Today, I received the Young Alumnus Achievement Award from Buffalo State College during the afternoon commencement ceremony. This honor is very meaningful to me because it is from my alma mater in my hometown and it is the first major award that I have ever been given. It was an amazing day filled with funny moments like finding the correct fitting regalia (thank you Provost Dennis Ponton for your robe styling advice), to humbling moments like Dr. Howard Cohen, interim president, placing the medallion over my head.
The weekend revelry began for me on Friday evening with a pre-commencement dinner at Dr. Cohen and his wife Patricia’s home. Years ago, when I was a student at the college, I used to walk around Delaware Park and the president’s neighborhood whenever I needed a study break. I never imagined that one day I would be eating dinner at the president’s home with a distinguished group as a guest of honor.
Growing up, I struggled academically and almost didn’t go to college. When I arrived at Buffalo State things changed — I met professors who saw potential in me and nurtured my areas of strength. My confidence as a student grew; my grades rose and my required classwork actually became enjoyable! During that time I also joined the college radio station, WBNY, where I met great people and acquired technical and life skills. I took the valuable lessons from my professors and the diverse skills from WBNY, and successfully applied them in the real world after graduation. I went on to earn a master’s degree and I have worked very hard over the years to advance from an admin, to a specialist, to an editor and currently, a Web communications manager.
Thank you to the selection committee for recommending me as a nominee for the award and to Mary-Jo Jagord and Dr. Marsha Jackson for choosing me as the recipient. Thank you also Alicia, Aunt Linda, Uncle Joe and Aunt Kathy for taking the time to attend the ceremony and cheer me on. I am not sure what life has in store for me next, but I hope to continue to make all of you proud.
(Recipients of the Young Alumnus Achievement Award must have achieved significant professional advancement, demonstrated service to the community, and demonstrated loyalty and commitment to Buffalo State College.)