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June 5, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Center for Distance Learning to Host its Annual Graduation Ceremony

Ceremony to be Carried Live on ESC-TV

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – June 5, 2012) SUNY Empire State College will host its annual graduation ceremony for the Center for Distance Learning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, in the Saratoga Springs City Center.

More than 1,100 students will participate in the ceremony, including 11 who have earned master’s degrees.  The event will be streamed live over the Internet and available on ESC-TV.

The keynote speaker this year Diana G. Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE. Oblinger also will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony.

“Dr. Oblinger is a friend and an esteemed colleague of this college,” said President Alan Davis. “Her commitment to helping students and faculty bridge the digital divide and embrace technology-enhanced educational opportunities have made her a valuable resource to not only our college, but to the SUNY system and to higher-education institutions around the globe. We are very pleased that she has accepted this recognition of her work.”

Ruby Tan and Angela Thompson will serve as this year’s student speakers. They are among the more than 3,300 graduates from the record-setting class of 2012.

“Graduation brings our entire academic community together in celebration of student success,”  said Tom Mackey, dean of the college’s Center for Distance Learning.  “We reach students throughout New York state, across the United States, and internationally, and many will be traveling to Saratoga Springs with family to participate in this special occasion.”

“The School for Graduate Studies is proud of all 201 graduates across the state this year,” said Robert Clougherty, dean of the college’s School for Graduate Studies. “Our pride is dual in that given our service to working professionals, not only have our students succeeded academically, but so many of them have advanced in their careers as a result of completing their degrees."

About Diana Oblinger

Oblinger is president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. The current membership comprises more than 2,300 colleges, universities and education organizations, including 250 corporations. Previously, Oblinger held positions in academia and business including as vice president for information resources and  chief information officer for the University of North Carolina system, executive director of higher education for Microsoft and IBM and director of the Institute for Academic Technology. She was on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Michigan State University and served as the associate dean of academic programs at the University of Missouri.

Since becoming president of EDUCAUSE, Oblinger has become known for innovative product and services growth as well as international outreach. Among her achievements, Oblinger created the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), known for its leadership in teaching, learning and technology innovation, as well as several signature products, such as the “7 Things You Should Know About” series. She also initiated EDUCAUSE’s first fully online events and its e-book series, including “Educating the Net Generation” and “Learning Spaces.”

About Ruby Tan

Ruby Tan of Syracuse earned a Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Economics with a concentration in accounting.

In her native Malaysia, Tan's expectations were to complete high school and get a job. Neither she nor her parents expected her to continue her education or earn a bachelor’s degree. 

After getting married and moving to the U.S., she volunteered for the Crown Ministry in her community of Bolingbrook, Ill. to teach budgeting and how to manage money wisely. After a few months, she was inspired to return to school to earn her bachelor's degree.

Tan then took the first tentative steps in advancing her education. She began an English as a second language program at MacCormac College and later enrolled at Harold Washington College in Chicago. Two years later, Tan completed her Associate of Science in Accounting.

Associate of Science in hand, Tan worked full time as a staff accountant in an Illinois bank and home-schooled her children. After the birth of her third child, however, she had to choose between work outside her home or completing her studies. With only a year and a half left to go to earn her degree, Tan chose school. She overcame difficulty reading, but learned the study skills to succeed in the college’s online environment. Equipped with a new bachelor's degree, Tan’s passion to volunteer in her community and to help people manage their income and spending will thrive. She is proud that her children and family will see that hard work pays off.

About Angela Thompson

Angela Thompson has earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies with a concentration in professional communications. She is the first person on either side of her family to earn a college diploma.

She took her first course with the college in 2002, completed an associate degree in 2004, now has her bachelor's degree in professional communications and has started a master's degree program in organizational psychology. Thompson was granted 30 credits toward her undergraduate degree through the prior-learning assessment process, including credits for program development, motivation, conference management and communications media.

Thompson’s experience includes work with AARP and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for which she was the recipient of the 2010 ASECA Scholarship, which provided financial support and enabled Thompson to continue her education.

Thompson was able to advance in the workplace and earn her associate and bachelor’s degrees as a single parent of three children.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

More information about the college is available here.

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