Graduates Celebrate Commencement June 4

Charter Oak State College building

Theme of Ceremony: "Getting Involved"

Approximately six hundred members of the Class of 2017 received degrees during Charter Oak State College’s commencement ceremony held today, Sunday, June 4, in Welte Auditorium at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT. Dr. Shyamala Raman, former faculty member of Economics at the University of St. Joseph and former Core faculty member for Charter Oak, was the commencement speaker. A live webcast of the ceremony was hosted on Charter Oak State College is Connecticut’s public online college.

Charter Oak President, Ed Klonoski addressed the graduates.

In his remarks, President Klonoski congratulated the graduates for taking control of their education and balancing their own pursuits with work and family responsibilities.

“Let me congratulate all of you on your achievement. Most of you have arrived at this moment along a non-traditional path. Many of you were stopped in your progress by family responsibilities. You put the needs of others ahead of your own and that meant your education was delayed.

“When a human being accomplishes something difficult that effort often changes them. Your efforts to finish your degree required that you become more disciplined and more organized. You multi-tasked as you balanced your work responsibilities, your family and your school work. Those skills are precisely the ones necessary to shape the future that have armored you to be advocates and leaders. Use those skills to be leaders in your local schools, local town councils and your places of employment. Don’t be shy about entering the fray, we are all counting on you to become leaders.”

The student speaker was Valerie B. D’Apice of Meriden, CT. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies with a concentration in Sociology. D’Apice shared that her long journey to graduation was often interrupted by frequent moves and family health concerns. She noted that learning of a large pay discrepancy due to her lack of a bachelor’s degree finally motivated her to consolidate her 118 accumulated college credits and complete her degree. She credited her Charter Oak counselor for the plan and her own determination to attack her studies with her success. Her degree will empower her work co-leading workshops and classes for caregivers coping with the everyday demands and stress of caring for loved ones with chronic conditions.

Awards presented to Class of ’17 graduates

The Doris G. Cassiday Award is given to those graduates of Charter Oak who have achieved excellence in innovative learning and who exemplify the essence of the Charter Oak mission. With this award, the College recognizes individuals who avail themselves fully of a broad range of learning options, earning credits both inside and outside the traditional classroom setting. These options include distance learning, testing, portfolio assessment, contract learning, military service school courses and other non-collegiate sponsored instruction, which has been evaluated for credit, as well as classroom instruction.

2017 Doris G. Cassiday Award recipients included:

Tiffany Bestani, Arlington, VA

Joshua David Copeland, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA

Jason Paoletta, Canal Winchester, OH

Tzipporah Heinemann, Monsey, NY

Charles O. McAfee, IV, Milford, CT

Awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement

Charter Oak State College Honors:

Sean S. Butler, Coventry, CT

General Scholarship Honors, Associate Degree:

Albert M. Ayala, Berwyn, IL

Mikaela Wan, Freemont, CA

General Scholarship Honors, Baccalaureate Degree:

Evan Benjamin, NY, NY