June 8, 2022


(ALBANY, NY– June 8, 2022) SUNY Empire State College celebrated the class of 2022 at the college’s 50th commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 5 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. This was SUNY Empire’s first in-person spring commencement since 2019. 

Members of the SUNY Empire class of 2022 collectively live in 58 different New York state counties, in 24 U.S. states and territories, 15 countries around the world, and ranged from ages 19 to 73. 

The ceremony featured two student speakers, Cassandra Von Krusze of Sauquoit, NY, who received a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in public affairs, and Tricia Philips of Queens, NY, who received a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in gerontology. 

Lori Jiava, SUNY Empire State College alumna from the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2016, and former supervisor of the Town of Wappinger, delivered remarks to the class of 2022. 

SUNY Empire Officer in Charge Dr. Nathan Gonyea awarded the SUNY Empire State College Citizen Laureate Award to Patrick Paul ‘94, SUNY Empire State College alumnus and chief executive officer of Anderson Center for Autism. The Citizen Laureate Award recognizes distinguished leadership and outstanding contributions through education and community service. It is one of the highest honors SUNY Empire bestows upon an individual.  


SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea said, "SUNY Empire graduates are proof that there is no one route to a college degree. In many cases, our students are not the so-called ‘traditional’ students who walk out of high school straight into college. Online and blended education have fast become a new norm, and SUNY Empire remains at the forefront of those models.” 

SUNY Empire State College student speaker Cassandra Von Krusze said, “SUNY Empire gave me the ability to complete my undergraduate education online while still guaranteeing the quality education that is synonymous with SUNY. Access to quality online, asynchronous education opens doors for many who would otherwise not be able to pursue a college degree.” 

SUNY Empire State College student speaker Tricia Philips said, “This journey has been incredibly freeing. SUNY Empire has embraced us throughout our academic journeys and the level of concern for our success from faculty members and staff sets this institution apart.”