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May 18 Marks 54th Commencement at RCC

May 18 Marks 54th Commencement at RCC

Commencement Speaker Byron Pitts and Student Speaker Edrick Sulistio


DATE: May 12, 2014

CONTACT: Maralin Roffino



May 18 Marks 54th Commencement at RCC
free and open to the public


Ramapo, NY—Rockland Community College will hold its 54th Commencement Ceremony in the Fieldhouse on Sunday, May 18, 2014. RCC faculty and administration along with local dignitaries and officials will honor the proud graduates as they and their families and friends celebrate this significant achievement. Live streaming of this event will be available online at for those who are not able to attend in person. The 1,443 total graduates include the classes of May '14 (846), December '13 (293) and August '13 (304).

Sunday, May 18, 2014
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Rockland Community College Fieldhouse
145 College Road, Suffern, NY. 10901

ABC Chief Correspondent Byron Pitts, an award winning journalist, news anchor and the author of Step Out On Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges (2009) will address the assemblage. Student speaker Edrick Sulistio ’14 will also speak.


Byron Pitts: An award-winning journalist and currently ABC News chief national correspondent and substitute news anchor, he previously served as chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News and contributor to CBS’ 60 Minutes. His coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center contributed to his national prominence and receipt of a national Emmy Award.

Raised by a single mother in a working-class neighborhood of Baltimore, Pitts describes himself as "functionally illiterate" until age 12, as well as being hampered by a debilitating stutter. His mother’s requirement that he improve his grades before being allowed to play sports inspired renewed interest in school, where he learned to overcome obstacles by staying focused and setting attainable goals. Pitts graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism and Speech Communication.

By 1989, Pitts was a special assignment reporter for WCVB-TV in Boston. He then went on to serve as Washington DC correspondent for CBS Newspath and chief correspondent with CBS in NYC. He has been recognized for his work as an embedded reporter in Iraq, and has provided major coverage of Katrina, Afghanistan, military buildup in Kuwait, Florida fires, Elian Gonzalez, the Florida Presidential recount, Central America mudslides, and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. He won a national Emmy for his coverage of the Chicago train wreck and received the National Association of Black Journalists Award. He is the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.

Pitts is an engaging and inspirational speaker, and in 2009 he published his memoirs, Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges.

Edrick Sulistio: Growing up in Indonesia, international student Edrick Sulistio aspired to attend college in the United States since he was 10 years old. Learning of RCC’s renowned MTS Honors Program from family members living in Rockland, Sulistio’s dreams took shape as he prepared himself academically at the rigorous Singapore School PIK in Jakarta. Now 17, as he graduates from RCC’s Honors Program with a degree in Liberal Arts: Math & Science, Sulistio is poised to excel in his next round of challenges as he pursues his long-range career goal in medicine by majoring in science (either biology, chemistry or neuroscience) at Cornell, Johns Hopkins or Brown University.

His numerous accomplishments at RCC include serving in student government as a freshman and sophomore senator, president of the international Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the UNICEF Club, and full membership in the national science honor society Beta Beta Beta. Sulistio appreciates the dedicated faculty and the strong science foundation provided at RCC and offers particular gratitude to Dr. Thomas Butler, Dr. Adessa Butler, and Professor Saeed Safaie for their stimulating and highly professional curriculum, as well as to Janelle Santiago and Dr. Roger Davis for the mentoring they provided.

Sulistio is excited by the enormous positive potential found within human imagination and is inspired by the words of John F. Kennedy in his 1963 commencement speech at American University, “No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – and we believe they can do it again."



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