May 17, 2014
Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5 News anchor and anchor of “Good Day New
York” (left) and William J. Larkin Jr., New York State senator
(right), applaud Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint
Mary College, who will be stepping down in June.
Mount Saint Mary College recognized more than 600 graduates,
three honorary degree recipients, and outgoing president Fr. Kevin
E. Mackin, OFM at its 51st annual commencement ceremony Saturday,
A baccalaureate mass began the day, celebrated in the Chapel of
the Most Holy Rosary by Fr. Mackin and Fr. Francis Amodio, O.
Carm., chaplain and director of campus ministry. Graduating seniors
and students of various class years assisted as altar servers,
lectors, and Eucharistic ministers.
Fr. Francis’s homily described the college years as “realizing
God is with you on this journey…and what you discovered about
yourself,” and commencement as a “culmination of entering and
exiting many doors. Each exit can be seen as a ‘loss,’ or as an
opportunity for new, exciting, life-giving challenges.”
Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM and Fr. Francis Amodio, O. Carm.,
chaplain and director of campus ministry celebrated a baccalaureate
mass in the Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary.
Outdoors, a bagpipe skirl filled the air. James Finn Cotter,
longtime Mount English professor, once again bore the ceremonial
mace, and led a long procession into a tent filed with families and
friends of the graduates.
Fr. Mackin, marking his sixth commencement at the college,
continued his welcoming tradition of inviting the graduating class
to “give yourself a hug” for a job well done.
Mount students “give themselves a hug” for graduating,
continuing a tradition of Fr. Mackin. Photo by Lee Ferris.
He encouraged them to continue using their skills of mind and
habits of heart.
“You will not always know the outcome of your good outreach to
your fellow human beings,” he said. “So be mindful of life, of your
gifts, of opportunities every moment to make a difference for the
better in the lives of our fellow human beings.”
Fr. Mackin added that he felt blessed to have welcomed thousands
of students, and to have given a commencement greeting and
handshake to thousands.
“And now we prepare to depart,” he said. “You don’t need me to
tell you that you are going forth into changing and challenging
times. But each of us is on a pilgrimage: always in the presence of
an awesome God who wants us to grow in faith.”
The honorees with Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, president of Mount
Saint Mary College (right). From left, Dr. Albert J. Gruner,
chairman of the board for the college; Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5 News
anchor and “Good Day New York” anchor; Robert R. Dyson, chairman
and chief executive officer of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation;
and William J. Larkin Jr., New York State senator.
The graduating students then heard from honorary degrees
recipients Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5 News anchor and anchor of “Good
Day New York”; Robert R. Dyson, chairman and chief executive
officer of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation; and William J.
Larkin Jr., New York State senator.
Rosanna Scotto began by surveying the graduates, smiling, and
exclaiming, “Good day Hudson Valley!”
Scotto, a member of WNYW-FOX 5 News for nearly three decades,
engages in a wealth of research, writing and reporting. Scotto won
a string of coveted assignments. She also led FOX 5 news to the
forefront in getting Marty Tankleff a new trial, and was granted an
exclusive interview with him in jail. After 17 years of wrongful
imprisonment, Tankleff’s conviction was overturned. Scotto has won
three Emmys for anchoring “FOX 5 News at 10” and “Good Day New
York,” and is the winner of three Associated Press Awards.
She encouraged the students to take what they have learned at
Mount Saint Mary College and use it make the world a better
“Your stories start right now,” Scotto said. “Time is precious
and not to be wasted. There is an urgency to ending poverty,
creating new jobs…and providing education for all. We can all do
great things together.”
Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint Mary
College, congratulates a new graduate.
Robert Dyson thanked Fr. Mackin and the college for honoring
him. “I’m deeply appreciative of receiving this degree,” Dyson
He then congratulated Fr. Mackin for his “exceptional
leadership. His many successes on this campus are life-changing for
this institution…He is not only a beloved and respected member of
the college community, but of the greater mid-Hudson
Dyson told the students to seize opportunities as they come,
including doing civil service, volunteering, and taking on
“Remember, the world is made up and run by those who show up,”
he said. He also urged graduates to be thankful to their families
for supporting them through the years.
The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation was founded by Dyson’s
father, Charles H. Dyson in New York City. Robert Dyson owns and
manages private investments such as Dyson Racing in Poughkeepsie.
The businessman, who lives in Millbrook, N.Y., personally garnered
two wins in the Daytona 24 Hour competition. He is also chair of
Health Quest Systems.
In partnership with the New York State Government and other
funders, the Dyson Foundation spearheaded and spent close to $17
million on the Walkway Over the Hudson, which has attracted 1.8
At Mount Saint Mary College, Dyson provides the Dyson Leadership
The People’s Garden, a plot of land at the perimeter of Mount
Saint Mary College, was dedicated to Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM,
president of Mount Saint Mary College. From left, Andrew Scalard,
who is focusing his Eagle Scout project on the Garden; William
Kaplan, entrepreneur and philanthropist; and Fr. Mackin. Photo by
William Larkin is in his 35th year in the New York State
Legislature, having served in the Assembly from 1979-1990 and State
Senate since 1990, and is Republican Conference Whip. Larkin
resides in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. and his district includes parts
of Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties.
“I stand here before you humbled and thankful for this honor,”
Larkin said. “To each of you who has stood by me on this long
trail, I say, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
He added, “To those of you graduating today, congratulations and
Larkin told students that when asked where they went to college,
“stand up tall and say, ‘I graduated from Mount Saint Mary College,
the best there is.’”
The United States Army veteran with 23 years of active service
asked students to remember those who have fought for American
“Before you go to bed tonight, take a minute to think about the
men and women in the armed forces who serve in harm’s way,” said
Larkin. “They’re there you can enjoy the day and graduate.”
The senator established the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in the
Hudson Valley, and spearheaded a nation-wide effort for the Postal
Service to issue the permanent Purple Heart “Forever” stamp.
Also this year, a Faculty Award was presented to Louis P.
Fortunato, professor of accounting, who has served on the faculty
since 1987 and is faculty senate chair. He is a certified public
accountant and chartered global management accountant, with a
practice in Newburgh, N.Y.
With a handshake and a beaming smile from Fr. Mackin, the
candidates excitedly strode across the stage and transitioned from
students to alumni.
The new grads shared their happiness with faculty, friends, and
Finally, Dr. Albert J. Gruner, chairman of the board, invited
William Kaplan to present a plaque dedicating The People’s Garden
to Fr. Mackin.
Fr. Mackin will be stepping down as president of the college in
June. The ceremony marked one of his final public addresses as
president of Mount Saint Mary College. He also plans to speak at
the college’s upcoming Golf/Tennis Invitational Tournaments.
The 2013-2014 yearbook is dedicated to Fr. Mackin, as a “devoted
leader and mentor…his leadership has made a mark on each of the
students of Mount Saint Mary College,” wrote student body president
Mary Bocskocsky of Mohegan Lake, N.Y.
The Literary Society also dedicated its publication to Fr.
Mackin. New graduate Megan Capurso of Mahopac, N.Y. said that Fr.
Mackin “has devoted his life to God, education, and the people he
comes in contact with, particularly the students.” She added,
“While many know Fr. Kevin because of his lecturing skills, his
ability to fundraise, and the vast academic accomplishments he has
earned, the majority of students lovingly know him [for his] ‘put
your left hand on your right shoulder; your right hand on your left
shoulder” hug when they graduated.”
Under Fr. Mackin’s direction, the Mount successfully completed
the campaign for the Kaplan Family Mathematics, Science, and
Technology Center and nursing laboratories; purchased the Dominican
Center; and launched “A Call to Excellence: The Campaign for the
Dominican Center” in 2012, to raise $10 million for the
transformation to a new, truly state-of-the-art library and
In the days leading up to commencement, events provided for the
graduating class included housing in the Dominican Center and the
“Life After College” brunch, which featured useful tips from the
Mount’s Career Center.
The college’s newest initiatives include a physician assistant
program, a fully online RN to BS degree, an interdisciplinary major
in technology and digital media, and a new sports management
Ranked a Top-Tier Regional University by U.S. News & World
Report, Mount Saint Mary College offers strong career preparation
in health professions, education, business, psychology and social
services, and liberal arts.