Senator Clinton Connects with Genesee Community College Student

Barbara Falker-Crandall never dreamed that a passing remark made two years ago during Senator Hillary Clinton’s visit to Genesee Community College would make an impression. Falker-Crandall got the chance to meet Senator Clinton while the former First Lady was at the college to deliver the 2006 commencement address.

In a brief conversation during a reception, Barb mentioned that she had written a children’s book and was looking to have it published. Two years later, Senator Clinton sent Barb a follow-up letter to inquire about her progress with the book and wishing her success with the undertaking.

“I was stunned,” Barb said. “I couldn’t believe that she remembered that conversation, and my name, and made the effort to send a letter two years later. It was very thoughtful of her and it is very special for me.”

Falker-Crandall has worked hard to get where she is today, a place where even busy politicians take notice. She endured significant personal and medical hardships throughout her studies at Genesee. She was diagnosed and surgically treated for Cushings disease (hypercortisolism) and also broke her foot. Though now married, she was a single mother through part of her academic studies and successfully navigated through and out of an unhealthy abusive relationship. This experience helped Barb focus her career aspirations.

Barbara, a resident of Oakfield, NY, is currently enrolled at Genesee Community College studying Computer Information Systems. She graduated with a degree in Human Services in 2006, also from Genesee. A Dean’s List student, she was elected to Phi Theta Kappa, the College’s Honor Society.

In fact, it was her involvement in the Honors program that gave Barb the inspiration for her book. Following the theme of diversity, she titled her book DiverCity and reveals a child’s discovery of a city where the children are different colors, yet they all like ice cream, playgrounds, puppies, and love their mommies and daddies. The book was illustrated by her eldest daughter, Despina.

“I took my granddaughter to the playground one day and she had such a good time playing with the other children. To her there were no differences; she only saw the ways they were the same,” Barb said. “I wanted to capture the way the world looked through my granddaughter’s eyes in my book.”

Outside the classroom, Barb has completed 27 hours of CASAC’s, graduated from the New York State Victims Assistance Academy, served as a case manager for the Genesee County Domestic Violence Unit through the YWCA of Batavia, and earned the privilege to act as a Mandated Reporter. As an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia, Barb is an integral part of the planning groups for fundraising and local community service projects; she is scheduled to accede to the office of President after the next club year.

Barb is still looking for a publisher for her book. In the meantime, she has been accepted to SUNY Brockport, where she plans to pursue a degree in Social Work beginning in Fall 2008.

For more information contact Donna Rae Sutherland, Associate Director of Marketing Communications at Genesee Community College, at 585-343-0055 x6616.

Editor’s Note: A photograph of Barbara Falker-Crandall is available by going to: