SUNY Oswego alumna recognized for exceptional community service

Peggy Lynn graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2007 with an M.A. in History focusing on women’s studies.

On Oct. 2, Lynn was named the co-recipient of the Altes Prize, one of the most prestigious college wide awards given annually to college faculty members who apply his or her scholarship and expertise to benefit the community.

SUNY Empire State College (ESC) awards the Altes Prize annually.

Lynn is currently a mentor at ESC Central New York Center and a professional singer and songwriter. She has been recognized for her work in co-founding Creative Healing Connections, Inc., which features retreats for women with cancer or chronic illness at Great Lake Sagamore and women veterans on Lake George.

Time at Oswego

As an undergraduate student, Lynn attended ESC, but cross-registered at SUNY Oswego where she took several courses in women’s studies.

“Those courses in women’s history really sparked my interest,” Lynn said. “I was amazed and captivated by the dedication and sacrifices of women to gain equal rights.”

Lynn earned her bachelors degree in women’s studies at ESC, but decided to go back to school to pursue her M.A. in History.

“I decided to get my master’s at Oswego and was given a department assistantship through the history department,” Lynn said.

Her assistantship was in the advisement office and it was here where Lynn was able to get to know the faculty and get advise on resources for her research.

Lynn decided to do her thesis on American suffrage songs. Before returning to school, Lynn made her living as a singer and songwriter.

“I was really well supported by the department,” Lynn said. “I got a couple of research grants which covered my expenses to go to Smith College, the Library of Congress archives and the Schlesinger Library in Cambridge, Mass. to search through National Women’s Party papers.”

“As part of her master’s thesis defense, Lynn created a program called “Singing for Suffrage” and included this in her Quest presentation.

Lynn graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2007 with her M.A. in History and soon began a teaching career.

Beyond Oswego

After graduating, Lynn taught a semester survey course at Onondaga Community College and a women’s studies course, Women in the Workplace, at SUNY Oswego, which she taught for 4 semesters.

As an adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego, Lynn arranged many of the Ernst & Young Lectures, tying guest speakers in with what she was covering in her women studies classes.

A position opened up at ESC and Lynn returned and took on the role as a part-time mentor and assistant professor in historical studies and cultural studies.

One of Lynn’s most gratifying roles is being one of the co-founders of Creative Healing Connections. Lynn leads songwriting workshops at the retreats, encouraging participants to write about their stories.

“I was first asked to lead one of the retreats by Naj Wikoff, the founder of Creative Healing Connections,” Lynn said.

Lynn and fellow co-founder, Fran Yardley, led the first retreat for women with cancer and chronic illness at Great Lake Sagamore.

The foundation expanded and began offering scholarships to participants and several years ago became a non-profit 501-c3 organization.

“It gives the women a chance to listen to each others stories and build a community while we are there,” Lynn said “It brings these women together out of what is very often an isolating disease.”
Peggy Lynn, '07
M.A. in History

Throughout the years, Lynn held many positions writing grants, creating brochures for advertisement, developing programs and agendas for each retreat, spoke with site managers, and most importantly, developed song-writing workshops for these women.

“It gives the women a chance to listen to each others stories and build a community while we are there,” Lynn said “It brings these women together out of what is very often an isolating disease.”

Altes Prize

Lynn was named as a co-recipient of the Altes Prize for co-founding Creative Healing Connections and her dedication to the program.

“I used my knowledge of women’s studies, women’s rights, and women’s history in what I do for the organization and I have taken a leadership role in expanding the organization and developing the programs,” Lynn said.

As part of the award, Lynn received a check for $1,250 and has decided to give $1,000 directly to the organization for scholarships and the other $250 will be used to make recordings of songs that have been written for the retreats and at the retreats.

“We haven’t documented the songs and I think that needs to be done,” Lynn said.

Lynn hopes the Altes Prize will help build a connection between both ESC and now SUNY Oswego with Creative healing Connections in order to help fill more retreats with women who need it.