June 25, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Graduates More Than 3,400

The Class of 2012 is the largest in the college’s history

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – July 3, 2012) State University of New York Empire State College students from all corners of New York state, across the country and around the world celebrated their success at nine graduation ceremonies throughout the month of June.

Miranda Von Fricken and her family 2012 Center for Distance Learning graduation. Von Fricken's daughter has matching cap and gown.

Miranda Von Fricken and her family celebrate

The class of 2012 comprises more than 3,400 students, the largest in the history of the college.

‌“Sharing the joy of our graduates and their friends and family is the highlight of the college year,” said Alan R. Davis, president of the college. “My congratulations go out to all of the students from the class of 2012 and my appreciation goes to the college’s faculty mentors and staff who have supported their hard work.”

“Sharing the happiness, pride and satisfaction with our graduates, their families and friends and the talented, dedicated faculty mentors and staff who support them is always a wonderful experience,” said college Provost Meg Benke. “The college is a community of learners in an open-education model and graduation is the best demonstration of our collective success and The Power of SUNY. I congratulate all the graduates and commend the faculty and staff for their successful efforts.”

Left to right: son Christopher Mallett, daughter Crystal Mallett, Donald Mallet ’12 Albany, mother Jackie Mallett, wife Christine Mallett at the 2012 Northeast Region Graduation

Graduate Donal Mallet and his family

Many of the college’s students start their undergraduate education elsewhere and finish their degrees with Empire State College. The college's innovative design provides flexible options that allow faculty mentors to work with undergraduate students to design their degree program to meet their educational, career and personal goals. 

In addition to credit transferred from previous college experience, students often bring with them learning gained through training at the workplace, in service to the military and other life experiences. 

‌The college assesses this knowledge and in many cases awards credit for college-level learning, which saves time and money.

The following are stories about the some of the college’s graduates from the class of 2012.

Student speaker Lois Barth addressing the Metropolitan Center class of 2012 at the graduation ceremony.

Lois Barth celebrates with the class of 2012 at the Metropolitan Region Graduation Ceremony

About Lois Barth

Lois Barth earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a concentration in studies in transformation. She was mentored by Professor Lisa Parkins.

Barth’s career path includes comedienne, massage therapist and, for about the last decade, life coaching, speaking and training. Throughout her professional life there always has been a theme of self-awareness and human development in her work.

As a comedienne, she highlighted social commentary on relationships, addiction and family dynamics. Barth worked both in traditional venues, as well as alcohol and drug rehabs, eating disorder units and homeless shelters.

Her solo shows focused on the theme of transformation, and as an arts educator she used storytelling as a catalyst for increased literacy, self-esteem and diversity with the K-12 population around the country.

As a licensed massage therapist, she had her own onsite  massage company and private practice and helped to rejuvenate the rescue workers during 9/11.

Over the last decade, her work has transitioned into life coaching, speaking and training in the areas of self-care, productivity, stress management and career transition.

She integrates her background as a humorist and her experiential learning to create highly interactive and upbeat programs.

Barth was the life coach for SELF magazine's SELF Challenge and FITNESS magazine's Fitness Challenge, and has both spoken and created training curriculum for diverse groups including the Naval Underwater Warfare Center, Girl Scouts, l'Oreal and the Society of Women Engineers.

After celebrating a milestone birthday, Barth decided to complete her degree and chose Empire State College because of the flexibility afforded by the college. She says that going back to Empire State College to complete her degree, was the best birthday gift, to date, she has ever given herself.

Student speaker Dolores Bond and her family at the 2012 Long Island graduation.

Dolores Bond celebrates with her family at the 2012 Long Island Region graduation.

About Dolores Bond

Dolores Bond earned her Bachelor of Arts in Community and Human Services and was nominated to speak by professors Toni Raiten-D’Antonio and KD Eaglefeathers. Bond is a recovered drug addict and alcoholic who survived various physical and emotional abuses from childhood throughout adulthood.  

She has five children and five grandchildren.

She states that her life changed about 10 years ago when she came out of a coma, surrendered her life to Christ and chose to look forward and never return to the life she had.

A social worker told her about SUNY Empire State College; she resumed her education in 2008 and has volunteered her time in a recovery house for women.

Bond is approaching the age of 60; her mother, 83, attended the ceremony. Bond’s father, 85, whom she refers to as “Daddy,” suffered a stroke and was too ill to make the trip from his nursing home, but is very much aware she graduated. Bond and her mother visited him immediately after the ceremony.

Bond points out with pride that both her parents have been completely supportive of her returning to Empire State College to earn her degree and share with her strong emotions of pride and satisfaction.

“Nothing is impossible if you want it badly enough,” declares Bond.

Student Speaker Andrew Calderaro at the 2012 Long Island graduation

Andrew Calderaro address his fellow graduates.

About Andrew Calderaro

Andrew Calderaro earned his Bachelor of Arts in American History and Politics with a 3.89 GPA under the mentorship of Professor Ian Reifowitz.. He graduated last December.

While at the college, Calderaro presented his paper, “By Whatever Means: Black Americans’ Arduous Pursuit of Literacy During American Reconstruction,” at the college’s seventh annual Student Academic Conference.

He also was  a nominee for the 2012 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Academic Excellence. Calderaro is the founder and director of Courage Long Island, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to fighting mood disorders.

Accepted to Columbia University, New York University and Hunter College, Calderaro will begin a Master in Social Work program at Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work this fall

About Edward Cromarty

Edward Cromarty earned his MBA from Empire State College with a concentration in education. Since his graduation from the college, he has been taking doctoral courses in education and plans to continue his doctoral studies part time.

Dean Robert Clougherty congratulates Edward Cromarty, a student speaker at the 2012 Metropolitan Center graduation ceremony.

School for Graduate Studies Dean Clougherty congratulates Edward Cromarty.

He chose Empire State College because it offered the opportunity to continue his education and earn a valuable SUNY master’s degree affordably in a flexible environment.

Cromarty also holds degrees from the Institute of Education-University of London (teaching and learning in post-secondary education), SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology (design and marketing) and West Virginia University (history). He also earned the CFA Society of the UK’s Investment Management Certificate and successfully completed the College for Financial Planning’s accredited wealth management advisor program.

He has been published several times as a researcher for the Jonestown Institute of San Diego State University, taught as an adjunct for New School University and began working in education for FIT.

Along with his interests in education, Cromarty maintains Cromarty Market Research, a research and investment management business licensed by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. His first business, Cromarty Designs, also is active in the bridal and fashion industry. 

Cromarty’s primary interests are in social sciences, behavioral sciences, education and management. He credits his understanding of society, culture and human behavior, and his ability to research, to be essential foundations.

Cromarty plans on continuing his career in education while continuing to develop his business endeavors.

Student speaker Heidi Feyl Crane at the 2012 Central New York Center Graduation

Heidi Feyl-Crane speaks at the Central New York Center graduation.

About Heidi Feyl–Crane

Heidi Feyl-Crane of Camillus currently works for the Syracuse City School District at Grant Middle School. Feyle-Crane has educated urban students in seventh and eighth grades for more than two years in general science,  in an inclusion setting, and has been recognized for her outstanding teaching with a national award from Office Max. She also has been part of NEED, a national energy grant that brings the importance of energy conservation directly to middle-school students.

Feyl-Crane holds a B.A. in biology from the college and an A.A.S. in dental hygiene from Onondaga Community College and graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching.

While attending SUNY Empire State College she has worked to establish the college as a viable institute of higher education within the Syracuse City School District. For the past two years she has been selected to serve on the dean for graduate studies' dean's advisory board for graduate students.

Prior to entering the teaching field she was a dental hygiene professional and has held her New York dental-hygiene license for 15 years. She was an adjunct instructor for SUNY Canton teaching dental ethics and law, dental radiology and dental hygiene clinical practice.

Student Speaker Carolyn Polikarpus at the 2012 Northeast Region graduation.

Carolyn Polikarpus at the 2012 Northeast Region graduation.

About Carolyn Polikarpus

Carolyn Polikarpus earned a Bachelor of Arts in Community and Human Services with a concentration in peace and community studies and is a 2012 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

She was the winner last year of the Warren and Hortence Cochrane Scholarship available to undergraduate students who are studying community and human services or social theory, social structure and change.

As a student, she produced a term paper, “Poverty and Racism in Urban Social Problems,” described by her professor as "equal to a literature review at the level of a master’s thesis or the foundation of a Ph.D. dissertation," and wrote about African-American intellectual theologians.

By the age of 17, Polikarpus had dropped out of high school on Staten Island and was the mother of twins. She continued her education later on with night classes leading to a Regent’s diploma, then took some classes at Monmouth College. “But raising my children and making a living took over,” she says. Ultimately, she developed a career as a mainframe computer programmer, which she stuck with for 30 years before retiring.

Today, Polikarpus is co-president of the Alternatives to Violence Project-New York State, a grassroots, volunteer program dedicated to reducing violence in homes, schools, prisons, streets and society, which offers experiential workshops in prisons, schools and communities. Polikarpus is the liaison with prison administration and outside volunteers. Additionally, she is coordinator of AVP/NY at the Green Haven Correctional Facility. All of her work for the organization is as an unpaid volunteer.

“We promote healing and nonviolence within the prison, but we need healthier communities on the outside, too,” she says. “I returned to college partly because I know that the credential of being a college graduate will help me facilitate my work. I always loved school and Empire State College is the perfect solution for me with its flexibility and incredible support.”

Because Polikarpus conducts weekend-long workshops and has two part-time jobs, she needed a situation that allowed her flexibility to complete her studies. The college’s Northeast Center enabled her to fulfill her academic goals as she continues to meet other challenges.

Member of Assembly Sam Roberts student speaker at the 2012 Central New York Center graduation

Member of Assembly Sam Roberts.

About Hon. Sam Roberts

The Hon. Sam Roberts was elected to the New York State Assembly, 119th district, in November 2011 and represents parts of the city of Syracuse and the towns of DeWitt, Onondaga and Salina.

Roberts graduated with a B.S. in labor studies.

Roberts also served as an Onondaga County legislator from 1990-1999. He grew up on the east side of Syracuse and has garnered a solid reputation for his commitment to community activism and public service in Central New York.

A  35-year member of the United Auto Workers union, Roberts is a retiree of General Motors where he worked as a journeyman tool and die maker for 30 years, and was elected recording secretary of UAW Local Union #465 and chair of Local Union #854’s education and civil rights committees.

Staying committed to the people, he served as Onondaga County legislator while employed at General Motors. For five terms he represented Onondaga County’s 19th legislative district, supporting legislation important to his constituents.

Highly skilled in labor relations, he has earned an associate degree from Onondaga Community College and a certificate in labor studies from Cornell University. Roberts also holds a sixth-degree black belt in American Shotokan karate. He ranked No. 1 in New York and New Jersey, top 10 in the United States and Canada and was the winner of the world championships prior to retirement from competition.

Student Speaker Ruby Tan and husband at the 2012 CDL graduation ceremony

Ruby Tan and her husband at 2012 Graduation.

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. Degree 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.

President Alan Davis and student speaker Angela Thompson '04 '12 at the 2012 CDL graduation ceremony

President Davis with Angela Thompson.

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.

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