May 19, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Dr. David A. Kennett, interim president of Mount Saint Mary College, welcomes a sea of graduates on Saturday, May 19. The Mount conferred 582 degrees at its 55th annual Commencement.
Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y. recognized nearly 600 graduates at its 55th annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 19.
Of the 581 total graduates, the college awarded 109 master’s degrees and 473 bachelor’s degrees. More than 190 students earned degrees in Nursing and related fields, and another 143 earned degrees in Business.
Christian Plaza of Newburgh, N.Y. earned two master’s degrees simultaneously: a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care Management.
As a bagpipe skirl filled the air, the long procession of graduates headed to the ceremony, which was packed with their families and friends. The rainy weather couldn’t dampen the graduates’ enthusiasm: they donned both ponchos and smiles.
Alana Andrade of Middletown, N.Y. (left) and Jacqueline Angelini of Lindenhurst, N.Y. (right), both undergraduate Nursing students, didn’t let a little rain get them down at Mount Saint Mary College’s 55th annual Commencement on Saturday, May 19.
James Finn Cotter, the college’s longest serving professor, was once again Master of Ceremonies. Saturday marked Cotter’s 39th time at the helm.
The graduating students hailed from eight states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. One graduate, Julimar Figueroa, is from Dorado, Puerto Rico.
The ceremony was presided over by Charles Frank, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College. The invocation was given by Fr. Gregoire Fluet, college chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.
Dr. David A. Kennett, interim president of the college, congratulated the faculty, the parents, and the seniors on a job well done.
“The greatest thing about the Mount has been its people, and especially its students,” said Dr. Kennett. “I have been impressed by the quality of your research, the achievements of your athletic teams, your cheerfulness…and, most of all, your deep concern for others in this community that inspire your volunteer work. Thank you, sincerely, for all of that.”
Dr. Kennett also offered some simple, powerful advice to the new graduates: “Don’t settle for acceptance in your life,” he said. “Find your truth. And when you have found it, you have an obligation to shout that truth to others.”
The Mount, Dr. Kennett noted, will always welcome its graduates.
“While your teachers will stop being your teachers, they’ll be your mentors, and nothing will please them more than your staying connected to this college,” he said. “You are not students anymore – through sweat, tears, and toil you have climbed that mountain – but remember, you will always be Knights, and you will always be welcome here.”
Mount Saint Mary College’s 55th annual Commencement, Saturday, May 19. Left to right: Commencement speaker Robert R. Dyson, Chairman and CEO of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation; William Kaplan, philanthropist and friend of the Mount; Dr. David A. Kennett, interim president of Mount Saint Mary College; and Charles Frank, chair of the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College.
The graduating students then heard from commencement speaker Robert R. Dyson, a local businessman and philanthropist. Dyson is the Chairman and CEO of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, a privately owned, diversified investment holding company that was founded by his father, Charles H. Dyson, in 1954. He also owns and manages a diverse array of private investments.
Dyson was educated at Marietta College (BA in Economics) and the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University (MBA). In 2014, Dyson received an honorary doctoral degree from Mount Saint Mary College. Currently, he lives in Millbrook, N.Y. and has two children and four grandchildren.
Civic and community leadership is an important role for Dyson. He currently serves on the board of Health Quest Systems, the largest integrated health system in the Mid-Hudson Valley, which includes Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, and Sharon Hospital. He recently stepped down as the Chairman of the Board of Marist College and still serves as a trustee.
Dyson carries on the Dyson family tradition both in his personal philanthropy and through the work of the Dyson Foundation. The Foundation, which Dyson has led as Chairman since 2000, made grants of $13.7 million in 2017 and nearly $360 million since its founding in 1957. In the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Dyson Foundation supports a diverse array of organizations, from colleges and hospitals to human service and safety net programs. Outside of the Hudson Valley, the Foundation supports organizations of significance to Dyson family members.
Commencement speaker Robert R. Dyson, Chairman and CEO of The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, told Mount graduates to always be open to new ideas and to sharpen their problem solving skills.
“First, I want to encourage you graduates to enjoy every minute of this day, but be sure to thank your family and loved ones and spend a little quiet time with them, because they made this all possible,” said Dyson to the sea of Mount graduates. “You’ve earned the right to feel good about your accomplishments over the last four years at Mount Saint Mary College.”
Dyson told the graduates to accept that they can’t know everything, but to never stop trying to learn as much as possible.
“Listen, read, consult with others in your workplace,” he advised. “Respect everyone you work with. Breed an attitude of ongoing learning. Don’t surround yourself with only like-minded people. Question your beliefs; change them as times change; open your mind and consult with others.”
From his extensive business experience, Dyson has learned that good teamwork is synonymous with success, he explained.
“Nobody accomplishes anything alone,” he noted. “By growing your ever-expanding knowledge base, you will be able to leverage yourself and those around you. Life gets better as you get better. Learning does not stop, and it should never stop.”
Fostering a desire for new challenges and thirst for knowledge will serve the graduates well, Dyson explained.
“As you leave here today and start the rest of your life, embrace what you don’t know,” he said. “Strive to fill that void with knowledge. Curiosity is your best friend. Embrace the world with an open heart and an open mind.”
Jake Kosack of Hopewell Junction, N.Y, senior class president, encouraged his fellow graduates to continuously strive to improve themselves, likening the students’ journey to success to that of the title character of the Rocky films.
“Your time at the Mount may be over, but your best days are yet to come,” he said. “Keep moving forward. When you move forward, you don’t look back. Forget your mistakes, forget what didn’t work out for you, forget your current situation. Look to the future, and have no regrets. Become the best person you can be. Become the greatest version of yourself.”
He added, “God bless you, God bless MSMC, God bless America. Yo, Class of 2018, we did it!”
Jake Kosack of Hopewell Junction, N.Y, senior class president, encouraged his fellow graduates to continuously strive to improve themselves at Mount Saint Mary College’s 55th annual Commencement.
Kosack graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. His twin sister, Jacqueline, also graduated Saturday with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
During the ceremony, Dr. Kennett was honored with both the Trustees Medal and the Faculty Award for his many contributions over the past two years, including his steadfast dedication to the Mount’s continued success; the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff; and the enrichment of the surrounding community. Dr. Kennett was appointed interim president of the college in August of 2016 for a two-year term.
“We are forever in his debt for the courage he demonstrated by stepping into this role two years ago, and for all he has accomplished during this time,” said Charles Frank, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College, adding that the awards represent “a token of our thanks and appreciation for all he has done.”
Following a national search and valuable input from the Mount community, Dr. Jason N. Adsit was recently named the Mount’s seventh full-time president, succeeding Dr. Kennett. Dr. Adsit will begin his tenure in June 2018.
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, social services, and liberal arts.
Christian Plaza of Newburgh, N.Y. celebrates his graduation at Mount Saint Mary College’s 55th annual Commencement. Plaza earned two master’s degrees simultaneously: a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care Management.