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MVCC graduates one of its largest, most academically accomplished classes

The list of candidates for graduation will be available on request from the MVCC Office of Marketing and Communications. Media are welcome to cover the ceremony. Reporters and photographers are asked to find their designated seating and photography areas at the Utica Memorial Auditorium by 3:45 p.m. Graduating students and families can be interviewed at the conclusion of the ceremony. For information call (315) 792-5330 or jrubino@mvcc.edu.

Mohawk Valley Community College will host its Spring 2013 Commencement on Friday, May 24, starting at 4 p.m. in the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Some 1,110 MVCC students have been invited to walk across the stage for conferral of associate degrees or certificates awarded in December 2012, May 2013 or August 2013. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

“Batman” executive producer and comic book historian Michael Uslan will deliver this year’s Commencement keynote address. Also appearing will be MVCC’s 2013 Alumnus of Merit Award winner, Greg Evans ’79, president of Indium Corporation.

MVCC President Randall J. VanWagoner, Ph.D., will preside. Offering remarks and congratulations will be Elaine M. Falvo, Chair of the MVCC Board of Trustees; Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr., and other dignitaries and invited guests.

About the graduating class

To date, nearly 700 students have applied to graduate with a two-year Associate in Applied Science, Associate in Occupational Studies, Associate in Arts, Associate in Science degree or one year certificate. By graduating, students join MVCC’s family of more than 40,000 living alumni on record.

This year’s graduating class is larger than MVCC’s historical average and its students have set new standards for academic, athletic, and service achievements at MVCC. During their college careers, many of the students who will take the stage this Friday have reached excellence at the highest level and have been recognized at the statewide and national levels for their success. Some highlights of include 3 recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award; a Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award winner; two nationally recognized Coca-Cola Scholar Award winners; and numerous winners of competitive transfer scholarships to colleges and universities including RIT, Clarkson, the University of Maryland and Syracuse University. The class also includes MVCC’s first-ever Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship winner, Pawser Soe of Utica. Soe has been accepted at American University to study international relations.

Approximately 70 percent of this year’s graduating class is from Oneida County. More than 65 percent of these graduating students have finished certificate and degree programs designed to lead to direct entry into the workforce. More than 30 percent of graduating students have completed degree programs designed to lead to transfer to another college or university.

About the keynote speaker

Uslan is best known as the originator and executive producer of the “Batman” movie series, starting with Tim Burton’s 1989 film, and continuing to 2012’s box office hit “The Dark Knight Rises.” He will speak to students about how personal drive and commitment to a vision can help overcome adversity and lead to success.

Uslan recently published his fully illustrated memoir, “The Boy Who Loved Batman.” In it the author recalls his journey from early childhood fandom through to the decades he spent on a caped crusade of his own: to bring “Batman” to the silver screen as the dark, serious character he was at heart. Uslan’s story traces his path from the wilds of New Jersey to the limelight of Hollywood, following his creation of one of the most successful pop culture franchises of all time.

Uslan’s start in the world of comics was as unlikely as his success in bringing “Batman” to theaters. Born into a blue collar family in New Jersey, Uslan was instilled at an early age to find work to be passionate about. While attending Indiana University, he successfully created and taught the world’s first accredited college course on comic books. The class took an academic approach to the folklore of comic books. A media storm ensued, improbably leading to a job at DC Comics for Uslan.

In 1979, Uslan secured the film rights to “Batman” from DC Comics. He was initially turned down by every studio in Hollywood but after 10 years of persistent effort, he had created a film franchise that has gone on to break numerous box office records and spawn a genre of films adapted from comics.

About the Alumnus of Merit Award

The Alumnus of Merit award recognizes an MVCC alumnus who exemplifies MVCC alumni success in career, community involvement, and other fields of endeavor. This year’s honoree is a local business leader and significant partner to MVCC’s educational mission. Greg Evans ’79 is the president of Indium Corporation. He joined the company in 1981 as an applications engineer and has served numerous roles throughout his career. His initial responsibilities were with technical customer service, and product and process development. He quickly earned the role of product manager at the company’s Electronics Chemicals Division where he oversaw the development and global marketing of a successful line of surface mount technology electronics assembly materials.

Evans was later appointed division director, then to the position of vice president of corporate manufacturing and sales. In this role he was responsible for global corporate quality, materials, manufacturing, product development, engineering, and sales. This led to his rising to the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1992, and to the presidency of Indium in 1996. Today he oversees Indium’s global activities including about 700 employees, 11 manufacturing facilities and numerous field offices.