For Immediate Release – August 27, 2004


GENESEO, N.Y. – As the annual Week of Welcome gets under way at the State University of New York at Geneseo and approximately 5,100 students prepare to begin classes at the 133-year-old institution, the college continues to enhance its reputation as one of the most outstanding public liberal arts colleges in the nation.

Some highlights of the year ahead, and the academic year just ended, will be outlined in the president’s annual opening convocation address to be delivered to faculty and staff at 3 p.m. today. Recent highlights at Geneseo include:

• New Residence, Dubbed Putnam Hall, to be Dedicated Today

SUNY Geneseo will dedicate its newest residence hall in a ceremony at 4:15 p.m. today. Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi will be on hand to help dedicate the building named after the downstate New York county.

Putnam Hall, an 82-bed facility connecting to two other residence halls on the north side of campus, was designed to incorporate the newest styles in residence hall living. Construction on the $4.5 million, 28,500-square foot building began last June and was completed on schedule and in time for the start of the school year. The corridor-style hall has paired bedrooms sharing a bathroom and is primarily for upperclassmen, who return to campus Saturday. The four-story building will house about 20 students on each floor. Each floor has a modern kitchenette and laundry facilities. In addition, each floor has a stylish lounge or conference area, where students can meet, study or socialize. Rooms have multiple hook-ups for computers, telephones and cable television, and modular closets. Putnam Hall connects to Wyoming and Allegany halls in what is known as the North Village area of campus and has one of the best views of the Genesee Valley. Putnam Hall was designed by Bergmann Associates, P.C. and constructed by Javen Construction Co. Inc.

• Incoming Class One of Most Academically Qualified in College’s History

The college continues to attract high-achieving high school graduates. This year’s freshman class of 1,021 registered students boasts impressive academic credentials, according to Director of Admissions Kris Shay. The mean combined SAT averages this year are 1262, according to Shay, an increase over last year’s average of 1252. She added that the mean high school average is 93, an increase over last year’s 92.7. Geneseo freshmen will be officially welcomed to the campus at the New Student Convocation, to be held on the College Green at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29.

• Students will be Welcomed with Flurry of Activities

The college will welcome the return of its students beginning today with 11 days of activities ranging from field trips and athletic events to seminars on a variety of topics. "WOW: Week of Welcome" will run from Friday, Aug. 27, through Monday, Sept. 6. The residence halls open for new students at 8 a.m. Aug. 27. The Department of College Union & Activities has planned numerous events and activities to welcome and inform new and returning students and to build community. Activities include: the President’s Reception at President Christopher C. Dahl’s house on Main Street and the Welcoming All-Campus Picnic at Letchworth Quad; midnight movies and a foam party; a night where everything is free at the Corner Pocket; a crafts night; basketball and volleyball tournaments; an outing to Geva Theatre for "Broadway Bound"; and trips to Niagara Falls and Six Flags Darien Lake. In addition, the week will include a new state-mandated seminar titled "Crossing the Line: Am I the Victim or the Crime," and a dinner and book discussion on "The White," required reading for all first-year students. Deborah Larsen’s historical novel is about Mary Jemison’s cultural transition to life among Native Americans. The discussion will draw parallels to new students’ transitions to college. A full list of activities can be found at

• Geneseo Athletics Expands to 20 Sports; Women’s Equestrian Elevated to Varsity Status

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation has announced the elevation of women’s equestrian from club sport to varsity status for the 2004-05 season. The expansion brings the program to 20 sports (12 for women and eight for men) at the varsity level. The team will operate out of Leg Up Stables at White Devon Farm in Geneseo and will be coached by Kim Sanford, who has mentored riders at the club sport level since 1996. The Knights will continue to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, zone 2, region 2. The team will challenge varsity teams such as Alfred, Cazenovia, Nazareth, Potsdam and St. Lawrence, along with club teams at Oswego, RIT, Rochester and Syracuse.

• Geneseo Lauded for Academics, Outstanding Faculty in National College Guides

Three well-known and highly respected national college guides have once again acknowledged the outstanding liberal arts education offered by the State University of New York at Geneseo. The 2005 edition of "America’s Best Colleges," published by U.S. News & World Report, ranks Geneseo No. 12 out of 83 institutions in the category "Best Universities — Master’s" for the northern region. U.S. News takes into account both public and private colleges and universities in this category. Geneseo also appears at No. 2 among the "Top Public Universities — Master’s" for the northern region. Geneseo was also profiled in the 2005 edition of "The Princeton Review’s Guide to the Best 357 Colleges," and the college was ranked No. 3 on that publication’s list of "Best Bargains — Public" among all public colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, SUNY Geneseo was ranked in the 2005 "Fiske Guide to Colleges," a guide published annually by former New York Times Education Editor Edward B. Fiske. Geneseo is highlighted as a "Best Buy" school, and is lauded for its academic programs, accessible professors and hometown atmosphere.

• 2004 Excellence Awards Presented to Faculty, Staff at Opening Convocation

The following awards for excellence are to be presented to Geneseo faculty and staff at the president’s annual opening convocation at 3 p.m. on Aug. 27:

Edward Abbott of Geneseo, executive director, Campus Auxiliary Services — President’s Award for Outstanding Professional Service; Susan Salmon of Livonia, assistant professor, Shear School of Education — President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement; Richard Young of Geneseo, Distinguished Service Professor, geological sciences — President’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity; Emilye Crosby of Rochester, associate professor, history — Harter Faculty Mentoring Award; Barbara Stewart of Conesus, lecturer, mathematics, Joseph M. O’Brien Award for Excellence in Part-Time Teaching.

• Geneseo Foundation Raises Record Amount to Benefit College

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Geneseo Foundation raised $2.2 million from 8,100 alumni and friends of the college. The Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the college, accepts and administers private gifts from friends, alumni, corporations, and other sources to fund programs that greatly benefit students and faculty at the college for which state support is not available.

• New Merritt Athletic Center Officially Dedicated

The Alumni Fieldhouse at the State University of New York at Geneseo — an on-campus, multi-use sports facility — was dedicated earlier this month as the Dr. Myrtle A. Merritt Athletic Center. The re-naming was approved by the SUNY Geneseo College Council and the State University of New York Board of Trustees. Merritt, a longtime resident of Geneseo, was on hand for the event, along with more than 200 people who came to celebrate the occasion. The fieldhouse now bears the name of an individual who served the college with distinction as a faculty member and administrator for 30 years. As a former department chair, Merritt helped plan both Schrader Gym and the Alumni Fieldhouse. She was a pioneer and champion of efforts to expand opportunities for young women to participate in athletics.

• Walter Harding Lecture Series Inaugurated; First Lecture to be Delivered Sept. 14

The college is launching an annual lecture in honor of an internationally famous late faculty member who was an expert on American literature. The first annual Walter Harding Lecture is named for the English professor who was one of the world’s leading scholars on 19th century author Henry James Thoreau. The first lecture, featuring American literature scholar Joel Myerson, will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in Brodie Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Myerson’s speech is titled "Not Instruction, But Provocation: Ralph Waldo Emerson on the Pursuit of Knowledge."

• Limelight Series Kicks Off with Hip Hop/Spoken Word Event on Sept. 18

Experience an evening of hip hop poetry and comedy with "Smokin’ Word" featuring slam poets Flowmentalz, Gemineye, Rob Hylton and Tammy Carr, DJ Nix, and comedian Wil Slyvince. Spoken word is a popular form of poetry used to share stories about issues facing today’s society. These slam poets have been featured on HBO, Def Poetry, BET’s Lyrics Café, CNN and MTV. The performance will be held at 8 p.m. in the Wadsworth Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for Geneseo students, $15 for faculty and staff, and $18 for the general public.

• Annual Wadsworth Lecture to Feature Jon Meacham, Managing Editor, Newsweek

Named "one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business" by The New York Times, Jon Meacham, at the age of 29, became managing editor of Newsweek. Now 34, he is also the best-selling author of "Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship." Meacham, who oversees Newsweek’s coverage of politics, international affairs and breaking news, will deliver the 15th annual James Jeremiah Wadsworth Lecture at SUNY Geneseo at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14 in the college’s Wadsworth Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

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