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News Release


UAlbany Announces Commencement, December 7
Poet Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Delivers Commencement Speech

Contact: Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 3, 2003) - The University at Albany’s Winter Commencement will be held on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. in the Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC) on the uptown campus.

It will be open to the 1,700 August and December candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Professor Leonard A. Slade, Jr., chair of UAlbany's Department of Africana Studies, which has been recognized as one of the top 10 in the nation by Black Issues in Higher Education magazine for it's master's degree program, will deliver the commencement speech. Slade, who is also director of UAlbany's Humanistic Studies Doctoral Program and the Master of Arts in the Liberal Studies Program, is a widely acclaimed author, literary critic, poet and teacher. He has taught at numerous universities across the country and published prolifically during his more than 25-year career. He has published 15 books, including 11 books of poetry. His poetry has been praised by Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks and Houston A. Baker, Jr.

A past member of the National Research Center on the Teaching of Literature, Slade has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Excellence in Teaching Award at Kentucky State University and at UAlbany, the Professor of the Year Award from the UAlbany chapter of the NAACP, the Professor of the Year Award at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., the Southern Conference on Afro-American Studies award and several grants and fellowships. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Kentucky State University in 1989 and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina in 1996. He has been writer-in-residence at Bennington College, at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College and at the Ragdale Artists’ Colony in Lake Forest, Ill.

In 2000, UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock appointed a Graduation Task Force to review all commencement activities at the University. UAlbany’s December graduation became an official commencement in 2001 as a direct result of task force research.

For more information about UAlbany’s December commencement, visit or e-mail


Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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