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Honorary Degree Recipient Mark Ashley '77

Mark Ashley '77

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President Battles, Vice Provost Geiser-Getz, members of the president's cabinet, esteemed faculty, fellow students, families, and friends,

Thank you for bestowing the tremendous honor of Doctorate of Science upon me. I am humbled beyond words that my career accomplishments would attract your notice, much less be worthy of this incredible distinction.

My career path began in the academic halls of the State University of New York at Geneseo. The avant-garde nature of this institution enabled me to complete my undergraduate preparation in three rather than four years, and the State of New York enabled my education through the Regents scholarship program, that covered the then tuition of, wait for it, $325 per semester! Seriously, the academic rigor of this institution positioned me for academic and business successes that ensued.

Here in Geneseo, I married my high school sweetheart and best friend 44 years ago on the back porch of Justice of the Peace Carmen Battaglia at the beginning of our second year of college. I thank you, Sue, for being both my life and career partner, a wonderful wife, and phenomenal mother. And I thank all my children and dearest friends for their love and support across the many times my work separated us over the years.

I am also joined today by my eldest grandson, Finn, age 10, who won his school and then county science fairs just a few weeks ago. Finn, this is as exciting for me as the science fair was to you!

As pearls of wisdom go, to my fellow graduates, I have two to offer. First, know that the degree for which you have studied will carry you places you truly cannot imagine. In five years' time, most of you will be doing something far different with your degrees than you can conceive of today.

Second, the best advice I ever received was to read outside my discipline, so I share that advice with you. This has enabled us to open clinical doors once thought un-openable for people with acquired brain injury and will continue to facilitate discovery of new and better treatment approaches for them and their families.

Again, my deepest gratitude to all responsible for this remarkable tribute. I will do all that I can to remain worthy of this honor.

Thank you.