PLATTSBURGH - The State University of New York at Plattsburgh is preparing for nearly 500 students to graduate during the university's annual commencement ceremony next Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Plattsburgh State Field House on Rugar Street.
SUNY Plattsburgh president John C. Ettling will preside over the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. Patricia Higgins, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, will present the candidates for degrees. College Council Chair Arnold Amell and other members of the College Council will present the diplomas. Faculty marshal will be Dr. Charles Zinser.
Graduates Frances Ercolano and Brett Williams, high school sweethearts from Latham, will give the commencement address.
In their joint address, Ercolano, a history major and archeology minor, and Williams, a history major and political science minor, will look at some of the obstacles faced by the United States and the world and how those challenges present an opportunity for the graduates.
"We will focus on how we and the other graduates are so prepared because of our time here at SUNY Plattsburgh," said Ercolano. "We regard it as a privilege that we're going to be the ones who are able to fix this and that, and our SUNY Plattsburgh education is really going to be the biggest thing that will help us in that process."
"There's a lot for us to fix," Williams said. "But that gives us a better chance to make a difference."
Graduating with honors after carrying average course loads of 20 to 22 credits per semester, Ercolano and Williams still managed to remain highly active in campus life. They were involved in groups like the History Association, the French Club, the Activities Coordination Board, the Academic Affairs Committee and the Honors Student Association, often serving as officers. In addition, Ercolano came up with the idea for "Plattsburgh's Best Dance Crew," a highly successful show that filled E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium to capacity and brought together nearly 15 percent of all SUNY Plattsburgh students.
Both graduates plan to continue their education - with Ercolano going to graduate school to become a teacher and Williams going to law school.
Next Saturday's graduation will also feature music from the Elgin and District Pipes and Drums and the college's Gospel Choir.