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April 20, 2011
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Community leader Mary Ann Shaw and Human Genome Project pioneer David Botstein to receive honorary degrees

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Mary Ann Shaw, a community leader who has served as a change agent for Central New York and spearheaded the successful multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and David Botstein, Ph.D., a renowned geneticist and pioneer of the Human Genome Project, will receive honorary degrees from the State University of New York at 2011 Upstate Medical University Commencement May 22.

Shaw will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree for her record of service in education, fund development, children’s health and community development.

“Mary Ann Shaw has spent decades in service to important causes that have advanced the health and well being of thousands of people, particularly children and young adults,” said Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D. “In business, academe and as a volunteer she has been a leader who has inspired many in higher education and philanthropy.”

Shaw led the steering committee to develop and raise funds for the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, exceeding its campaign goal by nearly 150 percent, raising $21.5 million.

Shaw founded the Literacy Corps at Syracuse University to deploy college tutors to disadvantaged schools and launched Syracuse University’s Center for Public and Community Service (now the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service), which ties volunteer service to the college curriculum and to the needs of the community by way of 5,000 student volunteers and 400 community organizations.

She has been a groundbreaking leader in the United Way organization, both as an executive and volunteer. In Syracuse, she prompted the organization to address the issue of immunization and brought the emerging Success by Six strategy to Central New York to create a comprehensive structure of early childhood services. She became the first female campaign chair for the United Way of Central New York and was the first woman in nearly 80 years to chair its Board of Directors. She became the nation’s first associate of the Chancellor and served in this role at Syracuse University during the 1991-2004 tenure of her husband, then Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw.

Shaw is the recipient of numerous awards, including Upstate Medical University’s President Award for Distinguished Service. She received her bachelor of science degree in sociology and master of science degree in education from Towson University in Baltimore.

David Botstein, Ph.D., will receive a Doctor of Science Honorary Degree for his contributions to modern genetics.  

“Dr. Botstein’s influence upon the field of genetics has been multiplied by his many students who have proven to be very successful in this field,” Smith said.

In 1980, Botstein and his colleagues proposed the first molecular method for mapping genes that was used in subsequent years to identify several human disease genes including Huntington’s and BRCA1. Variations of this method were used in the mapping efforts that predated and enabled the sequencing phase of the Human Genome Project. In 1998, he and his colleagues developed a statistical method and graphical interface that is widely used to interpret genomic data including microarray data. Microarray is a technique to monitor gene expression in thousands of genes.

While on faculty at MIT, Botstein developed an innovative series of undergraduate courses that emphasized current research questions and cutting-edge techniques and approaches, such as using an interdisciplinary approach to conducting scientific studies.

Botstein received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1963 and a doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1967 before teaching genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1967 to 1987. He then served as vice president for science at the biotechnology company Genentech for two years before joining Stanford School of Medicine in 1990 where he served as chair of the Department of Genetics. Since 2003, he has directed the Lewis-

Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University where he also serves as the Anthony B. Evnin Professor of Genomics and professor of molecular biology. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and to the Institute of Medicine in 1993.

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