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Poet McNair and Holocaust Scholar Eliach Will Speak to KSC Grads

KEENE, N.H. 4/28/03 - Holocaust scholar Yaffa Eliach and renowned poet Wesley McNair will address graduates and receive honorary doctorates at the Keene State College Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 11. 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 800 graduates who are expected to attend.

McNair, who graduated from KSC in 1963, is the author of seven collections of poetry and the editor of two anthologies of contemporary Maine writing. His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, and it has appeared in the Pushcart Prize Annual, two editions of The Best American Poetry, and over 45 anthologies and textbooks. Currently a visiting professor in creative writing at Colby College, McNair directs the creative writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington. Among his many achievements are serving on the nominating jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2002 and writing the script for a recent PBS series on Robert Frost, which later received an Emmy Award.

Eliach, a pioneering scholar in Holocaust studies, is best known for her three-story “Tower of Life” in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This soaring display of photographs commemorates the lives of 3,500 Jews from Eishyshok, Eliach’s home in Lithuania, who were murdered in the Nazi occupation of 1941.

Earning her Ph.D. in 1973 from the Graduate School of the City University of New York, Eliach founded the Center for Holocaust Documentation and Research in 1974 - the first such institution in the U.S. - and eventually became a professor of history and literature in the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College. Among her publications are There Once Was a World, We Were Children Just Like You, The Liberators, Eyewitness Accounts of the Liberation of the Concentration Camps, and Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust.

The Commencement ceremony is the culmination of graduation activities at Keene State. On Saturday, May 10, the Spring Honors Convocation will be held at 5 p.m. in the Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. Also on Saturday, a baccalaureate ceremony, sponsored by the Newman Center, Hillel, and KSC Campus Ministry, will begin at 8 p.m. in the Alumni Recital Hall of the Redfern Arts Center. “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.

For more information, visit the KSC web site at

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