SUNY Chancellor Announces the Inaugural Dr. Virginia Radley SUNY Fellow

August 18, 2023

Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik at SUNY Brockport Selected to Research the Significant Impact Women Have Had on the Development of New York State 

A Photo of Dr. Garner Masarik Can Be Found Here 

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik, an assistant professor of history at SUNY Brockport, as the inaugural fellow for the Dr. Virginia Radley SUNY Fellowship Program. The fellowship was announced in March of 2023 in honor of Women’s History Month. Through this fellowship, Dr. Garner Masarik will have the opportunity to research the significant role women have played in the development of New York State and to recognize the contributions of women leaders in this state and the region.

Dr. Garner Masarik’s primary research has focused largely on women’s history and reform movements in the United States. While doing work for Dig: A History Podcast, which she co-produces, Dr. Garner Masarik discovered a link between women’s rights activists of the 19th century and unconventional religious practices. She plans to utilize the grant awarded through the fellowship to visit archives across the country as she delves deep into the lives of these New York State spiritualist women. 

"New York State's growth owes a great deal to the invaluable contributions of women, yet their triumphs have often been under discussed or even ignored in historical accounts. At SUNY, we remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion; part of doing so is creating fellowships like this one, which honors the legacy of the first woman to be appointed as a SUNY state-operated campus president," said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. "Throughout her fellowship, Dr. Garner Masarik will work to explain how history can enlighten us on the connections between religion and the Women’s Rights Movement in New York State. Her research will lay the groundwork for future fellows who will seek to tell the story of the significant contributions women have made to New York State."   

SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said, "I want to congratulate Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik on earning this prestigious fellowship. The fact that she is the first recipient of this fellowship speaks volumes about her research and its impact. SUNY Brockport is proud to serve as her academic home. We are a university engaged with our community, and Dr. Masarik’s scholarship is a great example of this connection. Her work will continue to have an impact on the people of New York State, as she shines a light on more women who fought so fiercely for the right to vote." 

"I am very honored to receive the inaugural Dr. Virginia Radley Fellowship," said Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik, the inaugural fellow. "This award will help me uncover and share the integral but unsung work of a cadre of New York State women suffragists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I’m looking forward to sharing this new research with the SUNY community."

About Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik  

Dr. Elizabeth Garner Masarik is an Assistant Professor of U.S. Women’s History at SUNY Brockport. She is the author of the forthcoming book The Sentimental State: How Women-led Reform Built the American Welfare State, published by University of Georgia Press. She is a co-founder and producer of the award-winning podcast Dig: A History Podcast and a co-author of the forthcoming book Spiritualisms Place: A Reflective History of Lily Dale, New York. Her article, "Por la Raza, Para la Raza: Jovita Idar and Progressive-era Mexicana Maternalism in the Texas-Mexican Border," published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly won the A. Elizabeth Taylor Article Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians.  She received her PhD from the University at Buffalo and her BA from the University of Texas at Austin.

About the Dr. Virginia Radley SUNY Fellowship 

Named in honor of the first woman to be appointed as a SUNY state-operated campus president, the Dr. Virginia Radley SUNY Fellowship Program provides support for a SUNY faculty member with scholarly expertise in history. The commemoration of SUNY’s 75th anniversary is an opportunity to discover, celebrate, and elevate the history of women’s leadership in New York State. The Fellowship will explore women’s roles and leadership in the development of New York State—including SUNY’s founding, evolution, and growth—and amplify these narratives to SUNY and broader communities. 

About Dr. Virginia Radley 

Dr. Virginia Radley was president of SUNY Oswego from 1977 until 1988. Dr. Radley was also the first provost and executive vice president at the campus. She reinforced and sustained SUNY Oswego’s commitment to student success and academic excellence, while also piloting the college’s honors program to attract talented students. Dr. Radley led the college through the tumultuous financial times of the late 1970s. 

During her tenure, she increased the number of women faculty and staff by 45 percent to ensure women were more properly represented across the college, and increased enrollment of students from underserved communities. Dr. Radley earned degrees at several institutions including Russell Sage College, the University of Rochester, and Syracuse University. She also served as a professor of English and dean at both Russell Sage College and Nazareth College. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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