Largest Graduation Class Ever for GCC

New GCC President Will Address Graduates

BATAVIA, NY- The largest graduating class since Genesee Community College was founded in 1966 will don their cap and gowns on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The class of 2012 is expected to top 900 with more than 500 expected to earn degrees in various disciplines from Accounting to Theatre for the just-ended term.

The class will also mark another first: Dr. James Sunser, newly inaugurated president of GCC and community college graduate, will deliver the commencement address for the 44th graduating class, as requested by the College’s Student Government Association. Dr. Sunser’s speech will focus on the students, celebrating their achievements and hard work, and looking ahead to the future. “These students are our next generation of leaders who will influence where we are going,” Dr. Sunser said. “This is a challenging time for all and I want them to understand they are starting opportunities for the immediate future and the next generation. In many ways, they will be shaping the region as they chart their course.”

Commencement will be held in the Genesee Community College Anthony B. Zambito Gymnasium on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm. The class includes students who earned degrees in August of 2011 and January of this year, as well as the current roster of 508 students expected to earn diplomas for the term ending this month.

While the event is open to the public, seats in the gymnasium are reserved for family and friends of graduates. The ceremony will be streamed live throughout the campus through a video cast to the Stuart Steiner Theatre, Lecture Hall T102 and on every monitor on campus – including the Student Union and cafeteria for those who would like to tune in. Tickets are not necessary to watch the ceremony in these areas.

Immediately following commencement, a reception with punch and light refreshments will be hosted in the Forum for all guests and graduates.

The college is also offering free child care services during commencement for children eight weeks to five years of age. Please sign your children up in the Student Activities office or call 585-343-0055 ext 6261.

For more information, contact GCC Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6616, or via email:

Editor’s note:
Below are biographies that highlight a few of our exceptional class of 2012 graduates. You can meet and speak with these six graduates during a pre-Commencement Media Hour beginning at 12 noon in the President’s Conference Room.

12:00 – 1:00 pm / President’s Conference Room

•Lorraine Briggs – At one time or another, every little girl has imagined her dream wedding. Lorraine is hoping her future allows her to help women plan their real-life weddings. As a Fashion Merchandising Management graduate, her goal is to one day co-own a bridal boutique and operate a business that specializes in event planning targeted to brides-to-be. The next step on that path is working toward an events planning degree at SUNY Empire State College. The Rochester, NY native chalked-up a number of prestigious honors during her coursework at GCC: President’s List three times and Dean’s List twice, two “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges” nominations, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, Volunteer of the Month in September 2011, Student of the Month in October 2011, and Outstanding Leadership Award for the 2011-2012 school year. Along the way, she also learned to overcome personal tragedy. “One week before I started at GCC (fall 2007) my father passed away from lung cancer. My greatest challenge was finding myself in a completely new environment while dealing with severe grief. I overcame it and found my purpose in life—helping others to have their own perfections.”

•Lindsay Chatt - Lindsay enrolled in GCC after graduating from Oakfield-Alabama High School in 2010, and today is receiving a Liberal Arts degree in Math and Science, with a concentration in Chemistry, which she plans to parlay into a career in dentistry. An exceptional student, Lindsay acquired a number of honors, including: Region Three Academic All-Region honors, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, GCC Student of the Month, President’s List for all four semesters, a listing in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges”, and she was a member of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Lindsay also excelled in the ballpark as captain of the women’s softball team, earning the 19-year-old native of Oakfield, NY honors for Athlete of the week and the SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar Athlete award. Lindsay plans to continue her education at SUNY Geneseo to major in biology, and from there, she hopes to enroll in the dental school at University of Buffalo.

•Robert (“Bobby”) Guzik - What some might consider a handicap, Robert considers merely an obstacle to overcome. Blind since birth, Robert has not let his lack of vision keep him from attaining his goals, and in fact, he has excelled in a number of areas at GCC, including academics and student activities. The Medina resident has earned President’s and Dean’s list honors, was named to the listing of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges,” and was honored by the campus radio station, WGCC, with awards for Sportscasting, Community Service and Engineering. Robert says small class sizes are what drew him to GCC, but the outstanding instructors are what kept him here. He particularly enjoyed classes in broadcasting and mass media led by Val Bello and the computer tech classes of James Bucki. Armed with degrees in computer support and network technologies, Robert hopes to start his own computer repair business, but is dreaming about being the go-to IT specialist for a major corporation.

•Nana Gyesi - Nana embarked on a 350-mile journey when she enrolled in GCC after graduating from Aquinas High School in Bronx, NY, and along the way, turned a fear into a strength. “I used to be afraid of public speaking, but at GCC, I was able to enroll in a course which helped me overcome that!” Nana overcame her fear so well, she won numerous awards for her poise and delivery, including first place for the semester. That background may help her fulfill her dream of becoming a music entertainer, but Nana also plans to continue her education and pursue a job in New York City after completing her degree in the Medical Administrative Assistant program. Other honors Nana earned while a student at GCC include being named in the listings of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges” in 2011 and 2012. Nana says she will miss the Student Activities staff and programs once she leaves Batavia.

•Devon Kleinbach – St. Bonaventure University is the next stop for 19-year-old Devon, who wants to be a high school chemistry teacher. “After receiving the Presidential Scholarship my senior year of high school, I turned down SUNY Geneseo to start at GCC because of the amazing teacher education program.” And the awards kept coming for Batavia native Devon, including an ACE scholarship, Student of the Month honors (March 2012), Academic All Region Team for Women’s Lacrosse in 2011, the Nicholas J. Goergen Teacher Education Scholarship (2011 and 2012), President’s List (Fall 2010, Spring 2011) and Dean’s List for fall 2011. Devon also found time to lead the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society as President, serve as Student Government Senator, and work on the Student Tele-counseling Admissions Representative (STAR) team. Devon follows in the footsteps of her grandmother, Doreen Robb, who also was in the PTK Honor Society when she was a GCC student.

•Norman St. John - A non-traditional student who will turn 52 in June, Norman made the most of his opportunities at GCC, earning the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education Outstanding Adult Student Award, and the GCC Board of Trustees Award, which honors exemplary leadership, service to the college, initiative and integrity. Norman was also named a Student of the Month in May 2012. His goals include one day returning to GCC. “My dream job would be to someday come back to GCC as an accounting instructor.” After losing a factory job when the plant closed, Norman enrolled at GCC on the recommendation of his wife, who attended several classes “and loved it”, and he found himself echoing those same sentiments. Norman was especially fond of the American History class taught by Diane Palmer because she incorporated local history of the town of Albion and Orleans County, as well as Professor Gregory Dalton’s Business Law class because “he taught us to laugh”.

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