SUNY Poly Celebrates Graduation of 802 Students at 49th Commencement Ceremonies

SUNY Poly Celebrates Graduation of 802 Students at 49th Commencement Ceremonies

Saturday, May 4, 2024 - 17:44
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SUNY Poly's 49th Commencement

UTICA, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) celebrated just over 800 graduating students at their 2024 commencement ceremonies in the Wildcat Field House earlier today. The graduates were congratulated by President Dr. Winston Soboyejo, Provost Dr. Andrew Russell, and College Council Chair RoAnn Destito, as well as deans and faculty from the university’s four colleges. 

SUNY Poly’s College of Engineering held its ceremony at 10 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 2 p.m. for graduates from the College of Business, College of Health Sciences, and College of Arts and Sciences. 

In total, 490 SUNY Poly students received a bachelor’s degree and more than 312 earned a graduate degree or certificate of advanced study. Moreover, the top three undergraduate degrees being awarded by number of students were computer science, business administration, and mechanical engineering technology. SUNY Poly also had its first certificate of advanced study recipient in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.

“SUNY Poly is honored to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2024, all of whom have demonstrated dedication to the pursuit of academic excellence and the skills that will be needed to make significant contributions to the Mohawk Valley region, New York State, and beyond,” said Dr. Soboyejo. “We also commend our faculty and staff for the meaningful roles they’ve played in our students’ academic journey. As our graduates reflect on this significant milestone, we thank them for their notable contributions to our campus, including their recent class gift – large, industry designed and constructed ‘P-O-L-Y' letters – which will stand in front of our iconic Bridge and are sure to become a favorite campus photo opportunity. We are confident about this class and all they will accomplish, and look forward to welcoming them back to campus for alumni events well into the future.”

The following commencement speakers addressed SUNY Poly’s newest graduates at the ceremonies:

Heather Hage – College of Engineering Ceremony
As President and CEO of the Griffiss Institute (GI), Heather has led the strategy and support operations for the standup of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s innovative “beyond the fence” R&D and incubator facilities at Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, NY. A deep believer in the power of public education and research to transform lives, Heather served the State University of New York for 17 years before assuming leadership of the GI in 2021.  She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including SUNY’s 2015 Woman of Excellence award for outstanding service, exemplary support of women in leadership, and a distinguished career. Heather, a member of the university’s Foundation Board, also played an integral role in SUNY Poly’s recent strategic planning process. 

Rev. Mike Ballman – College of Business, College of Health Sciences, and College of Arts and Sciences Ceremony
An accomplished community advocate (Executive Director of the Morrow Warming Center and Founder of the Oneida Square Project), and pastor of Cornerstone Community/Plymouth Bethesda Church, Rev. Mike Ballman has worked to create a more just community in the heart of Utica by working to eliminate barriers to employment, affordable housing, emergency shelter, and healthy nutrition for Oneida Square residents. He is passionate about incorporating the arts to build a community of empathy and service to care for the growing unhoused population in Utica. The outreach and advocacy efforts through the church community for the unhoused include a podcast, “Home Street, Home,” to tell the stories of those exiled to the streets; a foot-washing ministry to provide foot care and basic medical screening for the unhoused; weekly nutrition, hygiene, laundry, and clothing services; and SPARK – a mosaic, sculpture, and painting program. Mike has served as a professor of religion and philosophy for refugee students; the Chaplain of the Utica Comets; and he is a Chaplain in the United States Army Reserves.