This week, the Fourth of July holiday lands on a Thursday. For some of us it means a four day weekend; a chance to fire up the BBQ grill and watch fireworks. For others, it’s the chance to reflect on the founding missions of the United States. We here at SUNY would like to recognize some alumni who have made major contributions to our country through the years, giving back to the people and communities that supported them. Read on to learn about just a few of our notable SUNY Alumni in American Service.
One of the most famous alumni of the University at Buffalo, Ellen S. Baker is a doctor, an astronaut, and the Chief of the Education/Medical Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geology from the University at Buffalo in 1974, and since then has gone on to log over 28 days in space.
- Richard Hofstadter is another University at Buffalo alumnus, although as a 1933 graduate, he’s from quite a different generation. Hofstadter studied history and philosophy at UB, starting him on his path as an iconic historian and American public intellectual. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, his ground-breaking work applied social psychology to political history and earned him both strong support and strong criticism. Always providing material for compelling discussion, Mr. Hofstadter added a distinct and compelling voice to the American zeitgeist.
- Steven K. Galson, Surgeon General of the United States from 2007 to 2009 and Stony Brook class of ’78, has a long record of civic service and an impressive resume when it comes to caring for the American people. Before serving as Attorney General, Galson was the Director of the Office of Science Coordination and Policy at the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, at the EPA.
In 2009, Galson received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Stony Brook University in recognition of his exceptional civic service.
- Robyn Ochs is an educator, activist, SUNY Purchase alumnus, and editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide. A longtime activist for LGBT rights in America, she has taught classes on LGBT history and issues at multiple Northeastern colleges and universities, including MIT and Tufts University. Miss Ochs has served on the Board of Directors for MassEquality, the Massachusetts statewide equality organization, since 2004.
- Nathan L. Miller, 43rd Governor of New York State from 1921-22, is an 1887 graduate of Cortland Normal School. Although not a SUNY institution at the time, the college has since become SUNY Cortland. Governor Miller is known for his economic policy and the establishment of the New York City Transit Commission. He was also awarded the New York State Bar Association’s first gold medal for “distinguished service to the legal profession.”
SUNY alumni have a history of positive impact in public service — as shown above and also by each of the 54 New York State Legislators that proudly hail from one (or more!) of our SUNY campuses. While we thank each for their work, both past and present, we look forward to their commitment to SUNY and the people that they continue to serve. To explore a listing of SUNY alumni in government and public service, click over to our Notable Alumni listings.