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FM recognizes students for their achievements

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton-Montgomery Community College on Tuesday recognized students for their achievements during the 46th Annual Academic Awards Ceremony that for the first time was hosted virtually.

Students and families were invited to view the ceremony that was conducted via a pre-recorded video and released on YouTube at the scheduled event time. The ceremony normally takes place each year in the college theater, but the physical ceremony was cancelled this year as the campus remains closed to all non-essential personnel due to the coronavirus.

“We want to honor and applaud all of your accomplishments this year as we do for students every year, so our venue may be a little different, but our sentiment is as it always is. We are a tight knit community of educators and we value each of you for the contribution you make to our community,” said Diana Putnam, acting provost and vice president for academic affairs, while welcoming viewers.

Faculty, staff and administrators participating in the virtual ceremony pointed to this year’s awards as honoring students who have faced greater academic challenges than students honored in years past as they were forced to make the sudden transition to remote learning when the campus closed in March.

“The last couple of months have truly been challenging for all of us. Making the shift to remote instruction as well as concerns over health, safety and economic security have combined to create an unprecedented set of circumstances,” said FMCC Acting President Greg Truckenmiller. “This awards ceremony has always been about honoring the best of the current class of students. This year we recognize that the best have had a higher hill to climb than past awardees. While we are unable to be together today, we absolutely wish to honor you and your extraordinary achievements.”

Truckenmiller went on to commend the efforts of all students, faculty and staff who have quickly answered the call to rise to the situation caused by the coronavirus.

“Over the last several weeks I have marveled at the resilience, the creativity and the dedication that I have seen from our faculty, our staff and particularly our students,” said Truckenmiller. “Before the current pandemic I would have said something to the effect that you have proven yourself through your hard work and you are prepared to accomplish great things. While that is certainly the case, it feels like an understatement.”

“Often difficult circumstances unlock hidden strengths or potential we did not know existed within ourselves. I’m confident that while you were poised for success before the current challenges, you are now even more prepared to meet what comes next,” he added.

William Winsman, chair of the FM Foundation Board of Directors, congratulated students for their achievements to date while challenging them to continue striving for excellence in the years ahead.

“I promise you that all through life you will face adversity, the question is how will you respond to the challenges you face,” said Winsman.

Winsman acknowledged the unfortunate nature of having to conduct events at FMCC in a different way this year, but called on students not to let the upset diminish their excitement as they finish out the year at FMCC.

“On behalf of the FM foundation it is my pleasure to congratulate you on all of your academic achievements. We join your family and friends and want to tell you how proud we are of all of you. Your hard work is paying great dividends,” said Winsman.

The ceremony was then turned over to Flor Trespalacios, science instructor and advisor to the college honor society Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Alpha Upsilon Chapter, who presented each award while a photograph of the student recipient was displayed.

This week’s virtual academic awards ceremony may give graduating students an idea of what they can expect when the college hosts its 55th annual commencement ceremony virtually on June 19. Graduation was originally scheduled to be held at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady on Wednesday, the college in March announced the cancellation of the in-person ceremony due to the coronavirus.

In addition to the virtual graduation ceremony this year, FMCC also plans to recognize 2020 graduates as a separate class during the next traditional commencement ceremony, currently scheduled for May 19, 2021.

A link to the virtual 46th Annual Academic Awards Ceremony can be found on the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Facebook page.

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