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Alfred University’s class of 2010 receives send-off from economic columnist, alumnus
5/15/10

President Edmondson, Peter Cuneo, Doug Kass, Jeff Maurer

President Edmondson, Peter Cuneo, Doug Kass, Jeff Maurer

Doug Kass, popular money matters columnist and commentator, returned to his alma mater to deliver this year’s commencement address upon the completion of 174 years of academics at Alfred University.

A 1971 alumnus, Kass spoke of his journey from Alfred; his assessment of what went wrong in the recent financial markets turmoil; and his expectations for the economy’s future.

Kass told the graduates that their Alfred University education has prepared them for today’s world. “The times are different” today than 40 years ago when he graduated from Alfred University, but students today will be “molded by your experience at Alfred,” just as he was, Kass assured the graduates.

“You will adapt and contribute to these changing times. Be part of the debate, contribute. Don’t be an island, become part of the process,” said Kass. “That’s the responsibility of every graduate today.”

Kass said everyone should be “angry, but hopeful” about the economy. Safeguards are being put into place to protect the financial future, though it will take “time for the deep scars to heal,” he said.

Alfred University President Dr. Charles M. Edmondson opened the ceremony in the McLane Center on campus. Dr. William M. Hall, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs presided over the exercises.

Prior to addressing the five doctoral, 160 master’s degree, and 315 baccalaureate degrees candidates, the University conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Kass during the 10 a.m. ceremony.

The honorary degree citation was read and the traditional hood bestowed on Kass by Jeffrey S. Maurer, J.D., AU class of 1969 and a member of the Alfred University Board of Trustees.

Addressing fellow classmates during the program were Thomas Fleming of Penn Yan, NY, and Emily Tobin of Penfield, recipients of this year’s Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Awards.

The Alfred University Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Luanne Crosby, professor of voice and chorus, provided vocal musical interludes. The Alfred University Symphonic Band under the direction of Dr. Christopher Foster, assistant professor of music and director of bands provided the processional and recessional pieces.
Roger Freeman, professor of photography, served as grand marshal.

Five graduating seniors were honored during Commencement exercises. At the top of her class and outstanding academic senior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is Kristine Elise Diesslin from Brooklyn. Diesslin earned a 3.99 (out of a possible 4.0) grade point average (GPA) as a biology major. She is a daughter of Craig and Martha Diesslin of Brooklyn and a graduate of Polytech Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn.

Two accounting majors in the College of Business tied for high honors, each with a GPA of 3.94. They are Hannah Rae Meier of Rochester and Timothy Carl Warner of Avoca. Meier is a daughter of Dale and Susan Meier of Rochester and a graduate of Odyssey Academy, Rochester. Warner is a son of Kathleen Warner and the late Douglas Warner of Avoca. He is a graduate of Avoca Central School.
Kodi Mae Tidd of Arcade is the high honors student from the School of Art & Design with a 3.84 GPA. A fine arts major, she is a daughter of Jeffrey and Julie Tidd of Arcade and a graduate of Pioneer Senior High School, Yorkshire.

Also earning a 3.84 GPA is Krista Renee Kalac of Spencer, Ohio, a materials science and engineering major in the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering. She is a daughter of Kenneth and Marsha Kalac of Spencer and a graduate of Cloverleaf High School, Lodi, Ohio.

All five students were seated on the Commencement platform and recognized during the ceremony.

Kass is the founder and president of Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc., which manages two hedge funds located in Palm Beach, FL. But it is as a frequent contributor to Barrons, as well the subject of several cover stories in the publication, and as a guest host on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Kass is best known.

Kass has also frequently appeared on other CNBC shows, including “The Kudlow Report,” “Street Signs” and “FastMoney.” He has also been seen on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “The Today Show,” and been quoted in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers around the world, offering his advice on money matters.

Kass and “Mad Money’s” Jim Cramer are the principal writers on TheStreet.com’s Real Money blog. He has co-authored “Citibank: The Ralph Nader Report,” with consumer crusader Ralph Nader and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. He has lectured on short selling, financial analysis and on the stock market at Harvard Business School, Yale University’s Graduate School of Management and at Seton Hall University.

Kass began his investment career as a housing analyst at Kidder, Peabody in 1972 after completing a Master in Business Administration degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Kass had majored in philosophy and religion at Alfred.

He served as vice president – analyst and economist – of Putnam Management from 1974-78, before becoming a general partner of Glickenhaus & Co. in 1978.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Kass worked on Wall Street at such firms as Omega Advisors, First Albany and JW Charles, where he served as a portfolio manager and as a director of research, respectively, before forming his own investment firm in 2001.