Welcome Class
of 2021

Virtual Commencement Live

Watch the live recordings of the Virtual Commencement Ceremony with your classmates, family and friends on Facebook or YouTube.

Opening Remarks

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PRESIDING

Helen Brewer, PhD

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Anya Quinn

Associates of Arts, May 2021

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Zoha Zuhair

Associates of Arts & Associates of Science, May 2021

WELCOME

Susan Deer, PhD

Provost & Executive Vice President

Congratulations from Dignitaries

Martin Wortendyke

Chairman, Board of Trustees

Jim Malatras, PhD

SUNY Chancellor

Kathy Hochul

Lieutenant Governor of New York

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator from New York

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator from New York

Ed Day

County Executive of Rockland

Alden H. Wolfe

Chair, Rockland County Legislature

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Messages of Hope & Inspiration

STUDENT ADDRESS

Felix Vazquez Ayala

Associates of Arts, May 2021

PRESENTATION OF AWARDS

Michael A. Baston, EdD, JD

President

COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Michael A. Baston, EdD, JD

President

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Linda Garcia, PhD

Executive Director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement for the University of Texas at Austin

Presentation of Graduates

PRESENTATION OF CANDIDATES FOR GRADUATION

Susan Deer, PhD

Provost and Executive Vice President

CONFERRAL OF DEGREES

Michael A. Baston, EdD, JD

President

TURNING OF THE TASSELS

Michael A. Baston, EdD, JD

President

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Congratulations, Rockland Community College Graduates of 2021! You Will Always Be Part of the RCC Family!

Student Spotlights

Emanuel Pompeu Bastos

SUNY Excellence Award Winner

Emanuel Pompeu Bastos, an international student from Brazil, is graduating with a dual degree in Liberal Arts: Math and Science, and Automotive Technology. He plans to transfer to a four-year university to complete a B.S. in Engineering. Bastos is the student representative to the Board of Trustees, a member of the RCC President’s Society, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and is a Peer Mentor.

“Although I am an international student, RCC welcomed me with open arms. My professors and the administration believed in me, gave me opportunities, and introduced me to an amazing network. They prepared me for the future and delivered the best experience I could imagine.”

Deana Shalygina

SUNY Excellence Award Winner

Deanna Shalygina is graduating with an Honors Track degree in Business Administration. She grew up in Rockland and is a first-generation American. Shalygina will be transferring to SUNY Binghamton in the fall to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Finance. While at RCC, Shalygina was the President of TriBeta Club, Vice President of Chemistry Club, Vice President of Fellowship of Phi Theta Kappa, and a member of the Honors Newsletter Club. She volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and our local non-profit Center for Safety and Change, and was a Student Tutor at the Reading and Writing Center. 

“My classmates inspired me the most to work hard and persevere through my challenges. They are a big part of all that I have achieved here, and so, I must thank them for being so supportive during the past few years of our time together.”

Ann-Stacey Dumornay

Ann-Stacey Dumornay is graduating with her A.A. in Psychology from Rockland Community College. Originally from Haiti, she has since found another home at RCC. Dumornay served as the Student Activities Board Chair, and has been a member of both the President’s Society and Phi Theta Kappa. Dumornay plans to transfer and earn a B.S. in Industrial Psychology.

RCC cares about its students and is very welcoming. They make sure that the students have what they need in order to succeed, and they make sure that you are able to see your full potential.”

Samuel Erard

Samuel Erard is a Business Administration Honors student transferring to Columbia University in the fall, to pursue a degree in Economics and Mathematics.

The most remarkable part of attending RCC was not something I could have found out from any page on their website. I have never felt more supported in my entire life, than I have during these last two years. Rockland Community College provided me with opportunities I would not have dreamed possible. Every day I am thankful for my RCC experience and the professors who were so dedicated to supporting my growth as a student and individual.”

Kiana Nakpil

Kiana Nakpil, an Honors track double major in Engineering Science with a concentration in Electrical Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Science: Math and Science with a concentration in Mathematics,  was also a member of the RCC Women’s Basketball team. She will pursue her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Buffalo. 

“RCC isn’t the school on College Road, it’s the lab partners that made me enjoy building circuits, the teammates that I know have my back even after the basketball season ends, and the professors who offered help however they could.”

Izsaak Gonzales

Izsaak Gonzales is graduating from the RCC Communications Media Arts program and transferring to St. Thomas Aquinas College. He plans to apply for the Japanese Exchange and Trade Program and ultimately teach English in Japan. Gonzales, from Pearl River, NY, is a member of the marketing club and is a videographer on the RCC Street Team, starring in numerous videos for the College which have appeared throughout the tri-state area. 

“My experience on the RCC Street Team has opened up so many job opportunities for me. As I look for jobs online, I realize that I have become qualified because of all I have learned  as a member of the Street Team.”

Kellen Perez

Kellen Perez, from Chestnut Ridge, NY, is a Liberal Arts & Science: Humanities and Social Science major who plans to attend law school and also pursue a PhD. He chose RCC because of the acclaimed Honors program, and feels that the challenging program made him a competitive candidate for admission to four-year universities. 

“Being at RCC has exposed me to the rich diversity of students and the various perspectives their different backgrounds bring. I’ll miss the close relationships I have maintained and fostered with professors and students alike at the College.” 

Felix Vazquez Ayala

Felix Vazquez Ayala is graduating with a Liberal Arts & Science: Humanities & Social Science degree, and will complete his degree in Visual and Performing Arts this summer. He plans to attend a four-year institution in the fall of 2022, after taking a gap year. After initially struggling to adjust to life after high school, Felix found a home at RCC and is this year’s student Commencement speaker.

“I’ve met my closest friends here. I’ll miss the personal feel at RCC, and the dedication of professors and staff to the students.” 

Zoha Zuhair

Zoha Zuhair is graduating with a Liberal Arts & Science: Humanities & Social Science degree and is transferring to SUNY Binghamton to continue her education in the School of Management. As president of the Student Government Association, Zoha became an essential member of the RCC community. 

I chose RCC to save money and to be certain of my career path, and that has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I will be leaving with a better mindset and friendships that will last a lifetime!”

Abigaelle Toussaint

Abigaelle Toussaint is graduating with a degree in Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Science, with a concentration in General Studies. She has been a member of the Student Government Association, serving as Treasurer.

She plans to transfer and work toward a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Business, and ultimately earn a Masters degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 

“Out of High School, I knew I wanted to go to college but I didn’t know what I wanted to study. RCC had the atmosphere and resources to enable me to learn not only what I wanted as my career path, but also to learn more about myself.”

Cristal Hernandez

Cristal Hernandez is a Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences major transferring to FIT’s Fashion Business and Management program. Hernandez chose to attend RCC after the enthusiastic recommendation of her sister and advice of her high school advisors. She professes that she will miss the TRiO Scholars, Dr. Katherine Lynch, and the RCC academic community that has helped and supported her through her journey.

“The TRiO Scholars program, which guides first generation students through RCC, the transfer process and much more, has helped me more than I can express.”

Chancellor's Award Winners

Jodilynn Greico

Excellence in Teaching

Jodilynn Greico is the Academic Coordinator for RCC High School Programs, the Educational Partnership Liaison for the Hudson Valley P-Tech and ERCSD Smart Scholars, and an English Professor here at RCC. She has been a part of the RCC family since the Fall of 2007, and in her 13+ years, she has served on numerous committees, working groups, and task forces. Currently, she is the Chair of the RCC Faculty Senate RTP Revisions Committee, and is the Vice-Chair of the RCC Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee. Since 2014, Greico has been an active member of the RCC Veterans Advisory Board. 

“Being able to work with students each day who are engaged and aware of the world around them is why I choose to work at RCC.  They make me want to work both smarter and harder for them and for our community at large.”

Brian Gomez

Excellence in Professional Service

Brian Gomez is the Assistant Coordinator for Support Services in Online Education and Academic Technology.  Gomez has been a full-time employee of the College since 2007, but started his journey at RCC as a student and student worker in 2005. He has served as a member many committees and projects including: ITAC Banner User Committee, Academic Technology Team, Data and Reporting Committee, Leadership Academy, SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching & Technology Excellence in Instruction & Excellence in Instructional Support Awards, Angel to Blackboard project, and as Color Guard Commander, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 98.

“It was at RCC that I found something that I really enjoyed learning about, thanks to a passionate faculty that saw potential in me that I did not realize was there.”

Patricia Maloney-Titland

Distinguished Service Professor

Patricia Maloney-Titland, Professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, is a professional actor/director who has directed more than 200 productions over her 30-year career. As a former Vice President and longstanding member of the Penguin Repertory Theater Company, she has built a challenging professional internship program for her students, established collaborations with Concern Worldwide US, advocated for the participation of the differently abled, held fundraisers for worthy charities. She has twice received the Arts Council of Rockland Award for Arts Educator, Rockland Community College Foundation’s Leadership Award and Person of the Year, and founded the Rockland Shakespeare Company.

The Visual and Performing Arts department inspires the creative voice of all our students, through the rigorous artistic and academic excellence of our program. The department congratulates all of the outstanding, talented and courageous 2021 graduates! We wish them love, happiness and great success!”

Kristopher M. Baker, PhD

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Kristopher Baker, Professor of Biology, graduated from RCC in 1997. He transferred to RPI where he earned a B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Biology. He  finished his educational journey with a Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography from Stony Brook University. While at RCC, Baker has been a Faculty Senator, Chair of Academic Standards on the Curriculum Committee, Delegate to the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, Division Chair of STEM & Health Professions Division from 2011-2016, Chair of Science 2008-2009, Executive Director of the RCC Innovation Center 2016-2017, and Co-Chair of the Earth Day Committee.

“I had fantastic mentors throughout my college experience and I try to be that person. I reach out in the community, recruit and follow students through their path. I make every attempt to meet students where they are, and teach them as individuals when needed.”

Celeste Sherry

Excellence in Adjunct Teaching

Celeste Sherry is an Adjunct Instructor in the English Literature and Writing Department, as well as a Blackboard Instructional Designer. Sherry started at RCC in 2010 as an adjunct professor in the English Department. Sherry has become a member of the Native American Heritage Month Committee, won a SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence Award as an experienced online practitioner in 2014, is an active and long time member of the Rockland Shakespeare Company, and is involved in the Living History Interpretation and dramatization of life in the late 18th century.

“I enjoy teaching the variety of students here at RCC; I’ve taught the strugglers and the honor students. The great cultural diversity of RCC’s student body is another factor that makes teaching here truly unique.”

Jeff McLean, PhD

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Jeff McLean is an Assistant Professor of Biology, President of the RCC Faculty Senate, and a member of both the HHMI Science Education Alliance and CUNY Queens College Bio-Safety Committee. McLean attended SUNY Fredonia where he earned his B.S. in Biology, NYS Secondary Education Certification, M.S. in Biology, and Ph.D. in Cellular Molecular and Developmental Biology. McLean started his RCC Career in 2014 and has been an active member of the RCC community. He is part of the RCC Science Research Committee, experimental coordinator for the B.B.B. Biological Honors Research Club, and actively sponsors student independent research projects. 

“RCC is a community of engaged learners from all walks of life. There is a tremendous opportunity for enrichment and growth for all who participate. We are a place where people find passion, and for that I am inspired.”

Nancy Alexander

Excellence in Classified Service

Nancy Alexander, who is originally from Congers, attended the American Institute of Banking at Mercy College, majoring in Banking and Accounting, and started her RCC career in 2015. She is active in our local Rockland community, receiving the Life Achievement Award in 2004 from Felix V. Festa Middle School P.T.A., Business Manager Awards from 2003 -2008 from Pop Warner, and the Edie Mellino Parent Award from Clarkstown High School North’s Wrestling Club. 

“RCC is special to me because it brings me back to my customer service roots. The opportunity to use my customer service skills and interact with all employees, regardless of position, appeals to me.”

Join the RCC Alumni List

Continue your journey with RCC after Commencement. 

Sign Guestbook

Sign Guestbook

Guestbook

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!

To:

Hali Hester

From: Sandra Swarts
Message: Congratulations Graduates and Best Wishes as you begin your next journey!