INVASION OF PRIVACY: Larry Blackman finds fulfillment and happiness at Geneseo

Larry Blackman is a man of many identities. He is a professor, family man, philosopher, published genealogist, and now the acting chair of the political science department. As a professor at Geneseo since 1973, Blackman has taught a handful of philosophy courses, ranging from Introduction to Philosophy to Theory of Knowledge. He also teaches Humanities, INTD 105, and Genealogy.

Blackman graduated from the University of Kansas in 1963 with a B.A. in philosophy. He studied abroad in Germany, at the University of Marburg, where he spent his extracurricular time playing sports. A successful golfer, Blackman won a tournament at the Livingstone Country Club in 1979. Blackman playfully boasts his "mediocre" basketball skills, but more importantly stresses his enjoyment of the game. He also enjoys watching football and tennis.

In 1968, Blackman attended Union Theology Seminary where he underwent training to become a Presbyterian minister. However, "through religion I came to philosophy," he said; and that is where his passion remained. Blackman earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1976.

"Luck drew me here," Blackman said, referring to his position at Geneseo. At an American Philosophy Association convention in Boston, he obtained an interview for one of two job openings at Geneseo. Blackman said he got the job through "some quirk of fate," and "it's been a nice fit ever since. I love the department, the people and the courses I get to teach."

The study and research of genealogy is one of Blackman's most interesting hobbies. He has published a large volume of his family history, in which he traced his mother's maiden name, Timberlake, back to Virginia during the early 17th century. He also found a link to fame in his relationship to Jennifer Aniston, whose step-mother is first cousin once-removed to Blackman's mother. Blackman was president of the Rochester Genealogy Society from 1999 to 2001, and is now president of Sons of the American Revolution, an assembly of men who can trace their lineage back to those who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Blackman, raised in the hot Kansas climate, now lives in the temperate environment of suburban Rochester. He has a step-son who is a Geneseo alumnus, a son, a daughter, and is married to Fran, a retired secretary of Geneseo's geology department. "I'm very fortunate," he said, "I have a nice job, and a nice family. Some things don't always work out so well for everyone. I am truly grateful for what I have."

Blackman said he could retire now but hopes to continue working for as many as five more years. "Teaching is my main occupation here. I get to teach students the same things I find interesting and important. What could be better?" Blackman asked. "My goal," he said, "is to carry the mace at graduation," an honored tradition that is bestowed upon the professor who has taught at Geneseo for the longest time.