For Immediate Release —May 18, 2009
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo Graduates 1,143 Students At College’s 143rd Commencement

GENESEO, N.Y. – The State University of New York at Geneseo conferred degrees on 1,143 students May 16 at the college’s 143rd commencement.  During two separate ceremonies, 1,109 undergraduates received bachelor’s degrees and 34 graduate students received master’s degrees.  The college conducted separate ceremonies in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena to save the expense of constructing a temporary outdoor stadium to accommodate all guests at one event. 

Keynote speaker Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for 30 years, urged the graduates to find joy in seeing their lives as a work in progress rather than a finished product, a journey rather than a destination.  She also praised the value of a liberal arts education.

“Cherish Geneseo’s tradition and commitment to liberal arts education and defend it against those who regard liberal arts as an outdated luxury,” she said. 

The college conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Esther Conwell, a professor of physics and chemistry at the University of Rochester.  She is renowned for her research that shaped the understanding of semiconductor physics and for transistor design, which opened the door for the computer revolution. 

In reading Conwell’s citation, Robert Wayland-Smith, chair of Geneseo’s College Council, commended her “ability to overcome gender bias through undeniable achievement…and commitment to encouraging women to succeed in science and engineering.”

Two graduates delivered this year’s senior orations:  Alexandra Tramposch from Clarence, N.Y., delivered the morning oration; William Sankey from Slate Hill, N.Y., delivered the afternoon oration.  The college invited members of the senior class to take part in a competition to present the commencement orations.

In addition, several students received awards at commencement:

Assisting President Dahl with this year’s ceremonies was Carl T. Hayden, chairman of the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees.