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University at Albany Announces Commencement Weekend 2004

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980, Karl Luntta (518) 265-4114 cell

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2004) - The University at Albany will hold its Commencement Weekend 2004, which includes a formal graduate commencement ceremony on May 15, the main undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 16, and 31 departmental and school recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend. An estimated 2,700 students are expected to participate in the 160th commencement ceremonies including 1,800 undergraduate, 860 master's and 100 doctoral candidates.

The undergraduate degree conferral ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 16, at 10 a.m. on the New Library lawn, uptown campus. UAlbany Interim President John Ryan will deliver the address. Ryan, who has served as president of the SUNY Maritime College since June 15, 2002, is continuing in that capacity while serving as UAlbany's interim president. Prior to that he served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and was a vice admiral in the U.S, Navy. A native of Mountainhome, Pa., Ryan graduated from the Naval Academy in June of 1967 with his twin brother Vice Adm. Norbert Ryan, Jr. and earned the designation of Naval Aviator in October 1968. He has been a pilot for 35 years.

The graduate commencement will be held at the uptown campus Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC) on Saturday, May 15, at 9 a.m. Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, executive director of the NYS Writers Institute, will be the keynote speaker. For some 40 years, William Kennedy has crafted history and memory into a body of literature that is as remarkable for its variety as it is for erecting an Albany of the imagination. Kennedy taught creative writing and journalism as an instructor from 1974 to 1982 at the University at Albany, where he is now a professor in the English Department. He has received numerous literary awards, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Regents Medal of Excellence from the State University of New York, and a Governor's Arts Award.

The undergraduates will receive degrees in 51 different majors, including Information Science and Policy, Business, Biology, Communication, Economics, English, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. There are 17 military veterans in the Class of 2004. UAlbany's undergraduate class hails from 22 foreign countries including France and Japan, as well as 59 of New York state's 62 counties. More than 150 undergraduates participated in the Presidential Scholars program, which recognizes and nurtures students with distinguished high school academic records.

On Saturday afternoon (May 15) a family picnic will be held on the Podium. UAlbany's Commencement Weekend also includes Torch Night (May 15 at 8:30 p.m. on the Podium, uptown campus), a traditional ceremony in which the senior class "hands the torch" to the junior class, along with a fireworks display.

Other departmental ceremonies feature speakers include:

  • Victoria A. Graffeo, associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, is scheduled to speak at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy ceremony Sunday at 1 p.m. in Page Hall Auditorium (downtown campus).
  • Ricardo Jose Pereira Rodrigues, legislative counsel general -- House of Representatives, Brazil, will speak at the Rockefeller College Graduate Recognition Ceremony Friday at 2:30 p.m. in Milne 200 (downtown campus).
  • The Honorable John J. McEneny, New York State Assembly member, will speak at the history department ceremony Saturday at noon in the Campus Center Ballroom.
  • Ed Dague, former WNYT-TV anchor, will speak at the communication department ceremony Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the Recreation and Convocation Center.

For profiles of several graduating seniors, visit For more information on commencement, visit All commencement activities will take place, rain or shine, as scheduled. In the event of severe weather (lightning, high winds), an announcement will be posted on the Web site and the Commencement Info Line (518) 442-5310, noting any cancellations.

MEDIA NOTE: At the undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 16, media will have assisted access to a balcony located in the New Library that overlooks the stage and seating area. In addition, an area will be roped off for media who wish to set up tripods, etc. Parking will be available.

At the graduate ceremony on May 15, media will have access to most areas of the Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC). An area near the stage will be roped off for those who wish to set up tripods, etc. Parking will be available via the RACC bus turnaround - plan to see the UPD officer stationed at the entrance. Contact Karl Luntta at (518) 265-4114 (cell) if you need assistance.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit <>. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit