Commencement Speaker Michelle Haynes.
PLATTSBURGH — Michelle Haynes stood by her fellow Plattsburgh State graduates as an unfinished person.
Like her peers, she hasn’t completed her portrait of herself.
“To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure that this painting will ever be completed,” said the Keeseville native who majored in anthropology, English literature and art history, giving the commencement speech on behalf of the Class of 2012. “I do, however, have certainty that I will continue to try.”
Haynes was among the roughly 500 graduates at Plattsburgh State’s annual winter commencement ceremony at the Field House.
More than 160 students recently graduated from Clinton Community College.
Class of 2012 Valedictorian Sherrie Harvey of Rouses Point was the speaker at the CCC commencement ceremony. She majored in accounting.
CCC’s salutatorian was Around Roach of Mooers, an Industrial Technology major.
Plattsburgh State President John Ettling presided over that school’s ceremony, with Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Liszka, who presented the candidates for degrees.
Thomas Corigliano, associate dean, SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury, served as faculty marshal.
Graduates, faculty and staff were escorted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Bagpipe Band. Plattsburgh State’s Gospel Choir performed the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Student Association President Charles Sanchez congratulated the graduates, while Alumni Association Director Michael Harrington welcomed the assembled to the association.
“Although each of you arrived on this campus with your own unique history, you leave the college today having a shared history, and you leave as a life-long member of this very special community,” he said. “You have an important role to play in the ongoing history of SUNY Plattsburgh and ensuring that the students who follow in your footsteps will enjoy an educational opportunity here that is truly bright with promise.”
During her time at Plattsburgh State, Haynes completed three minors in addition to her multiple majors.
She was a member of the Honors Program and numerous honor societies, serving as editor of the school yearbook and photo editor, art director and Web editor of Cardinal Points, the student newspaper. She volunteered in the community, worked as a teaching assistant and traveled to Israel to assist on an archaeological dig.
“I challenge you to do more than exist in your own preconceptions of who you are, or who you should be,” she said to her fellow students. “I challenge you to live — to adapt — to find your niche and follow a path that is right for you.”