GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ronald B. Herzman will deliver the keynote address for the college's two commencement ceremonies May 18 in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena. Herzman will speak at both the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies, when he will address "Creative Recycling." The college will confer an estimated 1,200 undergraduate degrees this year.
Herzman is among the longest-serving current Geneseo faculty members with 44 years of service. At the morning ceremony, Herzman also will be the mace bearer as Grand Marshal. Distinguished Service Professor of Geological Sciences Richard A. Young will be Grand Marshal for the afternoon ceremony.
"Ron has served as Grand Marshal in previous years, but it is a distinct pleasure to welcome him as our commencement speaker this year," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl. "Ron represents the heart of our teaching and learning enterprise. He is an eminent medievalist, honored nationally for his teaching by the medieval Academy of America, and he also inspires other teachers. At the same time he is able to communicate the joys of his field to general audiences, through popular presentations for The Great Courses series and lectures throughout the country. Ron has served in leadership positions on numerous major committees on campus and was co-director of the college's Honors Program from 2005-13, succeeding the late Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy Bill Edgar, for whom the program is now named. Ron has made a tremendous mark on the life of our academic community for decades. This will be my last commencement as president and I am looking forward to hearing his remarks."
Herzman is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned his bachelor's degree from Manhattan College and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Delaware. His undergraduate alma mater conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters upon him in 1991.
Herzman came to Geneseo in 1969 as an assistant professor of English, was promoted to associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1983. In 1976, he received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and was named Distinguished Teaching Professor of English in 1989.
Herzman specializes in medieval literature, humanities and the Bible as literature but has a particular passion for Dante, on whom he has published and presented extensively. In 2003, he and Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Bill Cook jointly received the first-ever CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching Medieval Studies from the Medieval Academy of America. The award recognized their long-time collaborative accomplishments as team teachers and partners in research in their field of medieval studies.
Herzman has been involved many years with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and was on leave from Geneseo from 1982-85 at the NEH in Washington, D. C., where he created the Seminar for School Teachers Program, a series of summer seminars for school teachers to help them become better teachers. Herzman was the program's first program officer, and the NEH continues to ask him to teach the seminars in various parts of the world.
During commencement, the college will confer an honorary doctor of humane letters degree upon Russell A. Peck, the John Hall Deane Professor of English at the University of Rochester. Peck is one of the world's leading scholars of Middle English literature and a leader in digital humanities.
"Professor Peck has significantly shaped scholarship and teaching in his field," said Dahl. "His leadership in digital humanities has provided access to important scholarship online and built electronic archives that put literary texts in historical, biographical, geographical and other contexts. Honoring a legendary teacher-scholar like Russell Peck reflects the high value that Geneseo places on excellence in teaching as a public liberal arts college."
Geneseo graduate students will be recognized a week earlier during a master's degree ceremony May 11 at 10 a.m. in Alice Austin Theater. Fifty-seven graduate students are expected to receive degrees.
Michael Glover, superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and a 1980 SUNY Geneseo graduate, will deliver the keynote address, titled "We Are Each Other's Business." Glover also received his master's degree in education/special education from Geneseo in 1985. He earned his doctorate in education/special education from the University at Buffalo in 1991.
Visit the college's commencement webpage for more information on the events.
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