Jump to Footer

Senator Stafford to Receive SUNY Honorary Degree in May

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Ronald B. Stafford will be posthumously awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the State University of New York during spring commencement ceremonies at SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday, May 13. His wife, Kay Stafford, will accept this honor on her late husband's behalf.

Senator Stafford, who was elected New York State Senator in 1965, climbed the ranks until his retirement in January 2003 at the end of his 37 years in the New York State Senate. He passed away in June 2005.

"Senator Stafford left a legacy of accomplishments in public service that few, if any, New York State senators have ever exceeded," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. "It is highly appropriate that this incomparably significant North Country public servant, Plattsburgh's own beloved Senator Stafford, be given this honor."


Senator Stafford graduated from Plattsburgh High School in 1953 and St. Lawrence University in 1957. From 1958 to 1960, he served as an army officer in military intelligence. In 1962, Senator Stafford graduated from Columbia University School of Law.

In 1963, he was admitted to the New York State Bar and the United States District Court for Northern New York, practicing law in Plattsburgh.

With Senator Stafford's leadership, state funds were awarded to his district, especially benefiting local schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, public works projects and economic growth.

Most fittingly, the ice arena at SUNY Plattsburgh's Field House, the technology building at Clinton Community College, the Plattsburgh City School District's Middle School and a wing of the Alice Hyde Health Care Facility in Malone are all named in his honor.

Senator Stafford became one of the most influential and respected legislators in Albany. As chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Stafford was largely responsible for the creation of the Tuition Assistance Program. He was also instrumental in bringing the Olympic Winter Games to Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1980 and subsequently creating the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Senator Stafford was a key figure in providing economic relief to the North Country following the Federal government's decision to close the Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1995.
Upon his retirement from politics in 2003, Governor George Pataki appointed Senator Stafford a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Spring commencement ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House Gymnasium.
-- 30 --

Back to top