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Gordon, Archer Highlight UAlbany's Commencement Weekend
State author, former Detroit mayor deliver keynote addresses during undergraduate and graduate ceremonies May 17 and May 18

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

UAlbany Students Celebrate Graduation

More than 1,820 undergraduates received degrees in 50 areas of study during UAlbany's 164th Commencement ceremonies. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 13, 2008) -- State author Mary Gordon and former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer will deliver the undergraduate and graduate commencement addresses at the University at Albany-SUNY 2008 Commencement Ceremonies. The weekend includes a graduate commencement ceremony on May 17, the main undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 18, and individual departmental and school recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend. An estimated 2,789 students are expected to participate in the 164th commencement ceremonies, including 1,821 undergraduate and 968 graduate degree applicants (131 doctoral, 693 masters and 37 certificates - advanced and graduate).
The undergraduate degree conferral ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 18 at 10 a.m. on the Science Library lawn, located on the uptown campus. State author Mary Gordon will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. Gordon, who was named New York's new state author for 2008-2010, is one of America's most admired prose writers. She is the author of several best-selling novels, including Men and Angels (2005), as well as short stories, memoirs, essays, and criticism. Gordon is known for work that explores Irish American family life, single motherhood, Catholic spirituality, thwarted love, moral struggle, personal sacrifice, and female identity.

The graduate commencement will be held at the uptown campus' SEFCU Arena on Saturday, May 17 at 9 a.m. and the commencement address will be delivered by Dennis Archer, former mayor of Detroit and chairman of the Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC. Before his tenure as mayor, Archer taught learning-disabled children in Detroit Public Schools from 1965 to 1970 and earned his juris doctor from the Detroit College of Law in 1970. Archer served as mayor of Detroit from 1993 to 2001 and later served as president of the American Bar Association, becoming the first African-American president of that organization. During the graduate ceremony, Archer will also receive the Doctor of Law honorary degree.

The undergraduates will receive degrees in 50 different majors, including business, psychology, sociology, English, communication, political science, history, accounting and biology. There are 23 military veterans in the Class of 2008. UAlbany's undergraduate class hails from 18 states and 46 countries, including Japan, China and Republic of Korea. Nearly 120 undergraduates participated in the Presidential Scholars program, which recognizes and nurtures students with distinguished high school academic records. Seven students are expected to graduate with a perfect 4.0. The average class age is 23 and 53 percent are women.

UAlbany's Commencement Weekend also includes individual departmental and school recognition ceremonies with guest speakers, a family picnic for all graduates and commencement mass.

For more information on individual departmental ceremonies and other commencement activities including the senior rite of passage known as "Torch Night," visit UAlbany's Commencement Weekend Web site. All commencement activities will take place, rain or shine, as scheduled.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 56 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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