Dr. D. Gail Saunders

Bahamian Dignitary Gail Saunders to Visit Hartwick College

November 9, 2010

Dr. D. Gail Saunders, Director-General of Heritage for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, will be the keynote speaker for this year's Cyrus Mehri Global Pluralism Lecture at Hartwick College. She also will be honored as the recipient of the International Fellow medal from the American Society of Freedmen Descendants, a venue of the United States Colored Troops Institute at Hartwick College. Saunders' presentation will be on Monday, November 15 at 7 p.m. in Stack Lounge, Dewar Union, on the Hartwick campus.

"We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Saunders to the Hartwick College campus," said Michael Tannenbaum, Hartwick College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. "Her extensive background of important work speaks for itself, and she is a perfect choice to deliver The Cyrus Mehri Global Pluralism Lecture. Dr. Saunders' address will be an exciting opportunity for our students and the public to hear from someone who has been on the front lines of critical pluralism work throughout her career."

Saunders received her early education at Queen's College. In 1966, she graduated with an honors degree in history from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. She earned a post-graduate certificate in education from the University of Leicester in 1967. Two years later she received training in archives and records management at University College, London. In 1978 she was awarded a master of philosophy degree in history by the University of the West Indies. In May 1985, the University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada, awarded her a Ph.D. in history. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies in 2004.

Dr. Saunders taught at the Government High School between 1967 and 1968. She is Director General of Heritage, Department of Archives, Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, The Bahamas. She has worked in the Archives since 1969 having served as Public Records Officer, (1970-1971) Archivist, Chief Archivist (1971-1983), Director of Archives (1983-2004) and Director General of Heritage 2004-present. She served as President of the Bahamas Historical Society from 1989 to 1999 and served as Deputy Chairman of the Bahamas' National Commission for the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of the New World. She was President (2000-02) and former Secretary of the Association of Caribbean Historians (1986-1992) and a former President (1974-79), Secretary, and Treasurer of the Caribbean Archives Association.

She is the author or more than a dozen books on the Bahamas and Bahamian history. Among other awards and honors, Saunders was granted the Silver Jubilee Award for History by the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 1998. She received the award of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of The British Empire (OBE) in Her Majesty The Queen's 2003 New Year's Honours.

The Cyrus Mehri Global Pluralism Fellowship is named in honor of Hartwick alumnus Cyrus Mehri '83, Esq., who in 1996 made history by winning the largest racial discrimination case in the United States against Texaco and again in 2000 settled a $192.5 million case with Coke. He funded the fellowship in 2008 with the aim to promote pluralism at Hartwick College by funding an annual undertaking by a Hartwick student to plan events geared toward global pluralism. This year's recipient of the fellowship is Brittanie Kemp '11, a Biochemistry major at Hartwick College.

"As this year's recipient of the Fellowship, I am honored that Dr. Saunders will bring her expertise to the United States with an engaging discussion on the role of African musical and religious influence on modern Bahamian culture. In light of this, the ASFD will bestow its highest honor upon Dr. Saunders for her lifetime involvement in documenting and preserving the history of the people of the Bahamas," Kemp said.

Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Associate Dean and Director of U.S. Pluralism Programs, serves as Kemp's faculty mentor for the fellowship. He is the founding president of the USCT Institute and ASFD.

The public is invited to the event and those planning to are asked to RSVP to Kemp at or Matthews at

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030