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BU Graduate Students Walk the Stage

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Nearly 600 students received their Master's Degrees while an additional 100 Doctoral students were hooded during Binghamton University's Graduate School Commencement on Friday afternoon.

It was a day filled with a lot of pride for Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.

"Today is the first of eight straight days of graduation ceremonies, so we're really excited," said President Harvey Stenger.

He added that 30-40% of BU students go to graduate school as a way to further their education and set themselves up well for the future and so far that plan seems to be successful for a lot of students who are about to enter the real world.

"Students go to graduate school to build on what they need to get a really good job, but what I've heard so far is that students are getting jobs," said Stenger.

It's hard to mention the "G" word to students without them thinking about the future and for one Business Administration Masters Student, who spent his last seven years at Binghamton, he's ready for the next chapter.

"I'm really excited to graduate Binghamton, I've learned so much and I just can't wait to get into the real business world and try to apply what I've learned in the school," said Christopher Gill, a Graduate Student.

As he reflects back his education at BU, Gill has nothing but positive memories.

"I got to graduate with all my friends that I met since freshman year. It's just a really great experience to grow with them. I've just learned so much with my time here," said Gill.

Another Graduate Student, Ivy Williams, who received her Masters in Business Administration with a Concentration in Leadership and Consulting was able to take advantage of an accelerated business program that BU offers.

"I'm excited that I have my undergraduate degree and now my graduate degree in only five short years, so I'm really excited to start working in the real world," said Williams.

For her, the last five years at BU has cemented the school as her second home.

"It really is amazing and I've made so many connections at Binghamton and it will always be a place that I can come back to," said Williams.

The University honored four individuals during the ceremony including Easter Island Archaeologist Sergio Rapu Haoa and three alumni - award-winning author, playwright and translator Nathan Englander ('91), sportswriter, author and broadcaster Tony Kornheiser ('70) and retired Senior Vice President of AOL Geraldine MacDonald ('68, MS '73). 

Kornheiser said he will always have fond memories of his time at Binghamton University.

"When I'm on I-81 and you see Binghamton and you see that sign - that's like when you go to the Shore a lot and you smell the water and that smell reminds you of everything you've had as a child - that sign was great and there's a certain kind of home to that," said Kornheiser.

When asked about his advice to graduates looking for their first job, his message was simple - don't take no for an answer. 

"If there's something that you really want to do, pursue it with ardor," said Kornheiser.

President Stenger hopes students will focus on doing something they love rather than chasing a pay check.

"I recommend they pick something they enjoy and not something just to pay the bills," said Stenger.

The ceremonies will continue throughout the weekend with seven more graduations to take place on Saturday and Sunday. Overall, Stenger expects around 3,700 students to walk the stage and receive their degrees.