Commencement Message from President Boomgaarden

May 08, 2020 BK LI

Dear Graduate,

I hope you and your loved ones are managing to stay safe and remain healthy as we continue to navigate these very challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways we never thought possible. But the resilience you have all shown during the past two months has been nothing short of remarkable.

One of our greatest disappointments this year was the cancellation of our traditional graduation ceremonies. Commencement is one of the biggest milestones of a student’s life, and that significant turning point defines the completion of an academic era. That said, while we will have to delay holding the formal ceremonies originally planned for this spring, this is still a time of celebration, and we wish to honor you — our graduates — for all of your wonderful accomplishments leading up to this moment.

Over the last few weeks, the College assembled a special graduation committee to assist me in finding the best way to recognize our graduating seniors and other outgoing graduates. The committee consulted with a broad cross section of the SJC community — including student leaders, faculty and staff — on how best to approach this important task. Please know that these plans are in no way meant as a replacement for your traditional ceremony – rather, it is just St. Joseph’s way of recognizing you, from a distance, for your many wonderful successes.

First, in the coming weeks, you will be receiving a personalized gift package from the College with a few mementos to help you celebrate this milestone from the safety of your own home. We are also working on a special video message from your SJC family to let you know we are very proud of your accomplishments, and that we regret that we can’t be with you to celebrate in-person. Following this, you will receive your personalized diploma, which will be available for pick-up on June 29, provided the Governor’s stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted at that point in time. If social distancing restrictions are still in place by late June, diplomas may be mailed directly to your homes.

The health and safety of our SJC family is our top priority at this time; we must be mindful of the seriousness of the situation and follow our government’s recommendations on social distancing. Even so, I am confident that we will be together soon to celebrate in-person. Please know that the College is still working on plans for a traditional commencement ceremony to celebrate with you when it is once again safe. I feel strongly that our graduates deserve to walk across that big stage and be recognized for their great achievements as part of this journey. And I want to be with you when that happens!

Until that time, I wish all of our 2020 graduates and their families continued safety, good health and much success.

Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.
President of SJCNY

Members of the SJC Graduation Committee:
Margaret Alaimo, Director of Athletics and Recreation, SJC Brooklyn
Melody Cope, Associate Director of Athletics, SJC Long Island
Raymond D’Angelo, Ph.D., Interim Executive Dean, SJC Brooklyn
Jessica McAleer Decatur, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
S. Karen Donohue, C.S.J., Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, SJC Long Island
Lisa Galasso, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement
Bryan Gill, Executive Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Leadership and Multicultural Programming, SJC Long Island
Robert Gregson, Production Manager
Justin Hansen, Manager of Web Technology
Brian Harmon, Editorial Director
Janelle Hill, Associate Vice President for Student Life, SJC Long Island
Shantey Hill-Hanna, Vice President for Athletics and Campus Services; Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
Jaime Vacca-Hoefner, Executive Director of Student Life, SJC Brooklyn
Eileen White Jahn, M.B.A., Ph.D., Interim Executive Dean, SJC Long Island
Stephanie Kearney, Art Director
Paulina Melin, Director of Alumni Relations
Jessica Meotti, Associate Director of Special Events
Robert Riley, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Rory Shaffer-Walsh, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Brian Wasson, Executive Director of Social Media