SUNY Geneseo Confers Honorary Doctorate to Professor Esther Conwell

May 29, 2009

At its graduation ceremony on May 16, SUNY Geneseo awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Esther Conwell, University of Rochester Professor of Physics and Chemistry. Conwell is best known for her research in semiconductor physics and transistor design, efforts that propelled her to the forefront of the birth of the computer revolution.

In 2002, Discover Magazine listed Professor Conwell as one of the 50 most important women in the history of science for her significant role in understanding how electrons move through silicon and other semiconductors. In 1997, she became the first woman to receive the Thomas A. Edison medal, a major award from the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE). Past winners of the IEEE award include Alexander Graham Bell, Nicolai Tesla, and George Westinghouse.

During the award ceremony, SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl explained that "Geneseo is proud to award an honorary doctorate to Professor Conwell because of her extraordinary professional accomplishments and her longtime commitment to reducing barriers for women in science. She is an exemplar of intellectual curiosity in and of itself and as a spur to invention."