WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Purchase College presented diplomas to students from 31 states and 12 countries Friday afternoon at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
"No one would have been able to graduate today if it wasn't for the help of our faculty and staff," said Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz. "It is through persistence and perseverance that one can maintain self-discipline with integrity. It will be difficult, but Purchase College has given you the tools to make that analysis."
H. Carl McCall, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the State University of New York, told the graduates that thanks to Purchase College students will be able to flourish.
"New York state is rich in diversity and creativity," McCall said. "Success awaits all of you. Go out and improve the world."
This year Purchase College decided to go with a nontraditional keynote speaker, student and Iraq War veteran Fernando Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who started college at 29, said that he is not the traditional college student but asked who really is at Purchase College?
"This institution has created a spirit and type of creativity that is contagious," Gonzalez said. "It has given us the chance to think creativeily and critcally. Take risks and if you fall get back up. The skills we learned here will help us as a springboard for a bright future."
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wished the graduates well. Schumer said that Purchase College is one of the best schools in the state. He thanked all the mothers and fathers in attendance recalling his daughter's college graduation several years ago.
"We think back to some of the more difficult times when our children were younger," Schumer said. "It is an amazing day."
Click here for a complete list of the graduates.