North Country Connections to Highlight St. Lawrence Commencement

CANTON – A St. Lawrence alumnus, an American economist, a former college president and a North Country service organization will be among those honored at St. Lawrence University’s 2013 Commencement.

Students, faculty, staff and guests will hear remarks from honorary degree recipients John J. O’Shea, Class of 1974, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); economist and nonprofit board leader Roger W. Ferguson Jr.; and retired SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy at the ceremony on Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on Creasy Commencement Commons. The University will award the North Country Citation to Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley.

O’Shea graduated with a degree in biology from St. Lawrence and a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and did postdoctoral work in the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He joined the NIH in 1981. The center looks at the underlying biochemical causes of common, debilitating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

O’Shea has received a number of awards for his contributions to the treatment and control of rheumatic diseases and has authored more than 235 articles, establishing his worldwide reputation in immunology. He also has been a past career advisor, offering internships and summer job opportunities for St. Lawrence students.

Ferguson is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) and was vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1999 to 2006. He has a long history of serving as a member of several nonprofit boards and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study as well as the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

He received his bachelor’s degree, law degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University and formerly was a member of the Board of Overseers at his alma mater. He is active in several higher education policy discussion groups. 

Kennedy, who retired in August 2012, received his bachelor’s degree in biology from North Georgia College, his master’s in entomology from Clemson, and his Ph.D. in wildlife resource management from Utah State University.

The North Country citation honors Hospice’s Board of Directors, its professional and medical staff and the countless volunteers who bring comfort, dignity and peace to patients and families at the end of life. In its 30th year of service, the organization serves an average of 90 patients a day, a census that has tripled in the last decade alone. Hospice’s services include its Comfort Care Program and palliative services, responding to tragic deaths in schools or other parts of the community, providing transition of care to home for people leaving the hospital with a chronic illness, and offering educational programs and training.

The University annually awards the North Country Citation to an individual or group from the region who, through professional and volunteer endeavors, has improved the quality of life in the North Country.

Commencement website