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Long Island University at Riverhead Celebrates Historic Commencement Ceremony

Standing GraduatesIt was a historic occasion in a beautiful setting: Long Island University at Riverhead celebrated its first cohort of baccalaureate graduates at its annual commencement ceremony held at Giorgio's in Baiting Hollow, N.Y.

The ceremony celebrated the achievements of the first 13 students to graduate with the B.S. in childhood education. In addition 47 students received the Master of Science in education; 23 received the M.S. in homeland security management and 31 received the graduate-level Advanced Certificate in homeland security management.

The cohort of 13 undergraduate education students are the beneficiaries of the partnership program between Long Island University at Riverhead and Suffolk County Community College, in which Suffolk students have the opportunity to use their associate's degree obtained at Suffolk to get a head-start on a B.S. at LIU Riverhead, which is located on the grounds of the Eastern Campus of Suffolk County Community College.

Maryellen Gamberg, assistant adjunct professor of education at Long Island University at Riverhead, delivered the commencement address, speaking of the ever-present need for teachers, even in the face of budget cuts and job losses. “There are children in parts of this country who are deserving of your training, children longing for your passion, and children wanting of your commitment,” said Gamberg. “If you are truly committed to your dream, there are jobs because there are children waiting for you.”

Riverhead resident Alicia Burt, a graduate of the B.S. in childhood education, is the first valedictorian in the history of Long Island University at Riverhead. Burt graduated with an Associate in Applied Science degree in general studies from Suffolk County Community College in 2003 but was unsure of her future until she received a flyer in the mail announcing the new undergraduate childhood education program at Long Island University at Riverhead.

Long Island University at Riverhead opened in September 2006 as an institution offering master's degrees and graduate-level advanced certificates. Its first undergraduate program, an upper division (junior and senior years) Bachelor of Science in childhood education, began in September 2009.

Only five graduates of the Homeland Security Management Institute were able to attend the ceremony; many, who are practitioners in the fields of law enforcement, crisis management, firefighting, HazMat, corporate or private security, the intelligence community, and military, were unable to attend the ceremony due to active work protecting our nation and its citizens.

“One of our graduates is currently fighting pirates off the coast of Somalia,” announced Dr. Vincent E. Henry, director of the Homeland Security Management Institute. “One of our faculty is deploying to Iraq again on Saturday. Our faculty and student colleagues are professionals.” The graduates of the program are dispersed around the world, taking advantage of the fully online M.S. in Homeland Security Management, the first of its kind in New York State. The HSMI has been designated by act of Congress as a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

Dr. David J. Steinberg, president of Long Island University, said a national void waited to be filled by both the graduates of the education program and homeland security program—growing threats of terrorism as well as a growing learning deficit and drop-out rate in the nation's K-12 education system. “Imagine how bleak the future would be if programs like these two did not exist; consider how much more vulnerable our nation would be without each of you,” said President David Steinberg.

The President of Long Island University referenced former President of the United States Franklin Roosevelt's 1936 inaugural address, saying that the graduating class had a “rendezvous with destiny.”

Dr. David Steinberg conferred the degrees. Dr. Paul Forestell, provost of Long Island University at Riverhead and the University's C.W. Post Campus, and Jennifer Browne, associate provost for Long Island University at Riverhead, presided over the ceremony.

For more information on the programs available at Riverhead, please visit www.liu.edu/riverhead.

Posted: May 12, 2011

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