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School of Arts and Sciences Graduates Turn Their Tassels

May 12, 2023

The School of Arts and Sciences at St. John Fisher University celebrated its master’s and baccalaureate degree candidates during a Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12.

Marcus Lindenburg offers remarks on behalf of his fellow gradutes.

Before the graduates received their diplomas, the University honored a special member of the campus community. Dr. Rick DeJesús-Rueff, emeritus vice president of student affairs at Fisher, received a President’s Medal in recognition of his leadership, partnership, and impact on the Fisher community.

DeJesús-Rueff retired after a 44-year career in higher education, serving at seven different colleges in a variety of administrative and teaching roles. He served the Fisher campus for 26 of those years, first as the dean of students and associate provost until 2008, when he was appointed as vice president for student affairs and diversity initiatives. A first-generation college student himself, DeJesús-Rueff became the first academic director of Fisher’s First-Generation Scholarship Program, teaching several seminars for First-Generation Scholars in their first and second years at Fisher. In fall 2022, he taught his last learning community course for first-year First-Generation Scholars.

“The First-Generation Program invites students to accept the inspiration of hope as they meet the challenges of life as a college student,” said DeJesús-Rueff. “It has been a privilege and an honor to work with so many students who chose to develop their capacity to work collaboratively for the common good.”

Dr. Terence Gipson, assistant professor of public health, was given the Undergraduate Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. In a letter nominating Gipson for the award, one student wrote, “he brings something really special to the table and I think Fisher is lucky to have him,” the student added. “I know I have been lucky to have him as a professor.”

At the ceremony, more than 240 master’s and baccalaureate graduates crossed the stage in front of family and friends, marking the successful completion of their degrees. Marcus Lindenburg, who graduated with a degree in English, offered remarks on behalf of the Class of 2023.

“As you leave tonight with your tassels turned, remember that you came here because some part of you saw the value in continuing to learn. Nourish that part of yourself and take it with you as you go out into the world,” he said. “Be prepared for new perspectives; welcome the possibility that you may look back on yourself on this day and marvel at how much you’ve changed. Search for the things that bring you joy, particularly if they are unexpected. Most of all, remember that you have made it through this hurdle, and you will make it through more.”