For Immediate Release —Sept. 24, 2008 Contact:
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo Names Honors Program After Founding Director William Edgar

GENESEO, N.Y. -- The State University of New York at Geneseo has named its Honors Program after the program’s founder, William Edgar, distinguished teaching professor emeritus of philosophy.   Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl officially announced the action during a ceremony honoring Edgar at the college Sept. 19.  The students selected for the program will now be known as Edgar Fellows. 

“I am delighted that the program will carry Bill Edgar’s name,” said Dahl.  “Bill is one of the most extraordinary professors I have ever known, someone who has changed the lives of literally hundreds of students through his Socratic teaching and mentoring,” he said.  “He has devoted his life to the intellectual and personal development of individual students.  As Honors Program director, he played a central role in making Geneseo the excellent public liberal arts college it is today.”

Edgar was named professor emeritus at Geneseo in 2005 after he retired.  He began teaching philosophy at the college in 1969 and was named chair of the philosophy department in 1978, a position he held until retirement.  He received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1974 and 1976.  SUNY named him a distinguished teaching professor in 1979. 

Edgar and his wife, Stacey, also a long-time philosophy faculty member who still teaches at Geneseo, received the 2003 Geneseo Medal for Philanthropy to recognize their extensive service and generous support of the college.  In addition to their commitment to students, they have been active in college governance and established the Jennifer Wachunas Scholarship Fund and the Edgar Scholarship Endowment Fund.

“It is a tremendous milestone to now have the Edgar Fellows Program at Geneseo,” said Olympia Nicodemi, professor of mathematics at Geneseo, who is co-director of the program.  “Bill Edgar epitomized student engagement.  Not only was he a revered Honors Program professor but he made the advising function special and we often hear from alums who express gratitude for the valuable guidance they received from him.” 

The other co-director of the program is Joseph Cope, associate professor of history, who is serving on an interim basis while co-director Ronald Herzman, distinguished teaching professor of English, is on sabbatical. 

Geneseo presently has 103 Edgar Fellows on campus.  Students must exhibit a high level of motivation and academic accomplishment to be admitted to the program, which entails honors courses, research opportunities and close work with honors advisers.