and actions have demonstrated outstanding commitment to education and the vision and mission of Jefferson Community College.”

Mr. Can received an associate of science degree in business administration from Jefferson before transferring to the State University of New York (SUNY) Plattsburgh where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s of arts degree in accounting.  In 1984, he earned a master’s of science degree in finance with honors from the Krannert Business School at Purdue University where he was also named outstanding graduate instructor.  Mr. Can subsequently earned Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.), Certified Management Accountant (C.M.A.) and Certified Financial Manager (C.F.M.) credentials.

Mr. Can was recognized by the JCC Alumni Association in 2004 with the Professional Achievement Award for distinguishing himself in his professional career.  He is the founding managing director and Global Fund Co-Head for Credit Suisse's exclusive secondary private equity business, Strategic Partners, with over $11 billion committed under management.  Previously, Mr. Can worked at IBM in several domestic and international finance positions including senior investment manager at IBM Pension Funds where he co-managed an $8 billion private investment portfolio.

The student commencement speaker is Robert E. Bowen.  Robert is graduating from Jefferson with an associate of science degree in human services and an associate of applied science degree in chemical dependency. He has been named to the President’s List and currently serves as vice president of the human services club on campus. Robert currently lives in Carthage with his wife and children; he hails originally from Wyoming and has lived in both Guam and Florida. After earning his general equivalency diploma, Robert left high school during his junior year and began working as a self-described jack of all trades.  In 2010, Robert decided to begin work on a college degree and found his niche in the human services field.  Robert’s desire to serve his community and his compassion for helping others shines brightly through his activities both on and off campus. As a human services club member, Robert has participated in many community-based projects, such as  Relay for Life, distributing comfort dolls to Alzheimer’s patients, and collecting and distributing coats to those in need. Through his human services internships, Robert worked with the Urban Mission and the Veteran’s Outreach Center.  He is now employed as a part-time activities coordinator at the Mental Health Association of Jefferson County and as a full-time family advocate program coordinator at the Veteran’s Outreach Center. 

During the commencement ceremony, two graduates will be recognized for receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence earlier this year. This award acknowledges students who have best demonstrated the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives: community service, athletics, creative and performing arts, leadership and career achievement. In April, Cassondra N. Davis of Evans Mills and Erich A. Horeth of Watertown were chosen by SUNY for the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.  Ms. Davis is graduating with an associate of science degree in human services and Mr. Horeth is graduating with an associate of science degree in mathematics and science.  Additionally, Gabrielle I. Navarra, Watertown, will be recognized for receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar Athlete Award given to a student for academic excellence and athletic achievement.  Ms. Navarra is graduating with an associate of arts degree in liberal arts-humanities and social sciences.

Belinda G. Jones, Fort Drum, and Vidhi V. Udeshi, Watertown, will be recognized as members of the All-New York Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges.  To be chosen for the All-New York academic team, students must have a grade point average of at least 3.25 and have a history of scholarly achievement and outstanding service to campus or community.  Additionally, Ms. Jones will also be recognized as a member of the All-USA Community College Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa.  Belinda is graduating with an associate of arts degree in liberal arts-humanities and social sciences and Vidhi is graduating with an associate of science degree in business administration.             

The Jefferson Community College Honors Program offers students with exceptional academic skills the opportunity to receive enriched instruction and eight graduating students have completed this program. Honors program students elect three courses and enhance them as Honors Options by choosing a project for each and working directly with a faculty member to provide a unique and rewarding educational experience. Class of 2013 members graduating with Honors Program designation are:  Wyatt A. Chartrand, Castorland, associate of science degree in business administration; Crystal C. Findlay, Evans Mills, associate of arts degree in liberal arts - humanities and social sciences; Sara A. Glover, Watertown, associate of arts degree in liberal arts - humanities and social sciences; Belinda G. Jones, Fort Drum, associate of arts degree in liberal arts - humanities and social sciences; Patricia J. Moulton, Adams, associate of science degree in criminal justice;  Linda C. Rudd,  Lacona, associate of arts degree in liberal arts - humanities and social sciences;  Katherine S. Ulmen-Smith, Watertown, associate of arts degree in liberal arts - humanities and social sciences; and Marie A. White, Watertown, associate of science degree in business administration.

Four members of Jefferson’s faculty/staff will be recognized as recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.  The Chancellor’s Awards recognize extraordinary achievement and encourage the continuation of excellence.  Michael J. Burns, director of the advising, career and transfer center, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.  Patricia K. Jaacks, associate professor of biology, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Mark D. Strader, senior building maintenance mechanic I, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.   Mark C. Streiff, associate professor of physical education, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. Chancellor’s Award honorees received their medallions at the College’s Recognition Ceremony held on May 3.  Additionally, two faculty members will be recognized for earning SUNY Distinguished Rank earlier this year.   Joanna B. Chrzanowski, professor of English, received the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professorship and Raymond E. Petersen, professor of political science, received the SUNY Distinguished Services Professorship.