GENESEO, N.Y. - Frances Smith Foster, the Candler Professor of English and Women Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, will address the State University of New York at Geneseo's 144th undergraduate commencement May 15. The college will confer an estimated 1,214 undergraduate degrees during two separate ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena on campus.
The ceremony's keynote speaker is professor of English and women's studies at Emory University in Atlanta and has written extensively on African American literature and culture and on multicultural women's literature. She will address "One or Two Things I Think I Know for Sure."
"Frances Smith Foster's prolific scholarly career serves as a role model for our students who aspire to be writers, critical thinkers, and researchers," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. "We are honored that she will be delivering our keynote address."
Graduate students celebrated a week earlier than undergraduates this year during their own commencement May 8. Susan Bailey, dean emerita of the college, delivered the keynote address to the graduate students.
At the undergraduate ceremony, the college will confer an honorary doctor of humane letters degree upon Foster and Gregory O'Connell, a 1964 SUNY Geneseo graduate and Brooklyn real estate developer who revitalized the Red Hook area of that borough. He is also purchasing and renovating properties in Mt. Morris, a small town near Geneseo, with an interest in sparking another successful revitalization.
"Greg embodies the Geneseo values of ‘service to society' and ‘community,' said President Dahl. "His vision and leadership have become models for revitalizing depressed neighborhoods by providing for historical renovation, retaining housing for working and middle-class residents, and engaging the arts. He spurs economic development while retaining a sense of community. We are proud to honor this innovative and civically engaged alumnus."
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