Seneca Falls: New York Chiropractic College held commencement exercises in the Standard Process Health and Fitness Center on the Seneca Falls campus on Saturday, July 29, conferring degrees on 146 candidates: 31 from the Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) program; 18 from the Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSA) and Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine (MSAOM) programs; 67 from the Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition (MSACN), two of whom are dual graduates from the DC program; one from the Master of Science in Diagnostic Imaging (MSDI) residency; and 29 from the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction (MSHAPI) program. Graduating students attended from California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, New York City, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ontario.
Grand marshal for the ceremony was Associate Professor Hunter Mollin, DC (’80). Professor Kevin Ergil, DACM, was the faculty speaker; and Caitlin Atkinson, executive president of the Student Government Association, gave the student address. President Frank J. Nicchi, DC (’78), MS, presiding over the final commencement before his retirement on August 31, delivered the commencement address.
Dr. Nicchi, who has led the College since September 2000, earned his baccalaureate degree from St. John’s University (New York) in 1973, his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in 1978, and a Master of Science in Management (with honors) at Roberts Wesleyan College in 2005. A member of the NYCC faculty since 1980, he has instructed clinical diagnosis and chiropractic technique and served as a clinician at the College’s outpatient health center in Levittown. He maintains the faculty rank of professor in the department of Chiropractic Clinical Sciences.
Prior to his appointment as NYCC president, Nicchi was dean of Postgraduate and Continuing Education as well as a prominent seminar and conference lecturer. During that period, he presented papers at the American Back Society, the Hospital for Joint Diseases Spine Center in New York City, and conducted two seminars with the late Dr. Janet Travell. Additionally, he maintained a chiropractic practice in New York state for some 22 years.
Nicchi is a past president of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, a consortium of all accredited chiropractic educational programs in North America, which has recognized him on multiple occasions for exemplary leadership and meritorious service. A former member of the board of directors of the New York State Chiropractic Association, he was the recipient of the Ernest G. Napolitano Award, the association’s highest honor, in recognition of contributions made to the chiropractic profession in the state of New York.
Focusing on what will be rather than what was, Dr. Nicchi told the graduates that they can and must invent their future: “It is up to you make the decisions that will define your course.” Whether healthcare providers helping patients achieve optimum health and well-being or teachers introducing the next generation of healers and scientists to the wondrous structure and function of the human body, there are important questions to consider. Where will you live and work? How will you build relationships with your patients or interact with your students? What professional and personal goals will you pursue? What example will you set for your colleagues and your community? How will you decide what is important in your life and work? How you conduct yourself as a professional in your field is critically important. Codes of conduct are important, but they are not enough. You will need to adopt personal touchstones as quality measures to assure your success and keep you on your chosen path.
Nicchi illustrated how each of “The Four Agreements,” from the book of the same name by Don Miguel Ruiz, provides vital guidance. He asked the graduates to consider how they might integrate these principles into their lives as professionals.
Reflecting on his own tenure at NYCC, Nicchi said he counts the College among his blessings and, although he holds degrees from other institutions, will always consider NYCC his alma mater. “If you cut me, I bleed NYCC Blue!” “I became a chiropractor at this College when it was located downstate and for 37 years, I have been employed here as a faculty member, administrator, and president. Because of NYCC, I developed many of my closest friendships. I have been provided with opportunities to serve that I could never have imagined.”
He concluded his remarks with a quote from the movie “The Bucket List,” when Morgan Freeman’s character relates an ancient Egyptians belief about death: “When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’”
“I believe today each of you has found your joy in life by successfully completing your program of study,” said Dr. Nicchi. “Next, by rendering the very best service you can to your patients and your students… your life will most certainly bring joy to others.” He concluded with a quote from Minor Myers, Jr.: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
To learn more about NYCC and its programs, please visit www.nycc.edu.