Academic Recognition Ceremony Honors Oustanding Achievement in Students, Faculty

WCC honored its highest achieving graduating students on May 11 at the annual Academic Recognition Ceremony. President Belinda Miles, outgoing Provost Dr. Peggy Bradford, and WCC faculty members were in attendance to formally recognize curriculum award winners for each “program of study,” the term WCC uses in place of majors, as well as all graduating students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

“We have at least one student from each program of study’ and other specified programs who have been identified by their faculty for their outstanding academic achievement in their field,” said President Miles in her opening remarks. “This is truly one accomplished stage that we have here today.”

Students honored at recognition ceremony in AAB Theater.
(Photo: Freddy Velasquez)

The keynote address was delivered by Isabella de Couto, who was WCC’s valedictorian last year and is currently a student at New York University. De Couto’s address followed a brief introduction by WCC Student Trustee Jonathan Kimiadi.

“It is such a pleasure to share in the intensity and emotion filling this room, as you who are graduating close this chapter in your life story,” de Couto said. “You have accomplished one of the major milestones in your life, and this is a major step in the journey your life will take.”

Whereas last year’s ceremony was marred with technical difficulties and a general off-the-cuff approach, organizers at this year’s event clearly made concerted efforts to improve the fluidity of the proceedings. Instructions from Professor Eric Luther were clear, and the awards were presented to recipients without any hiccups.

Prior to the closing remarks, delivered by interim Provost Dr. Peggy Bradford who will be departing the college at the start of the Fall Semester, WCC awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence to several adjunct professors. The Chancellor’s award recognizes “superior professional achievement and excellence” in faculty members. The awards, while never explicitly stated, came in light of a particularly tumultuous year of discord between faculty members and WCC administration.

Following the granting of Chancellor’s awards, Dr. Bradford delivered the closing remarks for the evening.

“Students, as you move forward in your next chapter—whether starting a new challenge or transferring to a four-year college—remember your first home, Westchester Community College,” Dr. Bradford said. “If it wasn’t for some of the key people on your journey, you may not be sitting on this stage.”

Dr. Bradford concluded the ceremony by acknowledging all of the faculty and staff in attendance.

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