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April 20, 2004


    OSWEGO -- William B. Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Development Foundation of Central New York, will speak at SUNY Oswego's morning Commencement ceremony on May 15 and receive an honorary degree.

    He will address the 9 a.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences and receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

    Davis "has long been a key player in the growth of Central New York's economy," the college's nomination letter read. "A visionary leader in his former roles as chairman and chief executive officer of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and chairman of National Grid USA, he now devotes his enormous energy and wealth of knowledge about the business community to aiding in the area's economic development."

    He joined Niagara Mohawk in 1990 as vice president of corporate planning. He soon rose through the ranks, becoming the company's fifth chairman and chief executive officer in 1993.

    Before that, he served New York state through his knowledge of planning and energy conservation, serving as an energy adviser to two governors and numerous special commissions and task forces. He also co-authored the state's first three New York State Energy Master Plans.

    The Skaneateles resident joined the Metropolitan Development Foundation after retiring from National Grid a year ago.

    In 1994, Davis was the inaugural speaker in a series of roundtable discussions at SUNY Oswego designed to bring together community and business leaders.

    He has been active on numerous boards and committees, including the National Audubon Society, Business Council of New York State and Center for Clean Air Policy. His humanitarian contributions have earned Davis the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Simon Le Moyne Medal.

    He earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964 and his master of science degree from George Washington University in 1971. His time in the Navy as a navigator, operations officer and engineering division officer launched his career in the energy industry.   

    Davis will join two previously announced speakers at Oswego's dual Commencement ceremonies in
Romney Field House on May 15. Theodore C. Sorensen, an attorney, best-selling author and special counsel to President John F. Kennedy, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree with Davis at the 9 a.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences. Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the 1:30 p.m. School of Education and School of Business ceremony.

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