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Sy Montgomery and Rick Cohen to Speak to Grads (5/9/04)

KEENE, N.H. 4/16/04 - Environmental writer Sy Montgomery and C&S; Wholesale Grocers President Richard “Rick” Cohen will address graduates and receive honorary doctoral degrees at the Keene State College Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 9. The event begins at 1 p.m. on Fiske Quad. KSC President Stanley J. Yarosewick will award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to the more than 800 graduates who are expected to attend.

Rick Cohen, of Keene, is the third person in his family to lead the company, which was founded by his grandfather in 1918. C&S; is the second largest wholesale grocer in the country and the eighth largest privately owned U.S. company, with revenues of over $13 billion. Much of the company’s success has come about through Cohen’s innovative business practices, such as developing more efficient distribution and warehouse management systems.

Cohen and C&S; have made many donations to community causes and to educational institutions. “Fighting hunger in our communities” is the focus of the C&S; Corporate Giving Program. Each Thanksgiving, C&S; donates more than 2,000 turkeys to community kitchens and food banks across the country, and the company sponsors Feed the Thousands, a project that benefits the Brattleboro Drop-in Center.

The Cohen family and C&S; Grocers have given Keene State some of the largest non-bequest gifts in its history, for the College’s new Science Center project and to expand the educational offerings of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies.

Cohen serves on the board of directors of the Food Marketing Institute and is a member of the World Presidents Organization. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Assumption College, Mass., in 1994.

Described by The Boston Globe as “part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson,” Sy Montgomery, of Hancock, N.H., is a widely published environmental writer. For her most recent book, Search for the Golden Moon Bear (2002), Montgomery traveled through heavily land-mined forests in Southeast Asia. Her group discovered five new species of large mammals, including the golden bear and a 200-pound antelope. Her book was named one of the top five non-fiction books of the year by Book Magazine and honored as one of the top ten science books of the year by Booklist.

Montgomery has written six nonfiction books for adults and five books on natural history for children. She wrote and narrated a documentary for National Geographic “Explorer” based on her book Spell of the Tiger, a study of tigers in Bengal. Her popular nature column for The Boston Globe has been collected into several books, including The Wild Out Your Window: Exploring Nature Near at Hand (2002), and she is a regular contributor to NPR’s “Living on Earth” show.

Montgomery serves on the board of trustees of the Rainforest Conservation Fund and is an advisor to the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation at the Antioch/New England Institute. In 2003 she was honored with the Edward Hyde Cox Medal for work that “advances the well-being of animals and acknowledges the power and beauty of the relationship that humans share with them” by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Commencement ceremony is the culmination of graduation activities at Keene State. On Saturday, May 8, the Spring Honors Convocation will be held at 5 p.m. in the Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. “Emerging Art: The Annual Art Student Exhibition” will be on display at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

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