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Graduates set out on new chapter

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Photos by Misha T. Kwasniewski/staff photographer
Childhood education major Kimberly Ann West of Medford receives her diploma from Dr. Mark Prus, dean of the School of Arts And Sciences, during SUNY Cortland’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday. BELOW: Graduate Laurie Smith of Syracuse hugs her father, Stan Grupe of Schenectady, during a reception held after the commencement ceremony at SUNY Cortland.

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Emotions mixed for SUNY Cortland class of 2006

By COREY PRESTON
Staff Reporter

The rafters of Park Center Alumni Arena shook Saturday, a chorus of thousands of enthusiastic screams rattled the arena’s walls and a broad smile broke across the face of SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum.
“That is truly a glorious noise,” said Bitterbaum, who, in welcoming friends and family to Saturday’s graduation ceremony, had asked everyone in attendance to simultaneously make as much noise as they could for their particular graduate.
More than 1,200 graduates were honored in morning and afternoon ceremonies Saturday as SUNY Cortland celebrated its 2006 commencement.
“It feels great,” said JoAnn Zajac, a Cortland native who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in early childhood education and was celebrating with family and friends after the ceremony. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was all worth it.”
For many of the graduates, the walk across the arena stage signified not just an end to the carefree days of college, but also an entrance into “the real world.”
“It’s great but it’s kind of scary,” said Lisa Schwenker, who is from North Babylon in Suffolk County and graduated with a degree in communication studies. “You get used to something for four years and then all of the sudden it’s gone.”
Jennifer Randall, a friend of Schwenker’s who received a degree in health science, agreed.
“Sure it feels good to have the degree, but now what?” asked Randall, who is from West Camp in Ulster County. “There are so many things to think about.”
The uncertainty of the future was stressed by afternoon commencement speaker Mark Ginsberg, but so was the opportunity such uncertainty affords.
“We live today in a world that is changing with a pace that is faster and swifter than any time in history,” said Ginsberg, a 1975 Cortland alumnus who received an honorary degree during the ceremony for his work as executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
With the world at a crossroads, Ginsberg stressed to the new graduates the importance of being more than just a bystander.
“I ask that you consider how you will make this world a better place,” he said. “I urge you to make this the best time of your life, and make this the best era in history.”
Ginsberg was one of two honorary degree recipients at the ceremony. The other, Peter Fine, one of the largest developers of affordable housing in New York City, spoke at the morning ceremony.
Sen. Chuck Schumer also spoke briefly in the afternoon, telling a story about being faced with a choice after his undergraduate graduation: take a scholarship and travel the world or stay at home with a girl.
He stayed with the girl, Schumer said, and “she dumped me by Labor Day.”
“My advice to you is simple,” he said, noting that after the initial heartbreak he was able to pull himself together and pursue his dream of public service. “Go for it.”

 

 

 

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Cortland family finds its home in local Habitat house

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Misha T. Kwasniewski/staff photographer
From left, Angela, Mason, 3, Destiny, 7, Matthew, 11, and David Coville pose in front of what will soon be their new home at 36 Fox Hollow Road in Cortland Saturday. The family expects to move into the house, which was built by Habitat for Humanity, by the end of summer.

By COREY PRESTON
Staff Reporter

Standing in what will soon be his basement, David Coville was looking for some direction so he could get to work.
“It looks like there’s a lot of work to do, and I’m just waiting for someone to tell me how I can help out,” he said Saturday.
Coville, his wife, Angela, and their three children have been selected to move into the house at 36 Fox Hollow Road being built by the Tompkins/Cortland chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Saturday was the first time the Covilles had the chance to see their new home, and David Coville’s enthusiasm was welcomed by the many volunteers working on the house, which is still under construction.
Although the frame is in place, the house still requires much interior work, landscaping and grading.
“We’re about two-thirds of the way done,” said Paul Yaman of Yaman Construction, who has volunteered as a construction supervisor for much of the project. “The most important thing right now is to get the spackling done, but the little details always take a lot longer than you think.”
The goal is to have the Covilles moved into the house by the end of the summer, according to Habitat for Humanity board member Andrea Rankin.

 

 

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Historian to give Cival War lecture at Homer center

HOMER — The Center for the Arts of Homer May edition of the Last Thursday Lecture series will feature local Civil War historian and reenactor Dick Crozier. Crozier, great-grandson of Pvt. William Jarvis Crozier of Cortland’s 76 Regiment New York State Volunteers, will share family and county Civil War history during his lecture.
Crozier hopes that interaction and discussion with the audience will enlighten and entertain all who attend. The lecture will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at the center.
Thursday’s lecture will also have an appearance by Homer’s own 10th New York State Volunteers, Heavy Artillery. This group is part of the Living History Club at Homer High School. Artillerists will be on the front lawn of the Center by 6:30 p.m. Thursday with their cannons. They will be sharing information about their reenactment experiences and club activities before and after the lecture.
The Center for the Arts is at 72 S. Main St., Homer. For more information on the lecture series and other event at the center, call (607) 749-4900.

 

 

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