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Vol. 22, No. 4 SpriNg 2009

A semester in DC



PresidentHalstead Change is a big word — one that means different things to different people. In fact, years ago, in my discipline of higher education, one of my favorite publications was called Change, published by the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). Sadly, now both are defunct in a world of change. Fast forwarding to 2009, the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in an era of change that millions of Americans thought they might never see. Even in the first one hundred days — often used to gauge the effectiveness of college presidents and world leaders alike — the rate of change in our country has been startling. For the State University of New York, change has come in two flavors: a reduced budget and a new chancellor. While the budget situation — a national phenomenon tied to the world’s economic condition — is still in flux as I write this column, our new Chancellor has been appointed. Dr. Nancy Zimpher joins SUNY on June 1 from the University of Cincinnati, where she honed her considerable reputation as a national leader with a strategic vision and clear aspirations

for achieving financial stability and concentrating on student concerns. If you look at the strategic vision of this two-time university president who understands campus challenges, it’s clear that some of her core values resonate well with the major goals of our planning and accountability Matrix at The College of Brockport. I look forward to working with Dr. Zimpher to make SUNY the best public higher education system in the country and welcome her as our inspired leader. Further, we will welcome her as she makes a whirlwind tour of all 64 campuses in her first three months. Our focus will be the distinctive characteristics of our College — enduring qualities that make our educational environment unique. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Change your thoughts and you change the world.” That is an uplifting yet humbling concept — that each of us has the power to impact at least our small part of the world just by changing the way we think about ourselves and interact with others. President Obama echoed this in his inaugural address when he referenced the spirit of service and the new era

of responsibility required of each of us. I know that I welcomed our President’s words as a reaffirmation of the College’s commitment to creating a vital community of engaged citizens. One of the areas in which we pride ourselves at The College at Brockport is in how we prepare our students to become positive contributors to society. A great example of this is through the Washington Program, which is featured in this issue of Kaleidoscope. You will read about how current students and alumni who experienced the program learned from our elected officials and ultimately become change agents themselves. It’s often been said that the one constant in life is change. It’s up to each and every one of us as to how we internalize change and to use any and all opportunities to enrich our College, our state, our nation, and our world. Best wishes,

John R. Halstead, PhD President



Vol. 22, No. 4 Spring 2009 Circulation — 75,000 Publisher Roxanne Johnston Executive Editorial Team Mike Andriatch ’85, Darby Knox, David Mihalyov ’87/’03 Managing Editor Virginia Campbell ’89/‘96 Photography James Dusen Graphic Design Sam Nicolosi Contributors Nicholas Mascari, Devin Sipley ’09 Send corrections or changes of address to: Division of Advancement 350 New Campus Drive Brockport, NY 14420 (585) 395-2451

Campus news


Academic news






A semester in DC

10 If you have suggestions or story ideas for future editions of Kaleidoscope, please submit them to:

Questions and Answers


Class notes


Alumni news

22 On the cover: Dan Sisson ’05 tackles Washington, DC


Campus news

Kwanzaa Creator Provides MLK Lecture Maulana Karenga, the creator of the Pan-African cultural holiday Kwanzaa, presented the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture, February 10, in Cooper Hall. A standing room only crowd of approximately 200 listened to Karenga’s speech, titled “The Challenge of King in Changing Times: Reaffirming his Message in Meaning.” King’s message of hope remains especially relevant in light of America’s current season of change, said Karenga, as he called King “the spokesperson for the best in the world.” Karenga outlined what is necessary to govern a society patterned after King’s vision, including developing mutual respect among cultures, the constant search for common ground, commitment to an ethic of sharing, and freedom from physical violence.

Only then can America, or any society, attain a society that is both “just and good,” he said.

Photo by Bethany Young

Karenga is professor of Africana studies at California State UniversityLong Beach. He holds a PhD in political science from the United

States International University and another in social ethics from the University of Southern California, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Durban, South Africa. When he created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically AfricanAmerican holiday, Karenga said his goal was to “...give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” “The College at Brockport is committed to honoring the legacy of Dr. King, and Dr. Karenga, an authoritative figure in his own right, skillful in paying tribute by articulating King’s vision of insight and inspiration,” said Joel Frater, EdD, assistant to the provost for diversity.

The College at Brockport Takes the Plunge for a Good Cause More than 120 students, faculty and staff from The College at Brockport, State University of New York, participated in the ninth annual Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach Park on February 8. The College raised more than $10,500 for the Special Olympics of New York. The College won the “Cool School Challenge,” by raising more money than any other Rochester area college for the Special Olympics. As the winner, the College was treated to a free concert on February 16


by national recording artist Jason Michael Carroll. “The Brockport community was very supportive of this great cause. Participation increased from 35 to 120 plungers (2008 to 2009, respectively), and we also increased donations by 35 percent over last year,” said sophomore Paul Giglio, student coordinator. “The Brockport Community came together with school spirit and open hearts to plunge for a reason.”

SUNY Day in Albany Puts the College in Front of Legislators A delegation from The College at Brockport made the thruway trek to Albany on February 24 to take part in SUNY Advocacy Day in the capitol. Forty of the 64 SUNY campuses were represented in Albany, as the groups William Keating ’09, Lindsay Geyer ’09 and Kyle Amendola ’09 met individually with their local legislators. Included on Brockport’s team were three members of the Brockport Student Government — President Kyle Amendola; Vice President William Keating; and Treasurer Lindsay Geyer. Also in attendance were College President John R. Halstead, Government Relations Coordinator Kathy Groves ’70, Brockport College Council Chair Scott Turner, Brockport Foundation Chair Mary Worboys-Turner, and Executive Director of Public Relations David Mihalyov ’87/’03. The discussion focused primarily around the recent tuition increase and how the vast majority of that money was being “swept” to state government, as well as how best to use any federal government stimulus money and allowing individual campuses more autonomy to make decisions directly impacting their campuses. “Meeting with legislators was an invaluable experience,” said Amendola. “I feel I strongly voiced my opinion about the need for New York state to invest in SUNY and the students who are benefiting from its great institutions. I thank those legislators for their strong support of Brockport as well as all of SUNY. I hope those who don’t view our campus in the same light really look to see the impact we are having in our community and surrounding metropolitan areas.”

Students Hold Vigil for Flight 3407 Approximately 150 students, faculty, and staff took part in a vigil on February 19 for survivor Jill Wielinski and the 50 people who died as a result of the February 12 plane crash of Flight 3407. Wielinski is a senior majoring in recreation and leisure studies at the College, and it was her house into which the plane crashed. Jill’s mother also survived the crash, but her father was tragically killed. Near the end of the ceremony, which took place in the Seymour College Union, those in attendance lighted glow sticks during a moment of silence.

David Cook Follows American Idol Success with Brockport Appearance American Idol winner David Cook came to Brockport on March 11 and entertained a sell-out crowd of more than 950. Cook was the winner of the seventh season of American Idol, winning his crown in 2008. The concert, sponsored by the Brockport Student Government, was open only to students, faculty, and staff. One week after being declared the winner with a record-breaking 56 percent of the nearly 100 million votes cast, Cook rewrote chart history when 11 of his songs debuted on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart — the highest number of new entries in a single week by an artist since the Beatles in 1964. His self-titled debut album came out last year. “We wanted to bring in an act that would be popular with our students,” said junior Stefanie Guarino, BSG executive assistant, Political Science and Communication Studies. “We felt David Cook and Ryan Star would fit the bill. The concert was a huge success and we were extremely satisfied with the outcome.”

Photo by Bethany Young


aCadem iC news

Earthquake Shakes Up Business as Usual for Students from China By Virginia E. Campbell ’89/’96

Ting He

The massive earthquakes that struck Chengdu, China, in 2008 devastated the lives of millions. But thanks to SUNY’s “China 150” initiative, 150 displaced Chinese undergraduate students were given the opportunity to continue their education a continent and cultural chasm away. SUNY provided the students with a full scholarship and made it possible for the students to study in SUNY institutions statewide. The College at Brockport opened its door while faculty, staff and students opened their hearts to four of the “China 150.” The students from Sichuan Province who made Brockport their home this academic year are: Yan Wen, a political science major, and Ting He, an English major, from Dujiangyan City; and Fang Da and Lei Xu, English majors, from Shifang City. They joined other international and “local” students in The Global Village, a joint academic and student life program designed to foster crosscultural understanding. The students admitted to feeling a bit apprehensive about their transition


Fang Da

from being typical college students in China to being a typical college student in America. There were pleasant surprises in store, including American foods — their favorite turned out to be chicken wings. Shopping expeditions to area malls, where “there are great sales with markdowns up to 90 percent” was another, said Fang Da, a sophomore who is preparing for a career teaching English. But the students all agreed that their greatest delight is the way they were so warmly welcomed to The College at Brockport by students and faculty alike. “Everyone is so friendly, and they want to stop and talk to you. They are all very helpful, too. In China, we don’t interact with one another in such a friendly and familiar way,” said Fang Da. Besides her studies, Ting He enjoys extracurricular activities, such as swimming and racquet ball, if time allows. “What takes a regular student an hour to complete in our studies, takes us two hours because we are always looking up the words from our textbooks in our English/Chinese

Lei Xu

Yan Wen

dictionary,” said Ting He. The classroom experience also is different for the four students. Yan Wen remarked that, “In China, freshmen take classes with other freshmen, and sophomores take classes with sophomores, and so on. Here, there can be students at every class level — from freshman to senior — all taking the same course.” Also different is the class size. “I am taking a Japanese language class with just five students. In China that would be impossible,” said Lei Xu, a junior who is considering a teaching career. Ting He, who plans to enter the diplomatic arena, was surprised by the interaction that takes place between faculty and student. “In China, the relationship between teacher and student is quite different — more formal. The teacher lectures and the students listen. Here, there is more interaction and conversation between faculty and students.” The number of courses and total number of credits also is different. In China, students take 30 to 35 credits during a semester in a greater variety of courses.

SUNY’s 60th Anniversary Conference: An Acorn Planted in Brockport

Learning Communities: Education Beyond the Classroom Today, learning opportunities reach far beyond the boundaries of the classroom; sometimes extending to the confines of where we live. First-year students at The College at Brockport are engaging in a new world of challenges and opportunities thanks to a series of learning communities — small academic-centered environments housed within residence halls. Brockport has embraced this idea, establishing distinct learning communities in which students have the option of living and interacting with peers sharing their interests. The Brockport Global Village and Math and Science communities have become popular options, supporting approximately 40 students each, while the Civic Engagement and Service Learning and Health and Fitness learning communities will open in Fall 2009. “Our learning communities provide a unique opportunity for our first-year students to thoroughly explore math and science, our global village, health and fitness, and civic engagement and service learning with students who share their passion about these topics,” said Joseph Franek, director of residential life. For example, the Global Village allows students interested in international and intercultural experiences, foreign languages, and study abroad opportunities to encourage cross-cultural relationships and an appreciation for travel and adventure. “Their (students) active participation really makes the College experience come alive,” said Franek.

Just as the College has made a lasting impression on these students, the students have made a lasting impression on the College. “It has been a distinct honor to work with the ‘China 150’ students,” said Karen Podsiadly, director of leadership and community

Professor of History, Bruce Leslie Associate Professor and Director of Honors Program, Ken O’Brien Little conversations can yield surprising results. A few years ago, while chatting with Acting College President John Clark (2004 — 2005), we lamented that although SUNY was America’s largest higher education system, it lacked a sense of heritage. We wistfully suggested SUNY’s 60th anniversary offered an opportunity to celebrate our past, signaling our maturity and warming our place in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers, especially our 2.4 million alumni. Little did we guess that John was not only destined to become Acting Chancellor, but that he would remember that conversation and make a scholarly celebration of our 60th anniversary a priority. SUNY’s poster features Brockport with President Thus, in recent months a poster Brown’s inauguration (upper left) and the 1979 featuring two iconic moments in International Special Olympics (upper right). Brockport’s history has circulated around the system touting “SUNY and The Promise of Public Higher Education in America.” Brockport connections proliferated with Bill Hedberg ’71 overseeing local arrangements, Timan Nekritz ’90, and Professor John Halsey of International Education authoring scholarly papers, and President John R. Halstead moderating a panel, while we anchored the Program Committee. Then, on April 3 – 5, more than 250 participants gathered at the University at Albany. The conference drew scholars from across the country as well as SUNY faculty, staff, and students from nearly 60 campuses, to examine SUNY’s meaning for New York and higher education. Keynote addresses by former Chancellors Clifton Wharton and Bruce Johnstone highlighted the banquets and twenty scholarly sessions showcased SUNY’s remarkable diversity and its achievements over six decades.

development. “It is fascinating to see them engaging in activities outside the classroom with their American peers. Yan, Lei, Fang and Ting wanted to compare US secondary education to that in China and are visiting Rochester City high schools and students enrolled in a Mandarin

Chinese class.” In just a matter of weeks, the students will be returning to their homes to pick up their lives where they left off months ago. They’ll be taking with them lessons learned, friendships built, and new perspectives on their American counterparts.


aRt s news

Got Game?

Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like? is a unique photographic exhibit that celebrates sports and physical daring in the lives of girls and women. The show was held at Tower Fine Arts Gallery in March. As a companion to the exhibit, Brockport campus photographer Jim Dusen created a series of photographs entitled Brockport Game Face that capture the anguish, strength, and victory of the College’s own female athletes. “I wanted my photographs of Brockport’s women in sports to be stylistically different from the touring show that was also in the gallery space,” said Dusen of his work. “Influenced by the sports artistry of LeRoy Neiman, I created a collection of thirty-one painterly images with bold, striking color.” Game Face was inspired by the 30th anniversary of Title IX, the Congressional legislation that mandated equal access and opportunity to participate in athletics for girls and boys in classrooms and on playing fields. In 1971, one year before Title IX was enacted, only 1 in 27 school age girls played sports. Today, 1 in 2.6 girls participate in athletics.

Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues Performed at The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival The cast and crew of the College’s theatre production of Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues was invited to perform at The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival this last January at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Colorblind, a docudrama, was written in response


to botched relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, as well as other parts of Louisiana and Texas. Maria Scipione, lecturer in the Department of Theatre, directed the thoughtprovoking play, which left its audience wondering how America could have

gone through such devastating turmoil. “The winning for us was in the invitation to the Festival,” says Scipione. “The cast and crew felt like winners because they could perform the show again. It was a true labor of love to tell this very important story and keep the dialogue about Katrina going.”

Jazz Day Warms Up a Cold February Night The first annual Jazz Day at Brockport, sponsored by the Marc and Ann Iacona Family and the Brockport Foundation, brought the Aaron Goldberg Trio to campus on February 6. The day’s events included a symposium, “Jazz and its Evolution,” a master class for area jazz musicians, and a performance by the Trio, preceded by a cocktail reception. The Trio, featuring Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omar Avital on bass, and Ali Jackson Jr. on drums charmed audiences with their humor, energy and considerable talents. “Music education is critical to understanding the intricacies and nuances of jazz,” said sponsor Marc Iacona. “Musicians and non-musicians alike can develop a passion and deeper appreciation for what they’re hearing through music education.” Check the fall issue of Kaleidoscope for details on next year’s Jazz Day.

DANCE/Strasser Explores Provocative Themes “Modern dance has the capacity to express through movement what words cannot; it is expressive of the mysterious, unique nature of our humanity,” says Juanita Suarez, artistic director of the DANCE/Strasser concert. “Our undergraduate and graduate dance students showcase a continuum of dances that are expressive of global and collaborative ideas.” Highlights of this year’s DANCE/Strasser included “KiSaichu,” by Andrea Vazquez

and Kathleen Reagan, a “butoh” piece which explores the beauty of symbiotic relationships. Japanese butoh involves working with sustained movement with intense focus. Crystal K. Malone and Kelly Kavanaugh showcased “Passing This Place” set to a Saul William’s musical score. Based on the concept of human struggle, it explores the juxtaposition of natural movements with a politically nuanced score. Britney Falcon’s, “A Little Better Than It Was When We Entered” layers fragmented speech with fragmented movement using stop and go timing. This impressionistic work creates a sense of anxiety as it asks, “What does it mean to be a leftist?” A quartet by Nicole Angelo, titled “Automatic Assembly,” based on floor poses reminiscent of break dancing, addressed the role of the individual within the group and asks, “When are three a crowd? When are four? When one feels different from others, how does one react?” DANCE/Strasser is an annual concert showcasing graduate student choreography.


athlet iC news

Changing a Perception

Brockport student athletes are busy individuals. They balance a full load of classes — their cumulative fall grade point average of 2.90 is higher than the overall student population — with a rigorous year-round training and practice schedule. But, their classroom and athletic field performances are only a part of their contributions to life at The College at Brockport.

“Brockport athletic teams and individuals have a very impressive and ever-growing list of community service involvement and are doing their part in making a difference in the lives of many,” said Assistant Athletic Director Mark Rowland. In many cases, student athletes take leadership roles in projects that are close to their hearts. A sampling of the noteworthy activities of the teams includes: • The “Pink Zone” by the women’s basketball team. Brockport wore pink warm-up tops and other pink apparel at its February 13 game and helped raise funds for the Kay Yow Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Cancer Fund • Community leaf raking every fall by a variety of teams • Canned food and winter coat drives • Assistance at Move-in Day in August • International Walk-A-Student-ToSchool-Day • Max’s Mardi-Gras Parade in April • Holiday Helping Hands and SEFA programs • Adopt A Highway


Another shining example of a student athlete giving back is Kelsey Conn. As an individual runner, she qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships in cross country last fall. It was a great accomplishment, but the sophomore, who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA, accomplished a more personal goal when she completed a 14-mile stretch of “Sophie’s Run,” which raises money and awareness for colorectal cancer. “I met Nicole Chuchmach, Jill Harper and Natalie Atkinson at Powerhouse Gym in Batavia,” said Conn. “They were preparing to continue on their 500-mile run from Milton, Ontario to New York City. When I asked the group about the campaign, I learned that Nicole’s mother had died of colorectal cancer two years prior to that September. My mother, Denise, also was diagnosed with stage four

colon cancer four years ago and continues to battle the disease. After sharing my story and appreciation with the three women of Sophie’s run, they invited me to join them in their campaign and journey to New York City. The connection that I made with these women was amazing. I connected with them not only because we provided support in regard to our family illnesses, but also because I felt as though I had the opportunity to help create awareness about the disease.”

Todd Sheridan of the ice hockey team has started the Saves for a Cure program. A cancer survivor himself, Sheridan created his own foundation to help fund cancer research. A hockey jersey auction after a February game netted more than $2,500 for the cause. “One of the most difficult experiences with my battles against cancer has been to see young kids going through the same thing,” Sheridan says on his Web site, “In many instances, people make poor decisions in their life which can lead to cancer. However, a child is never to blame for this disease. Seeing an innocent child fight for his life is one of the most courageous and motivating things in the world. Our goal is to help the children and show them, and their families, that there is life after cancer. We want to help in every way we can. With the money donated, we can make a difference in their lives.”

A Winning Winter In addition to their wins off the courts and fields, the Brockport sports winter teams had a fantastic stretch of success. The women’s gymnastics team, led by coach John Feeney ’76, finished second at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championships for the second year in a row. Four Golden Eagles earned All-American accolades, with junior Christina Baggetta (left) earning honors on the uneven bars and floor exercise, freshman Kaitlin Dewy and junior Lauren Gildemeyer placing on the vault, and senior Stacey Johnson placing on the uneven bars. Brockport also won the ECAC Championships this winter. Led by Todd Sheridan, the ice hockey team recorded 14 wins (most in a season since 1997-98 and best since 1987-88) and hosted and won its first SUNYAC playoff game. The Golden Eagles placed Sheridan and defenseman Mike Gershon on the All-SUNYAC team.

Senior Brenlyn Campbell and junior Whitney Smith powered the women’s basketball team to its second straight SUNYAC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Campbell was a first-team AllSUNYAC selection while Smith was the SUNYAC Tournament MVP and

was named to the conference secondteam unit. Sitting at 7-14 in early February, few people expected the men’s basketball team’s season to extend past the regular season. But an upset of top-seeded Geneseo in the final game of the year gave the Golden Eagles the final spot in the eight-team SUNYAC Tournament. Brockport proceeded to upset the Knights again, then beat Oswego and Fredonia to win the conference crown and reach the NCAAs. The Golden Eagles took Carnegie Mellon to double overtime before falling. Senior Mychal Wilkes was the MVP of the SUNYAC Tournament and was an All-SUNYAC choice. Who is the first female in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships in swimming and diving? That would be current sophomore Maria Quagliana, who set school records in both one-meter and three-meter diving this year. She led the women’s team to a seventh place finish at SUNYACs, while the men were sixth.

Shannon O’Keefe (above) earned her second All-American honor in as many years with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. She was joined on the All-America team by sophomore Ray Lund, who was third in the 35-pound weight throw. Both teams were ranked nationally throughout the year. Finally, the wrestling team took sixth place at the Empire Conference postseason tournament. Earlier in February, the Golden Eagles won the John Summa Invitational at Baldwin-Wallace for the 13th year in a row. Brockport opens its 40th season under legendary head coach Don Murray ’69 in November.


A semester in DC



by Nicholas Mascari

The Brockport Washington Program is a semester-long, 16-credit internship experience in our nation’s capital, providing students with direct involvement in politics, public policy and the policy-making process designed to illuminate the relationship between academic knowledge and real-world practice. Nearly 3,000 students have participated in the Washington Program since its inception in 1967.

Washington Program alumna Elizabeth Morehouse ’08 and Erika Conway ’06, on the steps of The Supreme Court Building, are pursuing careers in DC.


you have a passion for something, there’s If nothing better than being at the hub of it. It’s a cold and blustery February morning in Washington, DC. One by one and in groups of twos and threes, students take their seats in a crescent-shaped conference room in the United Methodist Building. They’re settling in for the class meeting that will conclude their third week in the spring session of The College at Brockport’s Washington Program. The class is an opportunity for students to come together and share stories about their respective internship experiences with each other and with program director John Fitzpatrick. It also is a weekly venue for students to get a candid, under-the-hood look at what makes the DC and the federal government policy-making machine run, presented by Beltway insiders, many of whom are Brockport Washington Program alumni. It’s a unique perspective not available in classes at their home campuses.

On this particular morning, they will hear about the role of lobbying from former New York Congressman, now lobbyist, and College at Brockport alumnus Ray McGrath ’63. They also will learn how the office of Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin operates from the Washington Program and Brockport alumna Sally Brown-Shaklee ’99, director of operations for the Illinois senator. McGrath, president of the Downey McGrath Group Inc., answered questions from the group about how his firm decides which clients to represent. A question about tax reform offers McGrath an opportunity to talk about his role in crafting the 1986 Tax Reform Act as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done,” he said. “This program is amazing. I’m interested in public health security issues. But whatever you’re interested in, there’s an internship here for you,” says new alumna Elizabeth Morehouse ’08, who completed a fall ’08 internship at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank where she helped research international security issues in Turkey. “It’s very exciting to be part of where the action is. If you have a passion for something, there’s nothing better than being at the hub of it.” Matching the right student with the right internship

Michael R. Weaver, PhD, Washington Program founder and director (1969-1995). His first class of 12 students arrived in the spring of 1969.


The United Methodist Building sits across 1st Street from the US Capitol Building, next to the Supreme Court Building, essentially, at the geographic center of the federal government. The location among the iconic structures of Washington symbolizes precisely what the Washington Program has done for scores of students. It puts them in the middle of DC, at the center of government, politics and policy making. According to program founder and its first director Michael Weaver, professor of political science emeritus, the Washington Program started small. “For a program that started out as an experiment

with 12 students in 1969 it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see how the program has grown and what our students have achieved. That makes me feel very good about the program.” Today, current director Fitzpatrick devotes much of his time to helping about 120 students each year find just the right internship match for the fall, spring and summer semesters. “We spend a lot of time working with students to find the internship that’s right for them. Most students, when they first apply, have no idea of the range of internships available to them and sometimes they come with ones I’ve never heard of that turn out to be great additions to our offerings. We definitely learn from each other.” The Washington Program Web site (www. lists more than 120 recent internship placements that include the White House, the House of Representatives, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, think tanks, television network news bureaus and a coveted Supreme Court internship that has been listed among the 10 most prestigious internships by Newsweek. “It’s in the court clerk’s office. If you’re interested in being a lawyer it’s terribly interesting. Our interns get to sit in on oral arguments and read about each case because the clerk’s office is where all the paper work goes. Not only does it look good on the resume, the court clerk has been known to write letters and make phone calls on the intern’s behalf,” says Fitzpatrick. William K. Suter, clerk of the Court, a retired major general and attorney, is equally enthusiastic about the quality of interns who come to his office from the Brockport program. “I have been associated with a number of intern programs during my career. The Brockport program is by far the best one I’ve seen.”

Role Model for Success “If I’m not bored and I continue to learn, it’s a pretty good job,” Sally Brown-Shaklee ’99 recently told a group of Brockport Washington Program students. They were gathered for their weekly class meeting across the street from Brown-Shaklee’s office on the third floor of the US Capitol Building where she serves as director of operations for Illinois Senator and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin. A senator’s office is always busy but since the Obama administration took office, long days and multi-tasking are the order of the day for Brown-Shaklee. “My boss is frequently called to the White House. Your schedule changes by the moment; it’s a very exciting time.” She also is involved in almost every aspect of Senator Durbin’s office operation. “You have to keep on your toes. Senator Durbin has a wide range of interests. You have to read what you think he’s reading.” A quick “Durbin” Google News search brings up dozens of articles on issues ranging from school vouchers, consumer protection for financial products, to DC representation in Sally Brown-Shaklee ’99 Congress. If it’s a topic that interests Durbin, Brown-Shaklee has to be smart about it. “No two days are alike,” she says, noting that in the past she also has spent time researching topics as diverse as puppy mills, greening of Capitol complex buildings, and health care accessibility for the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, she makes time to help others. She has taken personal time to campaign for other candidates and she has made several trips to meet with students on the Brockport campus. She also is a frequent guest speaker in the Washington Program, the very same internship program that first brought her to Washington in 1999 as an intern with the Delegation of the European Commission. She tells the students that a successful Washington career begins with a successful internship. “It’s the first step to a job in DC. I learned to work in a professional setting with a diverse group of interns and coworkers. It’s all about learning from experience.” Dena Levy, associate professor of political science, will tell you that Brown-Shaklee’s road to a successful Washington career began before she set foot in DC. “Sally was the kind of student every faculty member wants to have. She was curious, she worked hard and was involved with activities both in and out of the classroom. I’m very proud of what she’s done,” says Levy. Brown-Shaklee tells the class, most of whom are SUNY students, that their SUNY education and internship experience will prepare them well to compete with DC’s best and brightest. “I’ve been able to hold my own among a group of very smart, super achievers and my Brockport education has allowed me to do that.”


Current program director John Fitzpatrick, PhD, works to expand internship opportunities and match students with just the right placement.

Internships Open Doors


Witnessing policymaking and politics at work is not for the faint of heart. And while most of us are content to heed the advice attributed to the 19th century German chancellor Otto Von Bismarck that “laws are like sausage, it is best not to see them being made,” students in the Washington Program are eager to be at the center of it. And it’s the internship experience that opens doors and offers the access to Washington, giving students a critical advantage when it comes to landing that first job in DC.

have been associated with a number of intern programs during my career. The Brockport program is by far the best one I’ve seen. Senior Maureen Walders ’09 spent the fall ’08 semester interning in the American Enterprise Institute, one of Washington’s most prestigious think tanks. As a double major in English and political science, the AEI placement gave her the opportunity to apply both of her major areas of study.


While there she helped edit Institute publications and worked on its new Web site. “Networking is critical in Washington. You meet people everywhere here who are doing interesting work and who are interested in what you do. What you know and who you know is important here, but who knows you is more important when it comes to finding a job. I have contacts now.” While Fitzpatrick feels doors opened by the program’s internship-centric focus provide students with the entree critical to career success in DC, the program offers additional features to complete the experience, including a requirement to write a major research paper related to their internship experience as well as several other shorter writing requirements during the semester. The program publishes The Journal of Public Policy and the Policy-making Process, a collection of the exemplary research papers written by students. The journal is distributed among prospective and incoming students and circulated throughout SUNY and among the other 16 SUNY and six private schools that are part of the Brockport Washington Program consortium. According to Fitzpatrick one SUNY school uses the journal as a guide for research and writing for its political science majors. A review of titles published in the journal quickly makes the point that the Washington Program isn’t just for political science majors. Internship opportunities abound in a wide range of disciplines. “Did you know that the Pentagon hires 6,000 engineers every year?” Fitzpatrick says. He also points out that DC is among the top five banking centers in the US, and among the top three in information technology. “And with Marriott and Hilton headquartered here, Washington is the leading hospitality center in the US.” Fitzpatrick adds that while much of the country is struggling with job losses, “Washington is the best job market in the US.”

The Expert’s Expert There’s no shortage of experts in Washington, DC. But when the subject is Congress, Walter Oleszek ’63 is the expert to the experts. As Senior Specialist in American National Government at the Congressional Research Service ( crsinfo/), his office is the one members of Congress turn to for comprehensive reliable information on any and all topics. “Our job,” says Oleszek, “is to keep Congress informed, to provide timely, confidential, objective analysis on topics that range anywhere from agriculture to zoology. You can think of our office as a quasi-think tank for Congress.” To do that, it helps, he notes, to have the best library in the world — the Library of Congress — at your fingertips. In a town brimming with lobbyists and think tanks, all working feverishly, marshalling facts and opinions to influence lawmakers and advance agendas, the Congressional Research Service makes an important contribution

to the legislative process, sticking close to its mission to provide “analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan.” The volume of information each member of Congress must assimilate is staggering. And while the disconcerting truth is that there’s no rule that says members of Congress have to know what they’re voting on, Oleszek thinks that people need to know that, “lawmaking is hard work, it’s a complex process. You have 535 people coming to Washington from all over the country with different views. Getting it all to work isn’t easy, especially on big, controversial bills.” In addition, Oleszek is the go-to person for those who need an indepth understanding of the institution of Congress and its policies and procedures. He is the author of Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process. First published in 1978, the book is about to enter its eighth edition. For an audience that ranges from government

officials to scholars and students, it is the bible that explains how the houses of Congress operate, how they interact with each other and with the other two branches of government. He also is coauthor of Congress and Its Members (going into its 12th edition and according to the publisher, the most widely used college text on the subject of the Congress), Bicameral Politics: Conference Committees in Congress, Congress Under Fire, and he is coeditor of Governing: Reading and Cases in American Politics. Each year, Oleszek also offers valuable instruction in a range of training programs and informational workshops and retreats that the Congressional Research Service hosts for groups that range from new members of Congress and their staffs, to international visitors eager to learn about the American legislative process. One thing is certain, “There’s no shortage of information, there’s a shortage of time,” Oleszek says.

Walter Oleszek ’63, senior specialist in American National Government, Congressional Research Service


The Washington Program provides students with hundreds of inside-the-Beltway internship options.

The Washington Experience Washington also offers students plenty to do outside of the office and the classroom. One of the country’s cultural hubs, DC’s vibrant social scene and myriad cultural events give students, most of whom are not from major metropolitan cities, a wide choice of evening and weekend options. Fitzpatrick sends weekly e-mails to program participants listing scores of mostly free exhibits, lectures, performances and tours compiled from listings in publications such as The Washington Post, Culture Tourism DC and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Life in DC is good, but it’s not without its challenges, especially for first-time visitors lacking experience living in a bustling metropolis. Traffic can be stifling (offset by a clean, efficient, affordable public


transportation system), parking and rents are expensive, and everyone needs to keep personal safety and security a top-of-mind issue. “Common sense,” says Fitzpatrick, “addresses most issues.” Still, Erika Conway ’06 who spent her fall ’05 semester interning in Senator John Kerry’s office and is currently working as a legislative assistant to NY Congressman Maurice Hinchey says, “Coming to Washington is very exciting and a great opportunity to get away from what you’ve known and are comfortable with. The experience changed my life, focused my career goals and... I met my husband here!” To learn more about The College at Brockport’s Washington Program go to or call toll-free (877) 659-4320 or e-mail:

Washington Program assistant Kaylea Happell ’08 Each week students hear from and question DC insiders

The Fast Track to DC Don Sisson ’05, a native of Albion, NY, transferred to The College at Brockport in 2002, changed his focus from psychology to political science, enrolled in the fall ’04 Washington Program, and graduated in 2005. It’s a timeline not unlike many students who come to The College at Brockport, right? Except when you add to it that today he is the Director of Legislative Operations on the House Committee on Rules, the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives; then you have a success story that grabs you by the lapels and shouts, “You’re not going to believe this!” “When I was in high school, I never thought college was for me,” Sisson says, “I actually was talked into it by my friend’s father’s girlfriend. After I started, I just kept moving forward.” And move forward he did. Enrolling in Genesee Community College and then transferring to The College at Brockport, Sisson first focused on a degree in psychology, more specifically neuropsychology. At the same time he was working full time as an aide in a Lifetime Assistance group home in Rochester

and planning on graduate work in psychology. But life has a funny way of taking unexpected twists and turns. For Sisson, that came as a realization that he preferred government and politics to psychology. “I left a comparative politics class and went to my biopsychology class. The professor went to put an image of the human brain on the overhead projector but there was a map still on the projector from the previous class. I realized that there was something about the map that was more interesting to me than the picture of the brain. I really wanted to learn more about world governments.” And psychology’s loss became political science’s gain. Political science professor Dena Levy convinced Sisson that the Washington Program was absolutely essential for him. So Sisson scraped to get the money for the semester in Washington, tapping into savings and retirement funds, and took an internship on the House Committee on Ways and Means. “The day after my last day at the internship I was packed and ready to move back to Albion when I got a call about an opening on the Rules Committee — it was down to the wire but after three interviews in one day I got the job,” Sisson remembers. The demands of both working and going to school full time were good practice when working on the recent Stimulus Bill legislation proved to be an exercise in burning the midnight oil for Sisson and his staff. The bill was on the fast track and its complexity meant a series of 18-hour days for Sisson. “It was the largest and most complex bill we’ve ever worked on,” he says. Sisson’s job also offers him the opportunity to continue his interest in world governments. “I was able to go on a Congressional Staff Delegation trip to China last year. That was a great experience and I hope to go to Germany in the next few months through the State Department to visit the Bundestag and Bundesrat — these are places that I could only read about as an undergrad. My DC experience has been very rewarding,” he says.


QQA Curtis Hill Leadership Giving Officer A Q. How long have you been at the College? A. I started last November. Q. What brought you to Brockport? A. I had heard good things about the College and then I seemed to keep meeting people associated with Brockport. I was so impressed by them. When I interviewed here, I was struck by how genuine everyone is. I still am.

Q. Now that you’re a veteran of seven months or so, what do you think? A. I love it. Really. It’s a great fit. Q. What drew you to work in philanthropy? A. Working with people to help them make a philanthropic gift is an opportunity to be a part of something extraordinary. I feel like I get to see people at their finest.

Q. Planned giving is part of your professional responsibilities. What is that all about? A. Well, there are two ways to look at it. Planned giving is simply making arrangements for a portion of your assets to pass to the College through a bequest or trust. But I like to think of planned giving as a permanent way to “commit to your commitment.”

Q. Can you say more about that? A. Most people know deep in their hearts what they care about but they may not have the means to make a transformational gift during their lifetime. A planned gift can give nearly everyone the opportunity to live their commitment. It’s truly transformational for both the College and the individual. Once a person commits to a planned gift, something about them changes. They seem, well, liberated.

Q. How does the College recognize people who have made planned gifts? A. The Gloria Mattera Heritage Society, named after Dr. Gloria Mattera, a devoted alumna and talented educator, was established to recognize and honor those who make planned gifts to the College. Members are acknowledged on the College’s Web site and in other publications.

Q. Is it challenging to talk to people about giving private support to a public college? A. From everything I’ve seen so far, the people that know Brockport love Brockport and are eager to support the students and the faculty. This place truly changes lives every day. But for those people that need a little convincing, I tell them how private support can help provide an extra margin of excellence. It allows the College to offer scholarships so that students can focus on their education and not have to balance school and work as much as they might have to otherwise. It makes a difference in so many ways. When it comes right down to it, private support is essential for the College to meet its primary mission of student success. If you’re interested in finding out how you can “commit to your commitment,” please contact Curtis at (585) 395-5581 or e-mail him at


QQA Patrick Madama ’77/’87 Friend of Brockport A “Philanthropy for education is at the top of my list. It simply makes the greatest impact.”

Q. You were a student at the College and also worked here for many years. What makes The College at Brockport stand out for you from a student prospective? A. The professors — no doubt about it. The faculty really reached out and opened the world for me. It was exciting to be in the classroom and it was a pleasure to learn. Albert Hess and Ed Lehman in sociology and Sarah Liebschutz in political science were just outstanding.

Q. Tell me about your professional experience at the College? A. I started as the alumni director in 1981 and later moved into the position of director of constituent relations and development. I was the executive director for constituent relations and development when I left in 1996.

Q. I understand you have a special relationship to Alumni House. Tell me something about that. A. Alumni Relations and the Foundation offices were housed in Alumni House but we were forced to move out in 1984 because the house was in need of so many repairs. The house was in dire straits so Alumni Relations partnered with the Alumni Association and lobbied the state to sell the house to the Association for one dollar. Then we instituted the first campaign to raise money for renovations. It was a hard sell. At that time, many of our alumni had attended Brockport tuition-free so fundraising was a completely new concept. It took a lot of educating but we were successful.

Q. Why are you so passionate about private support for public institutions? A. There is no better place for a donor to invest his or her charitable dollars than a public higher education institution. I got a great education in public institutions — the Rochester City School District, Monroe Community College and The College at Brockport — and I’ve spent most of my professional career in public higher education.

Q. What are your feelings on planned giving? A. I believe I have to practice what I preach and a planned gift is really the ultimate gift. A planned gift represents an opportunity for donors to make the biggest gift possible — a larger gift than they could make during their lifetimes. And it’s risk-free. There is really no reason not to make a planned gift.

Q. Have you made a planned gift for Brockport? A. Absolutely. There is a cadre of experts at the College teaching and influencing students who will go out and change the world. My planned gift is an investment in the College that will make a difference for generations.


Cl a ss notes

1950s E. Gordon (Gordie) VanBuren ’51 was honored on August 5, 2008, when the newly constructed track, baseball and softball fields, and tennis courts at Ichabod Crane High School were named the E. Gordon Van Buren Athletic Complex. Richard Cavallaro ’55 has published his first book, My Sicilian Legacy (The Struggles and Joys of Three Generations) following years of researching his family’s beginnings in Sicily and writing stories about them.

1960s Dick Cornell ’62 spent the summer in China, teaching a graduate class on international issues. Michael T. Fleming ’62 retired and moved to Wilmington, NC, in 2000. Linda Adams ’68, a longtime Eastridge High School field hockey coach, is retiring after 40 years of coaching. Jo Silken ’69 received the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) College and University Athletic Trainers Head Athletic Trainer of the Year Award in the Community College Division. Donald F. Staffo ’69 was selected by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance


For more information on all of these alumni and friends, visit Class Notes are published monthly as part of the E-Newsletter.

Recognition Awards Committee to receive the Charles D. Henry Award.

1970s Nancy Vanzetta ’70 helped establish the College Financing Group LLC, which helps collegebound families with the college financial aid process. Barbara Chandler ’71 is the southeast regional representative for the Helen Keller National Center, which provides services for individuals who are both deaf and blind. Connie O. Walker ’72/’74 received the Pioneer Award from the Rochester Black Bar Association at the Sixth Annual Awards and Scholarship Dinner. The award recognizes individuals “for breaking down barriers and opening doors for women of color in the legal profession.” Annette Glassner ’73 is the associate director of grants management at Heartland Human Care Services Inc., Youth and Residential Services. Chris Kenneally ’73, Fayetteville-Manlius High School boys’ lacrosse coach, has been named to the Upstate New York chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Paul J. Giannone ’74 is the deputy director of Global Disease Detection and Emergency Response at the US

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fred Stoss ‘74 and his daughter Kaeti are certified trainers for the North American Association of Environmental Education Guidelines for Nonformal Environmental Education. Lawrence Britt ’75 is the associate director of Campus Safety at Skidmore College. Patricia Kurtz ’75 is the new Aragon (CA) High School principal. Rosemarie Ruck ’75 was instrumental in developing a new adult literacy program called Orleans County Adult Learning Services. Ralph Tambasco ’76, with Tambasco & Associates, PC, Indianapolis, IN, practices criminal defense, civil rights violation actions, civil, and forfeiture actions. Joy Saldinger Goldberg ’77 was promoted to deputy director of personnel security at the Internal Revenue Service. Paul Heine ’77 is executive editor at Radio & Records magazine and veteran Conclave board member. Kathleen Turner ’77 has been named vice president of market development at Office Media Network Inc. Thomas K. Hagood ’78 published his third book, Legacy in Dance

Education: Essays and Interviews on Values, Practices and People with Cambria Press. Bill Gorrow ’79 was named the men’s lacrosse coach at Wesley College (DE). Martha VanNoppen ’79 has retired from her position at the Duke NC University Medical Center. She now enjoys photography, painting, and gardening.

1980s Michael Duffy ’80 was named chief water filtration plant operator for the city of Cohoes. Randall Moore ’81 has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer by Law and Politics magazine, Northern Ohio Live magazine, and Cincinnati Magazine. Only five percent of lawyers in the state were so honored. Moore works at Roetzel & Andress in Akron, OH. D. Jean Lang ’82 retired in 2001 from ManchesterShortsville Central School. Cmdr. Richard Lorenzen ’82, operations officer, Coast Guard Air Station, Clearwater, FL, is a member of MOAA’s Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Advisory Committee. Tim Dodge ’83 has released his new podcast thriller novel, Acts of Desperation, available as a free download at the iTunes Music Store and on

his Web site at www. Richard Rose Jr. ’83 is commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation for Orangetown. Karel Kurst-Swanger ’83, released his new book, Worship and Sin: An Exploration of ReligionRelated Crime in the United States. Christine Fendley ’85 is the director and founder of ROTO3: RO(chester) TO(ronto) Contemporary Dance Series. Michael Whyland ’86 is Congressman Dan Maffei’s district office director and communications director for the Syracuse office. He was communications director during Maffei’s 2008 campaign. Greg Valero ’87 was appointed commercial director of B2B Magazine at Reed Elsevier. Stacey Reed-MacGregor ’88 serves as executive director for Petra Place, a non-profit counseling center, in Rochester. Joanne Wideman ’88 was keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon sponsored by the Dunkirk-Fredonia NAACP. She is principal of John Williams School No. 5 in Rochester. Len Colella ’89 is directing the Stan Colella Orchestra, performing across New York state.

Rob Friedman ’89 was an official at the first Maryland Crab Bowl, featuring the state’s best senior high school football players. Pete Rogers ’89, equipment manager for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League, reached a major milestone: working in his 1,500th game in professional hockey.

1990s Michael Marra ’90 was named the NJCAA Region XV D-II Baseball Coach of the Year for 2008 for leading Sullivan CCC to the school’s first ever Regional Championship in only its third year of existence. Michele Dubert Schmidt ’91 is the new director of public relations at Niagara County Community College. David Zorn ’92, managing director of the Finger Lakes Wired Governing Board, also is executive director of the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council. Josh Silber ’93 has founded Abend & Silber PLLC. Abend & Silber is a full-service law firm with a core litigation practice located in Manhattan. Laura Lemieux Mendoza ’93 won the Mrs. Crown Jewel America 2008 crown, and will be making appearances and lending a hand to local and national community service projects. Cindy Coleman ’96 is a clinical instructor in the Department of Nursing at Alfred State College.

Robert Confer ’96 received a 40 Under Forty award from Business First of Buffalo. Tranell N. Guthrie ’97 is special assistant in the Office of the Administrator, Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore, MD. David Nieman ’97 is a Canandaigua High School administrator. Scott G. Martzloff ’98 is Byron-Bergen Central School District’s new superintendent of schools. Kathleen Alexander Dickson ’99 completed a double marathon (52.4 miles) and recently took up “ultra” running. Lisa B. Hastings Marlowe ’99 was presented The Perry Education Professional Award, named after Corning Community College’s first president, William L. Perry. She teaches Spanish at Wayne Central High.

2000s Courtney M. Murphy ’00 has been promoted to the rank of sergeant in the US Army and has completed a 15-month tour in Iraq. Kathy Tonkovich ’00 is assistant director of career services at St. John Fisher College. Jill K. Yakovac Walls ’00 completed a master of education in family life/ parent education in 2005 at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a PhD student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at UNCG.

Rachel O’Geen Telisky ’01 is owner and director of Platinum Dance Company in West Henrietta. Pertina P. Reid ’03 earned a master of public administration, specialization in health care policy in May 2008, and was promoted to quality management coordinator for Visiting Nurse Regional (VNR) Home Care Services in Brooklyn. Chad DeRock ’04 is head football coach for Holley High School. Vanessa Martell ’04 was named the Rochester Runner of the Year for the second time. Ellen Wayne ’04 is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes. David Cohen ’05 is a corrections officer with the Pima (AZ) County Sheriff’s Department. Kevin Collins ’05 sets up and monitors off-ice training for all players and produces a video history of every player as a staff member for the Portland Pirates (American Hockey League). Nick Pallotta ’05 is working for the US Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Service as an agricultural statistician. Tara Avery Pallotta ’05 works for The Lawrence Journal-World in the graphic design department. Sueann Wells ’06 released a collection of her poetry, Awake Before

Dawn, through Foot Hills Publishing. Alyssa Melens ’07 is a staff accountant at Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP in Rochester. Kelly Sabetta ’07 is founder and president of Betta Book Publishing, which specializes in helping authors achieve their dream of publishing.

Marriages Peter Wade ’90 married Cherene McShane on April 20, 2008. Jason Whitbeck ’00 married Rebecca Marie Barsky on October 18, in Manchester, VT. Paul Hendricks ’03 married Diane Blastic in February 2009. Nick Pallotta ’05 married Tara Avery ‘05 on August 26, 2007. Michael C. Veglucci ’07 and Amy K. Neamon ’07 were married on August 11, 2007.


Catherine M. Wilson ’04 and her husband, Matthew, welcomed their daughter, Stephanie, on November 26, 2008.

Deaths Alumni Marjorie D. Hamilton ’38 Mary L. Angeline ’44 Peter DeBottis ’51 Lorraine (Langsdorf) Henderson ’54 Patricia A. Lippa ’66 Leslie G. Woodhead ’67 Francis (Bud) DeTar ’70 Robert L. Jubenville ’70 Dr. Robert M. Cassie ’71 Scott Flatt ’72 Marsha B. Solis ’73 Richard F. Stever ’76 Barbara Anne (Kajdan) Seibert ’77 Marc C. Gordon ’83 Robert Thompson ’85 Lynn C. Hoyt ’97 William Benz ’03 Former Faculty and Staff

Brian ’96 and Karen Evra Olewnick ’98 welcomed their second child, Alyssa Leslie, on August 13, 2008. She joins twoyear-old Jacob.

Frederick Benfer

Heather Wilson Hedges ’99 and husband, Mark, welcomed their daughter, Vivien Marie, on January 5, 2009.

Orlo “Lee” Derby, Professor Emeritus, Education

Julie Calkins Murawski ’99 and husband, Justin, welcomed their daughter, Lillian “Lily” Lin, on December 5, 2008. Rachel Skelly O’Donnell ’03 and husband, Robert, welcomed their daughter, Kayla Rose, on July 16, 2008.

Willam Benz ’03 Robert M. Cassie ’71, Associate Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences

Anna Helen Gallagher, Nursing Robert L. Jubenville ’70, Counselor Emeritus, Student Affairs Kempes Y. Schnell, Professor Emeritus, History Marion J. Wells, Head Librarian Emeritus, Library


alu ni m news

A+ for an alumna whose “A complete definition of sustainability includes Only when these three things are fully integrated When Charlotte “Chuckie” Holstein ’46 talks about sustainability, she doesn’t just mean fuel-efficient cars or recycling. She’s talking about the health and well-being of an entire community; building bridges out of poverty, creating engaged citizens that insist on justice for all and, yes, cleaner water, cleaner air and environmental practices that protect natural resources. It is, she admits, a work in progress. Chuckie is a lifelong advocate for positive change through community action. Today, she can be found at the offices of FOCUS (Forging Our Community’s United Strength) Greater Syracuse, an organization that taps citizen creativity to impact change in Central New York by enabling citizens, organizations, and government to work together to enhance the quality of their lives and their economic future. As founder and executive director, Chuckie chose “Be+” as the FOCUS slogan to counteract the negative attitudes that used to dog the city of Syracuse. After 10 years, Syracuse has much to be positive about, including the development and implementation of a Citizens’ Action Plan for a Sustainable Community. (To learn more about FOCUS Greater Syracuse and its remarkable accomplishments, visit But FOCUS is just one of Chuckie’s many accomplishments. Her passion and drive are nothing short of inspirational. From downtown Syracuse to Washington, DC, to Nairobi, Kenya, to Beijing, China, to the inner chambers of the Vatican, Chuckie has demonstrated an uncommon commitment to making a difference in the lives of people here and around the world. To understand where Chuckie gets her drive, one has only to ask about her family. “My parents were Russian immigrants who taught us that education was more important than food,” she says. “I was the youngest of six children and there was no question that we would all get a college education.” Service to community also was important in Chuckie’s family. “Traveling rabbis used to stay with our family and I always had to give up my bedroom. I guess that was my first volunteer experience,” she says, laughing. For Chuckie and her three sisters, Brockport was the logical choice for college because as a state institution, tuition was free. Brockport State Teachers College, as it was officially called then, was granted the authority to award four-year degrees in 1942, marking the transition from a “normal” school to a college. With most college-age men fighting in World War II, there were few male students and total enrollment was just over 300. “We commuted to campus by car pooling or taking the bus from Rochester. There just wasn’t money to live on campus. When Greyhound Bus went on strike in 1946, I hitchhiked,” Chuckie shared while sitting in her downtown Syracuse office. Despite being a commuter, Chuckie worked on The Stylus staff,


slogan is “Be +”

(be positive)

economic vitality, social justice, and a healthy environment. can a community truly be successful for all of its citizens.” served as student representative on President’s Cabinet, held office in student government, and was the editor of The Saga, the College yearbook, during her senior year. She also managed to find time for a part-time campus job in Dr. Clara Stratemeyer’s office grading papers and doing secretarial work for 50 cents an hour. Still, Chuckie could not afford to buy her own text books. Instead she checked them out of the Rundel Library in downtown Rochester. Every two weeks she returned the books and checked them back out using her mother’s and sisters’ library cards. “I couldn’t use a highlighter or take notes in the margins. I had to copy all my notes into a notebook.” “Because I know how expensive books can be, I’ve decided to establish a scholarship at Brockport that will help students who have both need and academic promise to pay for their books and other learning resources,” Chuckie adds.

One Woman’s Work

Chuckie speaks of her Brockport years as if she is talking about a beloved friend — with reverence and affection. “My Brockport education — and Alexander, my like-minded husband — are the basis of my life’s work,” she says. Through education, Chuckie has been able to bring people together by forging alliances based on common values and shared vision. “Decisions need to be made by the people — not just by a few men in a room. Our leaders need to engage with the people and our people need to educate themselves about their government and their communities.” Chuckie has made it her life’s work to find ways for people to give voice to their visions and begin to create flourishing, sustainable communities.

Educator, advocate, activist, civic trustee — Chuckie Holstein has been making a difference and changing lives at home and around the world.

• Founder and Executive Director, FOCUS Greater Syracuse

• Delegate to Pope John Paul II at his residence in the Vatican

• Founder, Leadership Greater Syracuse and Youth Leadership Greater Syracuse

• Recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Le Moyne College

• Founding Partner of Syracuse/Onondaga County Citizens Academy

• Founder, Syracuse Commission for Women

• Coordinator, Public Engagement Project for Community Control Measures for Pandemic Influenza, on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

• Founder, Meals on Wheels

• Honorary Vice President of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) • Trustee, appointed by the New York State Court of Appeals, New York State Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection

• Founder, City/County Office of the Aging • Served on the White House Conference on Families under President Jimmy Carter • Served on the New York State Board of Social Welfare under Governor Nelson Rockefeller

• Chair, AJC National Committee on the Role of Women

• Served as a member of the New York Division for Youth under Governor Hugh Carey

• Participant, Women’s Interreligious Mission in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Israel

• Chair of Loretto, a cluster of organizations that serve the needs of the aging

• Author of a paper on elderly women at the 1985 United Nations NGO Conference for Women in Nairobi, Kenya

• Member of Central New York District Board for Key Bank

• AJC delegation leader to the 1995 United Nations World Conference in Beijing, China • Delegation leader to meet with Presidents of four South American countries

• Recipient of many, many regional awards and honors • Wife of Alexander Holstein; mother of four; grandmother and greatgrandmother


The Alumni Network at Work On January 31, Rochester police officer Tony DiPonzio ’06 was leaving a call when a shot rang out and he was struck in the back of the head by a bullet from a .22 caliber pistol. A team of his fellow officers immediately rushed DiPonzio to Rochester General Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. DiPonzio’s recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. When Kaleidoscope went to print, DiPonzio was walking and talking, able to leave the hospital for periodic visits with family, attend fund raisers in his honor, and even throw out the first pitch at the Rochester Red Wings home opener. Bill Sachman ’07, a graduate assistant in student life at the College, is one of DiPonzio’s best friends. When his friend went down, Bill and so many others stepped up to assist in any way possible. In addition to visiting his friend at the hospital, Sachman wanted to do something else for DiPonzio, who is a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. Sachman reached out to colleague Warren Kozireski ’82, the General Manager of 89.1, The Point (WBSU), the College’s radio station, who also moonlights as an official scorer for the Red Wings. Sachman asked “Koz”

Rochester police officer Tony DiPonzio ’06

if he had any connections with the Red Sox. Kozireski contacted Chuck Hinkel, the Director of Media Relations for the Red Wings, who made a call to the Red Sox. After hearing the story of DiPonzio, the Red Sox responded by sending an autographed Jason Varitek jersey, an autographed Kevin Youkilis ball and dirt from the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park. “Tony has given so much to the Rochester community and I felt he deserved something in return for all his hard work and service,” said Sachman. “He loves the Boston Red Sox and I am thankful that they were able to come through with these mementos for Tony. He truly is a

great public servant and friend.” Sachman also was part of the team that planned a dinner at The Stoneyard Bar & Grill in Brockport that raised more than $3,000 for his friend. The dinner was organized by the Department of Recreational Services, with Scott Haines ’99, director, and Jenn Berrigan, student supervisor for group exercise in Recreational Services, taking the lead, along with Jeremy Babcock and the staff in the Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities. Tickets were sold to 356 people for dinner. Seventeen people from campus, plus the staff and owners at the Stoneyard, donated their time and services to make the evening a success. “It’s great to see The College at Brockport and the Brockport community as a whole come together in support of our alumni,” said Haines. “This event was a huge success thanks to The College at Brockport volunteers, the Stoneyard staff, and Jimmy ‘Z’ (another local business owner).” DiPonzio continues to make progress in his recovery. For more information on how you can help, contact Sachman at wsachman@

Join your fellow alumni and friends for this year’s celebration, September 24-27. Included in this year’s activities are the annual Brockport Alumni Association Recognition Dinner (in conjunction with a Lobster Bake at the President’s home), the 25th anniversary of the Golden Eagle Athletic Hall of Fame, tree plantings, the parade, a golf tournament, multiple reunions, sports, arts events, a fun run and much more.) Visit for more details or contact us at



R s person


I first came to the US in my mid 20s as a tourist to soak up the glitz and glamour of New York. The mosaic of people, language and culture was mesmerizing, but two weeks was not long enough to get a sense of the American experience. I returned a few years later to attend Cheney University of Pennsylvania — arguably the first historically black institution of higher education in the country. I had already graduated from college in Jamaica and was a tenured high school teacher. I applied to Cheney on a whim and was accepted, but didn’t do anything about it. A year later, I received another letter reminding me that my acceptance was still valid. I took it as a sign, accepted the offer, and enrolled for spring 1990. At Cheney, most of the students looked like me, yet we were very different. I am black, but neither African nor American. I was often asked, “What are you?” Difference revealed itself in other ways, too. My first Sunday meal on campus included hot dogs and some other concoction for which I never could acquire a taste. In Jamaica, after church on Sundays we would gather for a special meal — rice and peas, jerk chicken or curried goat or fish and carrot juice or some other special drink — nothing like the hot dogs or grits floating in butter they served at Cheney. My first American college course was Communications III — a class I had to test into. The essay I wrote was good enough to get me admitted but it came back covered in red ink. Simple words like colour, behaviour, and neighbour were slashed in red. I confronted my professor and he advised me to invest in a copy of the American

My Diversity Journey Joel Frater, EdD Assistant to the Provost for Diversity Chair, Recreation and Leisure Studies Heritage Dictionary — which by the way, I still own. Though I was educated with British spelling, the message was clear: it was the American way or no way. Today, this might be viewed differently. Thanks to a greater awareness of diversity, as faculty we acknowledge that our students are representative of the global village and that they bring unique elements of their culture to the American classroom. These cultural exchanges give us all an opportunity to learn from one another. My real introduction to the need for diversity as an institutional priority began in graduate school at Temple University. Here I noticed subtle and

not so subtle things. A white woman scrambled off the elevator when I got on. A new student faced with me and a white man both dressed alike in shirt and tie, incorrectly assumed that the white man was the class instructor. And at the end of a semester, one of my foreign exchange students walked up to me, handed me a thank you note, and said, “I was shocked when I walked into the class and saw that you were the instructor. I was told that black people in America amount to nothing.” My American experience has evolved from that of a student to a higher education professional. I strongly believe that students should be engaged in a variety of diversity experiences that develop cultural competence

which leads to a genuine sense of understanding and acceptance. It was this conviction that led me to initiate the Annual Diversity Conference at The College at Brockport in 2000. During the course of the planning, I received a threatening voice mail complete with the N-word and F-word. Nothing could have reinforced the need for this work more than that phone call. Today, the conference continues, evolving and growing with the enthusiastic support of the College. At The College at Brockport, the issue of diversity is anchored in our mission of making “student success our highest priority,” and “emphasizing student learning… and civic engagement in a culturally diverse society and in globally interdependent communities.” Diversity work is infinite. Human interaction is not always easily measured but when diversity initiatives are effective, you can see and feel it — and know that you are making a difference. Over the years I have learned that individual behavior is not necessarily a reflection of the values of an institution, but rather a matter of personal choice. The institutions I have mentioned in this essay are fine examples of change agents. Yet, institutions of higher learning should not relent in their effort to transform behavior. My experiences have served as a catalyst for my desire to be a difference maker — a job made easier because I never had to redefine who I am or compromise my values along the way. If you have suggestions for advancing the College’s diversity initiatives, please contact Joel Frater at

Division of Advancement 350 New Campus Drive Brockport NY 14420 Change Service Requested

Parents: If this issue is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains an address at your home, please send a current address to the Division of Advancement.


Trees were saved for our forests

Preserving our environment

The College at Brockport chose to use recycled paper to print this magazine and saved these resources1: energy

13.5 million BTUs


7108 gal

greenhouse gases solid waste 16,994 lbs

1176 lbs

Printed on Utopia #2 1Estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator.

Move In Day, circa 2005

Many of this year’s graduates began their Brockport experience by moving onto campus in August 2005.

Kaleidoscope Spring 2009  
Kaleidoscope Spring 2009  

The official magazine of The College at Brockport alumni association.