Laurel Massé ‘05 Received the Distinguished Alumni Award

Vocalist Laurel Massé, founding member of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer, is an internationally recognized solo artist now celebrating her 40th year as a professional singer. She is held in high esteem by audiences, critics and fellow musicians as both a performing and recording artist, and is also a sought-after teacher, speaker and writer.

She appears frequently on television and radio, and was the creator and host of “The Laurel Massé Jazz Show,” which ran for two years on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Her numerous television appearances include Mary Tyler Moore’s 1974 television special “Mary’s Incredible Dream” and the “Manhattan Transfer Show” on CBS-TV in 1975.

In 2004 she was recognized for her contribution to music when she, along with the four current members of the Manhattan Transfer, received the prized Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Lifetime Achievement Award and she was nominated Major Jazz Artist of 2006.

Massé graduated from the college’s Hudson Valley Centerin 2005 with a B.A. in the arts.

College alumni, such as Ben Fernandez, Laurel Massé and Walter Dean Myers, are a cornerstone for the college, and faculty mentors such as Emil Moxey are the bedrock upon which all our success is built,” said former Acting President Meg Benke. “Their achievements highlight the importance of celebrating diversity in our society and the college takes great pride in honoring them.”
"I am very grateful to Empire State College for this honor and for providing me with the opportunity to earn my college degree," said Fernandez.
“ESC opened a door I had long thought to be closed; my mentor, Steve Lewis, guided me through it,” said Massé. “I will always be grateful for the freedom of being encouraged and expected to explore the ideas that mattered to me in a way that I could not have done in a more conventional academic setting."