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Winter Commencement Held Saturday, Dec. 15

PLATTSBURGH, NY (December 11, 2007) - SUNY Plattsburgh held its Winter Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Plattsburgh State Field House.

At the ceremony, William (Bill) McKibben, author and environmentalist, was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of human letters from the State University of New York. This award recognizes extraordinary achievements in the disciplinary fields and related to human endeavor and philanthropy.

McKibben, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, is best known as the author of "The End of Nature," considered to be the first book for a general audience about climate change. McKibben has also written several other books including "The Age of Missing Information" about an experiment he conducted where he collected everything that came across the 100 channels of cable television on the Fairfax, Va. system over the course of a single day. This book is often used in college and high school courses to teach media literacy. In addition, McKibben has helped organize some of the nation's largest protests against global warming and is a frequent contributor to various publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, and Rolling Stone.

"We are pleased to be able to confer this award on Mr. McKibben," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. "He was one of the first to sound the alarm, inspiring people to action on the issue of global warming, and he continues to be at the forefront of this movement today."

The event also featured a commencement address by Sheena Michele Garrant, a graduating senior who received high honors despite a difficult life history. Having survived child abuse and even homelessness, Garrant home-schooled herself through her final years of high school, worked to receive scholarships and attend SUNY Plattsburgh and joined the college's honors program. It was through this program that she wrote an advanced honors thesis on African American identity. In 2007, she was selected to present another paper about similar themes at the New York State African Studies Conference.

"Ms. Garrant is an inspiration to us all," said Ettling.

Ettling presided over the event, with Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Golden presenting the candidates for degrees. The event also featured music played by the Adirondack Bass and the Elgin and District Pipes and Drums.

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