To infinity, and beyond, at FSC commencements

Rocket man: Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin is one of two speakers who will regale graduates at Farmingdale State College's 2017 commencement exercises.

Farmingdale State College will go global, and then some, at its annual commencement exercises.

The college is planning two separate ceremonies this year – one for students graduating from the School of Business and the School of Health Sciences, one for graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering Technology – and each will feature a heavy-hitting keynote speaker.

The Business/Health Sciences commencement, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. May 20, will feature Stanley Bergman, chairman of the board at Melville-based Henry Schein Inc. In addition to addressing the graduating classes, Bergman – also CEO of the global healthcare products and services distributor – will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the State University of New York.

At the Arts and Sciences/Engineering Technology commencement, slated to begin at 3 p.m. that same day, decorated astronaut Leland Melvin will take the podium. In addition to delivering a commencement address, Melvin – a longtime advocate of STEM education (for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) – will also receive an honorary SUNY science doctorate.

Bergman, a longtime supporter of Farmingdale State’s dental hygiene program, leads a multinational healthcare products and services provider with more than 21,000 employees and operations in 33 countries. He serves on the director and advisory boards at numerous institutions, including the New York University College of Dentistry, the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, the Columbia University Medical Center, Tel Aviv University and his alma mater, the University of Witwatersrand.

Stanley Bergman: Honored.

Bergman also is an honorary member of the American Dental Association and the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity.

Melvin, who earned Master of Science degree from the University of Virginia, joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as an aerospace research engineer in 1989. In 1998, he entered the astronaut corps and served as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on two missions to the International Space Station, before being named in 2010 as NASA’s associate administrator for education – a role that would see him serve as keynote speaker at Farmingdale State’s 2011 STEM Diversity Summit.

The spaceman, who already holds four honorary doctorates, retired from NASA in 2014 and went on to serve on the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, which coordinates STEM activities and programs for all federal agencies and encourages the teaching of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Farmingdale State College President John Nader said the school was “fortunate to have two outstanding recipients of honorary degrees” at this year’s commencement exercises, both of whom pride social service as much as professional achievement.

“Mr. Bergman and Mr. Melvin are exemplary leaders in their respective fields,” Nader said Wednesday. “Their work should inspire our students to couple careers and service.”

More information about Farmingdale State’s May 20 commencement programs is available here.