Stanley Andrisse, an endocrinologist, professor and author whose life experience has made him an advocate for the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated people, will be the featured speaker at Union’s Commencement, College officials have announced.
Approximately 500 students in the Class of 2023 will receive degrees during the ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, June 11, on Hull Plaza.
Andrisse is an endocrinologist and assistant professor at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., whose research focuses on the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
He is also founder and executive director of the non-profit Prison-to-Professionals (P2P), which seeks to change the lives of people with criminal convictions through advocacy, mentoring and policy.
He will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.
“Dr. Andrisse has had an impactful career as a researcher investigating the treatment of diabetes, as an educator teaching the next generation of medical professionals, and as a champion for providing opportunities for some of the most vulnerable members of society,” said David R. Harris, president of Union College. “His personal story offers a strong message about the importance of education and opportunity for some of the most marginalized among us, those who have been punished for crimes and are seeking a better life.”
Andrisse is the author of From Prison Cells to PhD: It Is Never Too Late To Do Good, published by Simon & Schuster in 2021.
He was on campus last fall for two well-received talks, a seminar on insulin resistance and a policy talk on his work with P2P.
In 2017, he was named JustLeadership’s Leading with Conviction Fellow. In this capacity, he is working to reduce the prison population by 50 percent by 2030.
Besides his work with P2P, his service includes board member on the Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network (FICGN), past president of the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association, founder of the Diversity Postdoctoral Alliance and member on several local and national committees aimed at community outreach. He also serves as a youth mentor, motivational speaker and community activist.
As a young man growing up in Ferguson-Florissant, Mo., Andrisse made some bad decisions that would eventually lead him to a conviction and 10-year sentence for drug trafficking. During his incarceration, he said, he did a lot of reading, writing and soul searching. After many letters to judges and corrections officials, he enrolled in a drug treatment program.
Andrisse attended Lindenwood University, where he played football and received bachelor’s and MBA degrees. Upon his release from prison, he was accepted to a doctoral program at Saint Louis University, and completed his Ph.D. in 2014. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.
Prison-to-Professionals operates networks of tutors and mentors in 22 states to help P2P scholars obtain college education and professional careers. The organization cites studies that show dramatic drops in recidivism for those who obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The non-profit also advocates for legislation to address college access and grant eligibility.