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Buffalo State College Holds 135th Commencement Ceremonies

Posted: April 19, 2007
More than 2,500 students will receive their degrees on May 12, 2007, as Buffalo State College holds its 135th commencement ceremonies in the Sports Arena on the campus at 1300 Elmwood Ave.

The college will mount two baccalaureate ceremonies - one at 10 a.m., the other at 2 p.m. - to award degrees to the 1,829 graduates who completed their studies in December 2006 or May 2007, or will complete them in August 2007. The college's master's hooding ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. to award degrees and certificates of advanced study to the 704 students who completed their studies in December 2006 or May 2007, or will complete them in August 2007.

Michael Duffy, assistant managing editor, Time magazine, will give the keynote address at both baccalaureate ceremonies. Donald A. Ogilvie, district superintendent, Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), will give the graduate commencement address.

In each ceremony a Distinguished Alumnus Award will be presented as follows:

* Richard C. Auerbach, educator, U.S. Naval Reserve captain (retired), philanthropist

* Stan Szymanski, senior vice president digital production, Sony Pictures Imageworks

* David Lazerson, author, educator, musician

Baccalaureate keynote speaker Michael Duffy has been at the center of Time magazine's political coverage for the past 20 years. Duffy has written or co-written more than 40 cover stories, including reports on President Bush's proposed surge plan for Iraq, the Iraq Study Group and an examination of what war with Iran may look like. Currently, Duffy is working on his second book, The Preacher and the Presidents, a collaboration with Time editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs chronicling Billy Graham's unique and complex relationship with each of the last 11 American presidents. The book is scheduled for August 2007 publication. Duffy is the recipient of numerous awards for distinguished reporting in the areas of politics and public policy.

Donald A. Ogilvie, master's and C.A.S. keynote speaker, has devoted his career to the advancement of education in Western New York. In his current leadership role as district superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES, Ogilvie oversees instructional, managerial and technology services to 20 school districts in Erie County. He is also field representative of the New York State commissioner of education to those 20 school districts, as well as to the Buffalo Public Schools. Previously, Ogilvie served as superintendent to several school districts, was a building principal and a classroom teacher and team leader. Ogilvie received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Buffalo State College. He is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding contributions to the community and education.

Distinguished Alumnus awardee Richard C. Auerbach received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Buffalo State College in 1952 and 1955. He has distinguished himself in his chosen profession of education, in his service to his country and the community and in his tireless advocacy for Buffalo State College. As a student at Buffalo State College, Auerbach was selected to join the Alpha Honor Society and was later elected president of the organization. He was appointed principal of two Sweet Home Central elementary schools and served as curriculum coordinator in the Amherst Central District. Upon earning his doctorate in education, Auerbach taught at both Buffalo State and Daemen College. For 26 years, he served in the United States Naval Reserve and attained the rank of captain. As a volunteer, Auerbach has worked tirelessly for numerous committees, including as co-chair of the Alumni Committee for the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Capital Campaign.

Stan Szymanski, a 1978 Buffalo State College graduate who will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 2 p.m. ceremony, is responsible for overseeing the overall direction and day-to-day operation of digital production for such films as The Polar Express, Spider-Man 2, Big Fish, Bad Boys II, The Matrix Reloaded, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Cast Away, and more. Through his visual effects expertise and business leadership, Imageworks has grown significantly and been recognized by Oscar awards and nominations. Szymanski holds a bachelor of science in graphic design from Buffalo State College.

David Lazerson, who graduated from Buffalo State College in 1977 and will receive a Distinguished Alumnus Award at the graduate ceremony, earned his master of science degree in exceptional education. Ever since, he has been educating and inspiring people as a teacher, musician, conflict-resolution specialist, and author as the beloved "Dr. Laz." He is the author of three books, the best-selling Skullcaps 'n' Switchblades, Ammunition: Battling the Elements and Sharing Turf, which recaps his teaching experiences in Buffalo, and is now under consideration for a major motion picture. Lazerson received the Teacher of the Year award from New York State for his highly acclaimed techniques for reaching students with special needs. He has directed his own alternative high school program and currently teaches graduate-level courses in research. His current work, which has received national media coverage, utilizes experiential music for students with Down syndrome, autism, and other profound special needs. As a musician, Lazerson helped to create Project CURE, a racial harmony group that has entertained audiences throughout the world.
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