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Rockland Graduate Campus Commencement Speaker: ‘Take Chances, Pursue Your Dreams’

NYS Labor dept. regional representative & former Orangetown supervisor Thom Kleiner addresses candidates for master’s degrees and their families


Hudson Graduate Center at Rockland,
Long Island University

Orangeburg, N.Y. – Thom Kleiner, regional representative for the New York State Labor Department and longtime supervisor of the Town of Orangetown, urged graduates to work hard and be ready to take advantage of good luck in his keynote address at the Commencement exercises of the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University on Thursday, May 20.

Kleiner also offered encouraging words for education and health care majors, saying that despite the current state of the economy, both sectors are projected to grow in the future.

"Take chances, question authority, stand up for what you believe and pursue your dreams," Kleiner told the graduates in cap and gown at the Camp Venture Auditorium, adjacent to the Rockland Graduate campus in Orangeburg. "You will be glad you did."

More than 120 candidates received master's degrees or graduate-level advanced certificates in business administration, health administration, education and pharmacy. In all, 216 people were graduated, including those who had completed their degree programs last September or January.

Kleiner is the primary liaison between the Labor Department and labor, government, academia, not-for-profit, business and economic development agencies in the seven counties that comprise the lower Hudson Valley. Prior to becoming regional representative, Kleiner served as supervisor of the town of Orangetown for seven consecutive two-year terms from 1996 through 2009.

Dr. David J. Steinberg, president of Long Island University, said before an audience of more than 500 graduates, family members and well-wishers that an advanced college degree offers more than simply higher income and job security.

"You'll earn more with that master's, and you'll probably solidify your position at work," he said. "Such knowledge will allow you to become a better professional, but also, and much more importantly, a fuller, more humane individual."

Crystal Smalls of Peekskill, an instructional facilitator at Sloatsburg Elementary School, had her daughter Sara, 9, and son Caleb, 8, in tow as she earned a master's in literacy education. It was her third master's from the Rockland Graduate Campus (the other two were in early childhood education and educational administration.)

"He was 2 months old when I got my first degree, and she was a year and a half," she said, smiling at her children.

Ronald J. Silvestri, chancellor of the Rockland Graduate Campus and a member of the Long Island University board of trustees, noted that the graduates had not been discouraged by the economic downturn.

"You have accepted the challenge and are ready to move forward," he said. "You are the Rockland Graduate Campus' investment in tomorrow, and you are part of the Long Island University family."

The Rockland Graduate Campus, located at 70 Route 340 in Orangeburg, is recognized as Rockland County's premier provider of master's degree programs for adults, with degree offerings in business administration, teacher education, pharmaceutics, health administration, public administration, gerontology, mental health counseling, school counseling and school leadership. Courses are offered in the late afternoons, evenings and on weekends to affordworking students an opportunity to balance their educational goals with family and business demands. For more information visit or call (845) 359-7200, extension 5414.


Business Administration Achievement Award
Bruce M. Scott, Fort Lee, N.J.

Health Administration Achievement Award
Jessica Renee Deluca, Stony Point, N.Y.

Adolescence Education Achievement Award
Vincent C. Passariello, Garnerville, N.Y.

Childhood Education Achievement Award
Joyce A. Cleary, Tappan, N.Y.

Childhood Education/Literacy Achievement Award
Peggy A. Dobrinski, Rock Tavern, N.Y.

Childhood Education/Special Education Achievement Award
Danielle Rose Salemo, West Haverstraw, N.Y.

Literacy Achievement Award
Maryanne E. Cortese, Nanuet, N.Y.

Literacy Achievement Award - Washingtonville
Michelle Elizabeth Halayko, Monroe, N.Y.

Special Education Achievement Award
Julia Courtney Doherty, Pearl River, N.Y.

Special Education - Autism Achievement Award
Kathryn A. Marciano, Tappan, N.Y.

School Counseling Achievement Award
Patricia Jean Montini, Ramsey, N.J.

School Counseling Achievement Award - West Point
Alex Danon, Rock Tavern, N.Y.

Mental Health Counseling Achievement Award
Julianna Theresa Maggiore, Orangeburg, N.Y.

Educational Administration Achievement Award
Charles Michael Giordano, Montvale, N.J.

Pharmacy Achievement Award
Stephen Joseph, Tappan, N.Y.

Posted 05/25/2010

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