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Libby Pataki, First Lady of New York State, to Speak at Morrisville State College’s Commencement May 20

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.--Libby Pataki, New York State’s First Lady, will be the keynote speaker at Morrisville State College’s 95th commencement ceremony May 20.

During the more than 11 years her husband, Governor George E. Pataki, has served as governor, Mrs. Pataki has actively worked to raise awareness, and serve as an advocate for a host of issues, including the promotion of women’s and children’s health issues.

As First Lady, Mrs. Pataki dedicated much of her time to women’s health issues, including raising awareness about the prevention and detection of breast cancer in women and men from all walks of life. She championed the passage of New York’s Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1997, proclaimed October 19 “New York State Mammography Day,” visited numerous health clinics for the economically disadvantaged, traveled the State as a featured speaker at several breast cancer benefits, and hosted her own "Celebration of Survivorship" to raise money for the American Cancer Society. As First Lady, she brought the Mother's Day Mammography initiative to New York, which encourages women to schedule early mammographies, and promotes mobile mammography units, which reach out to underserved communities.

As the mother of four children, Mrs. Pataki has also worked tirelessly on behalf of children’s health issues, traveling statewide to raise public awareness of the benefits of folic acid for pregnant women as well as the dangers of cigarette smoking while pregnant. Additionally, Mrs. Pataki has served as New York State Spokesperson for an anti-smoking campaign targeting New York's youth, and for "Child Health Plus," which provides health insurance to under-insured children and serves as a national model.

Her work has earned her several distinguished service awards, including “Mother of the Year” by the American Cancer Society, “Woman of the Year" by the Police Athletic League and Ladies Auxiliary of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, and a humanitarian award from United Cerebral Palsy.

“We are honored to welcome Mrs. Pataki to give the keynote address at commencement,” Dr. Ray Cross, Morrisville State College president, said. “Her intelligence, commitment to social issues and breadth of experience in public service are impressive, and our students are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from her.”

“I look forward to addressing Morrisville State College’s class of 2006,” Mrs. Pataki said. “The State University of New York, and Morrisville State College in particular, are educating New York’s future leaders in cutting-edge areas of study that were practically unheard of when I was in college. I am proud to have the opportunity to speak to these students as they enter the next phase in their lives.”

Pataki earned a bachelor degree in political science from Clark University in 1973. Before giving birth to her first child, she worked at Warner Communications and Paine Webber, where her responsibilities included overseas trading operations. Governor and Mrs. Pataki have four children: Emily, Ted, Allison and Owen.

Morrisville State College’s commencement ceremony will take place on Drake Field on the Morrisville State College campus at 1 p.m., weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place in the John W. Stewart Center for Student Activities.

For more information about the college’s commencement exercises, call the Public Relations Office at 315-684-6041 or e-mail Jessica DeCerce at

Morrisville State College offers 12 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine. The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus also offers programs in business, technologies, liberal arts/education transfer, and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers.