Utica College Celebrates with Two Commencement Ceremonies this Sunday

Over a Thousand Students to Turn Tassel at Aud, Stanley

Written By Victoria Cruz-Griffith '12, PR Intern

Congratulations to our newest alumni!


Utica, NY (05/10/2012)
- Utica College will celebrate the commencement of the graduating class of 2012 on Sunday, May 13.

This year the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will be two separate events. The undergraduate ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The ceremony is followed by the college’s traditional on-campus reception.

The graduate ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. at The Stanley Theater. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception at The Stanley.

The need for two separate commencement ceremonies was sparked by the college’s ability to graduate more students as a result of the tremendous growth in enrollment in both undergraduate and graduate programs. This year a record number of 487 graduate students will graduate with doctoral and master’s degrees, while 569 undergraduate students will earn their bachelor’s degrees.

Accomplished activist and philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock will be the speaker at the undergraduate ceremony.

Compton-Rock has worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as well as starting her own nonprofit organizations: styleWORKS, Angelrock Project, the Champions for Children Committee, and Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service. Along with her husband, comedian/actor Chris Rock, Compton-Rock partners with the South African Non-Governmental Organizations, the Food Garden Foundation and the Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center. Comton-Rock earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in arts/production management from Howard University and received an honorary doctorate degree from Farleigh Dickenson University in 2009.

Judith Kirkpatrick, provost of Utica College, has named Raymond Fryc as valedictorian and Meredith Merchant as salutatorian for the class of 2012. Fryc is completing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He currently maintains a 3.99 grade-point average with a mathematics major grade-point average of 4.00. He has also earned a certification in childhood and special education. Fryc will attend Binghamton University where he has been accepted into the mathematics doctoral program. A native of New York Mills, he is the son of Richard Fryc, and Laura and Joseph Hill.

Merchant, a health studies major, maintains a 3.98 grade-point average. She will continue her education in the doctor of physical therapy program at UC. She plans to graduate with her doctorate in May of 2014 and hopes to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy. She is the daughter of MaryEllen and Kevin Merchant of Rome.

UC alumnus Dr. Oba S. Gulston will be the commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony. Gulston graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in health studies. In 2008, he earned a doctorate in physical therapy.

Gulston is from the southern Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. As a young athlete, Gulston was injured and unable to continue his career path in track, so he made the decision to become a physical therapist. After completing his education, he worked as a sports therapist for the Trinidad and Tobago soccer team, including the nation’s premier World Cup appearance in Germany in 2006. Although one of the youngest trainers at the event, he effectively used his problem-based training in dealing with the million-dollar athletes and became a phenomenon with the international community of trainers and therapists working at the games.


Chris Leogrande
Director of Media Relations

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