Page 1

Siena SIENA NEWS • A MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS • SPRING 2010

The $2 Million PENGUIn

INSIDE: Siena Serves A Run Like No Other


from the president A small school making a big splash. This is the way I would describe Siena over the past several months, making it the perfect time to spread the good news about Siena beyond our community. I am hoping you will help me in this endeavor. This issue of Siena News is filled with stories that readers will want to share with others. It includes the announcement of Siena’s largest federal grant ever, the success of our men’s basketball team and its impact on the College as a whole and the continued dedication of serving others by our students, staff and alumni. It doesn’t matter which Siena stories you decide to emphasize. But, as a member of the Siena community, you have a responsibility to open it up to others. Just wearing your old Siena cap or sweatshirt is a great way to spark a conversation. After the conversation begins, put in a plug for our rigorous academic programs, the character of our graduating students, the College’s Catholic Franciscan tradition, or our commitment to making Siena accessible and affordable. Or tell your own Siena story. You, who have lived the Siena experience and know firsthand the value of belonging to the Siena community, are the best person to answer the question: “Why Siena?” Thank you for your continued support. Fraternally,

Fr. Kevin Mullen ’75, O.F.M., Ph.D. President

SIENA 2

Message from the Editors In an effort to enhance Sienarelated news to alumni and friends of the college, we have been developing and posting videos. With that in mind, you may notice that throughout this issue we have placed a camera icon next to the stories that have supporting videos. If you are looking for other ways to stay connected to Siena, join the conversation at www.facebook.com/sienacollege. Siena has more than 4,500 Facebook friends! If you are headed on a summer vacation this year, post a picture of yourself wearing a Siena College shirt, hat, etc. wherever you are having fun on Siena’s facebook page or send to communications@siena.edu. We hope to run these photos in an upcoming issue.

Enjoy! Jim Eaton and Allison Maloney ’06


contents

2009 - 2010 Board of Trustees

4 The $2 Million Dollar PENGUIn

10 Siena Serves

Ronald E. Bjorklund ’85 J. David Brown Michael Bucci ’73 Robert F. Campbell ’66 Robert M. Curley Robert T. Cushing ’77 Susan Law Dake Virginia L. Darrow ’83 John J. Dawson, Esq. ’68 Scott C. Donnelly Howard S. Foote ’74 Shari Golub-Schillinger ’86 Robert L. Guido ’68 Douglas T. Hickey ’77 Rev. Kenneth R. Himes ’71, O.F.M., Ph.D. Edward J. Johnson ’63 Walter T. Kicinski ’62 Rev. Jerome J. Massimino, O.F.M. Pamela McCarthy Robert J. McCormick ’87 Rev. Dominic V. Monti, O.F.M., Ph.D. James J. Morrell ’66 Very Rev. Kevin J. Mullen ’75, O.F.M., Ph.D. John F. Murray ’79 John J. Nigro Very Rev. John F. O’Connor, O.F.M. Walter A. Osterman ’87 Joseph M. Pastore, Jr., Ph.D. Kenneth M. Raymond, Jr. Mark S. Rose ’65 Rev. Peter A. Schneible, O.F.M., Ph.D. David M. Stack ’73 Christine L. Standish Br. Daniel P. Sulmasy, O.F.M., M.D., Ph.D. Nimmi M. Trapasso ’98, M.D. Dennis L. Winger ’69 Siena News - Spring 2010 Published by Siena College 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville, NY 12211-1462 E-mail: communications@siena.edu

12 A Run Like No Other

departments On Campus News | 13 Faculty News | 20 Saints Corner | 22

Alumni Connection | 23 Alumni Class Notes | 28

• Publisher: Delcy Fox • Editors: Jim Eaton, Allison Maloney ’06 • Contributing Editors: Mark Adam, Lisa Dussault ’10, Jodi Ackerman Frank, Ken Jubie ’04, Christine Maccarone ’10, Hildy Marinello ’11, Fr. Kevin Mullen ’75, O.F.M., Ph.D., Jason Rich ’97, Lynn Ryan • Director of Art and Design: Sergio Sericolo • Alumni Class Notes Design: Jean Higgs • Alumni Class Notes Editor: Janice Goca and Victoria Abdulla ’07 • Back Page Design: Jim Knox • Photography: Athletics Office, Alumni Office, Dave Boswell ’12, Celeste Gross, Ken Jubie ’04, Billy McHugh ’13, Tony Purificato, NASDAQ, Sergio Sericolo, Virgina Sherwood/NBC and University of Tampa • Printer: The Lane Press, Burlington,Vt. SIENA 3


COVER STORY

The $2 By Allison Maloney ’06

In February, Congressman Paul Tonko joined Fr. Kevin Mullen,O.F.M., and Associate Dean of Science Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., to announce the grant, which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “The Recovery Act has made an unprecedented investment in research and development to help foster the innovations of the future,” said Tonko, who joined members of the news media on tours of Siena’s physics labs, and even on the roof of Roger Bacon Hall, to see how Siena students and faculty members are studying science. “Congratulations to Siena College and to the Science Department,” Tonko added. “This grant will help Siena continue its goal of creating a culture that is advancing student skills, understanding and opportunity in SIENA 4


Million PENGUIn Siena’s School of Science was awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation grant. It is the largest federal grant in the College’s history.

science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” Siena will serve as the science and engineering lead on this PENGUIn (Polar Experiment Network for Geospace Upper-atmosphere Investigations) project. The team under the grant includes collaborators from Dartmouth University, Stanford University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of New Hampshire, Augsburg College of Australia and the University of California, Berkeley. Weatherwax, who is the principal investigator under the grant, his fellow scientists and Siena SIENA 5


“This NSF grant validates that Siena is equally strong in the sciences.” - Alfredo Medina, assistant vice president for academic affairs Images taken by Weatherwax during a recent trip to Antartica. The research team will collect data from observations like this from the polar continent.

SIENA 6

students will collect data from autonomous observatories in Antarctica. These observatories will provide year-round “space-weather” data from some of the Earth’s harshest environments. The data will be used in conjunction with NASA satellites to reveal information about Earth’s upper atmosphere and the sun. The research could lead to advances in astronaut and aircraft safety and developments in “green” power. “We want to go to some of the most remote places in the world that have some of the harshest climates to study what’s going on in space, just above the atmosphere in this tenuous region called the Ionosphere,” Weatherwax said. “It’s where the space shuttle flies. It’s where many of our satellites live. They could be in trouble if there is a huge solar eruption, and we want to be able to predict when these things might happen.” The grant symbolizes an important feat for Siena as a liberal arts school. “This NSF grant validates that Siena is equally strong in the sciences,” said Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Alfredo Medina. “Building a track record of grant procurement is much like building an institution’s credit score. This grant will not only position Siena to receive additional grants from NSF, NIH (National Institutes of Health) and NASA, but it will also help to attract and recruit top-notch faculty with postdoctoral research experience and prospective students who value research and learning outside the classroom.” That is why, Mullen said, these types of grants are so valuable at a small school like Siena College.


Physics majors Jennifer Williams ’11 and Bobby Carroll ’11 are two of the 12 students employed by Weatherwax under various research grants.

“I am particularly excited about the opportunities that our undergraduate students will have in working alongside renowned scientists on cutting-edge research that could improve our quality of life,” he said. Among those undergraduates is Jennifer Williams ’11, who is one of the 12 students employed by Weatherwax under various research grants. “Researching in the Science Department instills confidence in students like myself,” said Williams. Last summer, students helped to build satellites on the roof of Roger Bacon as part of a collaborative project with MIT and Cornell. These satellites, used to track global positioning systems, were made possible by a previous NSF grant. Weatherwax’s student researchers now await the exciting prospect of traveling with him to Antarctica for the PENGUIn project, as well as working with scientists from the other collaborating higher education institutions.

To see video about this story visit www.siena.edu/news and search “Weatherwax”

SIENA 7


Siena Serves

By Ken Jubie ’04

Lady Gaga’s smash hit “Poker Face” blared in a cluttered and busy room while students smiled and sang along. That may be the only similarity between a typical spring break and the Habitat for Humanity construction site in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where about 20 Siena students helped to build affordable housing. “It just makes you feel good that, at the end of the day, you did some work for somebody else. Someone is eventually going to move into this house and make it their home,” said Nabil Yafai ’12 as he stood outside the nearly finished house. Instead of soaking up the sun and sipping tropical drinks, Yafai and more than 100 members of the Siena community, including fellow students, faculty and administrators, volunteered to do everything from putting up roofs and siding to installing fixtures and painting closets. They worked at six different Habitat for Humanity sites in North and South Carolina. “It’s a good way to give back. As Siena students, we want to give back to our community. It’s a great way to help out, and we get a lot back ourselves,” said Sam Racette ’11. During spring break, students also served meals to the homeless and working poor at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. They shared Racette’s sentiment about service and explained that their willingness to help others truly reflects Siena’s Franciscan sprit. “It’s part of our mission to go and serve those who may be a bit forgotten and don’t have anybody else to turn to,” said Michelle Campbell ’13. They spent the week preparing food, serving meals and striking up conversations with people eating at the soup kitchen. Fr. Dennis Tamburello ’75, O.F.M., noticed the impact the experience was having on the students. “They come down and they’re very connected with cell phones and texting, but as the week goes on I see them getting more and more into what’s happening,” Tamburello said.

SIENA 8


Service Documentary

Fr. Mathias Doyle ’55, O.F.M., director for the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy saw a similar transformation in the half-dozen students he brought to the St. Francis House, a day shelter for the homeless in Boston. “They’re somewhat hesitant at first. They’re very willing, but they’re not sure what they’re getting into. But once they get into it, they really are great,” Doyle said. The students themselves noticed the difference they were making as they began to embrace the people they were helping. “You can really change a person’s attitude. When you serve people and talk to them a little bit, they smile,” said Chris Hughes ’12. Those smiles and the growing sense of community involvement behind them are why students and their leaders say service trips shape the Siena experience just as much as what they are studying.

Who We Are

For the first time, the energy, enthusiasm and impact of Siena’s spring-break service trips were captured on video. Media Relations Specialist Ken Jubie ’04, Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy Assistant Director Judy Dougherty ’06 and Siena College Television Studio Manager David Etzler piled into an SUV and traveled down the East Coast videotaping the work of students, faculty and administrators in Boston, Philadelphia, and North and South Carolina. During their 2,100 mile road trip, Jubie filed reports from each of the spring break sites. To see the clips, visit www.siena.edu/news search and type in “Siena serves.” Jubie, Dougherty and Etzler are in the process of creating a documentary that highlights the work being done at the various sites as well as all the fun the groups were having along the way. To see video about this story visit www.siena.edu/news and search “Siena Serves”

The way Catholic colleges and universities integrate service and worship with academics was the focus of an article written by Fr. Ken Paulli ’82, O.F.M., Ed.D. in the February/March issue of Momentum magazine. Chief of Staff to Siena’s President’s Cabinet and Associate Professor of Education, Paulli wrote that Catholic colleges and universities, unlike many institutions of higher education, encourage students to make connections to the larger world by helping the poor and fighting for social justice. “The difference is that we integrate the life of the mind including our rich Catholic intellectual tradition with the life of service and the life of worship because that’s who we are, not something we do,” Paulli said.

SIENA 9


A Run Like No Other By Jason Rich ’97

T

he last three years have provided Siena basketball fans with some of the greatest moments in the program’s 70-year history. The 2009-10 Saints equaled a program record by posting 27 wins and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. As a 13 seed, they just missed upsetting another team from the Big Ten when they lost to Purdue University, 72-64. Still, Siena became the only school in the country to win its regular-season and tournament championship each of the past three seasons. The Saints stormed through the MAAC, winning a conference record 17 games (17-1). The team also continued to receive national recognition, earning votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll for most of the season, while having six games televised nationally. At one point, Siena boasted the nation’s longest winning streak, which reached a program record of 15 games. Capital Region fans came out in record numbers to cheer on the Saints. More than 133,000 fans attended Siena home games this year, an average of 7,853 per game. The electrifying atmosphere at the Times Union Center helped extend the Saints’ home-court winning streak to an astounding 38 games, the second longest streak in the country. Alex Franklin ’10, Ronald Moore ’10 and Edwin Ubiles ’10 completed three of the most stellar careers in Siena basketball history. Franklin was named MAAC Player of the Year and MAAC Tournament MVP. He became the first player to record at least 1,700 career points and 900 career rebounds. Moore led the nation with 261 assists (7.7/game) and finished his career 23rd all-time in Division I with a MAAC record of 823 career assists. Ubiles was a Lou Henson All-American and a MAAC Second Team selection. He led the Saints with 18 points in the NCAA Tournament game against Purdue, raising his career total to 1,939 – the third highest point total in history of the Siena men’s basketball program. Although the Saints have big shoes to fill next season with the departures of the “Big Three” and Head Coach Fran McCaffery, there is a lot to look forward to. Rising seniors Ryan Rossiter ’12 and Clarence Jackson ’12 were All-MAAC selections this year and are set to serve as the leaders for a Saints’ squad that will look to capture its fourth straight MAAC Championship and extend the team’s most successful run.

SIENA 10


Please, Mr. President, Pick Siena! Siena’s student leaders wanted to make sure that President Barack Obama was thinking about the Saints while he was making this year’s basketball tournament picks. During the week leading up to the NCAA tournament, members of the Student Senate sent a letter to encourage Obama to choose the Siena Saints in his NCAA Tournament bracket this year. Last year, President Obama picked Ohio State to beat Siena in the opening round of the tournament. His bracket was busted when Ronald Moore drained a three pointer in double overtime to beat the Buckeyes. Along with reminding the president about Siena’s past success in the “Big Dance” and pointing out the Saints’ accomplishments this season, the letter highlighted some of the team members’ accomplishments off the court, including their community service and academic achievements. “Our pride for our basketball team reaches far beyond what it does on the court,” said Student Senate President Stephen Archer ’11. “The Saints embody many of the things President Obama has asked the country to stand for. The team, like the rest of the Siena community, is dedicated to volunteering, helping those in need and serving as positive role models.” Congressman Paul Tonko brought the letter to the White House. To see video about this story visit www.siena.edu/news and search “President Obama”

SIENA 11


March Madness generated $6.1 million in publicity value for Siena College* * according to eNR PR, a media tracking agency

Siena’s Latest Fan: Jimmy Fallon By Jim Eaton

On his March 17 show, NBC late-night talk-show host Jimmy Fallon made the Siena Saints his pick to go all the way in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. “The team we’re backing this year is a favorite among bracketologists — and believe me, I’ve done a lot of bracketological research — so I’m proud to announce the 2010 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon NCAA Tournament pick: the Siena Saints,” Fallon said. (Bracketology is the process of predicting the field of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.) Fallon’s sister, Gloria, graduated from Siena in 1995. Fallon said he also applied to Siena but he was not accepted. “That doesn’t matter now — none of it matters. All that matters is the 13th-seeded Siena Saints have a very realistic chance of beating the 4thseeded Purdue Boilermakers in the first round of the tourney on Friday,” he said. The day before Siena played its NCAA tournament game, Siena employees packed a courier truck with Siena-branded items for Fallon’s show, including 200 t-shirts, 50 foam fingers, 250 “March on Siena” and “Let’s Go, Saints” signs, a necktie and a coffee mug. The admissions office also To see video about this story included a spoof acceptance letter into Siena’s visit www.siena.edu/news and search “Jimmy Fallon” bracketology program.

Mitch is the Man for Siena Mitch Buonaguro became the 15th head men’s basketball coach in program history on April 8, 2010. The top assistant on the Siena staff for the past five years, Buonaguro inherits a team that has won 27 games each of the past two seasons. “I’m humbled,” he said. “I understand how important this program is to a lot of people, to the administration, to the community. One thing I guarantee is that I’ll represent the college and the program in a first-class manner. And certainly we will win.” Buonaguro referred to the Siena coaching position as his “dream job.” Widely regarded as one of the most experienced and respected assistant coaches in the country, Buonaguro has helped guide the Saints to a 112-51 mark since arriving in Loudonville and has been an integral part of three straight MAAC Regular Season and Tournament Championships. Fran McCaffrey, his predecessor, was hired as the head coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team. SIENA 12


ON CAMPUS NEWS

Ringing the NASDAQ Bell Siena students, faculty, and administrators joined Trustco Bank executives to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ in Times Square in early February. “Opening up one of the world’s largest financial markets is something that any college finance major would like to do,” said Stephen Rosamino ’10. An invitation from Trustco, which is listed on NASDAQ, set the event in motion, giving the students the thrill of a lifetime. Two top Trustco executives sit on the Siena College Board of Trustees: Robert Cushing ’77 and Robert J. McCormick ’87. Both attended the NASDAQ event. After sounding the bell, the Siena group explored the headquarters, visited the Bank of America building and toured the Merrill Lynch fixed-income trading floor. Rosamino said the experience was good for the students and the College. “Even though the opening bell is only shown on TV for about 15 seconds, it is excellent exposure for the school,” he said. “Having a five-story Siena College logo flashing in Manhattan for more than an hour isn’t bad either!” SIENA 13


Siena’s Road Through Morocco By Hildy Marinello ’11

During winter break, 14 students had the opportunity to explore one of the world’s most exotic and culturally rich countries, Morocco. Deb Kelly, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, led the study tour that was offered as a one-credit Global Connections course. “The trip was a lot of fun and allowed us to explore and experience another culture and country,” said Jill Duarte ’11. The Siena group toured Casablanca, Rabat, Fez and Marrakech. In each town, the group visited medinas, or markets. The group also had the opportunity to tour two universities in Casablanca, where they met students and faculty members. A highlight of the trip was when Siena students appeared on stage during a dinner show in Fez. Students also witnessed the snowy Middle Atlas Mountains and experienced the thrill of riding a camel on the beach. “I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to visit Morocco to do so; it is a remarkable country,” said Duarte.

SIENA 14


An Adventure in Costa Rica By Hildy Marinello ’11

One of the most adventurous classes at Siena College is Tropical Biology. The fall 2009 course culminated with a research trip to Costa Rica during spring break. For two weeks, 17 students studied tropical ecology and biodiversity in one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries. They visited ecosystems in various types of forest, including a dry, a wet and a cloud forest. “Each spot offered a different forest for us to explore,” said Morgan Fryer ’11. The Siena students also experienced Costa Rican culture and lived in a range of environments. “It was fun sleeping in bunk beds draped with mosquito nets,” said Paul Sesink Clee ’10. The trip was led by Andrea Worthington, Ph.D., professor of biology; Kate Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies; and Chris Harbison, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology.

SIENA 15


Helping Haiti In the wake of the recent devastation in Haiti, the College implemented its own relief effort known as Saints for Haiti. Students collected money from fans at men’s basketball games, by donating meals in Serra Hall and by showing their talents during the annual Expoze performance. The money was given to the people of Haiti through Catholic Relief Services. “We’re very fortunate to be at this school and to even have an opportunity like this. It makes us feel like we’re coming out and doing something that’s more than watching a basketball game. We’re doing some good and doing something fun, too,” said Alyssa Herrmann ’13. The tragedy gave new meaning to a 10-year-old Siena tradition as well. Siena’s 10th annual Wine Tasting for Haiti raised more than $2,000. Organizers pushed up the event to ensure that the proceeds would help the rural village of Fondwa rebuild immediately. With Siena’s help, it had developed an orphanage, drinkable water sources and a health clinic. “This year, the support has been overwhelming. We had a full house, with well over 20 students. The mix of people were as important as the wine,” said philosophy professor and event organizer Ray Boisvert, Ph. D.

Living Dr. King’s Legacy The Sarazen Student Union was transformed into an energetic conference center when nearly 200 middle and high school students from about 20 Capital Region schools came together to talk about stopping prejudice and fighting violence. “Lots of work takes place in individual schools, but this is the one place where lots of kids from many different schools and different economic and racial backgrounds get together to talk about these issues,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Peter Ellard, Ph.D. The annual gathering is called the STOP Conference. STOP stands for Students Together Opposing Prejudice. AntiDefamation League facilitators guided small-group discussions, giving students tools to battle bullying, discrimination and violence. “We’re just going to stand up to people who do that and tell them that this is wrong and they shouldn’t be doing this because it’s just not nice. Everybody needs to feel like they fit in,” said Hoosick Falls High School senior Cheryl Bisson. The STOP Conference is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series. “Dr. King was all about teaching peace and justice and teaching against discrimination in any form, whether it has to do with weight, sexual orientation or the color of one’s skin. I think Dr. King would be proud that we’re continuing To see video about this story that legacy in our own way,” visit www.siena.edu/news Ellard said. and search “STOP Conference”

SIENA 16


Moot Court Mock Trial Advances to Nationals By Christine Maccarone ’10

For the third time in seven years, the Moot Court Mock Trial Team advanced to the opening round of the American Mock Trial Association’s national championship tournament at Pace University Law School. “This is the second time that our team has moved on to the Nationals. It is quite an honor,” said team captain Michael Ellement ’10. To succeed, the students must effectively argued both sides of a case. During the competition, students act as attorneys and witnesses. “The students train on a weekly basis on all elements of the case. They are involved in legal argumentation, deposition and affidavit examination, cross-examination, evidentiary standards and procedures provided by AMTA and our coaches, who are experienced trial litigators,” said political science professor Len Cutler, Ph.D. Prelaw students said being on the team has given them a better understanding of the demands of building a strong case. “I’ve enhanced my knowledge of the law and developed a few friendships along the way. It is a sizeable commitment, but it has turned out to be well worth it,” said Michael DiSiena ’10.

Pretty in Pink

By Mark Adam

The Siena women’s basketball team raised more than $12,000 to fight breast cancer during its 10th annual “Pink Zone” game against Loyola University of Maryland. Usually a sea of green and gold, the Alumni Recreation Center was pretty in pink, as players, coaches and fans raised money for Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer. “Our Pink Zone game was a huge success because of the generosity of our sponsors and the entire Capital District community,” said Head Coach Gina Castelli. “I am happy that Siena women’s basketball could provide the platform for CRAAB to raise the funds it needs to continue to make a difference in the community.” Siena players and coaches escorted breast cancer survivors onto the court during team introductions, recognizing them for their courageous battle against the disease. At halftime, the Patricia Brown Memorial Scholarship was awarded to three area youths who created bookmarks that describe ways to fight breast cancer. The winners were given scholarships to Siena sports camps. SIENA 17


TAP and HEOP Celebrate Milestone Birthdays By Christine Maccarone ’10

New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program turned 35 this year while the Higher Education Opportunity Program turned 40. The Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities hosted a celebration for both programs in Albany’s Legislative Office Building. “TAP and HEOP have helped millions of people afford college. I will remember the big smiles of students who came to place a face on student aid,” said cIcu communication and advocacy assistant Michelle Pickering ’09. During the celebration, Siena College HEOP students Derrell Melton ’10 and Melissa Infante ’11 addressed the crowd, and supporters wrote messages to their legislators. “I have built relationships with many people at Siena College, which will help me reach my career goals. If it was not for TAP, I would not be here,” said Infante. TAP and HEOP provide financial support to New York state residents seeking higher education. Since its inception, TAP assists high school graduates by awarding eligible students up to $5,000 in tuition assistance. Likewise, HEOP provides disadvantaged students with counseling, tutoring and money for books, transportation and other expenses.

Derrell Melton ’10, Economics major, spoke to the audience and legislators at the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities’ (cIcu) birthday celebration in February for the TAP and HEOP programs of New York State.

SIENA 18


Crowning Mr. Siena By Christine Maccarone ’10

Move over Miss America, Mr. Siena is coming through. This year, the honor went to Alex Mazza ’12. “It means that I put on a good show for my friends and the judges, and that’s all I was out to do,” Mazza said. Six hundred people packed the Sarazen Student Union to see eight Siena heartthrobs strut their stuff to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. The contestants participated in a variety of events, including the formal wear competition, a talent contest and choreographed dances, raising $2,700 in the process. “I loved the talent portion of the contest. I never knew that these guys could move like that,” said Shawna Sammis ’10. Mr. Siena started five years ago as a fun and interactive way to help support Habitat for Humanity projects, including spring break trips to North and South Carolina. “The Habitat club goes on multiple trips throughout the year and sponsors its own Siena House here in Albany,” To see video about this story visit www.siena.edu/news said Mr. Siena Chairperson and search “Mr. Siena” Alexandra Georgieva ’12.

Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun They may not be old enough to take college classes, but as the Student Events Board’s annual Siblings Weekend proved, you’re never too young to enjoy Siena’s community spirit. More than 170 brothers and sisters of current students came to campus in mid-March for a variety of ’50s-themed festivities, including a sock hop, a Rock Around the Clock Carnival and a music trivia dinner. Mark your calendars for next year’s sibling weekendMarch 25-27, 2011.

SIENA 19


FACULTY NEWS

Ricciardi Receives Kennedy Center Grant Paul Ricciardi, assistant professor of creative arts, has been awarded one of six Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist grants for 2010. The award will support his continued research in voice training for theatre. Ricciardi came to Siena in fall 2009 to teach acting, voice and movement in the theatre program. Ricciardi’s work focuses on the Linklater Technique, an internationally recognized method that connects vocal skills with the actor’s emotions. Ricciardi serves as the resident voice, speech and dialect coach for the Siena College theatre program. As an actor and award-winning solo performer, he has worked extensively throughout New York City and regionally. Recent regional theatre credits include Love Song at Chester Theatre Company, The New Play Festival at Proctor’s Theatre and Take Me Out at Boston’s Speakeasy Stage (IRNE Award, best ensemble). He is directing George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at Siena this Spring.

SIENA 20


Bridging the GAAP The job prospects for U.S. accounting students may depend, in part, on Chester Brearey. Brearey, assistant professor of accounting, recently received $10,000 from the PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation to investigate new ways of bringing International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into the classroom. If he’s successful, generations of U.S. students will leave college better qualified for accounting positions around the world. Right now, college students who graduate as accountants are up against an imposing roadblock. The United States is the only nation still using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to maintain and audit corporate books. The rest of the world uses IFRS. By and large, U.S. colleges don’t teach IFRS yet because the flexibility and professional judgment embedded in IFRS will make fuzzy numbers a certainty and comparability an impossibility. “That makes it very difficult for their students to find accounting jobs or internships in other countries,” Brearey pointed out. “The Big four, for instance, offer very desirable internships in Europe, but you can’t get them if you don’t know IFRS.” The Big four consists of the largest networks of accounting firms in the world.

History Prof Named to National Council Barbara ReevesEllington, Ph.D., associate professor of history, was named to the Phi Alpha Theta National Council, the national honor society for history at the college and university level. She was one of seven faculty advisors chosen to serve as national councilor out of 870 candidates. Reeves-Ellington has taught United States history at Siena since 2003. Her current work examines the ways in which American Protestant missionaries exported ideas about religion, gender and race to the Ottoman Empire; as well as how Orthodox Christians in the empire negotiated and rearticulated those ideas during a period of increasing sectarianism in the Ottoman domains. She was a Fulbright fellow at the Institute of Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1999-2000, and a fellow at the Leslie Humanities Institute, Dartmouth College, in fall 2002.

Reeves-Ellington recently published a book titled Competing Kingdoms: Women, Mission, Nation, and the American Protestant Empire, 18121960 (Duke University Press). The book rethinks the importance of women and religion within U.S. imperial culture from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth.

SIENA 21


SAINTS CORNER

Saints in the Community By Jason Rich ’97

From soup kitchens to elementary schools, Siena’s student-athletes give of their time each year to enrich the Capital Region community through the Saints in the Community program. During the 2009-2010 academic year, student athletes spent more than 2,000 hours volunteering. O.D. Anosike ’13, Davis Martens ’13 and Kyle Griffin ’11 from the men’s basketball team volunteered at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. They sifted through bins of donated apples and packed them for needy families. The Saints’ visit coincided with a food drive during the Mount St. Mary’s game at the Times Union Center during which a record amount of food — 755 pounds — was collected. An additional $750 was raised through raffle donations.

The field hockey team prepared a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany. Each of the athletic teams visits the house during the academic year to prepare a meal for the families of sick children who are staying there.

The women’s basketball team visited the Eddy Heritage House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Troy on New Year’s Eve. Players and coaches sang, danced and spent time with the home’s residents to raise their spirits.

Cate Quinlan ’10 of the women’s lacrosse team worked with her teammates on a Habitat for Humanity house on North Pearl Street in Albany. The project was part of Collegiate Challenge, a program organized by Habitat for Humanity. The Saints built a deck and tore down a dilapidated shed.

SIENA 22

Meghan Yi ’11 of the cross country team spent time with a youngster during her team’s recent visit to Colonie to meet the Shooting Stars, an organization that matches local high school and college athletic teams with youngsters with special needs who are ages 5-21 years old.

The men’s lacrosse team volunteered at the 50th annual Center for Disability Services Telethon in January. It marked the fifth year the Saints have worked the phones and accepted donations on behalf of the center. Captains Matt Leithead ’10, Kyle Vercruysse ’10 and Mike Whalen ’10 presented a check for $1,000.


ALUMNI CONNECTION

PROUD TO BE

SAINTS! By Lisa Dussault ’10 Throughout the year’s momentous men’s basketball season, Siena alumni across the country gathered to cheer on their Saints at “game watches.” Alumni gathered for conference games, the Bracketbusters, MAAC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament game. These gatherings occurred in Albuquerque; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, Kingston, Latham; Novi, Michigan; Syracuse, Troy and Spokane. “The watch parties are a great way for our alumni to stay connected with the college, with each other, and to share our Siena pride,” said Mary Beth Finnerty ‘85, director of alumni relations. The events were organized by regional club coordinators with the assistance of Janice Goca, assistant director of alumni relations. During the first round of the NCAA tournament, fiercely loyal fans followed the team at game watches in nine cities. “One of the great things that Siena alumni can still enjoy is rallying behind our Saints! We had alumni of all ages sitting side-by-side, cheering on the green and gold,” said John Palmeri ‘05.

SIENA 23


Mrs. V

Remembering a Life Well Lived and a Woman Well Loved M

atilda Vawter, known as “Mrs. V” to the Siena community, worked for 31 years in the College’s dining hall, where she brought smiles to thousands of students’ faces. She would greet all the students coming for meals with a generous smile. “She knew all of the students by name, which as good, or not so good if you were trying to sneak into 21 club,” said Norm Kvam, director of dining services. “She loved the students. Siena was her second life,” said her daughter, Celeste Gross. On Jan. 9, Mrs. V died at age 85. Although Mrs. V was beloved by generations of Siena students, most of them did not know what an inspiring life she led. After graduating from high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during WWII. “She was very avant-garde for the era,” said Gross. Mrs. V met her husband, Lt. Col. Elton Lee Vawter, while in the Navy working as a teletype operator. They met on opposite sides of the teletype. After a long conversation, Mrs. V asked Elton, “Are you RON?” which meant, “Are you remaining overnight, on the ship?” He replied that

SIENA SIENA 24 24


Scholarship to Honor Mrs. V

he was, and they continued to talk late into the night. Then they met for breakfast the next morning. They named their son Ron. He later attended Siena as a member of the class of 1971. He was an acclaimed actor until his death in 1994, appearing in Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs. Through her son, Mrs. V. met Tom Hanks and Andie McDowell. She hosted Willem Dafoe in her home on many occasions. When stationed in San Diego, she was offered a ride in a helicopter. When she got off, she thanked the pilot and asked his name. It turned out that the pilot was Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the first successful helicopter. She also would watch a group of young men practicing baseball, who, she said, were trying to start up a team. That team later became the San Diego Padres. Mrs. V was a world traveler. She took her family on trips to Europe, the Soviet Union (she was there when the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Konstantin Chernenko, died) and beyond. She toured Israel with a Siena group. In her late 70s, she traveled the Inside Passage of Alaska. When the Siena basketball team played at Madison Square Garden in 1994, students invited her along. “I tried calling her around dinnertime and she didn’t answer. I figured she just didn’t hear her phone. We turned on the Siena game and there she was in the middle of the student cheering section, holding up a foam finger,” said Gross. “She was always busy at Siena. She judged Halloween contests, the multicultural fashion shoes. It kept her independent,” said Gross. Upon her retirement, Mrs. V. was awarded the Vice President for Student Affairs Special Recognition Award for her long and faithful service to 31 classes of Siena College students. “She didn’t want to retire, but as her health deteriorated and she began using a walker, she worried that it would affect the students,” said Gross. When Mrs. V moved into her daughter’s home six years ago, they found Mrs. V’s house was filled with Siena memorabilia—including a beer mug with her photo on it! Even in the weeks and days leading up to her death, Mrs. V. was Mrs. V. “You never knew what she would come out with,” said Gross. “She enjoyed life.” Mrs. V. died wearing her Siena class ring.

Sodexo Food Services is partnering with the Siena community to endow a scholarship to honor Mrs.V. For every $2 donated, Sodexo will match $1 up to $10,000 toward the Matilda B. Vawter Scholarship. The scholarship will be established by Sodexo and Mrs. V’s family and friends to perpetuate the memory of her spirit and kindness. It will be awarded to a student based on need. “It’s nice that the college is honoring someone who had such an impact on Siena and its students,” said Kvam. All those wishing to make a contribution to the Matilda B. Vawter Scholarship can do so online at www.siena.edu/mrsv, or by making a check to Siena College and placing “Matilda B. Vawter Scholarship” on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to Siena College Development and External Affairs, 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville, NY 12211. For more information, please call the Development Office, 1-888-SIENA4U (1-888-743-6248).

Visit www.siena.edu/mrsv SIENA 25


Letters from the Heart The following are excerpts from letters written by student scholarship recipients to their donors.

Dear Mrs. Raub, Siena has given me a great education, and I am really looking forward to my senior year. My favorite class (also the most challenging) is Advanced Investments with Dr. Girard. Although feeling it was very demanding, I came out me ired insp It fulfilled and wanting more. . uate to go into investing after I grad getting I greatly value the education I am this ive rece at Siena and am honored to ory. scholarship in your loved one’s mem Sincerely, Bryan Daly ’10, of Daly is a finance major and recipient ip Fund. larsh Scho l The William R. Raub Memoria

ily, Dear Bond Fam the of Being a part ity un m Franciscan com e m n ve of Siena has gi d an the knowledge serve passion to help I have . the community a om just returned fr Rica and y trip to Costa ar on si is m k ee w otw itude of those iencing the grat er xp E a. m na Pa ly gave me a rprivileged real de un so e ar ho w termination on life and a de e iv ct pe rs pe w ne to provide professional life y m te ca di de to d. e underprivilege health care for th ur yo r fo u thank yo I would like to n has tio na do d te r kindhear ou Y . ty si ro ne yo ge an u and me more th ily m fa y m ed lp he . could ever know Sincerely, 0 Jessica Badale ’1 pient of y major and reci Badale is a biolog p. hi ily Scholars The Bond Fam

Dear Mr. Barrett and Mr. Murphy, This is my fourth and final year at Siena. I am both scared and excited for graduation, knowing that I can now utilize what I learned from Siena and build a path of my own. There will be many obstacles in the future, but knowing Siena has prepared me well for what is ahead gives me a boost of confidence . I am truly thankful for your financial assistance with all of my heart. I would not have been able to do so much and not have to worry about affording college if not for your generosity. I hope this scholarship will continue to benefit future Siena students. Sincerely, Pui Jan J. Ma ’11 Ma is an economics major and recip ient of The J. Patrick Barrett ’59 and Thomas J. Murphy ’67 Scholarship.

Dear Ms. Apps, Siena has influenced my The Franciscan tradition at h to share this tradition throug life in many ways. I am able ce, where I ng with the admissions offi liturgical ministry and worki nce with about the Franciscan experie have the opportunity to talk education Siena is a unique school; the prospective students. I feel love cannot be put into words. I and friendships I have made tinued support makes it attending Siena and your con affordable for me. Sincerely, Jill Pabis ’10 recipient of The Mary Pabis is a chemistry major and Burke Apps ’53 Scholarship

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Crouch, I am writing to thank you for awarding me the scholarship in memory of you r son Brian. It is difficult to afford one college educat ion, but my family has worked to send three of us here in the past six years, with one more coming next year. Your substantial contribution is truly a blessin g. This summer, I spent six we eks in El Salvador for my summer of service. I wo rked in a health clinic near the border of Honduras and later assisted in a wound clin ic at a San Salvador hospital, where I got to exp erience the healing process first hand. Thank you for allowing me to hav e these experiences. Sincerely, Steve Hannigan ’10 Hannigan is a biology major

and recipient of The Brian M.

SIENA 25

Crouch Scholarship.


C

Leaving A Legacy

reating a legacy at Siena was a natural thing to do for Christine Hause ’89 and her husband, Jeff. Hause’s parents taught her at an early age to appreciate what she had and to share with others. Reflecting back, that spirit was reinforced by the education she received at Siena. “I received a quality education that made me push the limits of what I could accomplish and understand the importance of values, ethics and the spirit of giving back,” says Hause. “Dr. Martino gave me my interest in law; Dr. Santilli gave me confidence in my writing; Dr. Rossetti confirmed my passion for sales and marketing; and so many other professors instilled the thirst for knowledge and continued intellectual growth.” Endowing a scholarship at Siena College assured Hause and her husband that generations of students will receive the same Franciscan education that she received. “With the help of my parents and a financial-aid package, along with working two jobs, I was able to receive a great education that has served me well in my life,” Hause said. “Siena remains a very important part of me, and we want to be able to provide that same opportunity to future Siena students. Education opens minds and doors, two things that should never be closed.” After graduating from Siena, Hause spent 10 years in the nonprofit world prior to joining Charlotte State Bank, where she is a vice president in the Trust & Investment Management Department. “Charitable giving was a natural outgrowth of working with nonprofits. With my present work, using estate planning to accomplish our charitable goals made good sense,” she said. Living 1,300 miles away doesn’t allow Christine to return to Loudonville often, but every trip home to see her family includes a visit to campus to “see how much the College has grown and to recharge the Franciscan tradition battery.” If you would like to learn more about creating your legacy at Siena College, please contact Jack Sise ’75, director of gift planning, (518) 783-2432 or jsise@siena.edu for a confidential discussion.

SIENA 27


SIENA 34


SIENA 35


Siena News Spring 2010  

The $2 Million PENGUIn, Siena Serves, A Run Like No Other