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Sports Editor Shares Wit, Wisdom With JCC Grads

Sports editor Scott Kindberg addresses Jamestown Community College graduates.

According to SUNY Jamestown Community College’s commencement speaker, Scott Kindberg, you can always find a way to make a positive difference in the world, but before you head out the door, be sure your socks match.

The award-winning journalist, author, and regional sports editor for The Jamestown Post-Journal, Dunkirk Observer, and Warren Times Observer balanced wit and wisdom in his keynote address to college graduates in Olean and Jamestown during the college’s commencement ceremonies. The JCC alum shared lighthearted details and lessons taken from his first public speaking class in college through his fruitful reporting career, covering everything from local sports to four consecutive Buffalo Bills appearances at the Super Bowl.

“Surround yourself with good people, and good things will happen,” Kindberg said.

The Jamestown native encouraged all to appreciate their hometowns, and his city, as he related a moment shared with his then six-year-old son at a baseball game at JCC’s Diethrick Park.

“Before I could sit down, Matthew climbed up on a chair, stared out at the immaculate field, the blue sky and JCC behind the center field fence, looked up at me, and said ‘Dad, the view from up here is simply breathtaking.'”

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame member closed his comments with a memory of realizing the value of his work in his hometown — earned while talking to a high school basketball player who had recently lost his father to leukemia.

“I realized my purpose was right in front of me, in my hometown,” Kindberg shared. “It just took a 16-year-old to remind me of that.”

Degrees from more than 30 program areas and certificates from a dozen different fields of study, including healthcare, computer science, and law enforcement were awarded to 449 graduates from summer and fall 2023, and spring 2024 semesters.

Morgan Tobio of Hamden, Conn., was the student speaker for the Jamestown Campus ceremony held this morning. Tobio earned a Fine Arts degree, and spoke of how her time at the college rewrote her story of “abject failure” to one of success.

“All of you have accomplished something important,” Tobio said to degree recipients in the audience. “You’ve written thousands of words, read thousands more, spent countless hours worrying and dreading, listened to thousands of songs and podcasts and audiobooks, and you did it. You did it. Let that feeling wash over you.”

Tobio will continue her studies and intends to become an art teacher.

The Cattaraugus County Campus heard from Anna Gilbert of Olean. The student speaker received her degree from the Nursing program during the Friday evening ceremony.

“I am a non-traditional student, and most of you are younger than my sons,” Gilbert began. She recounted her journey and excitement at being accepted into the Nursing program.

“Two years in the Nursing program have challenged me in ways I never imagined possible,” Gilbert shared. “From family or friend, fellow Nursing student or professor, JCC faculty or an acquaintance, at that moment of self-doubt, they gifted me the exact motivation I needed to keep moving forward.”

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member and recent recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence will soon begin work at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

Daniel DeMarte, president of SUNY JCC, welcomed guests and awarded degrees with Mark Ward, JCC Board of Trustees chairman. Representatives from the JCC Alumni Association welcomed the graduates to the alumni side of the college community, and a reception hosted by the JCC Faculty and Student Association followed each ceremony.

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