Alfred State recognized approximately 700 May 2016 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 15. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held on the Alfred campus.
Sullivan told students that commencement is a time to celebrate the achievement of their goals and aspirations, and to reflect on their various accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom.
“Commencement is also a beginning,” he said, “a beginning that is limitless in its possibilities and expanded by the knowledge you have gained through your experiences at Alfred State.”
The student speaker was Stephanie A. Pembleton, who graduated in fall 2015 with an Associate in Science degree in liberal arts and sciences: social science and a Bachelor of Science degree in human services management. Pembleton, a member of Psi Beta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, is also a Pi Nu sister, a member of the Greek Senate Board, and a recipient of the Dr. Khalid Ashraf Memorial Scholarship.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Tim Sanders, the former chief solutions officer at Yahoo and a current sales and leadership keynote speaker. Sanders spent most of his career on the cutting edge of innovation and change. He was on the ground floor of the quality movement, the launch of the mobile phone industry, and most notably the birth of the World Wide Web. Today, he’s gravitated to disruptive change for more than 30 years.
Sanders was an early-stage member of Mark Cuban’s and Todd Wagner’s broadcast.com, which had the largest opening day IPO in history. After Yahoo acquired the company, Sanders was tapped to lead their ValueLab, which enabled sales teams to close hundreds of millions of dollars of new business through rapid collaboration.
A major highlight of the ceremony was the conferment of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Lee Brasted, a 1962 engineering science graduate. Brasted, who retired after 32 years of service as a civil engineer at Shell Oil, was responsible for a part of a team that accomplished truly amazing and transformational things for Shell Oil, the oil industry, and the world.
Brasted was the leader of a unique group of engineers who were responsible for the design, fabrication, and installation of platforms for drilling and producing offshore oil fields. In his career with Shell Offshore, a Shell Oil subsidiary, he played key roles in designing offshore drilling platforms from California to the Gulf of Mexico and from the North Sea to the South China Sea.
In September 2000, Brasted was elected as one of the SUNY Alumni Honor Members for 2000 and was a special guest in Albany. Brasted has been a generous donor to the college for many years as an unrestricted donor, donating approximately $100,000, simply wanting to help the college and our students in any way needed.
To pay tribute to his unwavering kindness, support and generosity, the college created the Lee Brasted Engineering Science Endowed Scholarship in 2010 with some of the unrestricted funds he contributed. Shell Oil supported his desire to help his alma mater with matching contributions to his generous gifts.
Another major component of the ceremony was the presentation of the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence to five graduating students. The award honors Paul B. Orvis, a former president of Alfred State and State University of New York dean for two-year colleges. Recipients must meet the criteria of service, leadership, character, and scholarship.
Receiving the award were Benjamin Rawleigh, Dansville (School of Applied Technology associate-degree recipient); Matthew B. Porterfield, Hamburg (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate-degree recipient); Brendan Cataldo, Adams (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate-degree recipient); Christine M. Dodd, Montrose, PA (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate-degree recipient); and Heather Andersen, Penn Yan (School of Arts and Sciences associate-degree recipient).
The Alfred State Men’s Quartet performed the national anthem and the college’s alma mater. Students were led out in recessional to the music of the Gates Keystone Police Pipes and Drums.