Karen Hitchcock '64, Doctor of Humane Letters

After assuming the leadership of the State University of New York at Albany in 1995, Karen R. Hitchcock, St. Lawrence Class of 1964, led the institution “on an upward spiral. High-profile research has drawn state aid and federal grants, and in turn led to the creation of cutting-edge facilities and a slew of business partnerships in nanotechnology, as well as in biotechnology,” cites the Chronicle of Higher Education in a 2003 profile. Another media report articulates her accomplishments much more simply: “the State University at Albany is a much different place...”

Karen Hitchcock earned her degree in biology from St. Lawrence and her Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She enjoyed a much-honored research career in cell and developmental biology while a faculty member at Tufts University and as a faculty member and academic leader at Texas Tech and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, a fellowship from the National Science Foundation, and honors from science, education, government and business communities.

In her nine years leading SUNY Albany, President Hitchcock forged partnerships with business and government to bring close to one billion dollars of economic development activity. Her goal for “world-class excellence” in science research was founded on her celebration of traditional academic values blended with the needs of partners.” For the enduring benefits that she brought to her University, her community, her state, her nation and her profession, Karen Hitchcock is honored by St. Lawrence with the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.