WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Purchase College held its 42nd annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
Degrees were conferred upon more than 1,000 graduates as thousands of family members, friends, college faculty and staff cheered on the Class of 2014. The event — which reflected Purchase’s reputation as a fulcrum of creative growth and accomplishment — featured Joe Ferry and the Big Ska Band providing opening ceremony music while an array of luminaries from diverse fields were presented with honorary degrees and distinguished alumni awards.
Two honorees received a President’s Award for Distinguished Alumni: Jodi Long and Peter Powchik.
“These honorees demonstrate how a Purchase College education gives our alumni the foundation for outstanding achievement in a broad range of sectors, including the performing arts and biomedical science,” Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz said.
Jodi Long. Class of ‘76, had her stage debut on Broadway at age 7 and continued developing her talent as a classical dramatic actor while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting at Purchase. Throughout the 1980s and '90s, she performed in a number of productions on and off-Broadway, including "Flower Drum Song," for which she received a Los Angeles Ovation Award.
In film and TV, she has acted in a wide range of roles from Patty Hearst to All-American Girl and the current TBS series "Sullivan & Son." Also a writer and producer, Long has written the award-winning movie "Long Story Short" about her parents’ careers as entertainers. She serves on the boards of Visual Communications, the Screen Actors Guild and other organizations.
Peter Powchik, Class of ’79, graduated from Purchase College with a degree in chemistry, after which he received his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine. He has had a successful career in clinical development at leading pharmaceutical companies. In 2006, Powchik joined Regeneron, where he is currently senior vice president for clinical development and regulatory affairs. At Regeneron, he has played a key role in successfully guiding important products for the treatment of cancer, eye disease and inflammatory conditions through clinical and regulatory processes.