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JCC to hold 50th commencement on Friday

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WATERTOWN — The graduates at Jefferson Community College’s 50th annual commencement ceremony will hear from the college’s longest-serving faculty member, also a graduate of the college.

Richard F. Young, class of 1968, a distinguished alumnus, retired professor and the longest-serving member of the campus community, will give the keynote address.

“We’ve become the people we become because of the experiences we’ve gone through,” Mr. Young said. “I plan to talk about how I ended up at JCC.”

Mr. Young said if he hadn’t attended JCC, he wouldn’t have met the teachers and advisers who inspired him to pursue an education in communications.

“I think it’s important to look around and see how people have had that influence in their lives,” Mr. Young said.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the McVean Student Center gymnasium. The 50th commencement milestone is dedicated to the 36 members of the college’s first graduating class of 1965.

Mr. Young said he knows the graduates won’t be itching to hear a commencement speech; he said they will be waiting to receive their diplomas, but he hopes he can share with them how the college and his experiences have been influential in his professional and personal development.

“I had lots of opportunities over my career to leave JCC, but I stayed,” Mr. Young said. “I was able to do everything I wanted to do at JCC.”

Mr. Young, a member of JCC’s fourth graduating class, retired in 2012 after 41 years at the college. During his four-decade tenure, he taught public speaking, fundamentals of oral communication, interpersonal communication, conflict management, success in college, and negotiation and mediation.

The college anticipates more than 600 graduates in the Class of 2014 will be awarded degrees or certificates. Karen J. Freeman, JCC’s marketing and public relations officer, said more than 200 of the graduates have ordered caps and gowns.

Tickets are required for admission to the gymnasium; each student who is participating in the ceremony has received up to four tickets for guest seating in the bleachers. The ceremony will be simulcast in the air-conditioned Sturtz Theater, and tickets are not required for entrance to the theater. The commencement also will be video-streamed through the college’s website, www.sunyjefferson.edu, beginning at 6:45 p.m.

A reception for graduates and guests will be held in the Jules Center Commons immediately following the ceremony.

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