Righting a wrong
It would have been easy for Warren Sutton to be angry at the treatment he received at the hands of some Alfred University officials nearly 60 years ago. An African-American basketball player from Chester, PA, Sutton began dating Dorothy Lebohner, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed first-year nursing student whose father was the treasurer of the University. Warren left school mid-way through the fall semester, fearing that if he didn’t, he would be expelled.
When I reached out to Warren with an apology, nearly a year ago now, I didn’t know what to expect. I only knew that as the incoming president of Alfred University, I needed to try to make it right. Warren’s response, his lack of animosity toward the University, his understanding that the actions of a few did not represent the sentiment of the whole, were more than I expected, proving that Warren Sutton is a class act.
Tomorrow, Alfred University, at the suggestion of Les Gelber, the chairman of the Board of Trustees and with the unanimous approval of the entire board, will award Warren an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in an effort to make amends.
Warren’s story has garnered a great deal of attention – front page in the Buffalo News and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, a similar article on Syracuse.com and in the Syracuse Post-Journal, a mention in Inside Higher Ed, a web site that provides higher education news daily. And more to come, we are sure.
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