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College Celebrates Class of 2021 During 51st Commencement!

Smart Transfer graduates

The inaugural group of graduates who were part of the Smart Transfer Early College High School program earning their associate degrees from SUNY Schenectady and their diplomas from Schenectady High School.

"The pandemic presented challenges that none of us could have ever envisioned. But you rose above them and you persevered. I’m sure there were days when you were unsure of what the future might hold, but you greeted that uncertainty with courage and with grit. Now, all of your hard work has paid off, as we all greet a future filled with brighter days and fruitful beginnings.”

Graduate on stage with Dr. Moono

Emily Baker, graduate, in car

Graduate posing near stage

It was a day filled with joy, excitement, gratitude, applause, and congratulations as the SUNY Schenectady Class of 2021 returned to campus for the College’s 51st Commencement on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

For some of the graduates, it was the first time they saw their professors and many of their fellow graduates in person since March 2020, when the College moved to virtual online instruction.

For others who have been taking limited labs on campus this year as part of Culinary Arts, Music, and Science programs, it was a time to greet more of their fellow students, as well as professors and College staff.

Full video of Commencement 2021. 

More Commencement photos.

William Gross in cap and gown near RV.

Ethan Depoo in cap and gown.

Graduate's mortarboard reading that she is going to medical school next.

Approximately 498 graduates were invited to participate in the Commencement ceremony which was a drive-through event again this year. Students eagerly awaited their turn to hear their names read and then crossed the stage to receive their degrees and certificates, as they were congratulated on stage by Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady; Dr. Cheryl Renée Gooch, Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Ann Fleming Brown, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Melanie Ramos in cap and gown smiling in car.

Charles, a graduate, in cap and gown near car.

Harry Hart with Dr. Steady Moono on stage

Car horns honked as family members cheered for their graduates from vehicles decorated with balloons and colorful signs. Faculty and staff lined walkways and the College’s main parking lot, applauding and offering congratulations to the Class of 2021.

College officials chose to keep the ceremony brief by not delivering formal remarks, instead sending graduates celebratory video messages that were also posted on social media this week.

Graduate on stage with Dr. Steady Moono

Jason Wright and Dr. Steady Moono on stage

During Commencement, students graduated with degrees and certificates in academic programs offered through the:

  • Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law
  • Division of Liberal Arts
  • Division of Math, Science, Technology and Health
  • School of Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism
  • School of Music

Mortarboard reading, future police officer

Bovanna Phillips holding her degree

One of this year’s graduates was Bovanna Phillips who has been going to school full time while also working full time as an On-Call Counselor at Saint Anne Institute. She earned her associate degree in Human Services and will be transferring this fall to SUNY Empire State College for her bachelor’s degree in Community and Human Services.

She then plans to pursue her master’s degree as well. While at SUNY Schenectady, Bovanna was named to the President’s List and was a member of the College’s Student Volunteer Organization.

“I feel so excited to be graduating from SUNY Schenectady. It has been a long journey that wasn't easy, but I know it was worth it. I feel so prepared and elated to continue my educational journey and be one step closer to making a bigger impact in the world of childcare. For my career, I would like to be involved in determining and providing different levels of care for children, so that they can be properly placed to get the help that they need. SUNY Schenectady has given me the knowledge and the hands-on experience to be the best at whatever I decide to be in the Human Services field, and I am truly grateful.”

Graduate on stage with Ann Fleming Brown

Dr. Gooch, Dr. Moono, and Ann Fleming Brown on stage

“Many of our graduates were working, taking care of children at home, helping others in their families, and fulfilling a host of other obligations, all while going to college and balancing everything in their lives during this unprecedented time. They have earned the respect and admiration of the College’s Trustees, and many supporters in the community. We are so proud of all of the members of the Class of 2021.”

Arvin Clemente, graduate, and his parents

Graduate and her family

Graduate and his proud mother

Graduate and her mother

Matthew Speranza and family

Graduate and daughter

College staff cheering for graduates

Family members cheering in truck

Robyn King, Counselor, cheering for graduates

Thank you to all of the VISION SUPPORTERS who encouraged the members of the Class of 2021 along the way! Congratulations graduates!