By Kristen Roys
On Sunday, May 18, 2008, Siena College held its 68th annual
Commencement ceremony as it honored 812 graduates of the class of 2008.
The ceremony was overseen by Bishop Howard Hubbard, D.D., Bishop of
Albany. Rev. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M., celebrated his first Commencement
ceremony as President of Siena College.
Another first for the ceremony was that it was the first time that a
certificate in revolutionary era studies was awarded. Three types of
Bachelor’s degrees were conferred: the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of
Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration.
Two honorary degrees were awarded to James J. Barba ’66 and Immaculee
Ilibagiza. Barba is the current president and chief executive of the Albany
Medical Center. Ilibagiza is a writer who survived the Rwanda genocide.
She was also the keynote speaker. In her address she spoke of her
experiences, offered a message of finding hope despite hardship, and
emphasized that as long as one is alive, one should celebrate. Professor of
creative arts, Paul Konye, wrote a musical tribute to Africa in honor of
The welcome address was given by Tim Hannigan ’08. The commencement
address was given by Victoria Fernandes. She spoke of the positives of the
ever-present Siena community, and how it turned into a second family. A
native of Mississippi, her family was affected by Hurricane Katrina. As
soon as news broke of the devastation, people, from students to faculty to
housekeepers, asked her what she needed.
The class of 2008 was lauded with honors. Fourteen graduates earned
the distinction of summa cum laude (GPA of 3.9 or higher), 145 earned magna
cum laude (3.7-3.89), and 117 graduated with cum laude (3.5 to 3.69)
distinction. In addition, there were 20 honors fellows.
Congratulations to the class of 2008 and welcome to the class of 2012!