Hudson Link Awards Their 700th College Degree

SHAWANGUNK – In June, Hudson Link closed the book on another record-breaking graduation season: after hosting their first-ever graduation at Shawangunk Correctional Facility, they conferred their 700th college degree during their A.A. ceremony at Sullivan Correctional Facility.

Just three years after the program’s launch, 2019 marked their first graduating class at Shawangunk Correctional Facility. On Wednesday, June 19th, Hudson Link staff, professors, supporters, and DOCCS administration gathered with the family and friends of the graduates to celebrate their incredible accomplishments. The eleven graduates were the first men to receive their associate degrees from SUNY Ulster in coordination with Hudson Link at Shawangunk. This emotional celebration was a milestone as well as a moment to reflect on the many firsts the organization has seen over the past 21 years.

Hudson Link’s Rachel Bernard (right) with valedictorian Douglas (center) and classmate Patrick (left).
Hudson Link’s Rachel Bernard (right) with valedictorian Douglas (center) and classmate Patrick (left).

After the introductions and the conferring of degrees, class valedictorian Douglas took the stage, giving a raw and emotional speech in which he thanked everyone who made his education possible. “This college program isn’t about we did,” he said, holding back tears. “It’s about what’s next.”

The final graduation of the season sent educators back to Sullivan to celebrate the SUNY Sullivan Class of 2019 on June 20th. After opening the summer with the inaugural Bachelor’s graduation in partnership with St. Thomas Aquinas College, they returned to honor the accomplishments of the 2019 associate graduates.

These sixteen students upheld what has now become a Sullivan tradition: every single graduate earned and sported a yellow honor cord around his neck. Surrounded by golden cords and the ecstatic graduates and their families, this celebration was the perfect way to close out the season.

Both of these happy occasions could not have come to fruition without the hard work and dedication of so many people behind the scenes. Hudson Link thanked the DOCCS administration at both Sullivan and Shawangunk, the tireless professors who dedicate so much time to our students, and everyone who supports what we do at Hudson Link. And of course, we appreciate the impressive effort and perseverance of our Hudson Link students across the five facilities.

Thank you so much for making this 2019 graduation season so incredible. We are already looking forward to breaking more records and accomplishing new things in 2020!