June 5, 2013

Students Highlight SUNY Empire State College Genesee Valley Center 2013 Graduation

State Sen. Joseph E. Robach and County Executive Maggie Brooks are scheduled to attend and make brief remark.

(ROCHESTER, N.Y. – June 5, 2013) The Genesee Valley Center of SUNY Empire State College today announced that Doug Egling, Carolyn Massey and Cathie Rene will be the student speakers for the 2013 graduation. State Sen. Joseph E. Robach and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks are scheduled to attend the celebration and provide brief remarks to the graduates.

The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 9, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 East Main Street, Rochester.

“Graduation from Empire State College is a very special occasion for our adult students,” said Jonathan Franz, dean of the Genesee Valley Center. “There is a special camaraderie that is evident among these students who have successfully completed a rigorous academic program while managing the multiple responsibilities of work and family. Surrounded by family and friends at the graduation ceremony, they especially enjoy hearing from their fellow students about the challenges they encountered and their hope and optimism for the future. They are – and should be – very proud of their accomplishment of earning a college degree.”

“I spent the past 31 years after graduating high school struggling trying to complete my college degree,” said Egling. “At Empire State College, I discovered that the best time to work on school work was early, very early, in the morning. There were few if any demands on my life between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m.. I was fresh and my mind could focus on reading, understanding and expression through writing.”

“There have been a variety of changes in my personality and life since attending Empire State College,” said Massey. “Because there was little space for idleness and down time, I became more efficient when prioritizing issues, concerns and relationships. I am more courageous and open minded and have learned how and when to firmly and decisively say ‘no.’ Family and friends tell me that I appeared ambitious, hopeful, optimistic, poised and confident.”

“I have many favorite things about my experience with Empire State College, but none of this would have been possible with support and guidance from Robin Oliver,” said Rene.  “She is the reason I came to Empire State College and for that I will be eternally thankful. The faculty and staff are second to none. I was blessed to have the part-time job at the front desk, allowing me to meet the wonderful students and to share in their stories of success.”

About Douglas Egling

Douglas Egling attended the Batavia office of the college’s Genesee Valley Center and graduates this spring with a 3.9 GPA and a B.S. in human services.

After graduating from Franklin High School in 1975, Egling attended Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and worked at Kodak. In 1987, he began his 20-year career in human services and has worked for the Orleans County Department of Social Services, which named him employee of the month in May of 2011, and the Arc of Orleans County.

An accomplished musician, Egling has played woodwinds in Rochester-area venues with artists such as Joe Beard, Steve Grill and others for nearly 40 years.

About Carolyn Massey

Carolyn Massey earned a B.S. in human services with a GPA of 3.9 in December of 2012 and will graduate this spring.

The mother of two and grandmother of two boys, she relocated to Rochester in 2011, in part so she could be near her extended family and help provide care when needed.

An active community volunteer, Massey founded REST, Run Errands, Shop and do other Tasks, an informal organization that assists her elderly and homebound neighbors with day-to-day errands, household chores, exercise and other tasks. She also has been a member of several nonprofit boards.

About Cathie Rene

Rochester born and raised, and the daughter of Irish immigrants, Cathie Rene will earn a B.S. in business, management and economics and earned a GPA of 3.57 this spring.

Rene’s career in the medical field began as a medical secretary and she has served as a certified medical practice manager in a large clinic. She has held part-time “fun” jobs at retail stores, so that she could enjoy employee discounts, as a nanny and as an evening receptionist for the college.

Married soon after graduating Nazareth Academy, and the mother of Jaeson, Shannon, Eric-Ryan and Jillian, Rene follows sports, especially collegiate basketball, and is passionate about the Syracuse University Orange.

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 the state of New York and online. Its 66,000 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.


Graduation contact: Audrey Lynch



Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918


518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)