Alfred University News

Alfred University awards 268 diplomas to AU-NYC Class of '22

Alfred University held an in-person commencement ceremony Thursday evening, June 16, recognizing 268 graduates from the AU-NYC Class of 2022.

Alfred University held an in-person commencement ceremony June 16, recognizing 268 graduates from the AU-NYC Class of 2022. Graduates from the AU-NYC program earned masters degrees in School and Mental Health Counseling and Public Administration, or completed Advanced Certification programs in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling, at Alfred University’s satellite campus in New York City.

The University awarded 112 masters degrees in School and Mental Health Counseling; 30 masters degrees in Public Administration; 137 Advanced Certificates in Mental Health Counseling, and five Advanced Certificates in School Counseling.

Dr. Donald James, Executive director for the Center for Integrated Training and Education, served as commencement speaker.  In introducing James, Alfred University President Mark Zupan noted James’s career has been marked by his dedication to the social and emotional wellbeing of students. “He is a proponent of the kind of education we value and offer at Alfred University: education that provides personal attention to each student; and educational enrichment for all students.”

James himself spoke briefly of his own background – “I was ashamed of how I grew up,” he said, describing a broken-child childhood in Trenton, NJ. Discouraged by his high school counselor from applying to college, he nevertheless applied to, and was accepted by, East Stroudsburg State University. He majored in education, then worked construction and restaurant jobs because starting teaching salaries weren’t enough to live on. Eventually, with support from his wife, he received his doctorate from New York University. “My hope was that in a leadership position, I would be in a situation to make sure no other student would have to hear what I did from my counselor.”

James urged the graduating class “to listen for understanding, even if you don’t agree….These days too many people in public life want to be heard, but they don’t want to listen. ….Appreciate the gifts we’ve all been given and try to make the most of your time here on earth. We’re all just getting starting.”

The ceremony also honored Jay Cerio, Dean of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, AU-NYC, who is retiring from that position later this month. Cerio called Thursday’s ceremony “a momentous occasion,” recognizing it was the first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019, when the COVID-19 virus disrupted the in-person format for the 2020 and 2022 graduation ceremonies.

“Most of the graduates in this group completed their programs entirely online,” Cerio said, praising the graduates’ persistence in successfully completing their degrees.

Cerio will be succeeded by Alfred University alumnus Alfred Mancuso ’05 ’08, who earned a master’s degree in school psychology and a doctorate in school psychology. Mancuso also holds a B.A. degree in psychology from St. John’s University.

Alfred University Provost Beth Ann Dobie thanked Cerio for her service as Dean of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies, AU-NYC. “Jay is creative,” Dobie said, “he uses imagination as a productive tool to create opportunities that are truly outside of ordinary.” Quoting faculty colleagues, Dobie called Cerio “a true leader….informative, knowledgeable and most of all very wise.”