Contact: Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980
Karl Luntta (518) 265-4114 cell
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 14, 2003) -- Catherine
Bertini, a 1971 graduate of the University at Albany and
the undersecretary-general for management to the United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will receive the University's
Medallion and deliver the keynote address at the graduate
commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17. The ceremony will
take place in the University’s Recreation and Convocation
Center (RACC), uptown campus, beginning at 9 a.m.
a UAlbany alumna, was appointed to the position of undersecretary-general
in January. She is responsible for all administrative and managerial matters
in the United Nations worldwide, including the leadership and management of
U.N. senior officials dealing with budget, finance, human
resources, management policy
development, information systems, purchasing, travel, investments, facilities
management and security of the staff in New York City.
Prior to her current
position, Bertini served for 10 years as executive director
of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest international
humanitarian agency. She was appointed to that position in 1992 on the recommendation
of President George H.W. Bush and was reappointed in 1997 with the endorsement
of President Bill Clinton.
As WFP executive director, Bertini assisted
hundreds of millions of victims of wars and natural disasters
Africa, Asia, Latin America, the
Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She was
for her efforts to end famine in North Korea and for delivering enormous
amounts of urgently needed food aid to Afghanistan in 2001; ensuring the
food supplies during the crises in Bosnia and Kosovo and averting the mass
starvation that threatened 16 million people in the Horn of Africa in 2000.
working at the organization’s headquarters in Rome, Bertini
also modernized the administration of WFP to ensure its
efficiency and effectiveness,
promoted the role of women in the management of WFP operations.
to joining WFP, Bertini served as United States assistant
secretary of Agriculture for Food and Consumer Services,
and as acting assistant
secretary of the Family Support Administration in the United States
Department of Health
and Human Services. She also worked in state government in Illinois
and New York, and, for 10 years, was a public affairs officer
in Chicago. In 1986, Bertini was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School
of Government at Harvard University. She has been active in politics
United States for
Bertini has been honored with the Republic
of Italy’s Order of Merit and the Association of African
of Excellence. In
(of London) Magazine named her one of “The World’s Most Powerful
Women.” Earlier in her career, a citation the American Public
Bertini noted that she “epitomizes the very best in public service.”
Bertini earned a bachelor’s degree in political
science at UAlbany.
Prior recipients of UAlbany's Medallion include former
Governor Mario Cuomo, former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
and former Ambassador
to the United
States from Israel Itamar Rabnovich.
UAlbany's Commencement Weekend
2003 includes the formal graduate commencement, the main
undergraduate degree conferral ceremony
on May 18 as well
as smaller, intimate departmental and school recognition ceremonies
weekend. An estimated 2,700 students are expected to participate
in UAlbany's 159th
commencement ceremonies including 1,700 undergraduate, 870 master’s
and 134 doctoral candidates.
For more information on commencement,
All commencement activities
will take place, rain or shine, as scheduled. In the event
of severe weather (lightning/high
posted on the Web site and the Commencement Info Line (518)
442-5310, noting any cancellations.