Alumnus and former Congressman Maurice Hinchey to receive honorary doctorate

Alumna and longtime Hinchey representative Lori DuBord to give Commencement address

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz announces that former U.S. Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a New Paltz alumnus, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the Undergraduate Ceremony on Sunday, May 19.

Lori DuBord, a ’94 New Paltz alumna and long-time regional representative for Congressman Hinchey, will be the commencement speaker.

DuBord began working in the Congressman’s office as a student intern, and has served as his primary Hudson Valley representative, liaison to many organizations, and speech writer for 19 years. She is keenly aware of how much the Congressman has valued his New Paltz education, as she does hers, and will discuss those impacts on their lives and careers, reflecting on the broader value of public higher education. She will highlight Congressman Hinchey’s many contributions to the region and the community, and his commitment to environmental causes. She hopes to inspire New Paltz graduates and honor the Congressman and his accomplishments by telling the story of how they have both devoted their lives to public service.

Representative Hinchey had a distinguished career in the New York State Assembly and the U.S. Congress. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1974 (serving from 1975 to 1993) and then to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 (serving from 1993-2012), where he represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District (formerly the 26th district), which spanned eight counties from the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes region.

“Maurice Hinchey has applied his New Paltz education to improving his community, his state, and his nation – but most especially the lives of his constituents,” said college President Donald P. Christian. “His advocacy and support of SUNY New Paltz have burnished our reputation, bolstered our resources, and helped us to better serve our students, the region and the state. We are granting this honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding record of public service and his deeply valued relationship with the college, his alma mater.”

A leading progressive, Democratic voice in Congress, his service included membership on the House Appropriations Committee, the House Banking Committee, the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and the Subcommittee on Defense. He was one of only 10 House members on the bicameral Joint Economic Committee. He retired upon completing his 10th term in Congress in January 2013.

Hinchey had a reputation as a hard-working and effective advocate for the middle class. Throughout his career, he focused especially on the environment and education. His strong advocacy in these areas has had significant impact on the Hudson Valley and on the New Paltz campus.

Hinchey took a leadership role in creating the Hudson River Valley Greenway in 1991, while he was in the Assembly, and his sponsored legislation to create the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, established while he was in Congress in 1996. As a powerful ally of the renewable energy sector, Hinchey worked to position upstate New York as a leader in the high-tech, clean energy manufacturing job revolution.

He also was a strong advocate for public higher education and for financial aid for college students. In 2005, Hinchey secured funding for the modernization and development of environmental science laboratories at New Paltz and Ulster County Community College, which made possible the development of new environmental science programs. He also provided funds for the SUNY New Paltz Solar Car Team. Hinchey was instrumental in securing funds that enabled New Paltz’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art to have 45 Hudson River School paintings from the permanent collection of the New-York Historical Society restored and exhibited in 2009-10. This exhibit attracted thousands of local residents, local school-aged children and tourists. He has continued to be involved in the life of the college, returning to the New Paltz campus as a guest speaker, visiting classrooms, and providing internship and employment opportunities for New Paltz students and alumni.

Hinchey earned a Bachelor’s degree in English in 1968 and a Master’s degree in education in 1970, both from SUNY New Paltz. He was raised in Manhattan and Saugerties, N.Y. He joined the U.S. Navy immediately following his high school graduation and served for several years on the U.S.S. Marshall, a destroyer in the Pacific. After an honorable discharge, he was a laborer for several years in a Hudson Valley cement plant before attending college. He worked his way through college as a toll collector at the New York State Thruway.

An honorary doctorate is the highest honor that the State University of New York can bestow upon an individual and is authorized by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

About Lori DuBord
DuBord came to SUNY New Paltz as a returning student and proudly credits her return to academic life at the college for leading her toward a career in public service. “If it weren’t for the compelling coursework and the mentoring of the New Paltz faculty, I may have missed the greatest career opportunity of my life,” DuBord said.

After completing the academic requirements of her history major, DuBord embarked on a political science minor. It was during this time that she was recommended for an internship in the freshman Congressman’s office. Within weeks of beginning her internship, it became apparent that she had found her true career and, as she is fond of saying “that was that – I found my calling.” She was offered part-time employment and remained on the Congressman’s staff during her final year at New Paltz.

DuBord graduated in 1994 and was honored as the top graduate in the history department. She was immediately offered full-time employment and has spent the last 19 years working with Congressman Hinchey. During this time she has held a variety of positions on his regional staff roster. She finished her career as the Congressman’s District Representative.

“My many years with the Congressman were full of unique experiences that were both challenging and rewarding,” she said. “Ultimately, I believe the many successes I was part of were only possible because of the education I received at New Paltz, and I can say with confidence that Congressman Hinchey feels exactly the same way!”