Emeritus professor, Grambling president to be honored at 150th Commencement

Two important figures from SUNY Oswego’s past who have abiding connections with the campus community will receive honorary doctoral degrees from the State University of New York on May 14 during Oswego’s 150th Commencement.

Dr. Augustine Silveira, emeritus distinguished professor of chemistry, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree at the morning ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Communication, Media and the Arts. At the afternoon ceremony for the college’s School of Education and School of Business, Dr. Frank G. Pogue, president of Grambling State University, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. 

The SUNY board of trustees approved the honors at its March meeting. Oswego’s May graduation ceremonies will help launch celebration of the college’s sesquicentennial year.

“We are proud to be able to honor these two distinguished educational leaders at our 150th Commencement,” said college President Deborah F. Stanley.

“Dr. Silveira was a pioneer of undergraduate teaching methods that are now standard in chemistry classrooms across the country, and he maintains today the incredibly strong bonds he forged with his students and our college over his more than 30 years here,” she said. “Dr. Pogue has been a prominent leader in developing collaborations between student affairs and academic affairs that enhance student success, and as SUNY’s vice chancellor for student affairs he created transformational change in the university with his visionary leadership and collaborative style.”

Science educator

As chair of Oswego’s chemistry department from 1967 to 2000, Silveira built a strong undergraduate and graduate program that was among the first in SUNY to be accredited by the American Chemical Society. In 1995, the department ranked 18th in the nation in the number of ACS-approved graduates and was the lone New York institution, public or private, to make the list.

Silveira’s research interests focused on the structure, synthesis and reactions involving organonitrogen and organometallic chemistry and on chemical education. He established a national reputation for pioneering project-oriented undergraduate organic chemistry laboratories. When Oswego established a faculty research award in 1983, he was one of the first recipients. He exceeded $2 million in research grants from such agencies as the National Science Foundation, Institute of Chemical Education and Sloan Foundation.

He began collaborating with 2010 Nobel Chemistry Prize winner Ei-ichi Negishi in the early 1970s when Negishi was an assistant professor at Syracuse University. They both engaged their students in their collaborative research using the metallic element palladium as a catalyst to synthesize complex carbon-based molecules, and they co-authored papers with students that became part of the overall package that the Nobel honored.

Silveira was a leader in the greater Oswego community for three decades, including active membership in the Oswego Chapter of Rotary International and the Oswego Area Council for Educational Development. He volunteered with Oswego Hospital and served his city, town and state on environmental concerns.

Experienced administrator

Dr. Frank G. PoguePogue has devoted nearly half a century of his life to excellence in education at universities around the state and nation. Last June, he was named the eighth president of Grambling State University in the University of Louisiana system. As president of Edinboro University for 11 years, he was the first African-American president of a historically white institution in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

He has also served as interim president of Chicago State University, interim president at SUNY Cobleskill, and SUNY’s vice chancellor for student affairs and special programs. At the SUNY University at Albany, he fulfilled several roles, including vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for research and educational development, and dean of undergraduate studies. He has been a senior medical research associate at Meharry Medical College, founder and director of the Afro-American studies program at Chatham College, and dean of students at Philander Smith College.

During his tenure in SUNY’s System Administration from 1986 to 1996, Pogue encouraged and helped Oswego to make strides in diversity, especially in the recruitment of graduate students from underrepresented populations. He mentored Oswego graduates, helping them to achieve success in the ranks of academic leadership.

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(Posted: Mar 30, 2011)

Tags: commencement