John F. Murray, Jr. ’79 didn’t have time to shop for his 860 fellow graduates, but that’s OK. He had a better idea.

Murray, this year’s Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient (above, left), and his wife, Kellyanne Healey Murray ’81, will personally host the graduates at their 100 Days After gathering at the Saratoga Race Course on August 12. 

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be the newest member of the Class of 2023, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pick up the tab for the 100 Days party,” he said to a round of grateful applause. “I hope all of us show up, and we can talk about our new jobs and grad schools.”

There were words of wisdom and experience as well. Murray recognized “the DNA of Siena College,” by praising the friars who contribute so much to each graduating class.  

“Our Franciscan community is truly the great differentiator for Siena. They are the great friends, educators, servant leaders, and spiritual advisors. In a world that desperately needs civil discourse, compassion and understanding, collaboration, charity, respect for all, and certainly prayer, our Franciscan charism is needed now more than at any other time in our history. The world needs more Saints.”

Class President Carly Fanning ’23 remarked on how fast the four years at Siena had passed, and how Commencement is a day of many emotions.

“With every ending comes a new beginning. Today is the first page of your next chapter, your next adventure, your new beginning. Look at today with the same open mind that you did in August 2019 when you first stepped on campus. Embrace the change that is about to take place and the challenges that are yet to come.”

Natasha Nugent ’23  helped wrap up the ceremony by delivering the senior commencement address. Inspired by the words of one of her favorite authors, Maya Angelou, Nugent told her fellow graduates:

”As we continue on this life journey, giving ourselves grace and extending grace to others is exactly how people will remember how we made them feel. We should always keep in mind that love is never cancelled, and that the world needs more Saints. We can be the difference that makes the difference in this world." 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, shared a video message for the Class of 2023 during the weekend’s celebrations (below). 

Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to 860 graduates at the May 14 undergraduate Commencement at the MVP Arena in Albany; 83 master’s degrees were awarded the previous day at the graduate ceremony at the UHY Center on campus.