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News Release

Class of 2018 Commencement

May 24, 2018

Want to relive the ceremony? Watch it again online.

The key to success is believing deeply in three things: yourself, the people around you, and the future. That was among the messages delivered during commencement ceremonies at Tompkins Cortland Community College Thursday. The College celebrated its 49th commencement in front of a packed crowd of more than 2,000 people in the College's gymnasium.

Board of Trustees Chairman Raymond Schlather opened the ceremony welcoming the graduates and sharing the pride of his fellow trustees. “Our exhortation to you is simply this: never, never stop asking the tough questions,” said Schlather. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Recognize life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”

Student Trustee Naseem Fielder offered comments on behalf of the student body. He reminded the graduates of the anxiety they felt at orientation, and how it has all been worth it. “The time is right for you to move on and become what your heart desires. Whether it’s on to another college or straight in the workforce like the brave soul you are,” said Fielder. “It’s about the experience. The success that you have acquired on this day only brings you a step closer to fulfilling your life’s purpose. Becoming the dream that your parents see, that you see, and the worlds wants you to be.”

The commencement address was delivered by Provost and Vice President of the College John Conners, who is retiring from the College after 24 years as the chief academic officer. Conners recalled speaking to many of the graduates at their orientation, telling them then that they needed to believe in three things to be successful. “You need to believe in yourself. You need to believe in the people around you. And you need to believe in the future,” said Conners.

“In due time, you gained confidence,” related Conners. “You know that success comes to those that overcome doubt and try something new. At some point, you believed in your ability to succeed here. That belief turned into action. That action turned into results and those results turned into tonight for all of you.”

At one point during his remarks, noting that believing in the people around you often leads to them reciprocating that belief, Conners invited the faculty in attendance to stand and look at the graduates. “You will notice their broad smiles, their twinkling eyes and the tremendous joy and satisfaction in what you have accomplished,” said Conners. “They are deeply proud of you.”

“The last thing I charged you to believe in is the future, and that is the most difficult one of all,” said Conners. “It requires from you a leap of faith, and you made that leap of faith – you’re here tonight because you believe in the future. The future will be here no matter what. The question for you is whether or not you will prepare for it, and all of you have answered that question by being here tonight.” Conners closed his remarks by calling on the graduates to remember what they had accomplished. “You have believed deeply in yourself. You have believed deeply in the people around you. You have believed deeply in the future. And that has led you to where you are.”

“I know you are going to go forth and continue to believe in all three of those things and achieve great success,” concluded Conners. “And one more thing, I believe deeply in you.”