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Stony Brook University Celebrates 25 Years of Underrepresented Graduate Student Achievement

W burghardt turner

Stony Brook University Celebrates 25 Years of Underrepresented Graduate Student Achievement

Dr. W. Burghardt Turner Fellowship Program Set for Oct. 5; keynote address by Dr. Frances Colόn, Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

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Dr. W. Burghardt Turner

STONY BROOK, NY, September 27, 2012 – The Graduate School at Stony Brook University will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Dr. W. Burghardt Turner Fellowship program at Stony Brook University on October 5, 2012. Part conference, part reunion, the celebration will be comprised of several presentations by alumni and current fellows in a variety of formats including panel discussions, research symposia, reflection talks, a networking fair, and a diversity exhibition. The event also features a special guest speaker, Frances Colόn, PhD,  Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The event will culminate with an evening gala that will serve as both a celebration of the 25th anniversary and a welcome for Stony Brook’s 2012 Turner Fellows.
The Turner Fellowship Program is Stony Brook University’s branch of the SUNY-wide Graduate Diversity Fellowship Program. Established in 1987 by the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and administered by the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the fellowship addresses inequalities in graduate education by providing support to outstanding candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds to encourage their successful completion of Doctoral, Professional and Masters Degrees at SUNY Campuses. 

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Frances Colon, PhD

Stony Brook University named its branch of the program after the late Dr. W. Burghardt Turner, emeritus professor of history at Stony Brook and influential advocate for Civil Rights on Long Island. Dr. Turner, or “Burg” as he was called, was known for his tireless struggle for human and civil rights on Long Island including considerable efforts to help establish the Suffolk County chapter of the NAACP. During his time on campus he was “Professor” Turner, not “Dr.” Turner. Burg was pursuing a doctoral degree in History when the need to support his young family overshadowed this pursuit. Unfortunately, due to many of the economic and social obstacles that the Turner Fellowship now works to overcome, Burg was unable to finish his dissertation. In 2007, Stony Brook University granted Burg a well-deserved Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters who, after all those years of unrelenting advocacy toward improving social issues affecting minorities, accomplished what many had considered to be an injustice until then, earned his right to be called Dr. Turner.
The Turner Fellowship Program has given over 500 talented minority students the opportunity to achieve their academic dreams of completing an advanced degree without compromising their goals due to the economic and social challenges that Dr. Turner faced in his time. Since its inception, the Turner Program has supported its fellows with funding, programming, mentorship, and career development support to ensure fellows achieve this dream. Turner Fellows have gone on to prestigious careers in the academy, in industry, and in public service; they live and work in 14 countries around the world and serve in a variety of disciplines including the biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine, humanities, engineering, and the arts. The emphasis on community and mentoring fostered by the Turner Program has resulted in an ethos of service and mentorship among former Turners who now, as faculty members and community leaders, are committed to nurturing the next generation of scholars and helping to build a future that embodies the ideals of inclusion and support that stem from their experiences as Turner Fellows.
“Once a Turner, Always a Turner: Turner Strength in Self, the Community, and the Academy,” will present an opportunity to highlight the work that Turner Alumni engage in to foster this same sense of community, service, and academic excellence in their own careers. Deadline for advance tickets is Friday, September 28; tickets will continue to be available at the door. For more information contact the Turner Fellowship office at 631-632-9560 or visit the Turner Web site at



© Stony Brook University 2012

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