Last Friday, May 18th, 812 of Purchase College’s 1,140 graduating seniors walked across the stage at the Westchester County Center in White Plains to receive their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. That number represents the highest percentage of seniors who’ve walked to date. The graduates hailed from 31 states and 12 countries.
Always an unconventional affair, the event’s tone was set by Joe Ferry and the Big Ska Band’s rendition of When the Saints Go Marchin’ In as the fanfare. President Schwarz remarked, “I told our distinguished guests that this is not the typical commencement. I think starting with that music sets an appropriate tone.”
Retiring faculty members Marjorie Miller and Len Stokes served as faculty marshals and Professor of Dance Carol Walker carried the Mace.
Honorary Degrees were bestowed upon educator, philanthropist, and former Manhattanville College president Elizabeth J. McCormack and Aaron Sorkin, acclaimed screenwriter, playwright, and former Scarsdale resident.
Sorkin, whose credits include A Few Good Men, The West Wing, and The Social Network, quipped that he hoped he would have better luck now getting into Purchase. He was wait-listed in in 1979.
In one of the more poignant moments, the seeing-eye dog belonging to German Fermin–who received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence this year along with Andy Archer and Erin Sullivan–turned to the audience and lifted his paw as if waving.
President Schwarz and President of the Alumni Association Jeffrey Putman, presented two 1983 graduates, John Ambroseo and Ivan Menchell, with the President’s Award for Distinguished Alumni.
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