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In Caz, C is for 'Commencement'

Cazenovia College held its 184th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m. on the campus quad.

In addition to those that watched the ceremony on an online web cast, hundreds of friends and family were in attendance, cheering as each of the 200-plus grads took the stage for their diploma.

Commencement speaker Melissa Klish Dino, a class of '89 alumna and Emmy Award winning producer for "Sesame Street," urged the graduates to make their world a better place. To her, this means educating the next generation--the world's children. Dino pointed out that "Sesame Street" reaches viewers across the globe, making her job have purpose and influence on the future.

She told the graduates, no matter their career plans, to make a difference in a child's life.

Despite loving her 16 years working on "Sesame Street," Dino said her legacy lives on through her two children, not her occupation. She advised students to approach raising their children as the most important thing in their life.

"Any country's most precious resource is its children," Dino said.

Dino also explained how she has achieved "success" in her life. She expressed her appreciation for attending a small college, where strong bonds between teachers and students provide a familial atmosphere that fosters success.

After receiving an associate's degree from Cazenovia, Dino went on to receive her bachelor's degree, focusing on broadcast journalism, at Ithaca College. She worked on the sets of "Saturday Night Live" and Late Night with David Letterman" before landing her job on "Sesame Street," according to a university press release.

"By success, I don't mean financial security or awards or accolades, but rather to have a job that I love deeply, that is not only fulfilling creatively, but has a larger impact and meaning in the world," she said.

Still, she didn't achieve her success as a producer on her own; Dino stressed that the graduates need a strong support system to help them achieve their dreams.

In closing, Dino quoted the "Sesame Street" theme song, telling students to find success and happiness in the face of life's adversities.

"Sweep the clouds away and find where the air is sweet for you,'" she said.

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