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Students speakers featured at Empire State College commencement

Empire State College’s 43rd commencement at SUNY Buffalo State Saturday featured two student speakers, Debra Davis and Brendalee Piccione.

Davis, 55, of Buffalo, graduated with an associate in science in business with a concentration in human resources. She is a human resources executive administrative assistant at Moog Inc. She expressed appreciation to her employer of 28 years as the beneficiary of the company’s tuition-reimbursement program.

“For me, ‘the cherry on top’ is to graduate at my age and have my parents there to see me walk across the stage,” she said during the Rockwell Hall ceremony.

Piccione, 48, of Hamburg, works in customer service at ZeptoMetrix Corp. and volunteers at the Charles E. Burchfield Nature and Arts Center. She graduated with a master’s degree in liberal arts and an advanced graduate certificate in public history.

“I returned to college because I was struggling to make ends meet and I wanted to set an example for my son. I also follow in the footsteps of my beloved late Aunt, Jessie Andresen, as only the second person on either side of my family to earn a master’s degree,” she said.