Launching 1650 talented graduates into a promising future, Stony Brook University held its 20th annual winter commencement ceremony December 21 in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
During his commencement address, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, highlighted key elements of the Stony Brook experience, congratulated the accomplished graduating class, and celebrated the university’s forward trajectory and diverse landscape.
“Today we mark a bright new future for our graduates,” President Stanley said. “I know behind each and every one of your degrees that there is a story; a story of hard work, a passion for knowledge, but ultimately perseverance, and today its success.”
The commencement ceremony honored recipients of 915 Bachelor degrees, 590 Masters degrees, 110 Doctoral and Professional degrees, and 55 certificates.
“A new chapter begins,” President Stanley said. “We face tremendous challenges but also opportunities to make a difference in these difficult times.”
President Stanley acknowledged several standout members of the Class of 2017, including:
- Alexander (Alex) Tsurikov, a University Scholar and honors student, earned a Bachelors in political science and business management. Alex emigrated to the U.S. at 14 without speaking any English. While at Stony Brook University, Alex was president of the Pre-Law Society and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, interned at U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, was selected for a highly competitive paid internship last summer at Morgan Stanley, and has been involved in a number of other on-campus activities. Alex will be employed by Morgan Stanley full-time following graduation.
- Clara Yan is in the accelerated BA/MA program and English honors program, majoring in English and minoring in writing and rhetoric. Last summer, Clara won the highly competitive URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) summer research fellowship. She is also the past president of Alpha Nu Zeta, the Department of English’s local chapter of the national English honor society. She tutors in the Writing Center, works at the University’s Career Center and is an active member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. In Spring, 2018, Clara will be transitioning to the Stony Brook Master’s Program in English full-time.
- Sydney Bryan, a first-generation college student whose ancestral roots are from Guyana, is in the Teacher Education Program and Department of English honors program. She has also been a commuter assistant, has served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, participated in the Freedom School and is Chair of the Elections Board for Undergraduate Student Government. Sydney is an English major, Africana Studies minor in the accelerated BA/MA program. Her awards and accolades include Magna Cum Laude, Goldis Endowment Award, and Dean’s List from 2013 to 2017. “Being recognized by President Stanley in one of the most distinguished institutions of higher learning in the world is such a great honor, it’s almost indescribable,” Sydney said.
“A key element in your Stony Brook experience is your fellow students,” President Stanley said. “Our extraordinary diversity creates a unique environment: Stony Brook University is not a place where everybody looks the same.”
Student speaker Daniella Glikman, who is graduating with summa cum laude honors, delivered the student commencement speech. Daniella is a double major in Sociology and Marketing.
“As Stony Brook students, we had the opportunity to learn so much more than what was taught in the classroom,” Glikman said. “Because of everything that Stony Brook and the Stony Brook community offered us, we are all ready to take the world by storm and to show the world just how amazing Seawolves are.”
President Stanley also discussed a recent Stanford University study showing that Stony Brook offers a proven path toward upward advancement for students from low-income households, far ahead of many of its better-funded peers, public and private.
“At Stony Brook, this is what we do, and we’re proud of it,” he said.