Alumni Speakers Stress Importance of Hard Work at December Reception, Commencement

Alumni keynote speakers congratulated and welcomed members of the SUNY Oswego December Class of 2017 into the Oswego Alumni Association during commencement events.

On Dec. 16, more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the college’s December commencement exercises. The night before, the graduates and their families were invited to attend an hors d’oeuvres reception and champagne toast in Sheldon Hall, sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association, with support from The Fund for Oswego and Auxiliary Services.

The Commencement Eve reception featured keynote speaker Katrina Allen ’01 CAS ’11, who is the principal at Danforth Middle School in Syracuse, N.Y. A native of Syracuse, Allen began her career as a middle school science teacher; later, she transitioned into administrative roles at elementary and middle schools in the Syracuse City School District.

Photo of Speaker

Commencement Eve reception speaker Katrina Allen ’01 CAS ’11 Photo: Jim Russell ’83

“We all have the responsibility to do something of significance that makes our family, our community, our work or the world a different place,” Allen said. “But will you make it a better place? I believe that everyone leaves a legacy. I want you to consider how you can leave a better legacy with the importance of hard work and dedication.”

Allen is a Mentor Leader Scholar and former Project BLEND Scholar with SUNY Oswego’s School of Education, and through these programs, she is helping prepare educational leaders throughout New York state. Project BLEND is a grant-funded initiative that provides research-based programs and clinical internships within the School of Education’s Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership.

The following day, entrepreneur Jeff Knauss ’07, co-founder of The Digital Hyve, an award-winning digital marketing agency, was the keynote speaker at the college’s commencement—exactly one decade after he crossed the same stage to receive his bachelor’s degree in public relations.

December 2017 Commencement speaker Jeff Knauss ’07
Photo: Jim Russell ’83

Knauss started his address by approaching the podium and performing a 360-degree “selfie” on his cell phone as the Class of 2017 cheered in the background. He then shared his personal recipe for success: earned luck, hard work and other people.

“Hard work doesn’t mean just working hard,” Knauss said. “Hard work means doing, ethically, what others will not in order to be successful.” l

—Eileen Moran Crandall

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