SUNY Cortland announces Commencement speakers

SUNY Cortland announces Commencement speakers

04/17/2023 

Three SUNY Cortland faculty members will speak during the 2023 Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13.

Professors Anne Burns Thomas, Robert Darling and Regina Grantham represent the schools of Education, Arts and Sciences and Professional Studies, respectively.

Each of them will address one of the university’s three Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies in Park Center Alumni Arena. The ceremonies are scheduled at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. A Graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 begins at 7 p.m. in Park Center Alumni Arena.

Grantham will speak at 9:30 a.m., followed by Darling at 2:30 p.m. and Burns Thomas at 7 p.m.

More information about Commencement is available online.

All three of the selected faculty speakers are respected in their field and have had an important impact on the lives of SUNY Cortland students.

 

Anne Burns Thomas portrait

Anne Burns Thomas

Professor Anne Burns Thomas of the School of Education’s Foundations and Social Advocacy Department is passionate about researching inequities in the U.S. educational system and supporting the next generation of teachers as program coordinator for Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.).

A graduate of the University of Scranton, Burns Thomas earned a master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University and holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Pennsylvania.

Since joining the Cortland faculty in 2006, Burns Thomas has guided students in the C.U.R.E. program, which provides scholarship support to students who pledge to teach in high-need schools after graduation. She has written journal articles on improving diversity in education and other topics and has given dozens of presentations at universities and conferences around the country. 

In 2021, Burns Thomas secured nearly $1 million in grant funding for C.U.R.E. that will expand access to the program through 2026.

She received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2022. Burns Thomas was recognized by students with the Student Affairs Connection Award in 2016 and was honored with the SUNY Cortland Outstanding Woman of Color Award in 2008.  Her service to the university includes co-chairing the President’s Council for Inclusive Excellence and serving on the advisory board of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies.

 

Robert Darling portrait

Robert Darling

Distinguished Teaching Professor Robert S. Darling of the Geology Department is a noted scholar and teacher who consistently finds new ways to engage his students.

A graduate of SUNY Oneonta, Darling earned a master’s degree at Idaho State University and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He joined the Cortland faculty in 1992, was promoted to Professor in 2001 and was recognized with the Distinguished Teaching Professor title in 2013. He had previously received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999.

Darling’s research interests include the origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks in the Adirondacks, the geochemistry of fluid inclusions in crystals and experimental petrology. He has authored many scientific journal articles, guidebook articles and conference abstracts, lectured at universities and professional organizations across the state and been the recipient of several grants, including three from the National Science Foundation.

He has served as president and as a member of the board of directors for the New York State Geological Association and has been a Research Associate in Mineralogy for the New York State Museum.

Darling has always put his students first in his work. His mentorship has included inspiration and assistance for undergraduate research and keeping in touch with former students as they pursued further studies or worked in the field.

 

Regina Grantham portrait

Regina Grantham

Associate Professor Regina B. Grantham of the Communication Disorders and Sciences Department is an innovative practitioner in speech-language pathology.

A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and a member of the Cortland faculty since 1993, Grantham has led many changes in her department. In addition to its relocation to the Professional Studies Building in 2011, she inspired the creation of a master’s degree program in speech-language pathology in 2013. The program allows students to graduate with the skills necessary to thrive in today’s professional world and gives them hands-on experiences working with the public through the Center for Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders.

Grantham, a fellow of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, was recognized with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2004.

She has served on the board of directors for the YWCA of Cortland and Cortland Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry and kitchen for local residents in need.

A trusted and welcoming mentor to countless students, Grantham is also a passionate advocate and voice for anti-racism, equality and social justice on the Cortland campus.


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