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SUNY Plattsburgh Alumnus to Receive Honorary Degree May 13

PLATTSBURGH, NY __Dr. John A. Grant III will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the State University of New York during spring commencement ceremonies at SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday, May. 13.

Grant, a 1982 SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus, is a geologist with the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution and a participating scientist with NASA for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. 

"It is with great pride in his achievements, beginning with his studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, and with absolute confidence that he is among SUNY's most productive, accomplished and distinguished alumni, that we honor Dr. John Grant with a SUNY Doctoral Degree in Science Honoris Causa," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling.

After earning his bachelor's degree magna cum laude in geology at SUNY Plattsburgh, Grant went on to pursue his graduate studies in geology receiving a NASA scholarship to study planetary geology at Brown University, where he received his doctorate in 1990.

Grant has been serving as the Mars Landing Site science coordinator and Landing Site Steering Committee co-chairperson since 2000. He has been in the driver's seat, literally, of the Mars rover explorations. Based either at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., or in his Washington, D.C. office at NASA, Grant sits at the console that transmits maneuvering and data-retrieving-instrument instructions to the "Spirit" and "Opportunity" rovers that landed on Mars in early 2004.

Grant is also the author of dozens of published articles on aspects of the Martian landscape and minerology as well as techniques to explore and learn about its features. He has spoken extensively to experts within his field and to the general public about his findings.

In February 2005, Grant came to campus as a Distinguished Visiting Alumnus. While here, he participated in six courses as a guest lecturer and gave a public presentation, "My Other Cars are on Mars: Driving the Mars Exploration Rovers." He shared his career choices with, and inspired, current SUNY Plattsburgh students.

Also during the spring commencement ceremonies at SUNY Plattsburgh, Ronald B. Stafford will be posthumously awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. His wife, Kay Stafford, will accept this honor on her late husband's behalf. The commencement ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House Gymnasium.
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