SUNY New Paltz to celebrate Commencement

SUNY New Paltz to celebrate Commencement

NEW PALTZ – SUNY New Paltz will hold the 2015 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 17, on the Old Main Quadrangle on the New Paltz campus. The Graduate Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 15, at 6 p.m. in the Athletic and Wellness Center.

This year, there are 1,857 undergraduate and 516 graduate degrees being conferred. There will be more than 1,300 undergraduates and more than 225 graduate candidates participating in the ceremonies who will celebrate their achievements in the presence of their family and friends. The ceremonies will recognize two cohorts of students: August and December 2014 graduates and May and August 2015 candidates. SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian will preside over the ceremonies.

Honorary Degree Recipient/Undergraduate Commencement Speaker

At the Undergraduate Ceremony, the College will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.) degree to Bre Pettis, co-founder and former CEO of MakerBot, a Brooklyn, N.Y. – based global leader in desktop 3D printing and scanning. Pettis will deliver the undergraduate commencement address after receiving the honorary degree.

Pettis is well known as one of the “most influential minds in technology,” “a rock star among makers,” and a “leader of the DIY movement,” due to his accomplishments at MakerBot and strong public advocacy for the value of personal manufacturing. As a dynamic, engaging, and well-respected leader in his field, Pettis helped propel SUNY New Paltz to the forefront of excellence in 3D printing technology when SUNY New Paltz and MakerBot launched the nation’s first MakerBot Innovation Center at the College. This historic public-private partnership builds upon the College’s initiative to become the premier hub for 3D printing and advanced manufacturing in New York, and provides students and faculty, and local business and industry access to and education about this burgeoning do-it-yourself technology.

Raised in Ithaca, N.Y., he began his career as an art teacher for seven years in the Seattle public school system following college at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash., where he studied mythology, psychology, and performing arts. He has always had a desire to make things and drew immense pleasure from showing his students the power of creation. He started a venture producing how-to videos and posting them online to connect with students. This led to his role at Make_magazine as a host for its popular “Weekend Projects” video podcasts, teaching millions of viewers to make a wide range of creations from workbenches to leaf-blower-powered hovercrafts.

In 2008, he co-founded NYCResistor, a collective where groups of like-minded individuals could redo software and machines to their liking. This was the testing site for MakerBot technology. By 2009, Pettis and two partners were refining the technology and building their first MakerBot 3D printer. MakerBot 3D printers make an object using “additive” technology, building layer-by-layer from the bottom up. 3D printers have been around for close to 30 years, but Pettis created a desktop version accessible in both use and price for the average consumer market. The result is a tool that can fulfill a number of practical purposes and print items from jigs and fixtures, machine and product prototypes, all the way to dollhouse furniture and board game pieces, cell phone cases, and various molds and models for business and personal use.

Today, MakerBot has grown to more than 600+ employees, sold more than 80,000 3D printers, and is a subsidiary of Stratasys – a long-established leader in industrial 3D printing.

Currently Pettis is the chief innovation officer for Bold Machines – The Innovation Workshop at Stratasys. Stratasys purchased MakerBot in June 2013 and Pettis started the Bold Machines initiative in September 2014. At Bold Machines he is pursuing new innovations to test the full capability of 3D printing technology. He continues to influence the long-term strategic direction of MakerBot as a member of the board of directors.


Marisa Gargaro ’15 of West Islip, N.Y., has been named the class of 2015 valedictorian at SUNY New Paltz. As the top student in her class, Gargaro will address her fellow candidates for graduation at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.

As of Commencement, Gargaro, a communication disorders major with a minor in linguistics, will have completed her degree requirements in just three years. Outside of her studies, Gargaro is the captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, and also part of the Relay for Life club, in which she held various positions.


Class of 2015 salutatorian Sarah Walling ’14 of Castleton-On-Hudson, N.Y., majored in Spanish and minored in linguistics and music. She was a member of Circle K International, and was also involved with the Anime Club and the Gaming Society during her freshman year.

Since graduating in December 2014, Walling has been seeking employment in the Spanish translation/interpretation field. Walling said one of her fondest memories of New Paltz is participating in the Symphonic Band ensemble with Joël Evans, deputy chair and associate professor in the Music Department.


SUNY New Paltz’s Commencement ceremonies will be webcast over the Internet. To access the webcasts visit

Author: Harlem Valley News