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HAMBURG, N.Y. – Hilbert College held its 57th annual commencement ceremony on May 12 and more than 230 graduates rejoiced in receiving their degrees.
Hilbert College’s scheduled commencement speaker, Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, was, sadly, unable to attend the ceremony. The Diocese of Youngstown announced that Bishop Murry has been diagnosed with a form of acute leukemia and he was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, April 29, 2018.
The Diocese of Youngstown graciously arranged for Monsignor Peter M. Polando to read the Bishop’s commencement address, which he had already prepared.
“I am very thankful to Bishop Murry, who is an incredible colleague, and to the Diocese of Youngstown for their continuous resolve during this difficult time,” Hilbert President Cynthia Zane said. “I am very excited for what I have always said is my favorite day of the year, and I will be celebrating with the Class of 2018. However, I know you all join me in keeping Bishop Murry in your thoughts and prayers.”
Via Monsignor Polando, commencement speaker Bishop George Murry told the Class of 2018, “I don’t like to say young people are our future, because you are our present. Young people are making great things happen right now.”
“Young people lead us. Young people change the world,” Bishop Murry continued. “You do it with your courage and you do it with your fresh eyes.”
Hilbert President Zane and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Michael Sendor, presented the Hilbert College Medal to Judge Craig Hannah and Edward Gelia, Jr. The Hilbert College Medal is presented to those who embody Franciscan values, demonstrate excellence in their profession or career, and excellence in community service.
Buffalo’s opiate court is helping addicts, who are nonviolent offenders, into a recovery state with a chance at a reduced sentence rather than being sent to jail. Judge Hannah’s mission as a Judge in the Opiate Court in Buffalo is to save lives of those who are struggling with addiction. Judge Hannah attended Canisius College where he received a bachelor’s degree and then earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. Hannah served as a Legislative Assistant, Chief of Staff at the Masten District Council Office. In 1996-98, he was an Associate in the Law Offices of Kevin M. Carter. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. Hannah was also a Legal Counsel on the New York State Senate from 2005 to 2006.
Gelia has served on the Hilbert College Board of Trustees since 2006, including 2015-17 as the Chairperson. He served on the board during many years of growth and transformation, including the construction of Trinity Hall and the introduction of the first graduate-level degrees at the College. Gelia is executive vice president/CEO of Amherst-based United Insurance Agency, a company he has been with for more than 30 years. Long active in community work, he is vice president of the Restoration Society, Inc., and chairman of the organization’s program and personnel committee. He also holds membership in various civic and professional associations, including the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society, and is a past member of the Board of Regents at his alma mater, Canisius College. Gelia holds a bachelor’s degree in history and business administration from Canisius.
Zane also presented, in absentia, an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Bishop Murry.
President Zane conferred master’s degrees, in addition to four- and two- year degrees to graduates in the Class of 2018.
Top student awards that were presented at Hilbert’s 57th commencement include:
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