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UAlbany Celebrates 2016 Spring Commencement, May 13-15

UAlbany celebrates its 172nd commencement ceremonies, May 13-15. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 25, 2016) – More than 3,100 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in the University at Albany’s 172nd Commencement ceremonies, Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15.

As these students receive their diplomas, they are entering into a stronger job market than in recent years, with businesses planning to hire at a higher rate than they did in 2015. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), businesses have a positive view of the college-graduate-hiring market overall.

This year, 42 percent of 201 respondents characterized the job market for the Class of 2016 as “very good” or “excellent,” up from 18 percent two years ago. NACE also notes that organizations that are increasing their hiring noted company growth, the importance of building talent pipelines and the need to offset upcoming retirements as top reasons to hire minted grads.

Undergraduate Commencement, May 15

Eric Jolly, CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, will deliver the commencement address to approximately 2,197 students at the undergraduate ceremony on Sunday, May 15. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on the Entry Plaza lawn near Collins Circle.

As CEO, Jolly leads a network of charitable foundations with a combined $1.3 billion in assets. Prior to his current position, he was president of the Science Museum of Minnesota for 11 years, and has been recognized for his work promoting science and technology education. He has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oklahoma.

UAlbany senior Cristian Palma has been chosen to serve as student speaker. Palma, who is the first in his family to graduate from college, has served as a Resident Assistant and Purple & Gold Ambassador, and is the VP of Association of Latino Professionals of America and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. A John S. Levato Scholarship winner, Palma will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. Read more about Palma’s higher education journey here.

The 2016 undergraduate class hails from 22 states and 20 countries, including, China, France, and Pakistan. Students will receive degrees in 56 different majors, including the most popular disciplines: psychology, sociology, and business.

Females make up 53 percent of the class and there are 21 veterans graduating. The average student age is 23 -- with the youngest graduating student 19 and the oldest, 68.

The undergraduate ceremony will be streamed online here.

Commencement Ceremonies
More than 3,100 students are expected to participate in UAlbany's commencement ceremonies. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Graduate Commencement, May 14

Approximately 962 students are expected to receive master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates at the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m. in the SEFCU Arena.

At the ceremony, Nobel Laureate Ada Yonath will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and give brief remarks. Yonath is an Israeli crystallographer best known for her pioneering research on ribosomes – molecular machines that are responsible for production of protein in all living cells. An esteemed member of the Scientific Advisory Board for UAlbany's RNA Institute, she received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009.

Preliminary estimates based on degree applications indicate that some 798 students are expected to earn master’s degrees, 127 will earn doctorates, and 37 will earn graduate certificates. Graduate students hail from 22 states and 24 countries, including China, India, and Saudi Arabia.

Graduates will receive master’s degrees in programs including social welfare, business, and computer science. Females make up 61 percent of graduate degree applicants to date. The average age is 29 – with the youngest graduating student age 21, and the oldest, 61. There are 17 veterans graduating.

Commencement Weekend Festivities

Commencement weekend kicks off Friday with the Lavender Graduation ceremony, honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ students and supporters. The event begins at 1 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.

On Saturday evening, the graduates will also participate in the time-honored tradition, Torch Night. The event features the ceremonial transition from student to alumni and a passing of the torch of knowledge as seniors are symbolically welcomed into the Alumni Association. The University boasts more than 170,000 living alumni across every state and in more than 115 countries.

UAlbany senior Justin Berger will serve as student speaker for the Torch Night ceremony. A member of the University lacrosse team, Berger is active in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. He transferred from Stony Brook University in his sophomore year and is part of a UAlbany legacy family, as both his mom and dad also graduated from UAlbany. Read more about Berger’s higher education journey here.

In addition, UAlbany’s nine schools and colleges will host individual department recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend.

Follow all UAlbany commencement festivities on Twitter using #UAlbany16.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.