Special to the OBSERVER
SUNY advocate and New York State Senator Catharine Young will be the featured keynote speaker at SUNY Fredonia's Commencement on Saturday, May 16.
Young will speak at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ceremonies in the Steele Hall track/basketball arena on campus. Graduates for bachelor's and master's degrees and advanced certificates will be combined and attend ceremonies according to major. For more information about the dual ceremonies, interested persons should visit the web site at www.fredonia.edu/commencement.
State Sen. Cathy Young
College President Dennis L. Hefner noted, "Senator Young has been a true friend of and advocate for SUNY Fredonia. Her tireless efforts in securing funds for the university have led to several significant capital construction projects, and her enthusiasm for Fredonia and its students is wonderful. We're thrilled she will help us launch our newly-minted graduates into the world."
Young has an established record of civic, professional and volunteer achievements. Elected to the Senate in 2005, she immediately took on a leadership post as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, working to strengthen New York State's top industry. She also co-chaired the Administrative Regulations Review Commission which helped to reduce regulations and red tape that impede job growth.
Young currently serves active roles as a member of the Rural Resources Commission, Transportation Committee, Health Committee, Environmental Conservation Committee, Housing Committee, Insurance Committee, and is also the ranking member of the Senate's Agriculture Committee.
Senator Young has also taken on numerous assignments, including the Task Force on the State of New York Agriculture; the Sex Crimes and Women and Children Task Force, the Task Force on Educational Standards, the Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and New York State Armed Forces Legislative Caucus, and the Nursing Shortage Task Force. She founded the Legislative Wine and Grape Caucus to boost the industry sponsored legislation that formed the New York State Council on Food Policy of which she currently is a member.
She previously served in the State Assembly from 1999 until her election to the Senate. As a member of the Assembly, she was named to several top leadership positions, including Assistant Minority Leader Pro Tempore. She also served on the Cattaraugus County Legislature including a leadership post as Majority Whip, and was a member of the Cattaraugus County Board of Health.
Young has become a recognized voice on tax relief, economic growth, job creation and government reform, and has authored numerous laws to protect families, including Penny's Law providing justice to juvenile murderers.
The mother of three grown children, Young grew up on a third-generation dairy and crops farm, and for several years has been recognized by the New York State Farm Bureau for her support of agricultural issues. She attended SUNY Fredonia, where she met her future husband, Richard, a Fredonia alumnus, and graduated magna cum laude from St. Bonaventure University with a major in Mass Communication. Senator Young is also a major in the Civil Air Patrol.
Her many honors include the Fredonia College Foundation Distinguished Service Award, the United University Professions' 2008 Friend of SUNY award, the J. Henry Smith Distinguished Public Service Award from Alfred University, and Business First's 40 Under Forty recognition. She was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Olean Rotary Club.