St. Bonaventure University

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Adele Caputo, Emma Kostenbader selected as student speakers for SBU Class of 2021

May 10, 2021

St. Bonaventure University seniors Adele Caputo and Emma Kostenbader have been chosen as student speakers for the Class of 2021 and will address their classmates at two Commencement events.

college studentCaputo, an educational studies and Spanish double major from Manlius, New York, will deliver her message to the Class of 2021 at this year’s Candlelight Induction Ceremony on Thursday, May 13.

The Candlelight program begins at 8:15 p.m. on the Plassmann/Swan quad and, because of COVID-19 restrictions, is for graduating students only this year. The ceremony will be livestreamed and available via this link:

Caputo describes her journey to Bona’s as “pure luck.” The university wasn’t on her radar until a fluke encounter.

“My mother urged me to speak with a Bona’s representative that had come into town, knowing full well I would fall in love. I walked out of that meeting, admitting to my mom via a text message that she, in fact, was right,” Caputo said. “I am grateful for taking the chance to talk to the representative at Bonaventure, because it changed my life.”

Caputo intends to focus on gratitude in her candlelight speech.

On campus, Caputo has worked as a Spanish tutor and supplemental instructor at the Student Success Center. She has volunteered for a number of opportunities made available through the Franciscan Center for Social Concern, including volunteering at Canticle Farm, participating in a service trip to St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, and as a member of Friends with Sisters, where she has built relationships with religious sisters at St. Elizabeth’s Motherhouse.

Off campus, she has worked as a child care staff member at the Olean YMCA and interned with the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center, where she created a pen pal program to connect children with similar trauma.

Caputo, who is also pursuing a minor in sociology, was accepted into Fordham University’s online Master of Social Work program, which she will begin this fall.

college studentKostenbader will share her address with classmates at the senior banquet on Friday, May 14. The event is for seniors only. She describes her address topic as “more than an education.”

“I think that Bonaventure is more than just a college where students learn and earn a degree. The speech is based on my belief that people choose to come here because Bonnies want more than just knowledge. We want life, and friends, and family,” she said.

Kostenbader is an accounting and criminology double major from Bayonne, New Jersey, and is in the university’s Honors Program.

She is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma honor society, and served as its treasurer during her senior year. She also worked at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and the Student Success Center on campus, and was a two-year member of the women’s rugby team.

Following graduation, Kostenbader intends to pursue her MBA at St. Bonaventure and sit for the CPA exam. She would like to start her career in corporate accounting and then work her way into governmental accounting for a department of social services, hopefully as a fraud investigator.

The senior is proud and grateful to have attended St. Bonaventure.

“In my heart of hearts, I believe Bonaventure was not only the right choice, but the best one I could have made. I would do the last four years all over again – minus COVID,” she said.

St. Bonaventure will host six Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 15. The traditional Commencement ceremony involving the entire university was replaced this year by separate, smaller stage-crossing ceremonies in which graduates of individual schools will be celebrated and conferred degrees.

For more information about Commencement activities, visit


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.