For Immediate Release—Friday, Sept. 8, 2006


Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo to Commemorate Five-Year Anniversary of 9/11

GENESEO, N.Y.—Students at the State University of New York at Geneseo have organized a ceremony in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which took place five years ago this Monday. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in the college’s Roemer Arboretum, located in the woods on the south side of campus behind Onondaga Hall. The commemoration is scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m. in the College Union patio.

“Geneseo will join the state of New York and the nation in commemoration ceremonies for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,” says Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. “Geneseo lost four alumni who were working in the twin towers that day: James Kelly ’83, Richard Bosco ’89, Dennis O’Berg ’95 and Yan Zhu Cindy Guan ’99. Staff and students lost family and friends. And all of us saw our previous understanding of world events instantly displaced by something still not altogether clear or certain. In ceremonies throughout the campus, the college will honor the victims lost, the families and friends who held them most dear and the heroism of police and fire fighters and others on the rescue scene. Perhaps most significantly, we will honor the compassionate spirit of community that heals the deepest wounds history can inflict on us.” 

Students from various organizations on campus, including Residence Life, Student Association, Inter-Residence Council and the Undergraduate Alumni Association organized this year’s ceremony. 

“The purpose of the event is simply to reflect in a personal way on the tragic events of 9/11,” says Sean Cogliardi of Residence Life, a junior political science major from Milan, Italy. “We want to keep everything very simple.”

“Between 200 and 300 people attended last year’s candlelight vigil,” says Cogliardi.  “Our goal this year is to get at least 500 to attend.”

This year’s ceremony will feature more than a candlelight vigil. During the 6:30 p.m. service in the arboretum, Gregg Hartvigsen, associate professor of biology, and Patricia Malet Fennell ’65, members of the Roemer Arboretum Board of Directors, will offer a few words and a student-constructed flag will be added at the 9/11 memorial already in place at the Arboretum.

 “The first part of the ceremony will be honoring the Geneseo alumni who were lost in the terrorist attacks.  There are four memorial stones located in the arboretum in honor of those alumni. The stones are in groups of two to symbolize the twin towers. There is also a commemorative rock at the entrance of the arboretum with the names of the alumni,” says Audrey Cooper, a senior English major from Hillsdale, N.Y., who currently is serving as chair of the Inter-Residence Council.

At the 7:30 p.m. remembrance on the College Union Patio, white bags—on which students have written their feelings about 9/11—will be arranged with illumination around the patio. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to read the bags, light candles, observe a moment of silence and join in singing. The Geneseo Fire Department also will be on hand to pay tribute. Two U.S. flags, which the students are planning to create with their handprints, will be displayed.

“The bags will be placed on the patio at the candlelight vigil and will look like lanterns,” says Cogliardi. “It should be a very moving experience.”  

In addition, the bells of Sturges Tower will ring at 8:46 a.m. Monday to commemorate the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Donations will be collected during the ceremony for Tuesdays Children, an organization that provides assistance for the children who lost their parents in the terrorist attacks. (The Web site is

All 9/11 events are open to students and the public. For more information, contact the Student Association at (585) 245-5878.