Ramapo supervisor still waiting to hear of Harvard degree status

By JAMES WALSH
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original Publication: October 20, 2005)

RAMAPO Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence's biography that included a reference to his graduation from Harvard University was removed yesterday from the town's Web site.

Harvard has no record of his completing the requirements for a bachelor's degree despite his enrollment for six years.

"We've taken it off until we can get clarification of this," St. Lawrence said yesterday. "In the meantime, we took that off the Web site."

St. Lawrence said Oct. 6 that he needed a week to make a written request for a search of Harvard's archives and to determine why there was no record of his graduation.

He said yesterday that he had not learned anything new.

"No, they have still not dug out my records," St. Lawrence said. "I know nothing more. They haven't told me any more."

St. Lawrence has said that while he participated in the 1979 commencement exercise, he needed to complete one more course, and that he returned to Harvard in the fall of 1979.

He did not recall what course he took and said he had never seen his diploma.

St. Lawrence did not respond yesterday when asked if he had since found his diploma, which he previously said he thought had been mailed to his parents.

It could not be determined if the college received any written request from St. Lawrence, but the Registrar's Office was unmoved in its determination that he did not graduate.

"He did not receive his degree," Rachel Lund, a member of the registrar's staff, said Tuesday.

The college's records showed only that he studied for his bachelor's degree in government from 1969 to 1973 and again from 1977 to 1979.

Barbara Schnur of Chestnut Ridge said the question of St. Lawrence's graduation was a concern.

"It's one of his qualifications," Schnur said. "His graduation is a qualification."

Gladys Fincher wondered why the Ramapo Web site, which up to yesterday stated that St. Lawrence had graduated from Harvard, simply hadn't said he attended the college and studied government.

"It would make me question his integrity a little bit," Fincher said, if St. Lawrence did not graduate.

Rockland Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Monte has defended St. Lawrence, saying he believed the supervisor had graduated and questions about it were politically motivated.