Professor's new book immortalizes Geneseo history

Yesterday at the Big Tree Inn, Wayne Mahood, professor emeritus of education at Geneseo, held a reception celebrating his new book, "SUNY Geneseo: From Normal School to Public Ivy 1871-2007."

The book, which explores the school's evolution over its 138 years of history, features a foreword by President Christopher Dahl, who wrote, "In the context of college history writing at Geneseo, this volume is a major event."

Mahood and the College History Committee spent over four years and thousands of hours on the project, described in the book's introduction as "an attempt to preserve the history of a college that has transformed itself from a normal school to a public ivy."

The volume is the result of efforts by the committee to collect and preserve Geneseo's collective experience, but according to Judith Bushnell, librarian and archivist emeritus, the credit does not belong entirely to the committee; student-produced yearbooks and Lamron archives were instrumental to the research. "We owe much to the other people who preserved history along the way," Bushnell said. "Including the students."

The book's introduction describes the committee as five major Geneseo community members who "met frequently and laughed more frequently." In addition to Mahood and Bushnell, the group was comprised of Fred Bright, professor emeritus of health, physical education and recreation, James McNally, retired director of institutional research, and Paul Hepler, professor emeritus and former chairman of art. Mahood said the "committee was the most talented and committed" group with whom he has ever worked.

Bright, who died on Nov. 18, 2008, prior to the book's completion, was honored at the reception. The committee described him as the crux of the group and reminisced over the insight, enjoyment and balance he brought to the project. "I learned patience from him," said McNally.

Despite Bright's absence, the overall tone of the reception was celebratory, and the committee members expressed their relief and satisfaction at the book's completion. "I'm so pleased that it's finally come to fruition," Mahood said.

"SUNY Geneseo: From Normal School to Public Ivy 1871-2007" is on sale now and can be ordered online at, by phone from the Campus Auxiliary Service's Business Office at extension 5648, by mail or in person at CAS's Business Office in Blake A, Room 108.