Fourth-year accounting major Alexander Kuqali, a native of Pittsburgh, will serve as the 2016 commencement speaker for Saunders College of Business. Kuqali played the last four seasons for the RIT men's hockey team, serving as an assistant captain in 2014-15 and captain this season.
"It is a great honor," said Kuqali, who signed a professional contract with the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League on March 30. "I feel like I am a good ambassador for the school and my classmates."
In the classroom, Kuqali maintains a 3.89 grade point average, won RIT's Green B. Williams Award for Academic Excellence in 2015 and was a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District At-Large First Team selection.
He was one of eight student-athletes to earn Atlantic Hockey Academic All-Star honors for maintaining a 4.0 GPA in 2014-15, and is a four-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Kuqali, who also serves on RIT's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), has delivered teddy bears to children at the Rochester Regional Health Pediatric Department and participated in sled hockey with a local Rochester area group and USA Hockey.
Kuqali is a First Team All American and winner of the 2016 Senior CLASS Award.
An acronym for "Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School," the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in the community.
On the ice, Kuqali helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back Atlantic Hockey Conference Championships and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
He played in all 39 games this season for the Tigers, recording 16 points on three goals and 13 assists and was named the Atlantic Hockey Defensive Player of the Week on Jan. 19.
For his career, Kuqali appeared in 153 career games, second most in RIT's Division I era with 13 goals, 46 assists, 59 points. In 2014-15, Kuqali garnered All-Atlantic Hockey Third Team honors and was named to the NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team.