Graduates Celebrate Commencement 2019

On Friday, July 12, 488 graduates walked the stage at the Empire State Plaza Convention Hall in Albany, New York, each bringing with them their own stories of achievement.

The 488 graduates who attended Commencement are part of Excelsior’s second-largest graduating class since 2010. A total of 6,001 students earned 6,059 degrees. The Class of 2019 includes graduates from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Our international graduates represent 17 other nations, including Australia, Canada, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Israel, Lebanon, Maldives, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and United Kingdom. Of this year’s graduates, 35 percent are members of the U.S. military; 959 are U.S. military veterans. The average age of Class of 2019 graduate is 36 years old, and the oldest graduate is 78-year-old James Arthur Moynihan, from Kennesaw, Georgia, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business.

This year’s graduate speaker was Anthony Cinquini from Glendale, Arizona, a two-time graduate of Excelsior College. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts in 2004 and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2019. Cinquini, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, spoke to his leadership philosophy, learned in the military and through his studies at Excelsior. He told the graduates, “…until taking a leadership course last year, it never occurred to me how valuable a written leadership philosophy based on personal experience is; I now have one as my own—created, not borrowed.” He encouraged everyone to have their own leadership philosophy for two reasons. “First, whether we realize it or not, we are all leaders. … Secondly, our destinations—to be who we are meant to become—all differ; they are as unique to us as our fingerprints and DNA, so getting there requires a custom framework.”

Our graduates came to Albany with unique stories about earning their degrees. Micky Brooks, a physical security specialist with the U.S. Army from Chesterfield Michigan, earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and plans to use his Army and educational background to become a university professor. Tara Beers of Gambrills, Maryland, a cryptologic technical language interpretist with the U.S. Navy, pursued her bachelor’s to advance in her career and in so doing, discovered a love of psychology. Megan Wallstrum and Nicole Lopez, both from Pleasant Hill, California, are friends who pursued and earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice together. Wallstrum, a paralegal for the Federal Public Defenders Office and Lopez, a U.S. deputy marshal, took many of the same courses together and had many lively discussions while pursuing their degrees. Akila Sooriyabandara traveled from Sri Lanka to celebrate his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. While he’s not certain of his future career yet, he isn’t done learning and his Excelsior degree is just the beginning.

Excelsior confers degrees monthly and graduates come to Commencement for the pomp and circumstance of celebrating their accomplishment. Prior to the Commencement ceremony, Excelsior hosted a hooding ceremony for master’s graduates.

In addition to the Commencement-related events, Excelsior held induction ceremonies for honor societies and presented awards to graduates at an Awards Convocation. During the Awards Convocation, the College also recognized distinguished faculty and alumni award recipients, and President James N. Baldwin presented President’s Medals to alumnus Jerry L. Neff, former chair of the Board of the Trustees, and the President’s Committee on Inclusion, an internal group at the College.