On Campus

Onondaga Community College celebrated its 61st commencement ceremony Saturday, May 18 in the SRC Arena.

A total of 625 students were eligible to participate. They completed their course work in either the spring 2024 semester, or will do so in the summer 2024 semester.

The Student Speaker was Melissa Duran. She's a native of Ecuador who immigrated to the United States 11 years ago. Duran shared her story with students and congratulated them on their accomplishments. "Whatever you had to overcome to get here, you did it! Don't let anyone tell you that you are not good enough. If someone shuts a door on you, get yourself in through a window!" Duran completed her Surgical Technology degree this semester, and will continue taking classes here in the summer and fall as she completes a second degree in Mathematics & Science. She plans to transfer to SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2025.

During the ceremony, honorary SUNY Doctorate Degrees were presented to London Ladd '95 and Kayla McKeon '22.

  •  Ladd is a nationally-known illustrator whose visuals have helped tell the stories of some of our nation's most historic figures including Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Oprah Winfrey. He's a graduate of Syracuse's Corcoran High School who became the first member of his family to go to college when he enrolled at OCC. He began as a Computer Science major, switched to Art, and completed his degree in 1995. Twenty years later he was presented with one of OCC's highest awards when he was named an "Alumni Faces" honoree.
  • McKeon is the first lobbyist in United States history with Down Syndrome, the Spokesperson and Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society, and she worked with Mattel to design the first Barbie doll with Down Syndrome. She began taking college classes at OCC in 2009 and received her General Studies degree in 2022 when she graduated with honors. She is represented on Cicero-North Syracuse High School's Wall of  Distinction, completed an MIT Management Executive Education program, and has won multiple Special Olympics Medals. In 2023, OCC named her a distinguished "Alumni Faces" honoree.

Prior to commencement, a Nurse Pinning Ceremony was held in Storer Auditorium for 44 graduating students. The ceremony is a symbolic welcoming into the Nursing profession. The pin they receive symbolizes the hard work and dedication towards their coursework and clinicals. In December OCC celebrated the graduation of 19 Nursing students. Seventeen of those took the Nursing Exam (NCLEX) and all 17 passed on the first try. Nationwide, the first-time pass rate in 80%.

May is National Nurses Month! Across the United States, community colleges annually produce more than 50 percent of all new nurses and other healthcare workers.

Onondaga Community College