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HAMBURG, N.Y. – Kathy Hochul, the Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York, will be the commencement speaker at Hilbert College’s 54th annual commencement ceremony planned for 1 p.m. on May 16 at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg at 4999 McKinley Parkway. She will also be recognized at Hilbert’s commencement with an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Hochul was inaugurated as the 77th Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York on January 1, 2015. Hochul was elected with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on November 4, 2014. Hilbert’s commencement will mark the first commencement address for Hochul as Lieutenant Governor.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to address the graduating class at Hilbert College on its 54th annual commencement ceremony,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “In fact, my own mother had the good fortune to take classes at Hilbert, but never would she ever imagine that her own daughter one day might be giving a commencement address on that very same campus. But this day is about our graduates and the culmination of their hard work and achievement in the classrooms. Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of obtaining a higher education degree that will provide these graduates the skills they need to compete in a 21st century workforce. I look forward to sharing my insight and advice to our future leaders this coming May in Hamburg.”
Prior to her election, Hochul served as a Group Vice President for Strategic Relationships at M&T Bank, serving as liaison for community matters and significant economic development projects. From 2011 to 2013, then Congresswoman Kathy Hochul served in the House of Representatives from New York’s 26th Congressional District. Prior to her time in Congress, Hochul was the highest-ranking female elected official in Erie County while serving as County Clerk from 2007 to 2011. The Lieutenant Governor also served 14 years as a Hamburg Town Councilmember.
Hochul holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a JD from Catholic University in Washington, DC. At the start of her legal career, she worked at a large firm in Washington and later as in-house counsel to a major corporation engaged in homeland security. Hochul then gave up private practice for public service. She was asked to serve as a legal counsel and legislative assistant to Congressman John LaFalce (D-NY) and later to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
In 2006, the Lieutenant Governor joined her mother and aunt in establishing the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence, and served on its Board of Directors. She co-founded the Village Action Coalition to help local businesses survive competition from big box stores.
Hochul has been married to her husband, Bill, since 1984, and is the mother of Will and Katie.
Hilbert President Cynthia Zane, Ed.D., will confer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees, as well as associate in applied science and associate in arts degrees to Class of 2015. In addition, President Zane will confer master of science and master of public administration degrees to Hilbert’s third class of graduate students. Overall, more than 270 graduates will receive their degrees. Baccalaureate graduates will receive degrees in accounting, business management, computer security and information assurance, criminal justice, digital media and communication, English, forensic science/crime scene investigation, global business management, human services, liberal studies, paralegal studies, political science, psychology, rehabilitation services, small business management, and sports industry management.
Top student awards that will be presented at Hilbert’s 54th commencement will include the:
• Lambert and Margaret Graham Award for a full-time returning adult student who has earned the highest cumulative quality point average.
• Kimberly Bruch Raczkowski Memorial Alumni Association Award for a graduate who reflects the spirit of Hilbert and its mission, and possesses strong leadership skills and demonstrates loyalty and dedication to others.
• Sister Mary Edwina Bogel Award to an outstanding female graduate in recognition of her character, intellectual achievement and devoted service to fellow students and the college.
• John Kissel Man of the Year Award to an outstanding male student in recognition of his character, intellectual progress, organizational ability, and participation in activities and programs.
Christopher Holoman, Ph.D., Hilbert provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be the master of ceremonies.
A reception for graduates, guests, and others in attendance will be hosted by President Zane in the Wesleyan Church atrium immediately following the commencement program.
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