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Author, Alumna Nancy Kress to Receive Honorary Degree at May 15 Commencement

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Nancy Kress never really meant to become a writer, let alone a world-class, award-winning science fiction author. But when she found herself at home with one child and another on the way, Kress began to write stories and a second career was born.

Nancy Kress She is now one of America's most distinguished authors of science fiction. She has written 21 books, including 13 novels of science fiction or fantasy, one novel for young adults, two thrillers, three story collections and two books on writing.

In celebration of her success, Kress, a 1969 graduate of the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh with a degree in education, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York during the College's commencement on May 15.

"When I was 17 and a freshman at Plattsburgh State, I was terrified," said Kress. "It was my first time away from home; my parents had not attended college; I didn't know what to expect. I had a very good four years at Plattsburgh, but coming back to receive this doctorate will, in some sense, close the circle. I am looking forward to standing at the podium and imagining my 17-year-old self out there in the audience."

Her most recent books are Nothing Human (Golden Gryphon Press, 2003), Crossfire (Tor, 2003) and Probability Space (Tor, 2002), which is the conclusion of a trilogy that began with Probability Moon (Tor, 2001) and Probability Sun (Tor, 2000).

"My most recent book was Nothing Human , a science fiction novel about the fate of humanity in a future of global warming, biowarfare and genetic engineering," said Kress.

Her short fiction has earned her a Hugo and three Nebulas, the most coveted awards among authors and devotees of science fiction. Her work has been translated into Swedish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Japanese and Russian among others.

"Plattsburgh is justifiably proud of Nancy's achievements," said Dr. John Clark, interim president. "The State University awards a limited number of degrees to persons of outstanding achievement, and Nancy fully merits the Doctoral Degree in Humane Letters."

The campus president, faculty and a college-wide committee on honorary degrees recommend degree candidates to the SUNY Board of Trustees for approval.

In the Spring 2003 semester, Kress returned with great acclaim to her alma mater, working with students in literature and writing courses and addressing the College community through the Presidents' Speakers Series, jointly sponsored by the presidents of Plattsburgh State, College Auxiliary Services and the Student Association.

"I'm excited to visit Plattsburgh State again in May," said Kress.

Kress is the monthly fiction columnist for Writer's Digest Magazine.  She also teaches writing regularly at various institutions, including the Clarion Writers' Conference, which focuses on science fiction writing and is under the auspices of Michigan State University, and at The Writing Center in Bethesda, Md.

In 1993, Kress was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the annual international conference devoted to science fiction, ConFuse, held in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2002, she was the keynote speaker at the Maryland Writers' Conference.

She said that she was surprised to learn she was receiving an honorary degree.

"I hadn't expected it at all. I'm honored and pleased to have my work evaluated this way by the faculty of my alma mater," said Kress.

Kress has a forthcoming book on writing fiction titled, Characters, Emotions and Viewpoint . She is also currently working on a novel about in vitro fertilization.

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