ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (May 12, 2023) – All Spring 2023 candidates for graduation as well as Summer and Fall 2022 conferred graduates are invited to attend an in-person Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2023. It will be held at 11:00 am at Clover Stadium in Pomona, NY.

“I am delighted to invite our 2023 graduates along with their families and friends for the 63rd Commencement ceremony,” stated Chair of the Board of Trustees Martin C. Wortendyke. “This is a momentous occasion where we celebrate our hard-working students as they embark on the next chapters in their lives, whether it is entering the workforce immediately or continuing their academic journey.”

The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Susan Deer, currently serves as the RCC Officer in Charge, and has served in a number of roles at the College since her start in 2008 as Dean of Instruction. Dr. Deer has dedicated her energy and passion over the past fifteen years at RCC to improve and increase the effectiveness of the curriculum, course instruction, and campus leadership.

“Our Keynote Speaker is especially fitting given Dr. Deer’s dedication to RCC. She has devoted her career to improving our students’ lives at RCC and has impacted countless individuals’ success,” added Wortendyke.

Dr. Deer has served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Hudson Valley Educational Consortium and established a regional collaboration among community colleges not only in the area of academics but also with local workforce development and industry. She has taken a leadership role in establishing strong partnerships with local two-year colleges as the Consortium represents the six community colleges in the Mid-Hudson Region of New York State. Deer’s leadership is a key component of RCC’s design and implementation of the current Academic Master Plan, the re-design of developmental education, the College’s new model of shared governance, and the “life happens” Connection Center.

Deer’s Ph.D., from Capella University, is in Education with a specific emphasis in Leadership in Higher Education. In recognition of her leadership, Dr. Deer was awarded the Catalyst Leadership Award by the American Council on Education (ACE) in 2016 as the New York State outstanding woman leader in higher education.

“I also want to commend this year’s SUNY Excellence Award winners Milen Paulose, graduating with her associate degree in liberal arts: Humanities and Social Sciences, and Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez who is graduating with two degrees, Business and Administration and Humanities and Social Science, through the Sam Draper Honors Program,” said Wortendyke. “They are both dedicated and diligent students who fully represent the best that RCC has to offer.”

Paulose, who previously lived in UAE before moving to Congers, transferred to SUNY Purchase after completing her RCC studies in August 2022,  and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in literature with a minor in Psychology. From there, her goal is to attend law school. While at RCC, Milen served as the President of the Active Minds Club, as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and as a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She noted that RCC has been the highlight of her education so far.

Frias-Sanchez is a first-generation student at Rockland Community College. She came to RCC as an early admit student from Ramapo High School. She has served as a two-term student trustee, while also serving as president of the RCC chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, and is an outstanding student leader, maintaining a cumulative 3.92 GPA during her time at the College. Frias-Sanchez credits her time at RCC for instilling in her a passion for leadership, advocacy and getting involved with her community.

A special congratulations and appreciation go to the SUNY Employee Excellence Award Winners, Patricia Kobes, Assistant to the Provost, receiving the Excellence in Professional Service Award and Parvin Ansari, Senior Clerk in the School of Arts, Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences, for her excellence in Classified Service.

To obtain a degree or certificate from Rockland Community College, students who believe they have met all degree requirements must complete the online Application for Graduation. For those unable to attend the live ceremony, visit to watch the recording of the event.

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York
Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCCs institutional collaborations.

RCC fosters an environment that attracts, recruits, supports and retains faculty, staff, and students who value diversity. The College promotes a collegial and inclusive environment by recognizing, promoting, embracing, respecting and celebrating the expansive range and dimensions of cultures, attitudes, ideas and viewpoints contained within our campus community.

RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and microcredentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at