147th Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients

Norman P. Neureiter, a distinguished scientist, diplomat and international business
executive, will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Science degree at commencement. He
is the director of the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy for the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the most distinguished science
organizations in the world.

Neureiter earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester
and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. His father, Paul
Neureiter, came to Geneseo in 1937 as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and
played an important role in the development of the biology, chemistry, physics and
mathematics departments and was responsible for the formulation of the geological
sciences department. The Neureiter family established a scholarship in his memory for
women science majors at Geneseo.

Neureiter’s work and achievements are highly relevant to Geneseo and its strong programs
in the physical sciences. Geneseo is one of the nation’s top producers of bachelor’s degrees
in physics among undergraduate colleges, according to the American Institute of Physics.
Neureiter has been of major assistance to Geneseo in developing a new program of science
policy internships in partnership with The Washington Center in Washington, D.C. In
addition to the resources that SUNY students have access to through The Washington
Center, Neureiter includes these interns in events and programming at AAAS and takes a
personal interest in their progress.

Thomas L. (Les) Purce, president of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, conscientious leader, multi-talented administrator and an advocate for public liberal arts education, will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at commencement.

 Purce has held a range of posts at three universities. During his two terms as president of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), he coordinated an executive board review and restructure of the organization that elevated its mission and visibility. This action garnered national attention for public liberal arts colleges like Geneseo and enhanced understanding of the role that liberal arts colleges play in educating citizens.

 Purce’s life-long commitment to the value of diversity reflects Geneseo’s and SUNY’s institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. His many accomplishments in promoting diversity and equity are consonant with Geneseo’s record of working diligently to build a more diverse community that is welcoming and supportive of all members.

 Purce earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in counselor education from Idaho State University. He also is a graduate of Harvard’s Institute of Educational Management.