Alfred State College (ASC) 2020 graduate Taj Richard recently became the proud owner of both a degree and a new car after his name was randomly selected in a drawing for a 2015 Chevy Cruze LT.
Richard, an information technology: web development grad from the Bronx, was one of many graduates who had submitted an entry for the vehicle, which was being given away at this year’s commencement ceremony.
With the ceremony taking place online as a Microsoft Teams Live event, graduates were asked in May to submit a photo of themselves that they wanted to be shown during the virtual commencement and to be considered for the drawing. Once the names and photos were all collected, former Alfred State First Lady Mary Huntington selected a winner.
Richard then became the sixth Alfred State graduate to win a car at commencement. The annual giveaway began in 2015 to add to the graduation celebrations at ASC. The car is a gift from the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc.
To inform Richard that he had won, Evan Enke, chair of the Computer and Information Technology Department; and Dr. John Williams, dean of the School of Architecture Management, and Engineering Technology, set up a video call with him.
During the call, Enke tells Richard that he wants to discuss a feature of his graduation with him, then invites another speaker onto the call, which turns out to be Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State College. The president tells Richard, “Taj, I am sitting in your new car!”
Richard’s eyes widen and he beams with excitement as he asks in disbelief, “What?”
“It’s a nice car,” Sullivan adds. “Wow!”
The president then gets out of the vehicle to show it to Richard, who replies, “That’s beautiful!”
“It is a beautiful car,” Sullivan says. “And it’s yours.”
Sullivan concludes by telling Richard, “We’re very proud of you, Taj. Very proud of you getting your degree at Alfred State and we’re excited to be able to offer this. The Educational Foundation in Wellsville helps fund this project every year, and we’re so very delighted to be able to offer this to you as just kind of a capstone to your graduating from Alfred State. Congratulations to you!”
To view the entire moment, visit Alfred State’s YouTube channel, find the ASC Commencement 2020 playlist, and click on the video titled “Concluding Remarks and Car Giveaway.”