On Saturday, May 20, SUNY Geneseo held its 157th Commencement, conferring nearly a thousand degrees before a capacity audience of family, friends, faculty, and staff.
State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. gave the commencement keynote, and President Denise A. Battles addressed the graduates as well. “I see before me tomorrow’s change makers and leaders, highly capable individuals who feel an obligation to give back and make the world a better place,” she said. “You have the talent, drive, and perseverance to succeed. I have no doubt you will do great things.”
During the afternoon ceremony, SUNY Geneseo alum Molly Smith Metzler ’00 received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree for her significant contributions to theatrical arts. Metzler is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who recently received an Emmy nomination for her work on the limited series Maid (Netflix). Metzler holds a BA in English from SUNY Geneseo, an MA from Boston University, an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, and an Artist’s Diploma from The Juilliard School.
Metzler advised graduates to have faith in the zigzags that their lives and careers would bring. “Don’t let your day job define who you are or how you value yourself,” she said. “It is okay to have a dream and to want it. It is okay to invest in yourself. No one gets where they’re going the same way. You run your own race and author your own story.”
The senior orator at the morning ceremony this year was Alexandra “Lexi” Hart ’23, an early childhood education major from West Henrietta, NY. Beth Pearsall ’23 from Liverpool, NY, a psychology major with minors in cognitive science and communication, spoke at the afternoon ceremony.
Two students received Richard Roark Awards this year. Accepting the award during the morning ceremony was Margaret Graney ’23, from Stafford, NY, who double majored in physics and accounting and earned minors in mathematics and business studies. Rocio Ruiz ’23, a communication major from Freeport, NY, received the award during the afternoon ceremony. The Roark Award is presented to a graduating senior whose excellence in scholarship and community service emulates Roark, a former Geneseo professor of anthropology who was presumed drowned off the island of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies.
Brendan Fuhr ’23 from Albany, NY, who double majored in political science and psychology, received the Student Association President’s Cup, given annually to a graduating senior who exemplifies superior service and dedication to the Geneseo Student Association.
Watch our Commencement 2023 video