By Geoff Williams, University Archivist
A Celebration of EOP Graduates
Since the University at Albany recently observed the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Equal Opportunities Program (EOP), I felt it would be appropriate to recognize some of its alumni for their many contributions in various fields. While the list of EOP graduates who have achieved great things is long, and space permits us to mention only a few, those mentioned here represent not only the thousands of other EOP alumni and their successes, but the program itself, which helped to transform promising students into accomplished individuals.
Among the first EOP graduates was Lynn Gilmore Canton, B.A.’71, M.S.’73
, who majored in Afro-American studies as an undergraduate and earned a master’s in reading. She had a long career in New York State government, then served as director of FEMA’s Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands). Canton, recently retired as Region II administrator, coordinated the federal response to hurricanes Irene and Sandy in 2011 and 2012, respectively. For more about Canton, visit http://tinyurl.com/oapyvd4
K. George Keleshian with his mother at graduation
K. George Keleshian, B.A.’73, immigrated to the United States from Lebanon at age 10. At the University at Albany, the talented athlete – he played soccer and basketball and ran track – became interested in the environment. Senior year, the interdisciplinary-studies major served as president of the Protect Your Environment Club. Keleshian, who went on to earn an M.S. in engineering at RPI, has worked in the environmental field and led a number of companies. He is founder and CEO of Zeroenergy Buildings, Inc., of Guilderland. Visit his LinkedIn page.
As co-captain of the Great Danes football team, Frederick K. Brewington Jr., J.D., B.A.’79, was well known on campus. Brewington, a sociology major at UAlbany, went on to graduate from Northeastern University School of Law in 1982 and has built a successful career as a civil-rights attorney. He was president of the University at Albany Alumni Association from 1991-93 and served on the association’s board from 1986-2006. The recipient of the 2000 Excellence in Alumni Service Award, Brewington is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about Brewington at http://tinyurl.com/k6c8uq6.
Tomás Morales, M.S ’78, Ph.D.’98, earned graduate degrees in educational administration and policy studies at the University at Albany. A Puerto Rico native raised in the South Bronx, he was appointed the first Latino president of the College of Staten Island, CUNY, in 2007. Morales has served as president of California State University, San Bernardino, since 2012. Honored by UAlbany in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month in 2010, Morales currently chairs the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors. He was featured in the Fall 2013 UAlbany magazine article “The Value of Higher Education.” Learn more about Morales’ life and work at http://tinyurl.com/na4bu3r.
As a sophomore transfer student from SUNY Potsdam in 1982, Frank Whaley, B.A.’85, discovered a great theatre program at UAlbany. He took courses from professors Jim Leonard and William Kennedy. After completing his studies, Whaley was working as a waiter in New York City when he answered a casting call for the motion picture based on Kennedy’s novel Ironweed. He was cast to portray main character Francis Phelan as a young man. (Jack Nicholson played Phelan as an older man.) In the years since, Whaley has accumulated a long list of film and television credits. He particularly enjoys writing and directing; in fact, for his first such effort, “Joe the King,” in 1999, he received the Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Whaley and his work were highlighted in “‘Ironweed’ and Irony,’” part of the “That’s Entertainment!” feature in the Winter 2008 UAlbany.
Photo courtesy of NYS Dept. of Taxation
UAlbany recognized Clyde Frazier Jr., B.A.’88, as a Distinguished Alumnus in Community Service in 1994. The recipient of the African-American, Latino, Asian & Native American (ALANA) Award was extremely active in Harlem, creating the nonprofit Friends of Fredrick E. Samuel Foundation, which provided counseling to youth, and founding the Slam Jam Women’s Basketball Tournament. Today, his father oversees both organizations. Frazier, who graduated from the University with a degree in Africana studies, enjoyed his work as a revenue-crimes specialist in the New York State Office of Tax Enforcement. At age 41, Frazier died in the collapse of the second tower during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
An All-State softball star at UAlbany, Zoraida Diaz, B.S.’91, M.S.’94, recorded more triples than any other player ever in Division III women’s softball, finishing her sophomore season as the team’s leading batter. As a junior psychology major, she was named to the All-Championship Team when the Lady Danes won the New York State Women’s Collegiate Association Championship. She later earned a master’s in rehabilitation counseling. Currently, Diaz is a captain in the Oakland, Calif., fire department, assigned to Station 13.
José Luis Calderón, M.D., B.S.’77, earned a bachelor’s in biology, cum laude, and, in 1982, became one of the first UAlbany alumni to graduate from Harvard Medical School. A champion of healthcare literacy, he was honored in 2010 by the University in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. Calderón, who became director of the Charles R. Drew University Center for Cross-cultural Epidemiological Studies in Southern California, was principal investigator for two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiatives: the South L.A. Breast Health Promotion and Diabetes Literacy and Self-Efficiency Training projects. In 2004, he was elected president of the Association for the Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education. Read more about Calderón.