Sammi's six years at Hofstra (four years undergrad, two years as a grad student) are winding down and today was the "official" end of her academic career as she received her master's degree. The ceremony was held in the Hofstra Arena, much nicer than outdoors in the stadium (where the undergrad graduation is held) especially since it was a damp and drizzly morning.
Sammi was profiled in Newsday on Friday because she planned to wear her yellow Crocs (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/nassau/ny-lishoe1512766304may14,0,7041158.story ) and while the online version does not include a photo, the print version shows her in cap and gown and bright yellow rubber shoes. Amusingly, despite the article, a number of people told her they never thought she would actually wear them.
Laurie and I are Hofstra alumni, as are my brothers Richie and Jim. And while we all were involved while we were students, I have to say that Sammi is the Rozakis who has had the biggest impact there. She was an RA in the freshman dorm for three years. She was a editor-in-chief of Nexus, the yearbook and a captain of the Pep Band. She was active in the student government and was a nominee for VP. She was also a finalist for Homecoming Queen. Sammi was named Hofstra's Junior Woman of the Year in 2006.
For the past two years, she has worked as the graduate assistant in the Spirit Support office, keeping the Pep Band, cheerleaders, dance team, mascots and national anthem singers on schedule and everywhere they were supposed to be. (And she has filled in playing the tuba in the band, singing the anthem, and even wearing the mascot costume when she had to!) Sammi's picture (with Laurie and me) was the cover of the Parent & Family Handbook last year. And she is also on the front page of the grad school application form.
Sammi finishes her grad courses with a dual Master's in Special Ed and Elementary Ed, and a GPA of 3.99. Clearly, she has been able to balance course work with all the rest that she did.
As each of the graduates was announced, they proceeded across the stage and shook hands with the Dean of their School and HU President Stuart Rabinowitz. Some of the graduates were also congratulated by one or another member of the faculty or administration. I lost track of how many people stepped up to give Sammi a hug or a handshake, but I do know that the two people behind her in line actually passed her in crossing the stage!
Sammi has a few more weeks of working in the Spirit Support office, though she moves out of the dorm on Tuesday. Her withdrawal from being a part of Hofstra's day-to-day life will be a bit more gradual than it is for most graduates. But as she moves on into the "real world," she leaves behind an impressive array of friends she had made among the administration, faculty, and staff. When they speak about those students who have made an impression, more than a few will be talking about Sammi.