The Alumni Magazine of American International College
Glendora Vesta Folsom Buell â€™50, the creator, producer, and host of America's longest running public access television show, takes time to chat with AIC.
Fall 2016 | Volume 8 | Issue 4
From the President We are living in a unique moment in our country’s history, a time of unprecedented technological advancement, of significant cultural challenge, and of ever-accelerating change in almost every aspect of our daily lives. What does this mean for those of us responsible for preparing the students of today to become the citizens of tomorrow? What is the role of a liberal arts education in our interconnected, global society? This issue of Lucent focuses on these questions. First, I am pleased to tell you that we have completed our renovation of the first floor of the James J. Shea Sr. Memorial Library. This new Learning Commons area is the first significant upgrade to the building since 1980, and it has transformed the facility into a true twenty-first century academic center, complete with modernized collaborative study spaces, updated technology, and an on-site café. As with the renovation of our Dining Commons last year, the response across campus has been overwhelmingly positive. Smaller projects, such as a renovation to Adams Hall’s entrance, which made the second oldest building on campus more easily accessible to those with disabilities, have a similar aim—to provide a more open, welcoming, and supportive environment for every member of the AIC community. Like a stone thrown into a still lake, the effects of what we do to support and prepare our students ripple outward as our graduates leave campus to pursue their careers.
EDITORIAL BOARD Heather Cahill Bob Cole Candy Lash EDITOR Bob Cole SENIOR WRITER Michael Reid CONTRIBUTORS John Driscoll Candy Lash Seth Kaye Sarah Kirkpatrick Leonard Underwood ON THE COVER Glendora Vesta Folsom Buell ’50 Written by Ellen Dooley Photos by Stephanie Craig
We see the proof of that in the exceptional work being done by our current students, in the alumni who have gone on to start local businesses and take on leadership roles in their communities, in the dedication shown by our entire faculty and staff, and finally, in the support and generosity shown by each of you. AIC’s mission has always been to transform lives through an education based on personal fulfillment, professional achievement, and civic engagement. I am proud that those are not just words on a page, but rather a resolve at the heart of our community. I wish you all a happy, safe, and relaxing holiday season. Sincerely,
Vince Maniaci President
What have you been up to? Join AIC’s Alumni Facebook and LinkedIn pages and follow us on Twitter. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 413.205.3520. Please send any comments or suggestions about this publication to editor@ aic.edu. We’d love to hear from you!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Features 7
Answering the Call: A Look at AIC’s School of Health Sciences
Meet AIC’s Health Crusader
The Heart of a Campus Restored
The (Not So) Small Improvements to Adams Hall
A Chat with Glendora
Son of Springfield
The Lost Art of Duckpin Bowling
A Company with Sole
AIC Inducts Its First Lifetime LEADers
Above L-R: AIC freshman football player Trevor Angeletti #57, AIC President Vince Maniaci, and AIC freshman football player Hunter Baillie #56 did some heavy lifting as they participated in the College’s back-to-school Move In Day.
Go Yellow Jackets!
American International College | 1
| CAMPUS UPDATE |
AIC and New England Public Radio Announce Partnership
American International College recently entered into a partnership with New England Public Radio (NEPR) that administrators say will both benefit students at the College and enhance news network coverage for NEPR. As part of its agreement with AIC, New England Public Radio will offer educational seminars on media practices to AIC students each academic year. The station will also work with AIC faculty to design credit-earning curriculum that 2 | Higher Dedication
complies with AICâ€™s academic standards. Topics being considered for the seminars include the art of recording conversations, conducting research and interviews, drafting interview questions, voice techniques, and other fundamental skills and journalistic practices. NEPR will host the seminars at one of their two Springfield facilities. In addition, AIC students will join students from the Five College Consortium (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke,
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and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts) and Berkshire Community College in participating in NEPR’s paid internship program. The program offers an opportunity to work in one of several station departments, including the newsroom, marketing, and programming. “This exciting collaboration will provide our students with access to New England Public Radio right here in Springfield,” says AIC President Vince Maniaci. “They will benefit academically and gain real-life experience with a well-respected organization.” For NEPR, the partnership provides a new FM option for the NEPR News Network, the station’s all-news programming, which will now be broadcast on WAIC 91.9FM, as well as on AM640. This gives the News Network a range that extends from Great Barrington to Worcester, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut to Brattleboro, Vermont. “This partnership with American International College is extremely exciting for NEPR,” says Martin Miller, NEPR’s CEO and general manager. “This will be the first time the NEPR News Network has broadcast on an FM station in Hampden County. Utilizing WAIC, along with the other five FM stations in our news network, means that we have complete FM coverage in all four counties of Western Massachusetts, and into Enfield, Connecticut. And with WNNZ AM 640, even greater coverage into Connecticut, Albany, New York, and southern, Vermont.” The NEPR News Network offers fresh perspectives on breaking stories from around the world, and a deeper connection to what is happening locally through a diverse range of public radio programs that offer well-balanced reporting, in-depth interviews, call-in discussions with listeners from around the world, and thoughtful conversations on diverse topics. Added Miller, “We’re grateful to President Maniaci, Executive Vice President for Administration Mark Berman, their colleagues, and AIC’s Board of Trustees for bringing this [partnership] to fruition.” n
Photos courtesy of NEPR
American International College | 3
2016 Inductees into the Co-Curricular Hall of Fame Announced
Standout students become accomplished alumni AIC’s Co-Curricular Hall of Fame announced its 2016 inductees during this year’s Homecoming Weekend. The Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who made a significant impact on campus life as student leaders. These alumni serve to inspire our current student leaders through sharing of their experiences as students and their success as professionals. Guershon Cherilien majored in criminal justice and sociology and graduated with honors. Guershon graduated from the State of NJ Department of Law and Public Safety Division of Criminal Justice Academy in 2015 and received the Mentor Award while at the police academy. He is employed by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office as a homicide detective. Renee Forzano Considine majored in communications. Renee returned to AIC for a master’s degree and CAGS in school counseling. Renee is a guidance counselor at Minnechaug Regional High School. She will return to AIC spring semester to teach in the XCP program. Paula Jondro majored in special education. She is a behavior special education teacher in Raymond, Maine. Gregory Farrell majored in management information systems. Gregory is the director of the Learning Resource Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City, providing academic support services for the College population of more than 26,000 students. n
(Back) Brian O’Shaughnessy, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; (Front, L-R) Guershon Cherilien ’01, MS ’03; Renee Forzano Considine ’01; Paula Kuter Jondro ’01; Gregory Farrell ’96, MBA ’98
AIC Schools Receive Reaffirmation of Accreditation The Board of Commissioners of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) recently granted a reaffirmation of accreditation to the business and management programs offered through American International College’s School of Business, Arts, and Sciences and the former School of Graduate and Adult Education. The IACBE, a leader in mission-driven and outcomesbased programmatic accreditation, has hundreds of member institutions and campuses worldwide. In a statement regarding the accreditation, IACBE noted, “The School of Business, Arts, and Sciences and the School of Graduate and Adult Education at American International College have undertaken a rigorous self-evaluation, have undergone a comprehensive independent peer review, and have 4 | Higher Dedication
demonstrated compliance with the accreditation principals of the IACBE.” When determining accreditation, the IACBE looks at nine factors, including outcome assessment, strategic planning, curriculum, faculty, scholarly and professional activities, resources, internal and external relationships, international business education, and educational innovation. The IACBE further stated that AIC’s programs “have demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement, excellence in business education, and advancing academic quality in their business programs and operations.” The organization has accredited more than 1,300 business and business-related programs in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Central America, and South America. n
AIC Named Among Fastest Growing Colleges The Chronicle of Higher Education has named American International College (AIC) one of the fastest growing colleges in the United States for the fifth time. Among private, nonprofit master’s institutions, AIC placed among the top 20 colleges and universities in the country, ranking sixteenth, with a nearly 124% growth rate. AIC is the only Massachusetts college or university to place in this category and outpaced the national average growth rate of 21.7% by more than 100%. AIC has more than doubled its enrollment over a ten year span, 2004-2014. In a categorical comparison to other colleges and universities in Massachusetts, Bay Path University ranked seventeenth in private baccalaureate institutions with an 82.6% growth rate, and Elms ranked eighteenth in the same category with a growth rate of 78.3%.
“We believe that a college education is more than academic and intellectual growth,” says President Vince Maniaci. At AIC, we are committed to the personal, spiritual, and professional development of our students. We identify trends, and explore and develop programs that will provide our students with a foundation upon which they can build to reach their full potential. This is a competitive and rapidly changing world. We make every effort to help our students compete successfully in that environment and are proud to be recognized for our efforts.” n
AIC Ranks in the Top 10 Massachusetts Colleges for Starting Salaries A recent study conducted by the finance technology firm SmartAsset™ named American International College among the top 10 colleges and universities in Massachusetts for starting salaries. The study, part of a broader examination of America’s Best Value Colleges, looked at a graduate’s earnings in his or her first year after graduation when factoring in costs associated with his or her degree. When determining the ranking of schools in their evaluation, SmartAsset gave a 25% weight each to starting salary, tuition, and average living costs. It gave a 12.5% weight to total scholarships and grants, and also a 12.5% weight to student retention rate. They used these results to create an index of all schools in the commonwealth.
With these factors considered, AIC graduates’ average starting salary of $54,100 placed the school tenth in the state, only $100 less than ninth-ranked Tufts University in Medford. The highest ranked school in the state was Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, whose average starting salary was $74,900. The other eight schools named in the study were, in order, Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Babson College in Wellesley, Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, and Northeastern University in Boston. n American International College | 5
AIC Among Top 50 Nursing Schools American International College has been named one of the top 50 nursing schools in New England. The research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on more than 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States with just 10% making the final list. The New England rankings included Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Each nursing school in the region was evaluated on three dimensions: the institution’s academic prestige and perceived value; the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered; and student success, particularly on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). According to Nursing Schools Almanac, “AIC ranked number 36 in New England. American International College opened in 1885 as a school for international immigrants. The
Photo courtesy of BusinessWest 6 | Higher Dedication
institution became coed in 1892, making it one of the first colleges in the region to educate women. AIC offers BSN and RN-to-BSN courses for undergraduate students. The college introduced its MSN program in 2005, which offers a hybrid of classroom and online modules. In fact, two-thirds of the content is available online, providing much-needed flexibility for working nurses.” Dean of the School of Health Sciences Cesarina Thompson, PhD, RN, ANEF, is pleased that AIC is being recognized. “Over the past five years, AIC’s average pass rate on the NCLEX exam has been at or above state and national averages. The College’s diverse nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels offer a breadth and depth of courses and degrees that address current shortages of skilled healthcare professionals and an ever-increasing need for the future.” n
Photo courtesy of BusinessWest
ANSWERING THE CALL: A Look at AIC’s School of Health Sciences Students attend college for a number of reasons—to pursue an interest, to achieve future financial security, to discover who and what they want to be as adults. Most students in American International College’s health sciences programs, however, seem to arrive at college (and pursue their degrees) with a more focused goal: to dedicate themselves to helping others achieve the health and well-being that will allow them to lead full and complete lives. A health science education, as well as a career in the healthcare industry, requires a diligent commitment; but for those who have the drive, it’s more of a calling than a job. AIC understands this passion. The College’s School of Health Sciences has emerged in recent years as a regional leader in providing the type of small-class, hands-on learning environment that best prepares students to meet the challenges of an ever-changing and increasingly vital industry. This is crucial, because as the country’s population grows and ages over the next decade (particularly the “baby boomer” generation born between 1946 and 1964), the need for quality healthcare services will only increase; and as this happens, the need for highly trained professionals to provide such care will concurrently surge. It’s a significant responsibility, but one that AIC is in an ideal position to meet. “We have a very distinctive collection of programs,” says Cesarina Thompson, PhD, RN, ANEF, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “And they’re all under one roof, which makes us very unique. Students can come here and prepare themselves for a number of fields in health, from working with people when they’re healthy to keeping them healthy, to working in the broad realm of sports, to direct, hands-on care, such as that provided by nurses and physical and occupational therapists.” American International College | 7
AIC’s health sciences programs include bachelor’s and master’s programs in nursing (recently ranked among the top 50 in New England by Nursing Schools Almanac), a bachelor’s program in public health, a master’s program in occupational therapy, and a doctoral program in physical therapy. In addition, an occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program was added to the school in the fall of 2016. A master’s degree program in exercise science will be added in the fall of 2017, and a program in athletic training will follow in 2018. “These are the fields that will be seeing growing demand for qualified professionals in the years to come, and advanced degrees will be needed to succeed,” Thompson notes. “AIC is committed to meeting these needs.”
Specialized Education, Holistic Approach Each of the programs within AIC’s School of Health Sciences offers its own specialized coursework, fieldwork, and training; however, interdisciplinary collaboration and communication are key aspects of AIC’s educational approach that faculty emphasize throughout a student’s education. To help with this process, students are exposed to a “continuum of care,” a system by which students across various fields are brought together in myriad ways so that they can understand the continuum of healthcare, what other professionals do, and how they work with others. “The focus is on learning what each of us does, what each person’s role is in caring for that patient, and what value each professional brings to the process of caring for
“We have a very distinctive collection of programs. And they’re all
under one roof, which makes us very unique. Students can come here
and prepare themselves for a number of fields in health, from working with people when they’re healthy to keeping them healthy, to working in the broad realm of sports, to direct, hands-on care, such as that provided by nurses and physical and occupational therapists.”
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a patient,” Thompson explains. “This is very important because, as technology advances, it is ever more important for professionals across a wide array of healthcare disciplines to communicate with one another and, yes, work with one another to provide needed care at the various stages of a patient’s life. Inter-professional work and inter-professional collaboration are a big focus today.” Another focus that each program emphasizes is providing students with a range of real-world experiences, either through hands-on learning in on-campus labs and clinics, or through internships with local healthcare partners, including Baystate Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, and Hartford Hospital. The emphasis has paid off, as the School’s latest job placement rates for both nursing and physical therapy are at 100%, with occupational therapy following closely behind at 90%. While the financial benefits of such numbers are apparent, the added benefit for the vast majority of graduates is that they can immediately achieve their goal of making an impact in their community by providing compassionate care and working on the cutting edge of medicine. n For more on the School of Health Sciences and the programs offered, visit www.aic.edu/school-of-health-sciences.
A Look at the Numbers »»»»»» A recent ranking of “the 100 Best Jobs for 2016” by U.S. News and World Report found the list dominated by careers in health sciences areas, including those in nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The rankings looked at several factors, including median salary, employment rate, job growth, stress level, and work-life balance, and found such positions as physician assistant (#5), nurse practitioner (#6), and physical therapist (#14) both financially solid and rewarding. In fact, healthcare positions took up 28 jobs on the list, ahead of both jobs in business (17) and technology (8). U.S. News’ methodology attempted to find a balance between hard data and testimonials collected by people currently in their respective fields. “Good jobs are those that pay well, challenge us, are a good match for our talents and skills, aren’t too stressful, offer room to advance and provide a satisfying work-life balance. [The jobs on
the list] are ranked according to their ability to offer this mix of qualities.” The rankings support data collected in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for 2016–17. According to the OOH, 13 of the top 20 fastest growing occupations between 2014–2024 will be health sciences-related fields, including careers specific to programs offered through AIC’s School of Health Sciences—occupational therapy assistants (#2); physical therapist assistants (#3); physical therapist aides (#4); nurse practitioners (#7); physical therapists (#8); and occupational therapy aides (#11). To read more about the U.S. News and World Report’s findings, visit http://money.usnews.com/careers/bestjobs/rankings/the-100-best-jobs. For more information on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook visit: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/.
American International College | 9
a Man on a Mission By Michael Reid
Chad Moir ’19
If you speak with enough young men
and women pursuing their health sciences degrees at AIC, certain themes will begin to reappear: an innate desire to help others, a vision to make their community healthier, a dedication born from a loved one who faced a debilitating medical condition. And while all of these qualities apply to occupational therapy student Chad Moir ’19, you quickly get a sense that he possesses a drive that sets him apart from your typical student. Moir, who grew up in Seymour, Connecticut, first attended Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York primarily to play sports, but left after a year when he couldn’t find an academic focus. After several years of unfulfilling positions in sales, he became a certified personal trainer and discovered that helping people achieve their health goals was a career path he wanted to pursue. It was then that Moir’s life took an unexpected and dramatic turn. 10 | Higher Dedication
“My mother, Cindy, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease several years ago, and she passed away in 2011 at the age of 55. Working as a personal trainer during that time, and then finding out the benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s, it was all just a natural segue into a health sciences education. If I really wanted to help people with Parkinson’s, I knew I needed a better understanding of anatomy and treatment options. I needed to get back to school.” Since making that decision, and with the memory of his mother ever-present, Moir has pursued his goals with unwavering dedication. While taking classes at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut, Moir attended a college fair and was immediately impressed with AIC’s health sciences offerings. He applied and was accepted into the physical therapy program but soon switched to occupational therapy, where he will finish with his master’s degree in 2019. The switch, he says, was due to occu-
pational therapy’s more holistic approach when applied to Parkinson’s treatment. “While PT does a great job of working on some of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, I felt that I could better treat the whole person in OT, as well as concentrate on those nonmotor symptoms that come along with Parkinson’s. I just felt that it was better suited to what I’m doing.” What Moir is doing is, to say the least, impressive. In addition to pursuing his degree, he still works full-time as a certified personal trainer, is a board member for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, Massachusetts Chapter, and is a public policy advocate with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. If all of that isn’t enough, Moir also owns and manages his own business, DopaFit, which provides personal training for people with Parkinson’s, both in clients’ homes as well as in a newly opened training space in Easthampton, Massachusetts. DopaFit (whose name is a play on the word dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a critical role in the function of the central nervous system), Moir explains, is unique in that is focuses solely on clientele with Parkinson’s, the first such service in the Western Massachusetts area. “We’ve tailored all of our exercises for a person dealing with the limitations that Parkinson’s creates,” explains Moir. These include dual-task exercises, or exercises in which a client is performing two tasks at once, as well as highintensity exercises tailored specifically to a person’s physical threshold; research has shown that both of these approaches can fight off—or in some cases even reverse—some of the physical and cognitive issues associated with Parkinson’s. While DopaFit’s physical space may seem conventional, there is one feature for which Moir takes particular pride. “The one modification that you may not see at other gyms is the fact that there’s a heavy emphasis on boxing here—boxing equipment, punching bags, speed bags hanging from the walls.” When he sees the look of surprise after saying that, Moir is quick to smile and nod. “I always get that response. There are a few reasons for the focus on boxing. First, boxing is a very high-intensity workout, which is needed. But second, and maybe even as important, is that it’s an empowering activity. Most people who are in the program have never punched a punching bag in their lives, and it’s exciting because it’s so different. Also, a lot of people don’t like to tell others that they’re going to an exercise class for Parkinson’s, but to say that you’re going to a boxing class? That’s just cool.” It’s also a way for loved ones to participate. Moir calls these people “pit crews,” and he delights in watching them carry his clients’ boxing gloves, squirt water into their mouths from sports bottles, and cheer them on as they work out. Bringing together families and loved ones is of particular interest to Moir, who remembers supporting his mother
through her own fight with Parkinson’s. It’s this spirit of collaboration that is shaping his long-term goals for building more local support for people with the condition. “The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association has partnered with DopaFit to help expand the reach of resources in Western Massachusetts,” says Moir. “And we’ll soon start running events in the area to help spread the word. I also work with some of the neurologists in the area who refer clients to me. “Long term, though, I would love to help create a full neurological center here in Western Mass, one that specialized in neurodegenerative diseases and has all the resources a person would need right in one place. We’re a drive away from Boston and close to Hartford, but when you’re already dealing with a debilitating disease, driving two hours to go to a doctor’s appointment and then two hours back is not an ideal situation.”
“You have to feel the need to help people at a higher level. That’s at the heart of everything I do—in memory of my mom and for all the people I’ll help in the future.”
Moir, who attended the World Parkinson’s Congress in Portland, Oregon this past September, is encouraged by the latest therapeutic treatments and research underway. The conference, he says, was one of the most positive experiences of his life, and further affirmation that he’s playing his part in finding a cure. “The Parkinson’s Congress was amazing. It was 4,500 people all there with the same purpose—to share and to connect and to help each other. I think that sums it all up. You have to have, with every fiber of your being, the desire to help people at any cost. You have to feel the need to help people at a higher level. That’s at the heart of everything I do—in memory of my mom and for all the people I’ll help in the future.” n American International College | 11
“To be able to help [my dad] and people like [my dad], that would really be a dream come true.”
The Miracle on State Street By Michael Reid
It’s impossible not to smile
when talking with American International College physical therapy student Dan Johnson and his father Thomas. There’s a genuineness to them that you don’t typically see when a father and son sit down together to talk about the personal details of their lives and the relationship they’ve established with each other. It’s a relationship that clearly goes beyond father and son—they talk and joke like two old friends who have built a connection based on love, respect, and the knowledge that each day is a gift to be fully appreciated. To understand where the strength of that bond comes from, you have to go back almost 30 years, to the afternoon of September 29, 1979. On that day, when Thomas was a 17-year-old student and football standout at Springfield’s Classical High School (closed in 1986, it was only two miles down State Street from the AIC campus), his life changed in a swift and terrifying instant. “I was just sitting on the hood of a car,” Thomas begins. “I wasn’t doing anything stupid or showing off. Nothing like that. But the driver thought it would be funny to take off, to see if a jock could hang on as he gunned it. The doctors later told me that my head hit the cement curbing at sixty miles per hour. I was in a coma for two and half months.” Thomas’ ordeal becomes even more astonishing as he recounts the details of what he endured in the aftermath of the accident. One month into his coma, doctors informed his parents that they had done all they could for him medically, and that he was now “in the hands of superior beings.” Their prognosis offered a few possible outcomes: Thomas would die from his injuries; he would live but have no mental functioning for the rest of his life; or he would be mentally disabled to the extent that he would never be able to care for himself. Which, of course, begs the question: How was he able to not only survive his injuries, but go on to lead a full, healthy life? “I’m a bit of a medical miracle,” he admits. “The doctors think it had something to do with my physical conditioning. At the time of the accident, I was a top football recruit with 12 | Higher Dedication
several scholarship offers from across the country. I lifted weights, I ran, I was in incredible physical shape. That probably helped pull me through.” At the time of the accident, Thomas was 6'1" and weighed 197 pounds; he emerged from his coma at almost 6'3" and 136 pounds. Paralyzed and confined to the hospital for the first six months of his recovery, Thomas had all of the symptoms of a person who had suffered from a severe stroke. Over the next five years, he would go through intense clinical physical therapy that would help him relearn basic skills, including eating, writing, tying his shoes, and, after a few years, walking, which his doctors told him he would never be able to do again. Thomas Johnson, however, is not the type of person to be told that he can’t do something. Not only would he relearn to walk, he would go on to get married, have two sons, and work as a contract administrator for the Department of Defense. He overcame his accident to such an extent that by the time he had his second son, Dan, his remaining symptoms had simply become a routine part of his everyday life. “Growing up, I never really noticed anything out of the ordinary about my dad,” says Dan, now in his second year of AIC’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. “When I was a kid, I would walk with him everywhere, and sometimes I would walk with a limp, sort of mimicking the one that he has. But it wasn’t for any reason other than he was my dad and I wanted to be like him.” As he got older, however, Dan began to better understand his father’s history, and the role that physical therapy played in his recovery. Dan’s love of sports also helped, as he would always encourage his father to join him in various activities, including basketball. Dan’s love of the game would lead him to Westfield State, where he played four years for the Owls, captaining his team to the 2015 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference championship, the first in the program’s history. “I studied sports medicine for my undergraduate degree,” says Dan. “I thought I would maybe be an athletic trainer,
(L-R) Thomas and Dan Johnson ’18
but after seeing the trainers’ schedule when I was playing basketball, the field didn’t really appeal to me. Then I did an internship with a physical therapy professor from Westfield State, Patrick Carley, which was at the Ludlow Jail. I saw how the profession worked, and how helpful it was to people. I had already seen how physical therapy helped give someone a life back who wasn’t supposed to have one, so things started to fall into place.” Ironically, Thomas had already been at AIC for two years at that point. Students at his gym had put him into contact with AIC professor of physical therapy, Gail Stern, who invited Thomas to come to a walking clinic so that students could observe him. Thomas has continued these visits ever since, coming to AIC for gait and neurology clinics throughout the school year. For Dan, the existing AIC connection made the choice easy when he decided that he wanted to pursue a graduate degree.
“Coming to AIC made perfect sense for me,” Dan says. “I wanted to stay in the area, my dad was already doing work here, and I loved the program. It’s been an amazing experience.” Though he’s still considering the specialty he wants to focus on, he says that neurology is a definite possibility, as it would allow him to help patients similar to his father. “My dad is a warrior. He’s never given up; he’s always been a fighter. To be able to help him and people like him, that would really be a dream come true.” When his son says these words, Thomas smiles and takes a deep breath. “I’ve had such a great life. I have two amazing sons—one a lawyer down in Baltimore and one a doctorate student in physical therapy. I have two wonderful grandkids. My ex-wife is my best friend. I go to the gym every day. I’m always going to keep improving, I can guarantee you that. And I’m going to remain grateful for each and every day.” n American International College | 13
Meet AIC’s Health Crusader By Michael Reid
(L-R) Barbara Donahue, MS, RN, FNP/Nurse Practitioner, Mary Paquette, MS, RN, FNP/Director of Health Services and Nurse Practitioner, and Mildred Velazquez/Office Manager and Medical Assistant
you graduated from AIC sometime before 2012, there’s a good chance you don’t remember too much about Dexter Health Services. You might have gone there at some point because you had a cold, or maybe you needed some aspirin because of a twisted ankle. Or you might not have visited there at all because you didn’t know what services they provided. For many, the facility existed as a functional but largely forgotten resource on campus.
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Mary Paquette, MS, RN, FNP has dramatically changed that perception. Paquette took over as director of AIC’s health services in July of 2012, after previously serving as associate director of health services at Western New England University for fourteen years. Added to this, she has maintained simultaneous weekend positions in emergency medicine, first at Hartford Hospital, in Hartford, Connecticut, and currently at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. This work has given Paquette a unique perspective on both the fast-paced environment of emergency medicine as well as the ever-evolving needs of a student population. It’s what has allowed her to transform what had been a basic nursing clinic into a full-featured urgent care center, providing an unprecedented level of service to AIC’s students, faculty, and staff. So how does one go about overhauling a resource as vital as health services? To begin, you simply get out and let people know you exist. “In the first two years I was here at AIC, I spent a lot of time reaching out to students through resident advisors,” explains Paquette. “It was really just basic health programming—giving them current health information and letting them know that we were here to help—so that they could turn around and outreach to students.” As word of mouth grew, Paquette next worked to vastly expand Dexter’s range of services. Today, these include on-site testing for streptococcus, mononucleosis, and STIs; suturing and stapling; caring for minor orthopedic injuries; blood draws; IV fluid hydration; and immunizations and allergy shots. Expanding these services has also led to further opportunities to support other areas of campus. For example, Dexter now provides on-campus tuberculosis and drug testing for health sciences students, which are required before students can begin clinical rotations. Dexter also provides drug testing and injury care for student-athletes. While some services, such as X-rays, may require out-patient services, Paquette works closely with AIC’s athletic trainers to provide as much on-campus care as possible. “It’s really a win-win,” says Paquette. “Bringing services in-house reduces billing, cuts costs, and lowers our insurance premiums, especially the premiums for our athletic policy. You always have to think about how each approach you take affects the bottom line. But beyond that, it’s better for the students. They don’t have to leave campus, they can come to a place that they know, and they can see people who they’re comfortable with and who know them.” Students have definitely responded. Paquette says that when she began at AIC, she would see 8–10 patients a day.
Today, approximately 30 patients come to Dexter for care daily, and on some days that number can reach as high as 50. Though Paquette has been able to bring on a second nurse practitioner, Barbara Donahue, MS, RN, FNP, she says that the increased workload has been a challenge. “My number one wish would be for another full-time nurse practitioner. For the first two years, we were scrambling to get students to come to us, now we’re trying to manage the fruits of that labor.” While an increased awareness on campus is the primary reason for the higher number of visitors, Paquette notes others factors, including extending Dexter’s services to faculty and staff, which began in 2014, as well as a strong refocusing on customer service. For the latter, Paquette credits the work of her office manager, Mildred Velazquez. “When I started, I knew that the first person students needed to see was someone who was over-the-top friendly, and that’s Millie,” says Paquette. “She’s been a huge help, not only because she’s the office manager, but because she’s also a medical assistant, so she can be a true first line of care. The fact that she’s a genuine, kind person who truly loves the students ensures that they come back.” Keeping students coming back to Dexter is particularly important for Paquette, who stresses that helping young men and women better understand all aspects of their care is sometimes as important as the care itself. “In general, students are a healthy population, but a number of them make some unhealthy decisions. So a lot of what we do is manage the outcomes of those unhealthy decisions. But I feel that another large part of my job is teaching students how to be good health care advocates. I want them to leave here with a better understanding of their own health and the tools they need to navigate the world of health care.” It’s a tremendous amount of work—a daily grind that can feel overwhelming at times. Paquette, though, says her fondness for AIC’s community and culture makes it all worth it. “Hands down, the biggest difference between students at AIC and students at other colleges is that there’s no entitlement—they’re so appreciative of everything we do. That goes for the faculty and staff, as well. That’s why I do what I do. It’s why I don’t mind coming back to campus after work hours to stitch up a cut and take care of bruises on someone’s head—I know that person is so grateful that someone is there to help them.” Paquette laughs when I ask if that scenario happens often. “Let’s just say that our entire rugby team knows me on a first-name basis.” n
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The Heart of a Campus Restored The James J. Shea Sr. Memorial Library receives its first renovation in over 30 years. By Michael Reid Of all the buildings on a college campus, the library is perhaps the one that best embodies the hub of academic life. Regardless of major, and even in our digital age of instant and constant information, an academic library remains the preeminent place for students, faculty, and staff to find credible sources of information, conduct serious research, and interact with each other in a supportive academic environment. Which is why the recent renovation to the first floor of the James J. Shea Sr. Memorial Library was such a significant event for both the American International College community and for the facility itself. Originally constructed in 1948, the building has not undergone a major renovation since the completion of its west wing in 1980. And similar to the work 16 | Higher Dedication
done on the Dining Commons in 2015, the overhaul was so thorough that people seeing it for the first time can hardly believe their eyes. A More Sophisticated Space “It’s just been phenomenal,” says Heidi Spencer, director of library services. “People are stunned when they walk in, not only in an aesthetic sense, but also in terms of usage. We’ve increased our computer capacity, added study spaces, added new, more comfortable furniture. It’s completely rejuvenated our presence on campus.” Work on the renovation began in May 2016 and proceeded rapidly throughout the summer. Designed by Phase Zero Design out of Simsbury, Connecticut and
“We’ve increased our computer capacity, added study spaces, added new, more comfortable furniture. It’s completely rejuvenated our presence on campus.”
constructed by Martin Construction out of Southwick, Massachusetts, the final finishing touches were completed in August, just in time for the beginning of the 2016 fall semester. So what’s changed exactly? In a word: everything. The renovation opened up the main entrance area considerably, allowing for access from both the front and back of the building for the first time in over a decade. An expanded and more welcoming circulation and support desk greet patrons as soon as they enter from either entrance. Also in this front space is a new open-air lounge area and computer lab, purposefully placed so that students coming into the library can get to work as quickly as possible.
To the right of the support desk are even more drastic improvements. Down a short hallway lined with display cases that show AIC student art and photography is the main learning commons area, complete with glass-enclosed study rooms, independent and group collaborative zones, a food kiosk, and café-style seating. There are even individual study pods where students can sit in egg-shaped chairs complete with power-outlets, smartphone docking, and personal lighting. Also renovated was the flag room, which now serves as a large collaborative study area with configurable furniture, video projection options, and white board space. Overlooking this is the new Center for Financial Literacy, which will house new programs and resources for students to gain knowledge American International College | 17
about student loans, financial planning, debt management, savings, and investments. Spencer says that it has contributed to a much more welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. She and her staff have noticed that students and faculty are now visiting the library for coffee or to simply sit and talk instead of leaving when they need a break or want to get something to eat. This includes some faculty members that the library staff have never seen enter the building. Early data confirm this anecdotal evidence—overall activity is up 77%, studying is up 23%, and socializing is up 97% when comparing patron activity to the first few days of September 2015 and 2016. It’s a trend that she’s confident will continue. “We feel that the library has some real character now,” she says. “Everything is more approachable and more sophisticated, and little touches like brighter colors and better lighting make our patrons feel more relaxed and wanting to explore and discover all that we offer.” A Unique Perspective The renovation is particularly impressive for Michael Forrest ’16, the library’s new day circulation supervisor. Having worked in the library for four years as a student at AIC and having begun his full-time position in August 2016, he’s seen the transformation from the perspective of a student, a student-worker, and now as an alumnus and a full-time staff member. “The old library was nice and homey, and it felt very familiar, which can be a good thing,” he explains. “But when
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you have chairs that constantly squeak and spaces that aren’t well lit, it doesn’t make people want to stay. That’s one of the biggest changes I’m seeing—that shift in perception from us being a place that people have to come to a place that people want to come to.” Apart from the building renovation, Forrest explains that the technological updates have also been critical, with new computers and copy machines, as well as faster and more reliable Internet, attracting new patrons. It’s been a notable change, even in the four years since he first came to campus. Yet he admits that all of these improvements would be meaningless if not for the small modifications that are making lasting impressions. “One of the changes that I appreciate most is the new location of our circulation desk. It used to be off to the side when you entered, which is out of people’s immediate view. Moving it to where people first enter the building may seem like a simple thing, but it makes all the difference to people who need help. We’re right here now—so much more visible and approachable.” So what hasn’t changed? When asked that question, Spencer is quick to answer. “The approach we take towards patrons won’t change at all,” she says. “We’ve always been about customer service first. Our librarians and clerical staff never say ‘No,’ they say, “No, but…’ and try to guide each person who comes through our doors to what they need. “Will this new space make people feel more comfortable approaching us, or even more comfortable in the building in general? I certainly hope so. But we’ll absolutely provide them with the same great service we always have.” n
The (Not So) Small Improvements to Adams Hall By Michael Reid American International College is many things to many people—it’s a community of students exploring their interests and challenging their understanding of the world, an institution of research and civic engagement, and a member of the broader community of Springfield, Massachusetts. But it’s also a time capsule of sorts, a reflection of the changing attitudes and social norms that have existed throughout its history, and nowhere is that evolution more evident than in its architecture. While the renovations to AIC’s Dining Commons and Shea Library have received the majority of attention around campus recently (and deservedly so), the new entrance to Adams Hall is just as representative of the College’s ethos as those projects. To understand why, you have to go back to 1924 when the building first opened as the J. Frank Adams Memorial Library.
Adams, a prominent Springfield citizen, wished to expand the education advantages of young people with limited means and, upon his death, left AIC its largest individual gift to date in order to help achieve his goal. That AIC chose to build a library with Adams’ bequest was emblematic of the College’s vision at the time, as it expanded its focus beyond educating immigrant students to providing opportunities for a more expansive and diverse student body. This aim makes the renovation to the entrance of Adams Hall, which became administrative offices in 1949, all the more apropos. Planned by Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst, Massachusetts, and completed by Martin Construction of Southwick, Massachusetts, the building’s new entrance provides wheelchair accessibility and upgraded railings for continues on page 59 American International College | 19
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AIC Women’s Rugby Continues Making Strides By Sarah Kirkpatrick
LED BY INTERIM HEAD COACH Peter Lang (no relation to new AIC head ice hockey coach Eric Lang), the American International College women’s rugby program continued its Division I play, and is poised to take the conference—and the nation—by storm in the years ahead.
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| GO YELLOW JACKETS! | For Lang, taking the interim position is an opportunity to begin shaping the young program—which along with men’s ice hockey is one of two Division I athletic programs at AIC— to his vision. Given his lifelong involvement with the sport, Lang brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to AIC. He began playing rugby at the age of six while growing up in Africa, and continued to play after moving to England to attend boarding school at the age of eleven. He also played at the University of London before his playing career ended due to injuries. But as his playing days ended, his coaching career began. Lang comes to AIC from the College of William & Mary, where he was the director of rugby, coaching both the men’s and women’s teams, and has high hopes for the Yellow Jackets’ squad. “We expect to be challenging for a conference championship next year,” says Lang, “and the year after that, our goal is to be challenging for a national title.” It’s a formidable ambition. The program, in only its second year of Division I play, is part of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA), which includes such top national teams as Norwich University, Bowdoin College,
Coach Lang lines up with the team before a game
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Brown University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, Army West Point, Central Washington University, Molloy College, Notre Dame College (Ohio), West Chester University, Castleton State College, and the University of New England. The team notched their first win of the year over Norwich University on September 24, with a 44-21 victory, and went head-to-head with some of the country’s best teams over the course of the season, including taking on defending national champion Quinnipiac University. “The whole thing is an awesome opportunity. I knew I made the right choice coming to AIC when I met the team for the first time,” says Lang, who hopes to continue this season's momentum going forward. “I realized I can really make an impact here—they needed somebody to nurture this program and make it better over the long haul, and we all hit the ground running with that in mind. From there, we began the foundation for an awesome team culture.” Due to the late addition of Lang, who did not begin his position until early September, there were more obstacles than usual to overcome, including limited time to recruit players. While he had enough players to field a full team
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Above: Team huddle Below: Women's rugby takes the field throughout the season, he’s looking forward to adding more depth next year. “Fortunately, with the work we’ve been doing getting ourselves stronger and better, we’ve been able to not only survive with what we have, but also grow as a team.” The Yellow Jackets have a core group of talented players, including junior Bridget Kahele, who played on the United States U-23 National Team, but Lang is looking to expand his recruitment beyond the United States and start looking at international talent. His numerous contacts and connections in other parts of the world, including Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, will help this process. He also plans to convert athletes with limited experience into rugby players. Despite the challenges, the AIC women’s team has developed its team culture as a close, supportive family. “We have some great individual talent here, but no one places themselves above anyone else,” says Lang. “I loved watching our returning players help the walk-ons who came onboard this season—it was never about individual achievement, but rather about making the team be as good as possible. You don’t get that kind of team spirit everywhere. It’s definitely something unique to AIC.” n American International College | 23
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the Catch of the Day › By Michael Reid
WHEN YOU ASK
a New England football fan to tell you about “The Interception,” you’ll almost certainly get a description of Malcolm Butler’s game-winning pick in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX, which secured the Patriots 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. But that was before people saw the interception made by American International College’s Devonte Dillion against Pace University on Saturday, September 17. Dillion, a junior defensive back from Windsor, Connecticut, made the spectacular one-handed grab off Pace quarterback Jason Habash in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, helping to seal a 3-0 victory for the Yellow Jackets, their first of the year. Reminiscent of the famous one-handed catch made by New York Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014,
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video of Dillion’s catch quickly spread across the Internet and social media, with national sports outlets, including ESPN, Bleacher Report, and CBS Sports, highlighting the play. For his part, Dillion remains humble about how the play transpired. “It was third and long and they were driving down the field, so I knew we had to make a big stop. When I saw that [Habash] overthrew the receiver, I just threw my hand up out of instinct and the next thing I knew, I was running down the sideline with the ball.” As spectacular as the interception was, Dillion is proudest of the impact it made on the game. “We won, that’s definitely the most important thing. Getting that first win of the season was huge.” n
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Devonte Dillion â€™18 Photo courtesy of Chucky Crespo
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AIC Men's Ice Hockey Team Now Calls the MassMutual Center Home Ice NCAA DIVISION I MEN’S ICE HOCKEY
is now a permanent fixture in downtown Springfield, as the American International College men’s hockey program will play all sixteen of their home contests at the MassMutual Center during the 2016-17 season. Eric Lang, a two-time alumnus of AIC and first-year head coach of the program, says he’s honored to practice and play in the new venue. “The MassMutual Center is a game-changer for our program,” says Lang. “I’m ecstatic for our current student-athletes, for our fans, and for our alumni. We now have an arena that can rival any venue in the country. We’re so proud to call the MMC home.” The Yellow Jackets’ home schedule features matchups against a number of top Atlantic Hockey opponents, includ-
ing Lang’s previous team Army, Holy Cross, and defending conference champion Rochester Institute of Technology. “Having the MassMutual Center as AIC hockey’s home ice is a turning point for our program,” says Austin Orszulak, senior captain of the team. “We anticipate this increasing interest both within the AIC community as well as in the surrounding Springfield area.” Lang sees the move into the facility, which has a capacity of 6,866 for hockey games, as a sign of continued commitment and support for the program. “From a hockey standpoint, our administration continues to make a loud statement as to how important hockey is here at AIC,” he says. “We anticipate a huge bump in our recruiting and fan support because of some of the major moves our program is continuing to make. It’s an unbelievable time to be part of the AIC hockey family.” n
AIC Homecoming 2016 activities included a ceremonial puck drop at the MassMutual Center. Legislators and community leaders participated in the event, including (L-R) Gene Binda, supervisor of officials for the Atlantic Hockey Association; Richard Cohen, mayor of Agawam; Jose Tosado, state representative; Brian Ashe, state representative; Angelo Puppolo (’97), state representative; James Welch, state senator; Michael Fenton, president of the Springfield City Council; Judy Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield; Mark Berman, AIC executive vice president for administration; Eric Lesser, state senator; Rick Sullivan, president of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts; Vince Maniaci, AIC president; Eric Lang (’98, ’08), AIC men’s hockey head coach; Austin Orszulak, team captain; Nate Costa, executive vice president of the Springfield Thunderbirds; Bryant Christian, assistant captain; Dom Racobaldo, assistant captain; Matt Johnson, AIC director of athletics; Frank Colaccino (’73), chairman of the AIC Board of Trustees; Kateri Walsh, Springfield city councilor; Matt Schimenti (’87), president of Schimenti Construction, AIC trustee, and chairman of the AIC Development Committee; Melissa Hallock, BusinessWest 26 | Higher Dedication
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(L-R) Union College captain Mike Vecchione, retired NHL Officiating Manager Kevin Collins ’72, current NHL official Tony Sericolo ’91 and AIC captain Austin Orszulak get ready for the coin toss before the season opener. American International College | 27
HOMECOMING 2016 â€¢ OCTOBER 14, 15, 16
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A Chat Glendora The eclectic Glendora Vesta Folsom Buell â€™50 takes time from her busy schedule to talk to AIC. By Ellen Dooley
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G l e n d o r a Ve s t a Folsom Buell ’50
is like a force of nature in a jaunty hat: singular,
persistent, unstoppable. For more than six decades she has devoted herself to the work she loves as a television personality, public access TV producer, judicial activist, ethical vegan, author, philosopher, and exuberant ambassador of happiness. She is a joke-teller and a freedom fighter; a truth-speaker—especially to power— and a lifelong truth-seeker. In 2013, Glendora received the Clara Lemlich Social Activist Award in recognition of her tireless efforts to defend the public’s right to community access broadcasting free of corporate or political censorship. In August of this year, she was honored by the Alliance for Community Media for being the most prolific public access television producer with the longest-running show, A Chat With Glendora (11,300+ episodes and counting), a talk show she is still producing and hosting. At 88, Glendora continues to steer by her own lights, staying as busy, irrepressibly cheerful, and dedicated to her calling as ever. Born May 1, 1928 in Presque Isle, ME, the fourth child of Ralph and Edna Folsom, Glendora grew up in a loving family that valued hard work and appreciated a good sense of humor. “The joke telling started with my parents. Both of them had such great personalities, this great compassion and interest in other people.” Her sister Helene, 12 years her senior, went to Aroostook State Normal School and became a teacher. Her old34 | Higher Dedication
est brother, Ralph Arnold Jr., left home to work as a clerk at First National Store in Lincoln, Maine, a town 130 miles south of Presque Isle. But after the stock market crash, in the teeth of the Great Depression, Glendora’s family, like so many others, suffered financial catastrophe. “My father owned a reasonably successful chain of barbershops, but one day my parents went to the bank to get their money and the bank was closed. All of their savings was gone.” Her father got an offer to work as a barber in Lincoln for seven dollars a week, and Glendora remembers the journey to their new home. “My parents packed up my brother Gordon and me and we left in the middle of the night. It was 40 degrees below zero practically every night, and that trip was like going across the prairie. “That was the year Parker Brothers came out with the board game Monopoly. We couldn’t afford to buy one but Lincoln was a paper mill town, and my mother took in boarders who would bring home these scraps of paper, so we made a Monopoly game out of all those scraps. It took us all winter. The only thing we bought were the dice.” To supplement his meager wages, Glendora’s father worked several jobs, one of them selling blankets door to door on an installment plan of a dollar a week. But if someone couldn’t pay, he had to repossess the blanket—a bitter task in the bitter cold of Maine’s winters. After telling the story, Glendora simply asks, “Can you imagine having to do such a thing?” By 1938, Glendora’s father had found work that paid better as a barber at the Bangor House and the family moved again. Glendora entered fifth grade in Bangor, ME, and her brother Gordon entered the Marines before the family moved once more in 1941 to Springfield, Massachusetts. “My father got a job in defense. I remember the Day of Infamy, being huddled around the radio. The terrible truth is the only thing that got us out of that depression was the war.”
“The young man, who went on to Yale, who put
me up for class
president did it as a joke, but I
ended up winning. The principal
was devastated that the class
clown should be
On the advice of friends, Glendora’s parents enrolled her in Springfield’s Classical High School, known for its rigor and reputation for preparing graduates for the Ivy Leagues. “Here I was, this little hick from Maine. They wouldn’t even accept my Latin and made me take it over.” But Glendora, whose idol was Bob Hope and who dreamed of a career in comedy—an iconoclastic choice for a girl in the 1940s—quickly became popular at school and was eventually nominated for president of her class. “The young man, who went on to Yale, who put me up for class president did it as a joke, but I ended up winning. The principal was devastated that the class clown should be class president!” Thanks to an English teacher, Edmund Smith, someone who “knew how to turn a teenager into something worthwhile,” Glendora blossomed academically and earned a place on the honor roll. “By the time he got through with me, I graduated magna cum laude, but I told everyone I graduated cum lousy.” Though Glendora had earned good grades, her SAT scores were disappointing. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and my poor English teacher was so upset.” She went off to wait tables at the Equinox House, planning to enroll in Springfield Junior College in the fall, but a mysterious Providence intervened. “I received a letter telling me that American International College had awarded me a full scholarship. I never found out who was behind that.” Glendora entered AIC and discovered that she was well prepared to handle a full load of classes. “Taking five subjects didn’t really fulfill my academic longings, so I took six. By the time I was a junior, I had enough credits to graduate in both psychology and English.” Seventy years later, she can name the professors who left a lasting impresAmerican International College | 35
sion. “Dr. Wells for psychology, from Harvard School of Education. Mrs. Morse taught literature--she was a grand person. Henrietta Littlefield taught German. She was always beautifully dressed and wore these Victorian hats. Drs. Spoerl, husband and wife, were both ministers in the Unitarian Church and taught in psychology and philosophy. Isadore Cohen taught a biology course for psych majors, and Dr. Gadaire, who was extremely popular, so personable and entertaining, also taught biology. Mr. Duffey taught literature, though it may have been called Aesthetics then.” Dr. Dorothy Spoerl chose Glendora to work as a psychology lab assistant and for a year she took attendance and graded papers and was on track to be valedictorian, but in her senior year, Glendora admits, she drifted. “I think it was adolescence. I had really done everything I could do. Heavy courses were a breeze to me. I registered for physics and mathematics, but I dropped physics, struggled with math, and started going out with the math grad assistant. I think I was looking for other excitement, but I regretted losing focus like that.” Nevertheless, her experience as a lab assistant at AIC paved the way for her to be hired in the same capacity at UC Berkeley. “After graduation, a friend of mine who was a year ahead of me at AIC wanted to go to San Francisco, so the two of us got jobs as car hops and saved up enough money to go across the country by Greyhound Bus.” The friend eventually ran off with a man she met in California, leaving behind a heartbroken boyfriend back in Springfield, while Glendora received an unexpected offer from Smith College to work as a lab assistant, another example of what she calls “that same benevolent Providence, somebody behind the scenes, that same beautiful spirit” that was looking out for her. 36 | Higher Dedication
Glendora declined the offer from Smith and soon returned to Springfield, still, as she puts it, “seeking a life.” She moved to Washington, D.C. briefly, but the heat, humidity, and alarming bugs that shared the apartment she rented sent her back home again. It was at this point that Glendora sat down to seriously contemplate her future and her place in the grand scheme of things. “Certainly we are all created to do something in this world. What was it that I was created to do? The answer eventually came to me, and it was television. And that’s been the answer for 65 years. I’ve never left it. It’s like a monastic vow. I am by nature a performer, but it’s a difficult choice. You’ve got to be dedicated.” Glendora found her way back to Hollywood thanks to Vaudevillian-turnedBroadway-performer Bobby Clark and his wife, whom she had met during her stint as a “relish girl” at the Equinox House. “The Clarks had taken a liking to me and their friend, Elsi Paris, who operated the Hollywood Bridge Club, was driving back to LA with a friend of hers and they offered me a ride.” Glendora lived near UCLA and quickly found work on the LA Stock Exchange. “I couldn’t stand that, but one day during my long commute on the Hollywood freeway, I did see Nat King Cole in a rage at the driver in front of him.” When Glendora spotted an ad for a course in television writing through the UCLA extension, she wasted no time signing up for it. “The class was being given in the NBC studios right there at the corner of Sunset and Vine, and across from the lecture room was the personnel office.” Glendora landed a job as a script girl at NBC, running the mimeograph machine in the basement. “This was television in its infancy. The money, the creativity, the excitement. People ate TV dinners in front of it, you would hear people discussing what they saw on television the night before. I knew I had chosen the right field and this was my door in.” Glendora made the most of her foot-in-the-door moment, running last-minute script changes upstairs to the cast of Dragnet, meeting Groucho Marx who was
“I knew I had chosen the right
field, and this was my door in.”
filming You Bet Your Life, running into Robert Young of Father Knows Best fame kicking the canteen machine. But the most exhilarating connection was with Bob Hope, her hero of humor. “I had collected four scrapbooks of him and when I showed him one, he said to his agent, ‘She has more pictures of me than you do!’ He was on the radio then at NBC, and after he finished audio taping his show, if he felt like it, he would stay and tell a few jokes for the studio audience. He let me try out my monologue in the after show, and I came floating in on the wings of Bob Hope. His favorite engineer, Johnny Pollack, would boost the audio for me so the laughter sounded twice as loud, and he recorded it for me on a platter.” Glendora also got to know Jack Douglas, an aspiring comedian and writer for Hope. When she took a hiatus during the summer to go back east, Douglas asked if she’d do him a favor and drive the car he’d left at his summer home in Bucks County, PA back to Hollywood. Glendora agreed, and she and her mother, who came along for the ride, drove Douglas’s 1950 black Buick convertible across the country like the intrepid heroines of a madcap Hollywood movie. Glendora continued at NBC while the Colgate Comedy Hour was going strong with the likes of Eddie Cantor, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and Abbott and Costello. She had her comedy “platter,” a “presentation card” that the people from Dragnet had printed up for her, and professional photographs, but she knew, if she was going to make it, she needed experience. “I decided to go back to Springfield, find a small television station, and get myself in front of the camera.” Her career as a children’s show host began in 1953 with Glendora and Her Picture Party, which aired on channel 19 in Pittsfield, MA for 15 minutes once a week. An artist from the Spring-
field Public Library would illustrate an incident from the life of a famous historical figure and youngsters would come on the show and tell the story as they saw it, in their own words. “I just wrote the show up, put it under my arm, and took it up to The Berkshires. And one of the first lessons I learned is to get a sponsor!” Glendora soon moved to WMUR in Manchester, NH, where she launched a much more ambitious endeavor, the SS Glendora, in which she played the ship’s captain and local children would play her sailors. “The general manager loved the program and he ran the show for 45 minutes five days a week. It was charming live television, creative and educational. I always spoke to the children as though they were peers, and it had a great effect.”
“It was charming live television, creative and
always spoke to the children as
though they were peers, and it had a great effect.”
In the midst of all this career building, on Christmas Day in 1954, Glendora married Franklyn Buell, a reporter for the Springfield Union, and former boyfriend of the young woman she had first traveled to California with.
Franklyn would eventually become a star at the Buffalo Evening News, writing stories about “little people doing great things,” a theme that runs through both of their work. Franklyn Buell passed away in 2003 and Glendora maintains an archive museum of their respective work, including tens of thousands of pages of court documents from her judicial activism days, and every piece her husband ever wrote during his 37-year career as a journalist. After leaving WMUR, Glendora landed at WBZ-TV, the Westinghouse station in Boston, the largest in New England. “After searching all over Massachusetts, and even up to Buffalo for sponsors, I finally went to a little oneman advertising agency in Hartford, CT, and asked if he had any sponsors for the SS Glendora. Turns out, he had one client, Milton Bradley, which also just happened to be owned by James Shea, a trustee of AIC.” The SS Glendora now attracted the attention of some of the top newspapers in the country, including the Boston Globe, the Boston Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. “I had so many ideas and I was working so hard. My parents helped with the costumes and I wrote the show in a room on the second floor of 19 Colonial Avenue, just west of AIC.” Though it seemed like a match made in sponsor heaven, the connection with Milton Bradley was shortlived. Dismayed but not discouraged, Glendora shopped the show around and the SS Glendora sailed on to General Electric’s WRGB in Schenectady, NY where it ran five days a week before eventually morphing into Satellite Six, with Glendora the captain of a 1950’s-style sci-fi spaceship and running cartoons such as Felix the Cat and Bugs Bunny.
American International College | 37
By 1961, videotape began to replace live programming, and in 1962, after four years at WRGB, Glendora was let go from the Schenectady, NY station. Though she made a vow to return to television in 10 years, it was around this time that she underwent what she calls an “inner conversion.” She tried meditation, but found it unsatisfying. She started and ran a volunteer lunch-hour and after-school program for disadvantaged children at the local Methodist Church for several years. “All this time,” she said, “I’m trying to find God. I finally decided that God was the universe, so to understand the universe, I enrolled at SUNY Buffalo as a graduate student in physics.” Her relentless search for the divine, later influenced by her study of physics, led her to write several volumes: Be Perfect, Here is the Answer to Everything, Love and Physics, and The Glendora Happy Book. In 1972, Glendora honored her vow to return to television by entering the brand new world of cable. She began her long-running talk show, A Chat With Glendora, at Lackawanna Cable, a tiny station in a suburb of Buffalo, NY with the mission of interviewing ordinary people doing extraordinary things. When Congress passed the law that required cable companies to provide a public access channel and Sony came out with its first “Portapak,” Glendora saw another opportunity. “I presented myself as a public access coordinator and went out and covered all those things that had never been covered before--soccer and basketball games, the bridge clubs, the Y, the churches. The little people were finally getting their coverage.” By the mid-seventies, Glendora was also a one-woman advertising agency, writing, acting in, and buying airtime for commercials in the New York broadcast market for clients such as the New York/New England McIntosh Apple Institute, New Jersey Peaches, and Worthington Foods. One year, she even persuaded the CEO of MetLife to deliver a Christmas message that she taped and placed during the six o’clock news. At WNEW, she negotiated a segment following the Bill Boggs show, Glendora’s Cheerful Look at the News, continued to produce ads for small businesses, and developed the Careers Unlimited series in which executives talked about their work and gave youngsters advice. In 1987, Glendora appeared as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman, an invitation she says came not long after she interviewed the president of NBC.
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In 1994, Glendora sued a Long Island cable company for taking her off the air in violation of the law that states no cable operator can exercise editorial control over public access TV. The court agreed with Glendora and her Chat was restored. “It was a landmark case,” she said. “I went without lawyers, I did it pro se, and I won. The cable companies were shocked. They were so used to getting whatever they wanted, so used to winning, but this time they didn’t. Public access TV is free speech TV, it’s an electronic soapbox, and it cannot be subject to editorial control by a cable company.” Glendora spent years fighting corruption in the courts, filing hundreds of pro se lawsuits, including one against the powerful international banking family, the Rothschilds. Though she is no longer involved in litigation, she remains a staunch believer in the necessity of a well-informed citizenry as the best defense against violations of constitutional and civil rights. Today, A Chat With Glendora is still going strong, running every week on 63 stations from Boston to San Diego, including the top 10 markets. You can find her on YouTube, including a 2010 documentary by Victoria Kereszi, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, telling jokes, spreading joy, and sharing her profoundly mystical faith in God’s goodness and nearness. Glendora shares her home in Nassau Village, New York with her 12-year-old vegan cat, DotCom, and rises before dawn to meditate and read Scripture, write in her journal and sing hymns before calling a long list of people to check on and cheer them. She also hosts the occasional vegan dinner party and keeps her assistant, Madeleine, busy three afternoons a week. Kerrie, a high school senior, stops by to help out, and Austin, a senior at Northeastern University, acts as her digital guru. When asked what she thinks of the brave new online world, all of the amazing developments in media, Glendora, this earliest and most enthusiastic of “early adopters,” a woman who has known the magic of television from the time it first cast its spell, answers as one might expect from someone who loves life—and reaches out to others—as much as she does: “I am dazzled by the new technology,” she says. “Just dazzled by it.” n
â€œI finally decided that God was the universe, so to
understand the universe, I
enrolled at SUNY Buffalo as a graduate student in physics.â€?
American International College | 39
Son of Springfie Keshawn Dodds, ’01, ’09 MEd returns to the Springfield Boys and Girls Club Family Center to help inspire the next generation of local youth. By Michael Reid
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eld American International College | 41
The Springfield Boys and Girls Club Family Center sits on a quiet, tree-lined street in a low stone building so unassuming that you could drive past it countless times without ever really noticing it. The Center’s unique location, though, speaks volumes about the spirit of the organization and the extraordinary work being done there every day. That’s because as you step out of the Center’s front door and look across the street, you’re greeted with a sweeping view of American International College’s athletic fields and, in the distance, its Edgewood Complex dormitories. For the young students that the Family Center serves, this view is a constant reminder that college isn’t some lofty, unattainable goal—it’s a place that’s tangible, inviting, and, with some hard work and determination, entirely within reach. This symbolism is especially meaningful to Keshawn Dodds, ’01, ’09 MEd, the Center’s new executive director. Dodds’ life story is inextricably entwined with not only the Family Center and AIC, but also with the city of Springfield, Massachusetts itself. His story is one that’s marked by tragedy, but ultimately shaped by hope, faith, and the unwavering belief that every child, regardless of circumstance, can change the world.
Building a Foundation
When Keshawn Dodds speaks about his childhood, one immediately notices that instead of putting himself at the center of the story, he focuses on the people who helped him through the key moments of his young life. Having lost his father to cancer at the age of seven, Dodds’ mother, Elizabeth, wanted her son to have as much support as possible throughout his adolescence. At the suggestion of Dodds’ older brother, she brought Keshawn to the Family Center in the summer of 1985. For some, it may have 42 | Higher Dedication
merely been a summer diversion, but for Dodds, it was where he instantly found a second family, one that would play a key role in helping him build the foundations for his adult life. “The people I met there were amazing,” he says with a smile. “There was Tony Malone, the director of youth programs, and Henry Dawson, who was the executive director at the time. Carol Rawson, who was the director of operations, and my godfather, Milton Berry. It was just an amazing experience—that after losing my father at such a young age, I had so many tremendous men and women who stepped up and created this big family. That’s why that Family Center name really holds true for me.” Yet it was the Center’s gym coordinator, Tom Brennan, who may have provided Dodds with the most impactful guidance during those years. “Tom is the one who really first piqued my interest in sports. He said, ‘This kid is fast! He’s always running in my hallways. He’s always getting into trouble because he’s sprinting everywhere.’ So he helped me channel that energy onto the field, and also helped me understand what I needed to do to be the best I could be.” That drive led Dodds through Central High School and landed him a one-year postgraduate scholarship at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, a private prep school located in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he would continue to play football and strengthen his academics before college. For Dodds, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work and support. However, just as things were beginning to settle into place for him, Dodds would have to come to terms with yet another pivotal moment in his young adult life.
A Turning Point
“I lost my father at the age of seven and my grandfather at 14, both to cancer.” Dodds looks away and takes a breath before continuing. “So then, in my senior year of high school, Marcus McDowell, my best friend from the time we were six months old, also gets diagnosed with cancer. This was January of 1996. So I’m thinking that I lost my father and grandfather, and now my best friend—a person I really considered my twin—is diagnosed with prostate cancer. So that fear kicked in within me. But what I thought at the time was, ‘Okay, but he’s young and they were older. So he’s going to beat it.’” Dodds spent as much time as he could in the hospital with Marcus from the point he was diagnosed through his fall semester at Wilbraham & Monson, a difficult stretch of time when he was considering what direction he wanted his life to take. “I was still contemplating what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to play football, but wasn’t sure that I was ready for college. And then I got the opportunity to play at Wilbraham, which was great, but all throughout this time, Marcus is still battling cancer. It was just a confusing time.”
Despite the difficulties, Dodds excelled at Wilbraham & Monson, both in the classroom and on the field, winning the 1996 All-New England Prep School Player of the Year. He accepted the award that December, but just as he received one of the highest honors of his young life, he also received the news that he had never expected. “It was right before Christmas,” he says. “I come home and go right to the hospital to show Marcus the award, and that’s when I found out that he passed away. That moment changed my life. I lost someone who truly knew who I was, what I was thinking, what I was going to do. When I lost him, I lost a part of myself. I didn’t want to go back to school, I didn’t want to think about the future. None of that stuff seemed to matter anymore.” What helped Dodds come to terms with his friend’s death was a conversation he had with Marcus’ father, Douglas Skinner, a few months later. As he explains, Douglas was a person that both young men looked up to throughout their childhoods, a figure they continually watched and tried to emulate. Yet Marcus’ father told Dodds that his son, in the waning days of his life, was the one who taught him how to be a man. continues on page 58
“It was just an amazing experience—that after losing my father at such a young age, I had so many tremendous men and women who stepped up and created this big family. That’s why that Family Center name really holds true for me.”
Keshawn shoots hoops at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club. American International College | 43
THE LOST ART OF
As duckpin bowling inexorably fades away, the sport’s top woman and a few dozen certified alleys endure. Reprinted with permission from The New York Times. By Dan Barry, The New York Times Photos by Jessica Hill for The New York Times
The world’s best female duckpin bowler holds so many bowling records that she has lost count, but her game-day shirt features a star for each of her tournament wins — a sartorial requirement of the Women’s National Duckpin Association. With 19 stars so far, her polyester constellation is running out of sky.
Amy Bisson Sykes '00, who has been
44 | Higher Dedication
n duckpinâ€™s female bowler of the year multiple times, bowled in April at Highland Bowl in Cheshire, CT.
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The world’s best female duckpin bowler lives here in the Berkshires, where duckpin bowling is neither played nor followed. If she wants to bowl, she must drive two hours to an alley in Connecticut, where bowlers sometimes ask her for shared selfies and autographs. The world’s best female duckpin bowler is Amy Bisson Sykes, a slight woman of 37 who dominates a black-and-white pastime in a Technicolor world. Her sport is so yesterday that whenever another duckpin alley closes, the remaining alley owners descend like predatory relatives to cart off the mechanical parts of duckpin setting machines that have not been made in two generations. But Bisson Sykes was reared in the duckpin bowling alley her father owned in Newington, Conn., amid the drone of rolling balls on pine and maple, the clatter of pins scattering like startled waterfowl. The soundtrack of her youth. In leagues and tournaments, Bisson Sykes used to slip into an all-business cocoon that others found intimidating and even off-putting. Wearing the mask of singular purpose, she would stand with the same red-and-white ball firm in her right hand and raised close to her chest and then release it with the twinning of a ballerina’s curtsy and a fencer’s thrust. “I was there to win,” she said. The cognoscenti of duckpin often pause before describing Bisson Sykes’s talent and impact, as if searching for the proper superlative. “Phenomenal,” said Al Zoraian, the president of the National Duckpin Bowling Congress. “Not unbeatable,” added Lauree Schreiber, a friend and longtime opponent. “But she’s about as close as it gets.” Bisson Sykes has retained much of her intense focus on the 10-pin triangle. But motherhood has taught her that the lanes of life are curlicue, with pins that can move about and refuse to fall. Now she offers high-fives to opponents who throw strikes and embraces the sense of community that has always enveloped the ancient game of bowling. It’s been an epiphany. Turns out some things in life are even more important than duckpin bowling.
It’s Not Easy
To all those armchair athletes rolling their eyes instead of balls, let’s be clear: Odds are, you’d be lousy at duckpin. The grapefruit-size ball weighs less than four pounds and has no finger holes, and the squat duckpins look like out-of-shape cousins to the more familiar bowling pin. And even though a turn can include throwing three balls, instead of the two in the more common game of tenpin bowling, scores are still much lower. According to the United States Bowling Congress, there were 55,266 certified 300 games — that is, 12 consecutive strikes, for a perfect score — in the 2013-14 season of tenpin bowling. But there has never been a 300 game in duckpin bowling. As all serious duckpinners know, a Connecticut man named Pete Signore Jr. came closest in 1992, bowling a 279. The history of duckpin is a murky pond. It was long believed that the game emerged around 1900 from a Baltimore gaming hall owned by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson, future members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But research has since found references to duckpin dating to the early 1890s, in New Haven, Boston and Lowell, Mass. 46 | Higher Dedication
The sport became popular along the Eastern Seaboard, finding particular passion in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maryland. Men now gray and halting in step will recall their glory years as pin boys, setting pins and clearing deadwood for the greats: Harry Kraus and Wolfie Wolfensberger and the singular Nick Tronsky, out of Connecticut. And don’t forget the female standouts: Toots Barger and Sis Atkinson and Cathy Dyak. Big matches drew standing-room-only crowds. Local newspapers chronicled the scores and profiled the stars (“Nick Tronsky of New Britain stole the show at the state duckpin tournament today with a nine-game total of 1,203”). Companies hired ringers for their league teams, and some stars barnstormed, taking on all local heroes. In certain American crannies, duckpin was life. Some pastimes just fade away, to resurface only with the smirk of irony. Like so many other endeavors, duckpin has been a casualty of the fundamental change in how Americans choose to spend their leisure time. But some of the duckpin faithful will also cite what is known as the Curse of Ken Sherman. In 1953, a submarine designer named Kenneth Sherman invented an automatic pinsetter for duckpin. It was an elaborate, Rube Goldberg-like contraption of more than 1,000 moving parts — cast-iron gears and gaskets and pin holders — that did away with the need for pin boys and made the game faster and more efficient. But the story goes that when Sherman’s company stopped operating nearly 50 years ago, he refused to sell the patent for the Sherman Pinsetter to Brunswick Equipment — some say because he feared that Brunswick would end production so that duckpin could no longer compete with tenpin. “But we’re in the same situation as if Brunswick had shut us down anyway,” said Stan Kellum, 72, the executive director of the National Duckpin Bowling Congress, which is run out of a small office in a Maryland bowling alley. “Nobody is manufacturing the machines.” That is why, if you go behind the lanes at, say, Highland Bowl, in Cheshire, Conn., the back wall is lined with cardboard boxes crammed with cast-iron bits, duckpin nests and assorted other parts no longer manufactured — all scavenged and saved from closed alleys. When all 20 lanes are operating smoothly, the deafening roar is mere background music for the owner, Todd Turcotte. But his ears are attuned to the faintest false note in the mechanical syncopation. When that happens, something is broken — off. And what does Turcotte do then? “Pray,” he said. His situation reflects why the game of duckpin could not grow. No new automatic pinsetters means no new alleys. Today there are 41 congress-certified duckpin bowling alleys, down from nearly 450 in 1963, Kellum said, “and we’re losing houses all over the place.” In fact, he said, “We just lost T-Bowl last year.” That would be T-Bowl Lanes in Newington. The alley in which Amy Bisson Sykes grew up. continues on page 64 Top to bottom: The right toe of Bisson Sykes’s Dexter bowling shoes are worn from her follow-through, the scorecard from Bisson Sykes’s six-game set in 2004 at Perillo’s Bowl-O-Drome in Waterbury, CT, her score of 1,006 is a women’s world record, Bisson Sykes with her son Nathan, 4, at home in Pittsfield, MA, duckpins are prepared in formation for the next frame in a machine behind the lanes at Highland Bowl. American International College | 47
a company with
Most people don’t have dreams about starting sock companies, but Lenny Underwood ’04, ’05 MPA did—and he had the drive to turn that dream into reality. By Michael Reid
48 | Higher Dedication
American International College | 49
Start-up companies usually begin with an aspiring entrepreneur having an interest in a particular industry. Through careful consideration, hard work, determination, and varying amounts of risk and luck, he or she develops that interest into an idea for a certain product or service. Over the course of months or years, a company is born, shaped, and grown. Lenny Underwood ’04, ’05 MPA approached his business a little differently. “I had a dream one night that I started a sock company,” he says as he displays the first seventeen products that launched his new company, Upscale Socks. “It wasn’t a dream about starting a clothing line or creating other types of accessories or anything else. The dream I had was specifically about starting a sock company. So that’s exactly what I did.”
The Road Less Traveled
If it seems somewhat unbelievable to start a company in that manner, you have to get to know Lenny Underwood a little better. His story starts out like a lot of AIC students: born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, he attended AIC because of its relaxed atmosphere and sense of community—but that’s where many of the similarities end. Unlike some college graduates who take the path of least resistance when entering into one career or another, Underwood always made sure to let his passions guide his life choices. It was this inclination that led him to begin substitute teaching in the Springfield public school system while still a sophomore at AIC, and to begin teaching photography at the Holyoke Street School in Holyoke, Massachusetts, during his senior year. In addition, it was at AIC where Underwood began to hone his professional photography skills, shooting events for various offices around campus. This led to his first business venture, Underwood Photo, which he began in 2004, a few months before he graduated with a degree in public administration and a minor in business. Like most of the paths in his life, though, it wasn’t that simple. “I was having a breakfast meeting one morning about a month before completing my undergraduate degree and someone broke into my car and stole all of my camera equipment,” explains Underwood. “I went to church that evening and met someone who was getting married that Saturday over Thanksgiving weekend, and she asked if I wanted to do photography at the wedding. I explained that my equipment had been stolen, but she insisted that if I could get a camera in the next few days, she would love to have me shoot it. My mom was able to help me get a camera on Black Friday. Of course, I wasn’t really familiar with the camera so there was a lot of pres50 | Higher Dedication
sure, but I did the wedding and the client was happy. That kind of sparked my confidence that I could do photography full time.” Underwood took on as many photo shoots as he could over the next several years, building his business through word of mouth, cold calling clients, and networking. Slowly, he grew his portfolio, all while continuing to substitute teach and becoming a certified personal trainer in 2008. Teacher, photographer, personal trainer—to say that Underwood keeps himself busy would be an understatement. For most people, having three pursuits in life would be enough, but then there was that dream. And Lenny Underwood is never one to ignore a dream.
Following Your Dreams (Literally)
“I almost never remember my dreams,” explains Underwood. “So when a dream of mine is really vivid and stays in my head for a long time, I truly believe that it means something.” Underwood embraces this idea fully, getting LASIK eye surgery a few months after dreaming that he’d had the procedure. His sock dream, however, took a little longer to develop. After having the dream in the summer of 2014, he wrote down his initial thoughts but waited a full year before taking his first steps toward turning his ideas into a concrete plan. “The idea for the company stayed with me, but I didn’t know anything about manufacturing or retail, or where to even start the process of learning what I needed to know. So last summer I reached out to Valley Venture Mentors, a local organization that puts young entrepreneurs in contact with community business leaders.” Underwood went to one of the organization’s “Ask An Expert” events, and from there was put in touch with SPARK Holyoke, a local partnership that offers entrepreneurship education for local area start-ups. He went through SPARK’s Launch Program in late 2015, all while designing his first sock and researching over thirty manufacturers to find the one that could give him the best quality at the best price. Once he settled on a company out of China, he was up and running. Even the name came easy to him—the “U” for Underwood and “scale” for Libra, his astrological sign. Upscale Socks was born. “I started manufacturing with one sock so I could be sure of the feel and look of the product. I was really happy with the results, and started slowly building the initial line out to seventeen products. I’m now in talks with some stores in the Springfield area, as well as some small boutiques in Northampton. I’ll also be selling through my Website, upscalesocks.com.
Underwood is currently Upscale’s only employee, though he does work with a graphic designer for some of the sock designs. He also created a sock design contest with students at the Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy in Springfield. Over 100 students submitted designs, with the top three winners receiving a pair of the socks they designed and a gift card. Approaches like this, says Underwood, are part of the joy of starting a company.
“The dream I had was specifically about starting a sock
company. So that’s
exactly what I did.” “It’s already starting to grow faster than I thought it would, but I’m just trying to have fun throughout the process and let things happen naturally. That’s my real goal now— just grow the company slowly and steadily and continue to enjoy it all each step of the way.”
Underwood is uncannily relaxed for a person just starting his own business, but he explains that his attitude is less nonchalance and more even-tempered confidence. “I’ve had a lot of support throughout my life. There’s my mom, of course. And people at AIC like Naomi White-Innis (former head of multicultural affairs), who was always very encouraging of everything I was doing, and Bruce Johnson, a professor who helped me build the people skills that are so crucial when starting and maintaining business relationships.” He also mentions the organizations in the Springfield area that helped get Upscale Socks started. “This is a very supportive community for young businesses. There are a lot of programs and funding and grant money. Small businesses are really the engine for this economy, so there’s a lot of potential, but you have to get out there and talk to people, learn all you can, and take advantage of those opportunities.” As for the future, Underwood is determined to continue to grow his company at a steady pace, in part to keep costs down and in part so he can keep the venture a solo project, though he admits that the latter may not be possible if the company takes off. For now, though, he’s following the advice
Lenny Underwood models a pair of socks from his collection.
he gives other young men and women thinking of starting their own businesses. “Go slow, don’t rush, be patient, and stay diligent. There’s nothing worth losing sleep over. You need to have a work-life balance. Don’t burn yourself out, but also enjoy the journey. Maybe that’s the Libra in me—balanced. I do work hard, but for me it’s more about working smart.” And above all, he says, don’t ignore your dreams. “My mom and grandmother would sometimes say, ‘You went to college and you have these degrees, so when are you going to get a real job?’” He smiles. “But I knew myself well enough to know what would make me happy. And so that’s exactly what I did.” n American International College | 51
AIC Inducts Its First Lifetime LEADers 52 | Higher Dedication
“I give back every year to pay it forward. I received a full academic scholarship when I attended AIC. I want to give back so others can receive what I did.” - Mrs. Marie E. Labonte ’91
IN AUGUST, American International College’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations held an event to formally induct 230 founding lifetime members to its new Loyal Engaged Annual Donors (LEAD) Society. The inductees were honored for making annual contributions to AIC for more than 30 consecutive fiscal years.
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Launched earlier this year, the LEAD Society was created to show special recognition to donors who contribute year after year following the College’s fiscal year (July 1–June 30). Alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends join the LEAD Society at 3 or more consecutive fiscal years of giving, regardless of the amount given. President Vince Maniaci and AIC Board of Trustee member, T.P. Tunstall, who was also inducted as an inaugural lifetime LEAD member, spoke at the event, which took place outside AIC’s new Dining Commons. Both stressed the importance of sustained giving to advance the educational goals of the College for future generations of AIC students. Also speaking at the event was Student Government Association President, Rebecca Gray ’17, who highlighted the impact that giving has on the immediate needs of students. “The overwhelming amount of encouragement I receive from peers, professors, and administration has shaped me into who I am today and what I have been able to accomplish on campus,” said Gray. “Many of you in attendance were dedicated student leaders yourselves, and all of you have been impacted by the AIC community. That’s why we are all here tonight. You serve as an example of the impact that dedicated alumni make.” A tree in the outdoor eating area of the Dining Commons was dedicated in honor of the LEAD Society as a symbol of the lasting impact and growth that their financial support continues to make on the AIC community. A reception at the Stinger Pub and Lounge followed the event. n
To learn more about the LEAD Society, visit www.aic.edu/lead. Above, top to bottom: Kathryn Myler, Franz D. Wolff ’51, and Cecily Bergman; Thomas P. Tunstall ’70; Dean T. Toepfer ’60 and Jeanette Mueller; Rebecca Gray ’17; Diane Marchese, Richard A. Marchese ’71, MS ’76, Nancy Marchese and Victor L. Marchese ’58 Left: Jeanne DePiano, Andrea Dillon ’17, Paige Preston ’18 and Frank G. DePiano '61 54 | Higher Dedication
The LEAD Society honors the following 230 Lifetime LEAD Inductees in this founding year for making annual contributions to AIC for more than 30 consecutive fiscal years. John H. Adams ’68 Harry N. Aizenstat ’36* Alan L. Aleia ’75 & Margaret Aleia Ruth Sachs Alpert ’48 Stephen J. Alphas MD ’51 John J. Anzalotti ’54 Bernard G. Auge Jr. ’85 Paul W. Austin ’60 Madalene K. Barber ’73 Beryl A. Barber ’65 Mary D. (Stewart) Barkhuff ’52 Douglas W. Barrus ’61 & Sally D. Barrus Carl D. Beach ’52 & Maryjane B. Beach Richard F. Bedard ’86 & Ms. Patricia Kelly-Bedard ’82 Shirley R. Beresford ’58 Jack Bills ’50* & Ann Marie Bills Gail C. (Levine) Blumsack ’69 & Steven L. Blumsack Edwin A. Bobak ’50 & Teresa D. Bobak* Dolores H. (Czajka) Bok ’71, MEd ’72 William V. Bonfitto Jr. ’74 & Rita L. Bonfitto Eugene J. Borowski Sr. ’57 & Shirley A. Borowski Thomas R. Borzino ’72 & Christine H. Borzino Robert C. Bowen ’63 Richard G. Boyajy ’66 Mary Ann Bradstreet ’78 James W. Breglio ’58 & Clare Breglio Henry H. Broer ’58 Edward D. Brown ’63 G. Dennis Brown ’50 Edwina W. Wegrzyn Buehler ’59 James M. Burek ’67 William H. Burns Jr. ’72 William D. Byrne Jr. ’60 Richard A. Calvanese CPA, ’69, MBA ’74 & Diana E. Calvanese Clarice (Croto) Camp ’55 & Robert D. Camp Gary W. Campbell ’73 Carmine A. Cardillo ’72 Ruth (Penney) Carter ’49 Roy F. Cavallon ’64
Marilyn G. (Carlson) Childs ’45 Timothy J. Chipman ’72, MEd ’76 & Donna T. (Brusky) Chipman ’73 Ronald J. Cohen ’69 Frank Colaccino ’73, Hon ’12 & Norma Colaccino Francis A. Collins ’60 Alvin J. Comen ’65 Mary (Driscoll) Commisso ’80, MEd ’91 Benjamin L. Cooley MD ’62 & Linda S. Cooley George W. Cox ’62 & Eileen P. Cox Rabbi Donald D. Crain ’51 Kenneth F. Cummings Jr. ’65 Norman P. De Bastiani ’60 Mario P. DeiDolori ’58, MA ’60 & Mary H. DeiDolori Daniel E. Della-Giustina PhD, Hon ’04 & Janet P. Della-Giustina Frank G. Depiano ’61 Frances M. (Ferri) Dolan ’42 David W. Donaldson ’67 Kathleen M. Donnellan ’84 Gary N. Drapeau ’71 Peggy A. (Janollari) Dravis ’68 Lawrence T. Duffany ’65 & Barbara G. Duffany Phyllis (Broad) Dworsky ’46 Elaine A. Evans ’70, MPA ’94 Jean (Taylor) Ferrier ’59 Gary L. Fialky, Esq. ’64 & Elaine S. Fialky Richard W. Finck ’50 & Priscilla P. Finck Beverly R. (Albert) Finnicum ’81 Robert A. Fleischner DPM, ’51 & Dorothy Fleischner Speros “Spike” Frangules ’73, MEd ’77 & Nadine Frangules George J. Funaro ’56, MA ’61, HON ’88 Charles R. Gibson ’65 & Brenda S. Gibson Mary A. Giorgi ’45, MA ’59 Leonard D. Gorman ’60, MAT ’83 & Jeannine (Boucher) Gorman ’79 Dianne (Serafini) Gustafson ’69, MEd ’73 William D. Haley Jr. ’74 Richard P. Haller ’57 & Mary C. Haller Constance A. (Matyskiela) Haskell ’58 American International College | 55
Marjorie (St. Germain) Haunton ’42 Richard A. Hausamann ’61, ’68 & Carol C. Hausamann ’71 Helen M. Healy ’43 Robert W. Healy ’60 Constance A. (Sullivan) Henning ’80 John P. Hickey ’51 George T. Hojnoski ’57 Nuvart A. (Baronian) Hottin ’43 & Arthur W. Hottin Robert G. Hubbard ’62 & Metaxia L. Hubbard Ronald S. Hylen ’52 & Ellen P. Hylen D. Alden Johnson ’64 & Patricia A. Johnson Walter C. Juskiewicz Jr. ’70, MS ’75 Charles F. Kaiser III, Esq. ’69 Michael S. Kaplan ’81 J. D. Keaney, Esq. ’61, MA ’65 & Christine M. Keaney Robert B. Keir ’58 & Sandra J. Keir Dorothy (Fortune) Kenyon ’66 Lucille (Ziter) Killoh ’61 Lewis J. King ’64 Elaine Klein ’80 William K. Koszewski ’55 Michael E. Krasner ’74 Wallace W. Kravitz ’48 Anthony T. Krzystofik ’52 & Margaret J. (Wallace) Krzystofik ’75 Robert A. Kurtz ’67 Robert J. Kusek ’68 Arthur J. LaBerge Jr. ’50 & Dorothy J. LaBerge Richard L. Lamothe ’50 & Carol A. Lamothe Harry C. Lane ’69 & Nancy L. Lane Richard A. Lathrop ’58 & Jacqueline S. Lathrop James R. Laudato ’61 Robert L. Lawrenz ’61 & Martha E. Lawrenz Edward J. Lecuyer Jr. PhD, ’63 Roger J. Legare ’60 Henry L. Lenart ’58 Richard J. Libera ’56 & Joan M. Libera Ronald E. Lindman ’74, ’78 Doris G. Lowrie ’74 Raymond J. Lozier ’51 Jean W. MacDonald ’70 Paul F. Magnant ’67 Richard L. Manna ’71 Norman S. March ’51 & Marie T. March G. Todd Marchant ’71 & Marilyn J. Marchant Victor L. Marchese ’58 & Nancy E. Marchese Ellen W. Marsh ’72, MEd ’76 Neil R. Martell ’65 Donald S. Mathison 56 | Higher Dedication
Paul A. Meunier, MD, ’59 & Audrey R. Meunier Gideon T. Miles Jr. ’55 Hugh Miller, MD, ’51 Adonis W. Miller ’80 & Virginia Muller David W. Milne ’67 & Joyce H. Milne Ralph L. Misener ’74 David R. Moquin ’70 Joan R. Morach Leonard J. Morse MD, ’51 Kenneth F. Mruk ’71 & Kathleen A. Mruk Norman J. Muller ’68 Henry S. Novicki ’49 Edward L. O’Brien Jr. ’70 & Kathryn B. O’Brien Joseph A. Occhiuti ’63, MEd ’67 Nelson E. Ockerbloom ’53 & Adelia E. Ockerbloom Kathleen (Wright) O’Connell ’77 William F. O’Connor ’49 Frederick G. Olander ’74 Paul M. Olbrych ’66, ’75 Gerald L. Orlen ’65 & Iris Orlen The Honorable John M. Payne Jr. ’75 & Professor Jill McCarthy Payne James E. Pease ’51 & Nancy S. Pease Arthur S. Perrone ’53 & Margaret M. Perrone Michael J. Pieciak ’70, MEd ’71 John E. Pietras ’71 J. Lucien Plante ’57 David L. Plasse ’72 & Joyce (Yemenijian) Plasse ’72 Kenneth L. Poole ’66 Walter L. Porowski Jr. ’65 & Cynthia A. Porowski Robert J. Potvin ’62 James E. Pratt ’70 Paul K. Premo ’61 & June M. Premo Roger A. Preston, DMD ’54 Matthew L. Principe ’79 John F. Ptaszek Jr. ’57 Philip R. Quinn ’60 Gayle Hennessey Rae ’73 Doris M. Ransford ’58 Frances P. (Porcheddu) Regnault ’48 Richard A. Ricci ’65 John D. Rixon MD, ’65 & Marie Rixon Donald G. Robert ’63 & Barbara W. Robert Douglas C. Roberts ’50 Roland L. Roberts ’57, MA ’60 & Joyce G. Roberts George D. Robinson Jr. ’56 Allen J. Robinson ’62 & Pauline J. Robinson Stanley A. Rodowicz ’59 Marion F. Ruggles ’45
Rudolph H. Rumlik ’50 Richard T. Rusiecki ’67 Bronislaw L. Sajdak ’67 Rosario Salamone ’78 Beverly J. Sangermano ’67 Richard L. Sangermano ’65 Brian S. Saunders, MD, ’65 & Patricia A. Saunders Ellen E. Schmutte ’88, MEd ’00 & Gregory T. Schmutte, PhD Mark B. Schwartz Esq. ’64 Jeanne M. (Lopardo) Seablom ’50, MA ’53 & Alfred Seablom Sanford Searleman ’61, MA ’63 & Martha J. Searleman Irene (Levinson) Sisk ’59 Walter S. Skrobot Jr. ’60 Norman D. Slovis, DDS ’66 & Carol Slovis Ronald M. Smith ’69 Carol E. Smith ’68, MEd ’72 Richard L. Solomon ’58 Michael D. Spagnoli ’70 & Gail Spagnoli Raymond N. Spear ’51 Grace E. Sperling ’51 Nancy L. (Rosoff) Spitz ’71 & Marshall R. Spitz Bruce R. Spongberg ’58 & Patricia E. Spongberg John W. Stearns Jr. ’81, MBA ’83 Mary Raissi ’42, Hon ’13 Ann (Fitzgerald) Sullivan ’51 Mary T. Swieskowski ’67 Peter S. Szatkowski ’67 & Carole A. Szatkowski Robert S. Szukala ’66 Nancy Heavey Tantone ’87 Judith D. Taylor ’78 Angelo S. Teixeira ’50, MEd ’60 Harvey H. Thompson ’68 & Judith S. Thompson
Joseph S. Thurin, CPA ’59 Dean T. Toepfer ’60 Tina M. Toohey ’74 Charles G. Bristol ’56 & Ms. Cynthia A. Tricinella ’61 John L. Trickey ’71 & Judith A. Trickey Thomas P. Tunstall ’70 & Sandra Tunstall ’71 Peter Vanderhorst ’84 & Yvonne (Poteraj) Vanderhorst ’84 Leo Vartanian ’59 William T. Walsh & Rosalie D. (Gentile) Walsh ’78 Ruth (Orenstein) Walz ’64 Warren S. Weiner ’77 Paulina (Fay) Wells ’48, MA ’55 Sherwin J. Wernick ’51 John M. Whalen ’66, ’80 & Carol L. (Anderson) Whalen ’65 Col. James C. Wheeler USAF(Ret.) ’64 Michael L. Widland Esq. ’62 Warren Winnick ’69 & Nancy Winnick Franz D. Wolff ’51 William D. Wolford Jr. ’75 Marcus B. Wolfset ’66 Charles G. Wood Jr. ’53 & Theresa M. Wood Curtis M. Wood ’63 & Bridget Wood Charles B. Woolsey ’67 & Marcia P. (Orenstein) Woolsey ’67 Joseph J. Zalieckas ’67 & Patricia Zalieckas Thomas Zavorski ’67 Andrew A. Zazopoulos ’72 *Deceased
American International College | 57
continued from page 43 “When he told me that, I said I didn’t understand. He explained to me that Marcus knew he was going to pass away, and then he asked me if I remembered what Marcus told me the last time we saw each other. I said to him, ‘Yeah, he told me that he loved me, and I told him I loved him, too, and shut up,’ and I ran out of the room because 17-year-old boys don’t say ‘I love you’ to each other. But after I left, Marcus told his dad, ‘I know I’m going to pass away, and everyone’s going to be fine, but you have to watch out for Keshawn because he’s not going to handle this well.’ And when he told me that, I started thinking about what Marcus was going through—about how tired he was from all the chemo he was getting—but that throughout all of that, he was worried about me. “At that moment, I said to myself, ‘I’m the one being selfish and I have everything to live for.’ And so after that conversation, I literally started to be thankful for just breathing every day, for having an opportunity to be a better person, to make an impact in my community and make sure kids never have to experience what I had to experience growing up. That moment put everything into perspective.”
A football scholarship and a love for his community led Dodds back to his childhood neighborhood to attend American International College, where he would play football under Coach Art Wilkins and continue to come in contact with people who would support the vision he had for his life. “I had an amazing undergraduate experience at AIC. Naomi White-Inniss [director of multicultural affairs], or ‘Ma White,’ and Dean [Blaine] Stevens were the first two people who really took me in as a student. And Brian O’Shaughnessy, who started at AIC as the director of residence life when I was a freshman, always looked out for me. It was like I got to go from one family to another.” When Dodds graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s in education, he remained close to campus, teaching across the street from Hines Hall at Homer Street Elementary School. At the encouragement of his former professors, he also became a published novelist, having converted a comic book that Marcus and he had begun while Marcus was in the hospital into a work of young adult fiction. The first book in the series, Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince, tells the story of a superhero named Menzuo (modeled after Dodds) and a protector named Solar (modeled after Marcus) who lives in a medallion he wears as they battle a villain named Morbid, a character representing cancer and death. Dodds went on to write eight books in the series, the first two of which were republished in 2010 and became Amazon bestsellers. 58 | Higher Dedication
“I’ve always loved to write, but it wasn’t until I got to AIC and received enough encouragement from professors that I realized I really could get something published. And lo and behold, when I was at Homer Street, my book gets published and I’m using it in my classroom as a tool to teach kids to read.” After leaving Homer Street, Dodds continued teaching at another Springfield public school, Washington Elementary, before taking a mayoral aide position with former Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan in 2005. But working with students remained a priority for Dodds, so when a position opened up at AIC to work with Ellen Noonan setting up the College’s then-new master’s degree program in education throughout the commonwealth, he jumped at the opportunity. Dodds would spend the next ten years at AIC, moving from continuing education to alumni and development, and finally to student affairs. It was here that Dodds began taking on a more active role in campus life, starting AIC’s Greek Life programs and eventually accepting the role of director of diversity and community engagement. Added to all of this, Dodds completed his master’s degree in education psychology at the College in 2009. Despite a love for AIC’s students and culture, the appeal of working with younger students and providing the type of guidance and support that others had given him was simply too strong to ignore. “My time at AIC, from everything I learned there as a student to coming back and working with some of the same people who inspired me, was amazing. But with everything I had done at AIC, I felt that it was time for me to spread my wings and grow a little,” he says. “It was right around that time when the executive director’s position opened up at the Family Center.”
Coming Full Circle
Speaking to Dodds today, one gets a strong sense that he’s as content and grateful as can be with who and where he is in life. Taking the executive director position at the Family Center in June 2016, he feels that he’s returned home to support many children who are facing the same challenges he did so many years ago. “I feel like it’s a full circle. Coming to the Center at the age of seven, attending AIC as a student, coming back to AIC, and now coming back to the Family Center—being the person behind the desk instead of the kid sitting on the other side—is incredible. I feel that it’s a story of faith and confidence, from my mother, Elizabeth Dodds, who always believed in me, from my wife, Tamara Dodds, ’16 MEd, and kids, and everyone else who helped me on my journey. They’ve all given me the foundation to come back here and
do the work I’m doing.” That work includes overseeing programs that offer support for students and family members of all ages, including preschool programs, programs that help pre-teens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence, after-school programs that provide academic assistance, and mentoring programs that aim to help youth living in distressed and disadvantaged areas. The Center has also recently added nutrition and wellness programs for adults and elderly community members. Dodds is committed to providing services that help support as many community members as possible, but admits that there are some significant obstacles when it comes to community service. “It comes down to funding and perception,” he says as we walk past classrooms and kitchens filled with students and eventually come to the center’s indoor basketball court. “You have to make sure you get the right message out because you have to help people see where their money is going. We need a new electrical system, we need a new boiler. Those seem like secondary things to some, but if we don’t have those, we can’t provide our services. So we need to get the message out that it’s all connected and it’s all important.” Dodds explains that this issue is further complicated by the numerous programs servicing youth in the area, which limits the amount of financial resources available. To help with this, the Center uses work-study students from AIC to help provide academic assistance and help run athletic programs. He has also helped start the Springfield Youth Collaboration, an effort to pool the resources of several area youth and community development organizations, including other Boys and Girls Clubs and area YMCAs. “This way,”
Dodds says, “we’re serving all of the youth together, which makes it a much more visible effort and means that funders don’t have to pick and choose between these services.” It’s a challenge, but given the paths he’s taken in his life and the obstacles he’s overcome, challenges are not something that slow Dodds down. “It hasn’t been easy. I’ve fallen down, I’ve given up. But the thing that always kept coming back to me was, always have faith. Always understand that there’s a reason things happen. The one thing I know is that everyone has a reason to be here, everyone has a purpose. I think about Marcus and my past every day, and when I do, I smile because I think of every positive thing that every person I’ve known has given me.” One way that Dodds continues to keep Marcus’ spirit alive is by visiting classrooms dressed up as Menzuo, giving kids a chance to meet the superhero they’re reading about and talk to them about the issues they’re facing in their lives. “Right now, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and doing the work I’m supposed to be doing. I’m at home. None of this is a job, it’s a lifestyle. I love helping my community grow. Knowing that I have a responsibility for that is a dream, the biggest dream that I can imagine.” As the interview ends, we walk back to Dodds’ office and are immediately surrounded by kids all vying for his attention. He laughs and gives me a brief wave before addressing the group, “Okay, who’s first? What are we doing today?” He turns and leads the kids down the hall, talking and laughing and, as real-world superheroes do, saving his community one child at a time. n
continued from page 19 more inclusive access to one of the most important buildings on campus—a building that houses the office of vice president for institutional effectiveness, the office of the vice president for academic affairs, and the office of the president. Is it a small campus update? Perhaps. But it’s also one that provides an important look into how words like access and inclusion have changed at AIC—and in our society— over the decades. Acceptance and diversity have always been at the heart of AIC’s mission, but there are still opportunities to improve upon who we are as a college and how we serve our students, even if those improvements are small ones that only a few will truly appreciate. n American International College | 59
Softball alumnae gathered in September to take on the current team. Judy Groff and Billy Bedard coached the alumni team. The game ended in a 4-4 tie.
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GERALD BENJAMIN ’59 retired as principal of St. Agnes School in Avon, NY after 19 years. His retirement marks the end of a nearly 60-year career in education.
AIC President Vince Maniaci, Henry Payne ’68, Garry Brown ’55, HON ’14 and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno HON ’16
After 64-plus years of writing newspaper stories and columns in Springfield newspapers GARRY BROWN ’55, HON ’14 decided that it was time to write a book. Brown compiled some of his favorite pieces into a 282-page potpourri entitled “Garry Brown’s Greatest Hits.”
60 | Higher Dedication
ARTHUR LAMIRANDE ’59, resigned from his position as organist of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Elizabeth, NJ due to ill health. He had held the position since 2006. During his tenure at St. John’s, he concertized widely, from New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Hong Kong and Singapore. His last recital occurred on October 3, 2015 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Arthur was one of the first to introduce the organ music of Franz Schmidt (1874–1939) to North America. More recently,
he promoted the music of Bernard Piché (1908– 1989), organist and composer of Que’bec. His recital at Notre Dame was devoted largely to Piché — the first time this music had ever been performed there.
BRIAN L. WALLIN ’68 MA presented “Rhode Island’s Barbed Wire College,” a lecture on German prisoner-of-war camps in the last days of World War II, at the Jamestown Historical Society’s annual meeting. Wallin spent the first 20 years of his career in radio and television news, serving as a reporter, anchor and producer in southern New England. He
| CLASS NOTES | has also served as an adjunct professor at Providence College and Salve Regina University.
RUTH FEINSTEIN ’72 serves as the Harrogate (NJ) Courier’s most prolific writer, having written pieces on yoga, a backstage tour of the Broadway musical Finding Neverland, and on an assortment of colorful Harrogate employees and residents, including “Mailman Jeff” and Joe Brando, a professional clown. DONNA DE BARROS ’78 offers education, life, design coaching and consulting services with her company De Barros Consulting. After 41 years and nine months working in court, Hampden (MA) Superior Court Assistant Clerk JOHN J. FITZGERALD ’78 MS retired. Fitzgerald, known for his easygoing manner and efficient work, retired just short of his 66th birthday. He began with the courts as a courtroom probation officer, becoming a Hampden Superior Court assistant clerk in 1993. ANN SOUTHWORTH ’79 CAGS, a longtime Springfield educator and school administrator, has been appointed as the new principal at Saint Martha School in Enfield, CT.
KEVIN NILES ’80, announced the publication of The Possible Dream Or A New Wrinkle. The book is available on Amazon. MALCOLM FORBES ’83 (non grad) returned to lecture chemistry majors and current and former faculty. The talk was titled “Photons, Radicals, Nanostructures and Life in Chemistry after AIC.” After leaving AIC, Malcolm received his BS in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Illinois. He completed his doctorate at the University of Chicago. He is currently the director of the Center for Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
DR. KEVIN SNOW ’92 was recently featured in the Springfield (MA) Republican for encouraging his patients’ pursuit of more healthy lifestyles. LEON GAUMOND JR ’94 MPA is now the town administrator for the Town of Sturbridge after spending ten years as the town administrator in West Boylston. JULIE MOON ’99 MPT is the owner of Moon Physical Therapy in Hawaii. It is the first healthcare facility in the US to install the Hydroworx 3000 which is
a high-tech underwater, enclosed treadmill that fills with water for aquatic therapy treatments.
and teaching. Patty is an eighth-grade mathematics teacher at Sky View Middle School in Leominster, MA.
Attorney TIMOTHY NETKOVICK ’99 has joined Royal, P.C. He has more than 14 years of litigation experience and has tried nearly two dozen cases to verdict. Netkovick’s practice is focused in labor law and complex employment litigation. He also counsels companies on the multitude of state and federal employment laws impacting them. His other work includes drafting employee manuals; preparing non-disclosure, nonsolicitation, and non-compete agreements; and conducting management training.
KRISTEN PATTERSON HUTCHINSON ‘02, ’04 MBA the current head women’s basketball coach at AIC was inducted into the inaugural class of the Agawam (MA) High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Hudson County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office Detective, GUERSHON CHERILIEN ’01 recently spoke at college football Hall of Famer Rich Glover’s annual four-day All Access to Life Foundation football camp. Cherilien said he visited the camp to give the boys advice that he hopes can set them on the right path in life. TOM PATTY ’01 has been named assistant coach of the Fitchburg State University men’s hockey team. He is currently a graduate student at Fitchburg State, pursuing a master of education in curriculum
ASNAGE CASTELLY ’02, ’04 MS carried the Haitian flag at the Rio Olympics. He made it to the quarterfinals in Men’s Freestyle 74 kg Wrestling at the Olympics. He is an assistant wrestling coach at Springfield (MA) Technical Community College. EMMA WOODS ’03, ’09 MS is currently a long term substitute for the City of Springfield Public Schools. She received her MEd in 2015 from Cambridge College. Emma appreciates all that AIC did for her. CASEY WALL ’04 director of residential services and assistant softball coach at Worcester Polytechnic Instititue, pledged to ride her bike for at least 20 minutes every day for a year to raise money and awareness for ALS. Casey plans to ride her bike for one minute per every dollar donated toward her cause. By June 2017, Casey hopes to have raised $5,000. Anyone interested in donating can visit Casey’s fundraising page at www.classy. org/20min4amyendals.
American International College | 61
| CLASS NOTES | DEANNA LEBLANC ’13 CAGS has been named the new principal of Pearl Rhodes Elementary School in Leyden, MA.
The Western United Pioneers soccer team with coaches Charles Branche ’06, ’08 MBA and Rodney Lozada ’09, ’11 MB. CHARLES BRANCHE ’06, ’08 MBA and RODNEY LOZADA ’09, ’11 MBA coached their girls U-13 soccer team, the Western United Pioneers, to a division win followed by the New England Premiership U-13 Championship. KARA POOL ’09 received her doctorate of nursing practice from UMASS Amherst. She is now a certified family nurse practitioner and full-time provider at St. Johnsbury (VT) Pediatrics. Pool is board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
62 | Higher Dedication
2010s ZACH BARU ’11, ’15 MEd is the founder and owner of the Springfield Sting, an American Basketball League expansion team. The Springfield Sting will compete in the ABA’s Northeastern Division, which features teams from Boston, Providence, New York, and New Jersey. Baru, a high school teacher, has sports and entertainment experience with the Springfield Spirit of the National Women’s Basketball League, the Greater Springfield Pro-Am Basketball League, the former Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League and the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, working in the Youth Programs and Operations departments.
Pioneer Valley Regional School and the school district’s four elementary schools will be graced with a new face. IGOR KOMERZAN ‘14 of Northfield, MA has been named the district’s new school resource officer. FARAH LALLI ’14 CAGS was appointed North Shore Technical High School and Essex Technical High School athletic director. Not only has she taught health and physical education for the past 14 years, but she has also served as the Hawks’ girls lacrosse coach since 2008.
Farah Lalli ’14 CAGS More than 600 runners braved the heat and humidity to run in the 38th Bridge of Flowers 10K Classic Road Race in August and GLARIUS ROP ’14 paced the field to win the event in 33 minutes, 15 seconds. Rop also won the event in 2013.
Gary Farley ’15 with Stephan Benjamin ’12 JAMES COOK ’15 CAGS will be the next principal at Gloucester High School. James has been teaching at GHS since 1999. He is also the program leader of the English Language Arts Department. GARY FARLEY ’15 is a police officer in New York City. He ran into STEPHAN BENJAMIN ’12 during the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY. JENNIFER ALBERT PERRY ’15 MEd is Pioneer Valley Regional School’s assistant principal. Albert Perry received her bachelor’s degree in English and history, with a concentration in education, from Kalamazoo College in 2002. She also received two master’s degrees: one in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University in 2007, and another in school leadership from AIC in 2015.
| CLASS NOTES |
AIC CREW REUNITES
(L-R) Lou Aresco ’62, Paul (Sid) Carabillo ’70, Ken Geromini ’68, ’72 MS, and Doug Mattson ’70 attended the Rockrimmon Regatta and AIC Crew Reunion in September. Other alumni who attended included: Albert Collings ’64, Bill, Koscher ’66, Shawn Harrington ’76, Stephen Mastalerz ’66, Paul E. Raverta ’69, and Robert Shaw ‘54
Harry Aizenstat ’36
Nuvart A. Baronian Hottin ’43
Chester Janis ’50 Serafin Stephen Krupa ’51 George E. LeRoy ’52 Harold F. Alston ’53 Richard E. Mortberg ’54 Francis A. Beaudry ’57
Charles R. Pielock ’60 James J. Newsheller ’60 Edmund Dooley ’61, ’64 MBA Bartholomew M. Dowd Jr. ’66
Zygmunt S. Babski ’70 Gregory Hill ’71
Phyllis R. Croll ’83
American International College | 63
continued from page 47
When Duckpin Was Life
She was 3 years old when her father, an insurance man named Dick Bisson, bought the 48-lane alley in 1981. “His dream was to own a duckpin bowling alley,” she said. The youngest of his four children, Amy took to the game like — well, you know. “I never really found the sport to be difficult,” she said. By 12, she had her trusty red-and-white ball, engraved with her given name. By 15, she had a junior-level reputation as a fierce competitor with the exceptional hand-eye coordination required to consistently knock down a stubborn last pin 60 feet away. The junior records piled up: highest game (262); highest three-game set (567); highest average (145). She played softball at American International College in Springfield, Mass.; graduated with a degree in elementary education; and promptly joined the professional duckpin tour. Reaching the finals of her first tournament, at Perillo’s Bowl-O-Drome in Waterbury, Conn., she faced an estimable opponent, Lynne Heller, a Hall of Famer who had recently bowled a 200 game. Into that cocoon she slipped. All business. She won the tournament and, soon, a reputation. A couple of years later, she wound up being matched with another bowler through the entirety of a weekend tournament. At the end of it, the other woman said she was glad to have spent time with her, adding, “You’re not the bitch that people say you are.” Bisson Sykes remembers the moment as if it were yesterday: at Pinland Bowling Lanes, just outside Baltimore. “Back then, I probably just closed myself off to that,” she said. “I was just there to bowl. But I think people took me as cocky.” The tournament wins and records kept piling up. Then, in 2007, she met Stephen Sykes, a financial adviser, through mutual friends. Coming from Pittsfield in the Berkshires, he knew little of duckpin bowling and nothing of the superstar status of the woman he was now dating. They married and moved to Pittsfield, just 60 miles — and a duckpin chasm — away from her father’s alley in Newington. “I thought I could handle it,” Bisson Sykes said. “I didn’t think that it would have the impact that it did.” She gave birth to her first son, Benjamin, in 2009. Returned to the tour in 2010 and was named female bowler of the year (one of at least eight such honors). Gave birth to her second, Nathan, in 2011. And was named bowler of the year in 2012. That same year, her father died, unexpectedly, at 65. He took a cup of coffee to his work area at the back of the lanes, where all those Sherman Pinsetters were clacking and whirring, and collapsed. 64 | Higher Dedication
And the next year, in the spring of 2013, her younger son, Nathan, was found to have a brain tumor. After two brain operations and who knows how many consultations — a neurologist, a neurosurgeon, a neuro-oncologist, a neuroophthalmologist — it was determined that the tumor, sitting on his brainstem, was inoperable. These days, no news is good news. Nathan was undergoing magnetic resonance imaging every few months, but now he has yearly intervals between scans and is monitored by doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He attends preschool, sings, dances and trails after his older, protective brother. “A goofball, a spitfire,” Bisson Sykes said of Nathan. “He lights up the room.” As Nathan, 4, illuminated a room in the Sykeses’ house, and as Benjamin, 6, dueled imaginary demons with his Star Wars saber, their mother went down to the basement. There, inside several plastic tubs stacked in a far corner, were the trophies and plaques that state her case as the world’s best female duckpin bowler. Once on display upstairs, they lost out to the playthings of children.
Mourning a Fading Pastime
Reading through a couple of old newspaper clippings, Bisson Sykes mourned a pastime inexorably slipping into memory. Here was an article featuring T-Bowl, her father’s bowling alley. Closed last year, it is now a furniture store. “So many places are closing,” Bisson Sykes said. “People just don’t come out to bowl. Where is everybody going?” Bisson Sykes knows at least where she will be for the Memorial Day weekend: at Turner’s Dual Lanes, in Hagerstown, Md., for the first tour stop of the women’s 2016 season. She has already paid her $115 entry fee. She will be wearing a rubber bracelet on her right wrist that reads, “Nate the Great.” And in her travel bag she will have all the essentials for a duckpin assassin: The red-and-white ball she has carried with her since she was 12. Two other balls. A pair of Dexter bowling shoes, with the toe bottom worn away on the right shoe from so many follow-through curtsies. And a gray bowling shirt adorned with 19 stars. It’s not the same as it was, of course. When she turned professional 16 years ago, she’d see 80, maybe 100 women competing in a tour. Now, maybe half that. But she will enjoy herself, catching up with friendly adversaries, visiting an outlet mall, going to dinner with a few close duckpin pals. And when it’s time, she will lose herself in the fading, therapeutic endeavor of throwing a ball to knock things down. n
Giving Back and Looking Ahead
So many of you that I have spoken with over the years are so eager to share stories, offer advice, and to give back so my AIC experience is possible. That is very powerful and another example of how grateful I am to be supported by such a large community.
– Andrea Dillon, ’17
Those who give regularly, no matter how large or how small, provide vital funds that create a foundation of success for students like Andrea. To learn more about ways of giving back and to make your gift today, please visit www.aic.edu/give.
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE
Ravosa Family Giving Challenge
1000 State Street Springfield, Massachusetts 01109 www.aic.edu
Mike Ravosa â€™98 a former AIC football player and his wife, Theresa, recently created a $25,000 matching gift opportunity in support of AIC athletics. Spanning the 100-day challenge duration, over 100 alumni donors were inspired by Mike and his family and contributed more than $11,000 â€“ funds that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Ravosa Family and generously support areas of greatest need in athletics. Go Yellow Jackets! To make your own gift to the Ravosa Challenge visit www.aic.edu/give. Pictured above: Matthew Johnson, AIC athletic director; Ravosa family; Art Wilkins, football coach and President Vincent Maniaci.
The Fall edition of American International College's alumni magazine, Lucent.