DATE: Saturday, May 6
TIME: 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Morrisville State College Recreation Center
APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF GRADUATION CANDIDATES: 700
PRESIDENT’S MEDAL OF DISTINCTION AWARD PRESENTATION AND RECIPIENTS’ REMARKS:Recipients, Robert E. Berkey, III; Patrick M. Hooker
About the award: The President’s Medal of Distinction Award is conferred by Morrisville State College President Dr. David Rogers to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the Morrisville campus communities. This award is presented to citizens of the region, state or nation for their significant service, leadership and professional achievements. It is the highest non-degree honor awarded by the college.
About recipient Robert E. Berkey, III
Robert E. Berkey, III serves as Chief Operating Officer at Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Company.
A supporter of Morrisville State College, Berkey is a board member of the MSC President’s Advisory Council. He funds the Pyramid Brokerage Company lecture series, in its seventh year, and is a guest lecturer on campus.
Berkey joined Pyramid Brokerage Company in May of 1998 as Vice President of Operations before later becoming its COO. Along with handling day-to-day operations, Berkey’s primary roles include the development and implementation of the company’s strategic plan, growth initiatives, recruiting, training, and technology and information management. He also develops, advises and consults corporate clients.
Prior to Pyramid, Berkey fulfilled a number of senior management positions during a 26-year career in the Energy Division, Wholesale Distribution and Retail Store Operations of Agway, Inc., a large agricultural cooperative. As Vice President of Retail Store Operations, he was responsible for more than 500 retail lawn and garden stores across 11 northeastern states.
His professional affiliations include membership in the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance, the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He is a past board member of the Morrisville-Eaton school district and the Morrisville Community Church.
A graduate of SUNY Delhi, Berkey holds an associate degree in business administration and management.
About recipient Patrick M. Hooker
Patrick M. Hooker serves as the Deputy Secretary for Food and Agriculture, a position to which he was appointed by New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Holding the role since 2013, Hooker is the Governor’s liaison to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and to the State Liquor Authority.
A 1982 graduate of Morrisville State College’s agricultural science program, Hooker has been involved with agriculture policy his entire career. He began as a Rural Affairs Adviser to the New York State Assembly in the Office of the Minority Leader from 1985-87 before a three-year turn as Director of the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee.
Hooker joined the New York Farm Bureau in 1990, serving as Deputy Director of Governmental Relations until 1999 and then as Director of Public Policy until 2007. He was later appointed as New York’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets and created the Governor’s Food Policy Council. In 2011, he became Director of Agribusiness Development for the Empire State Development Corporation, serving for two years prior to his current appointment.
Hooker grew up working on a neighbor’s dairy farm in Nelson. An active member of the Madison County Junior Holstein Club and the FFA, he held various local and county offices before being elected State FFA President in 1979. He was later named National Chairman of the International Committee and received his American Farmer Degree.
In addition to his associate degree from Morrisville State College, he holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Cornell University.
Hooker and his wife, Karen, have two children, Erika and Mitchell. The family produces maple syrup on its 360-acre farm in Richfield Springs.
UNIQUE ASPECTS: The colorful ceremony will begin with the Syracuse Scottish Bagpipe Band leading graduates into the formal commencement exercises. The stage will be adorned with plants grown and supplied by students in the college’s horticulture program and arranged by graduating seniors from the program.
SHUTTLE SERVICE: The campus shuttle service will be available to transport guests to the ceremony, running from each of the residence hall parking lots to the MSC recreation center.