Press Releases

Actor Philip Bosco to be Awarded Honorary Degree

Date Released: 4/28/2010

President Schwarz will preside at the 38th Commencement ceremony May 14 at 1 PM. Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented to journalist Michael Powell and Terese Capucilli.

Purchase, NY-President Thomas J. Schwarz, will preside at the 38th Commencement ceremony at Purchase College State University of New York on Friday, May 14 at 1 PM on the West Lawn adjacent to The Performing Arts Center (735 Anderson Hill Road).  Degrees will be awarded to approximately 1032 undergraduates and 55 graduate students.


An Honorary Degree will be conferred on actor Philip Bosco whose career spans 50 years. He has appeared in 49 films, headlined Broadway plays, appeared on the Law and Order television series, FX''s Damages and American Playhouse presentations..


The President's Award for Distinguished Alumni will be presented to

New York Times journalist Michael Powell and Martha Graham dancer Terese Capucilli.


Amid pomp and ceremony, the commencement will be held under a large white tent decorated with red and white banners and chevrons representing each of the College's schools and conservatories.  Masses of red and white geraniums and hibiscus plants will decorate the stage.  The ceremony will be web cast for those unable to attend at  To accommodate overflow crowds, the ceremony will also be broadcast to several lecture halls on campus.


The academic procession will be led by Mace Bearer Professor Leonard Stokes, Art + Design.  Faculty marshals Lee Ehrman, Distinguished Professor of Biology, and Renneth Sorhaindo, Professor of Language & Culture, will escort the deans, department heads and senior College officials in academic robes representing the institutions from which they received their academic degrees.  Banners will identify the seating locations of the graduates and their respective schools and conservatories.


President Thomas J. Schwarz will welcome families, friends, and civic officials.  Ms. Wendy Kowalczyk of the Office of Legal Affairs will represent the State University of New York.


Music for the ceremony will be performed by the Purchase Jazz Orchestra conducted by Professor Todd Coolman, head of Jazz Studies at Purchase College.


Musical selections will include: an Excerpt from the Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich arranged by Andy Roninson; Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward Elgar arranged by Andy Roninson; and for the recessional Take Me out to the Ballgame by Albert Von Tilzer arranged by Larry Norred.


The National Anthem will be sung by senior Said Pressley a voice major from the Bronx, NY.


Senior Speaker is Alexander Atkins, Vashon Island, WA a film student.  His award winning film Unearthed is being shown at several national film festivals. 


In his Commencement speech Alexander Atkins said:


"My acceptance to Purchase was proof that uncertainty is something Purchase College understands and even respects.  It is our school's motto to think wide open."And while it is absolutely a virtue to think without boundaries, when it comes to our actions, we must ultimately make a decision."


 “So standing here, four years later, I feel thankful that I traveled all this way and discovered the rewards of making a choice. For it was only after I decided to avidly pursue something without any assurance that it was the right decision, that I was able to grow."


"I have come to realize that uncertainty is not a problem, so long as we do not allow it to immobilize us.  It's not that we're lacking ideas, if anything we are burdened by an abundance of possibilities. We must seize this uncertainty, relish in it. But  eventually, we must make a choice."


"Don't wait until you know it's the right one because until you try it, you'll never know for sure.  Choose something, don't look back, and give it everything you've got.  It is only then that you will have given yourself the experiences needed to learn what you never knew you didn't know."


The color guard will include David Mobley and Christine Barber, State University of New York Police Officers.


A reception for the graduates and their families will follow the ceremony.




Honorary Degree Recipient


Philip Bosco


Philip Bosco is a theatrical "legend" who has had an enormous impact on aspiring young actors.  For over 50 years he has headlined Broadway plays, earning six Tony nominations, A Tony Award for his role in Lend Me a Tenor, a Lifetime Obie Award and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1989.  He is considered one of the finest interpreters of George Bernard Shaw's work and is a classically trained actor who has appeared in Shakespeare productions on Broadway and at the American Shakespeare Festival.


He has characterized the wise mature statesman in memorable roles ranging from judges, to lawyers and villains.  His delivery is firm yet warm and usually pivotal to the story. His ability to move between the stage, film and television reflects the depths of his theatrical talent.


He has had a long association with theatres in New York including Roundabout Theatre Company, Circle in the Square, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center. His 49 films have included the Mike Nichols comedy Working Girl and featured roles in Woody Allen films.


His face is familiar on television on the Law and Order series, FX.s Damages, and in American Playhouse presentations.  His work on television echoes the caliber of his stage and film work.


Despite his successes his path was not direct.  He has been a carnival worker, a truck driver, an Army cryptographer.  He found his passion for acting while a student at St. Peters Prep and Catholic University. After a stint in the Army, he realized the importance of academics to the discipline of acting and returned to college for his degree.


His career symbolizes what we teach students at Purchase in every discipline, to have the courage, skill, commitment and determination to follow a passion and make it your vocation.



President's Award for Distinguished Alumni


Terese Capucilli


Terese Capucilli '78 a dance major was a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company for 26 years and in 1984 was heralded as “The most powerful dramatic dancer of the decade" by Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times. She is an acclaimed interpreter of the roles originally performed by Martha Graham and those Ms. Graham choreographed for her; she is one of the last generation of dancers to be coached and directed by Graham herself.  Works for the Graham Company were also created for her by Twyla Tharp,  Lucinda Childs and Robert Wilson. She served as Artistic Director through the rebirth of the Company and is now Artistic Director Laureate.


A Syracuse native, she joined Martha Graham's company just out of college and the same year performed on a CBS television production of the Kennedy Center Honors which paid tribute to Martha Graham.  A year later, in the featured role of Young Clytemnestra, she was partnered with Rudolf Nureyev at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, later performing historic productions of Graham's work with both Nureyev and Mikkail Baryshinkov.


She toured the world performing all of Martha Graham's major work and on television specials in Tokyo, Paris and New York.  She lectured and was responsible for the research and reconstructions of many of Graham's early solos.  In 2001 she was honored with the Dance Magazine Award for her outstanding work in the field. She is an associate Founder of Buglisi Dance Theatre where she has collaborated on numerous works.  She is featured in an array of books and serves on the faculty of the Julliard School.  Highly sought after as a teacher, lecturer, director, she continues to perform to critical acclaim and today is considered one of the true geniuses of modern-dance expressivity.


Michael Powell


Michael Powell '78, a distinguished journalist for 25 years shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his New York Times coverage of Eliot Spitzer. He is an enterprise writer on national politics and New York City for the New York Times and has written profiles of Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic Cardinal, a Supreme Court Justice and other dignitaries.


 In a decade at the Washington Post he wrote about national politics for the Style Section, and in 2001 became the New York Bureau Chief of the newspaper for five years.


After he earned a Master's Degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, this native New Yorker began his career as a tenant organizer in the West Indian neighborhood of East Flatbush, where he came to appreciate the importance of and need for basic services ranging from utilities to law.


 He wrote about the underclass for many years at New York Newsday receiving assignments that led him from the streets to prison, interviewing drug users, murderers and the falsely accused. He has shared his experiences with students returning to the campus on alumni day.


Purchase College Student Chancellor Award Hannah Wolfson


The Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence were created 13 years ago to recognize students who have demonstrated the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts or career achievement.


Hannah Wolfson, Irvine CA, a literature major was among the 228 students from 63 SUNY campuses who received a 2010 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. She served as co-president of the Literary Society and has served as a Student Life Assistant and embodies the Renaissance spirit of Purchase.  She was awarded two Merit Scholarships and represented Purchase as an ambassador to the Technos International Week in Japan.  


Senior Speaker Alexander Atkins


Film major Alexander Atkins a native of San Francisco was raised on Vashon Island, just outside Seattle. Mr. Atkins has been an honor student during his years at Purchase and was the recipient of the Charles and Lucille King Foundation's two-year national scholarship for students in Film and Television.  His Junior Thesis film Unearthed has been shown at the 2010 Macon Film Festival, the 2010 Tallahassee Film Festival and the 2010 SUNY-Wide Film Festival at SUNY Fredonia where he won The Narrative Award.  He is currently completing his senior thesis film Sabina.

He has produced, directed and edited a documentary film project for the 2008 Focus on French Film Festival, and was an intern for Arts Westchester.