GENESEO, N.Y. - Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Bill Cook will deliver keynote addresses for SUNY Geneseo's two commencement ceremonies May 12 in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena on campus. Hochul, who represents New York's 26th Congressional district, will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony; Cook, who will soon retire after 42 years on the Geneseo faculty, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony. His address it titled "Don't Sell Your Humanities Books Quite Yet."
The college will confer an estimated 1,300 undergraduate degrees this year.
"It's a pleasure having Congresswoman Hochul with us to address our 2012 graduating class," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. "She herself recently commenced a new career in national public service and will bring a fresh perspective from her distinguished career in law and now in Congress. She also is a Geneseo parent as her son, Bill, is a 2009 political science major."
Hochul was elected to represent the 26th Congressional District in the May 2011 Special Election in Western New York. Currently, she serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security. Prior to her election, Hochul served as Erie County Clerk - the highest ranking elected female in the county.
In 2006, with her mother and aunt, Hochul helped establish the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence. She currently serves on its board of directors.
Born and raised in Western New York, Hochul has long-standing roots in the community. She graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in political science and earned her law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Bill Cook has taught at Geneseo since 1970 and was awarded the State University of New York's highest honor of Distinguished Teaching Professor of History in 1984.
"Bill Cook is one of the finest scholars and human beings I have ever known and it is fitting that he will address a graduating class as one of his final duties before he retires," said Dahl. "Bill has had a distinguished teaching career and has touched the lives of innumerable students, alumni, friends and colleagues. We are all looking forward to his message."
In addition to the numerous courses he has taught and created at Geneseo, Cook has guided hundreds of students in learning experiences in Italy and Europe for nearly 40 years. Highly regarded as a world-class medieval historian, Cook has lectured and led courses for the National Endowment for the Humanities and other esteemed groups. He also is a prolific author of books and articles and has recorded numerous lectures for organizations providing educational materials for audiences outside of college campuses.
In 2003, Cook was awarded the Medieval Academy of America's first ever CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching Medieval Studies.
During commencement, the college will confer an honorary doctor of science degree upon Richard Nisbett, the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan.
"Professor Nisbett is an eminent social psychologist and noted authority on how culture and social context affect thinking, perception and behavior, and we are pleased to honor his many accomplishments," said Dahl. "He is a prolific researcher and writer and takes on some of the most profoundly interesting topics confronting his field. He is no stranger to Geneseo as he delivered our Phi Beta Kappa lecture two years ago."
Geneseo graduate students will celebrate a week earlier during a master's degree ceremony May 5 at 10 a.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium. An estimated 71 graduate students will receive degrees.
Robert Boyd, lecturer and director of Geneseo's School of Business internship program, will deliver the keynote address, titled "The Creative Mind and Its Role in Your Future."
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