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Author and 1971 Alumna Lauren Belfer to Speak at Buffalo Seminary's 2012 Commencement
Posted 03/19/2012 03:06PM

Buffalo Seminary's Class of 2012 has selected Lauren Belfer, a graduate from the Class of 1971, to be its speaker for the school's 161st Commencement, to be held on Tuesday, June 12, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Lauren’s most recent visit to Sem was when she gave a presentation for the 2011 National Preservation Conference.

Senior Class President Ivey Spier ’12 said, “Our class is grateful to have such an impressive speaker with ties to our school. We feel very proud.”

Head of School Jody Douglass said, “It is an honor for Sem to have Lauren as the Commencement speaker this year. I know her message to our graduates will inspire them as they prepare for a new chapter in their academic careers." 

Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, N.Y., and grew up in Buffalo. After graduating from Sem in 1971, she earned her undergraduate degree in medieval studies from Swarthmore College and her master of fine arts degree from Columbia University.

Lauren Belfer's senior portrait from the 1971 Seminaria yearbook

Her 1999 debut novel, City of Light, was set in Buffalo during the 1901 Pan-American Exposition and centered on the fictitious Macaulay School for Girls, inspired by Lauren’s memories of her alma mater. The novel became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into seven languages.

Lauren’s second novel, A Fierce Radiance, was named a Washington Post Best Novel of 2010 and an NPR Best Mystery of 2010. Her fiction has also been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Henfield Prize Stories. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, the Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

Buffalo Seminary's 161st Commencement will begin at 4 p.m. at Westminster Church, 724 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. Although Sem is nonreligious, holding graduation at Westminster, a Presbyterian church founded in 1854 and located in downtown Buffalo, has been a longstanding tradition. In past years, Sem’s graduation has also been held at Temple Beth Zion and Trinity Lutheran Church.

We are thrilled to welcome Lauren back to Western New York, and we look forward to her address to the Class of 2012 on June 12!

Buffalo Seminary, or Sem, is located at 205 Bidwell Parkway in the historic Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y. Founded in 1851, Sem is Western New York’s only independent high school for girls, and the only all-girls school in the area with a residential program. We offer an independent, nonsectarian, college-preparatory curriculum and are a member of The New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Sem is also a charter affiliate member of The Online School for Girls (OSG). To learn more, visit

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