Columbia University Professor Manning Marable to Speak at SUNY New Paltz Commencement; Marable, former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, and Tibetan Buddhist monk Venerable Palden Gyatso to receive honorary degrees

NEW PALTZ — Manning Marable, a professor of history and political science and the director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, New York City, will deliver the commencement address at SUNY New Paltz on May 21. The title of his speech is “Public Education in a Multicultural Society.” Marable will also be awarded by the State University of New York the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Also receiving honorary degrees at the graduation ceremonies will be New Paltz resident and former boxer Floyd Patterson, and Venerable Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist monk and Tibetan independence and human rights advocate. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on the Old Main Quadrangle.

Marable, whose career has focused on the development of a theory of a multicultural democracy as a solution to racial and economic inequality, has honored SUNY New Paltz with several campus visits to conduct daylong workshops for students, faculty and staff. He was the keynote speaker at SUNY New Paltz’s 1997 international Annual Conference on Postsecondary Pedagogy.

Born in 1950, Marable was the founding director of Colgate University’s Africana and Hispanic Studies Program (1983 – 86). He has served as chairperson of Ohio State University’s Black Studies Department, directing the largest program of its kind in the United States (1987 – 89). He has also been professor of history and political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder (1989 – 93), where he served as co-coordinator of the Critical Studies of the Americas Program.

Marable is the author of eight books, most recently Beyond Black and White (1995) and Speaking Truth to Power (1996). More than 100 scholarly articles written by Marable have appeared in publications such as The Black Scholar, Howard Law Journal, and Race and Class. His public affairs commentary series, “Along the Color Line,” is featured in more than 275 newspapers and is broadcast by 80 radio stations around the world.

Marable is an advisor to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and a co-chairperson of the Committees of Correspondence. Other current projects include directing annual research conferences on public policy issues, sponsored by the Institute for Research in African-American Studies; editing the Institute’s journal, Race and Reason; researching and writing a biography of Malcolm X; and working on a book (with anthropologist Leith Mullings) on the theme of race, inequality and power.

Floyd Patterson

The world champion heavyweight boxer in 1956 – 59 and 1960 – 62, and an Olympic gold medalist and Golden Gloves award recipient, Patterson has been inducted to both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Olympic Hall of Fame. He served as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission (1995 – 98), and for 25 years has been chairman of the Floyd Patterson Children’s Fund Inc. He is the author of two books: Victory Over Myself (1962) and Inside Boxing (1969).

A resident of New Paltz for more than 30 years, Patterson created the Huguenot Boxing Club, a local training camp for youth at risk, encouraging the aspiring young boxers to use the sport as a change-agent for self- development and personal success, as he did. Patterson was a charter member of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation as well as a boxing instructor for the university’s Physical Education Department. Each year, the top male athlete at SUNY New Paltz is presented with the Floyd Patterson Award.

At the SUNY New Paltz commencement, Patterson will be awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the State University of New York.

Venerable Palden Gyatso

A victim of torture, starvation and indoctrination during a 33-year incarceration as a political prisoner in Chinese prisons in occupied Tibet, Gyatso is dedicated to bearing witness to the atrocities perpetrated against Tibetans since the invasion of 1949 and the forced annexation of 1959. Since his 1992 release from Drapchi prison following pressure from Amnesty International and an Italian human rights group, he has traveled the world, testifying before groups such as the U.S. Congress, British Parliament, and the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

For his tireless efforts for human rights, freedom from religious persecution, and independence for his nation, Gyatso was awarded the 1998 John Humphrey Freedom Award of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. He lives in India to which he fled following his release from prison where he works at the Tibetan Reception Centre for Newly-Arrived Refugees.

The SUNY New Paltz chapter of Students for a Free Tibet has steadfastly worked to help Tibet gain independence as a nation and to improve the rights of its citizens. The chapter is one of the most active in the state and its members have twice met Palden through his campus visits co-sponsored with the chapter at Vassar College.

At the SUNY New Paltz commencement, Patterson will be awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the State University of New York.