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Seniors react to SU speaker at Le Moyne graduation

Aubree Eliza Weaver and Aubrey Zych, Editor-in-Chief & Co-News&Features Editor

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Students took to Facebook and Twitter this week to react to Le Moyne’s announcement that the 2013 commencement speaker will be Nancy E. Cantor, Syracuse University’s Chancellor.

Seniors received an email Monday morning stating that Cantor would be the speaker for the college’s 63rd commencement on Sunday, May 19. Thomas G. Young ’69 and Peter Major, M.H.M. ’60 will also be acknowledged at the ceremony, and will be awarded honorary degrees of doctor of humane letters.

Cantor is the 11th chancellor of Syracuse University, having previously served as provost at the University of Michigan and as chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is best known for her development of Syracuse University’s vision and the Scholarship in Action program, as well as emphasizing the role of the university in the public.

Under her leadership, the university was named one of the first institutions to earn the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching’s classification as a university committed to community engagement. The Carnegie Corporation of New York also granted Cantor their 2008 Academic Leadership Award.

However, many seniors at Le Moyne are blowing up social media sites, asking, “Why should we care?”  As a school that is often compared to the larger central New York university, Le Moyne College has worked to establish a reputation of its own, independent of its competition.

“If we ever hope to be our own educational institution, we have to stop trying to prove ourselves consistently subordinate to Syracuse University,” said LMC senior Michael Clark. “We should try to be our own college, with our own mission, not simply ‘Syracuse University’s little brother.’”

Senior Candace Bonaventura says she was disappointed with Le Moyne’s speaker decision because she chose to go to Le Moyne, not SU.

“I want to go to graduation happy that I spent the past four years at Le Moyne, not wishing I had gone to Syracuse,” she said. “I would have really liked to hear from former alumni, or really anyone else. Not to mention, a speaker from a rival Syracuse school?”

Bonaventura also added that the college could have asked any number of notable Le Moyne alumni to speak at the ceremony.

Among the school’s diverse alumni are Ann Marie Buerkle, former republican congresswoman for N.Y.’s 25th congressional district, Tim DeKay, co-star of “White Collar,” Tom DeFalco, former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics and Andy Parrino, who currently plays for the Oakland Athletics.

“I would rather have someone from Le Moyne, like Father McCallum or Barb Karper,” said senior Matt Dowgiallo. “Or even let Dr. Fred speak longer than have someone from SU.”

While many other local colleges have not yet announced their speakers, Cazenovia College announced that Major Dorion Germany, an alumni of the College’s class of 1992, will speak at their commencement and Colgate University recently stated that Duncan Niederauer, Chief Executive Officer of NYSE Euronext, will speak at theirs. In contrast, Onondaga Community College administrators believe in selecting only student speakers, as they feel that the best person to speak about the school is someone who has spent time studying there.

Students and professors alike have expressed frustration, confusion and disappointment in response to this announcement from Le Moyne College’s administration.  Although the race for senior speaker, a position fulfilled by a member of the graduating class, is still in the works, many people are discouraged by the lack of student involvement in this decision.

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The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.
Seniors react to SU speaker at Le Moyne graduation