INE | THINK WIDE OPEN
WINTER /SPRING 2012
PURCHASE ENTREPRENEURS TURN “WHAT IF?” DREAMS INTO REAL-LIFE SUCCESS
CREATING A GATEWAY TO THE BURGEONING BIOTECH FIELD FROM ANIME TO ZUMBA: Fun at Purchase Is Student-Run WHAT DO YOU KNOW?!@PURCHASE
TABLE OF CONTENTS Pursuits
Entrepreneurs Turn “What If” Dreams into Real-Life Success
New Leadership for the Purchase College Foundation
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?! @PURCHASE
Creating a Gateway to the Burgeoning Biotech Field
From Anime to Zumba: Fun at Purchase Is Student-Run 23 2012 Senior Class Gift
Please visit the college’s website (www.purchase.edu) or contact the Alumni Association by email (email@example.com) for programs and activities that may be of greatest interest to you. PURCHASE magazine is published biannually by the Office of Communications & Creative Services, in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Advancement at Purchase College. Purchase College, State University of New York 735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY 10577-1400 Phone: (914) 251-6046 Fax: (914) 251-6047 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Sandy Dylak, director, Communications & Creative Services
[ THIS MOMENT ]
By Thomas J. Schwarz
Dear Friends: The Obama administration and the national press have spent much time focused on the issues of graduation and retention and particularly on the desired outcome of a college degree: preparation for work and success in the workplace. Part of the discussion is the access to and relevance of higher education. The feature articles in this issue of PURCHASE magazine are timely and validate the relevance of Purchase College’s education in both preparing students for the workplace and, more importantly, positioning them for successful careers. One of this issue’s articles introduces you to some rising stars in our natural sciences. It is significant that these rising stars are students who, without the financial support provided by a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation, might not be in college. Embedded in the stories of these students is the national dialogue: the importance of an education, the need to support economically disadvantaged students, and the value of a strong connection between the community colleges and four-year colleges. In another article, you will meet a few of our alumni entrepreneurs, each with an interesting and inspiring story of designing, launching, and running a business. They did not major in business while at Purchase. In fact, their academic experiences varied greatly. The common thread is that their Purchase education prepared them to explore options, seize opportunities, consider the unconventional, and take risks. This is a great tribute to the Purchase College education. It also proves that access to a high-quality, well-rounded education not wedded to specific vocations but instead based on exploration and creativity yields students ready to contribute to the economy and society. I write this letter to you as spring semester midterms conclude—keenly aware that Commencement 2012 is around the corner. We mark the passage of time not only with our graduation, but also with changes among our faculty, administration, and boards. This past fall, the Purchase College Foundation said good-bye to its chair of many years, Emily Grant, and welcomed Lucille Werlinich as her replacement. The Purchase College Foundation plays an important role in the lives of our students and faculty as overseer of the Purchase College endowment—a critical source of scholarship and faculty support. Like grants, the foundation’s support allows for Purchase to continue in its mission to provide access to high-quality education. Enjoy the magazine. Please visit our website. Feel free to contact us as always.
Editorial Coordinator: Nancy Diaz Design: Scott W. Santoro, Worksight.com Cover Photograph: Kelly Campbell email@example.com Inside Photography: Kelly Campbell, David Grimaldi, Roberto Deoliveira, Jared Periera
Thomas J. Schwarz President
PURSUITS/FACULTY NEWS & NOTES SCHOOL OF THE ARTS National Academy Museum & School NYC
Lenora Champagne, Theatre Arts, performed a new solo, Memory’s Storehouse, as part of TINY LIGHTS, a shared performance with Lizzie Olesker, at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn in January. The project was supported in part by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Featuring works by over 100 artists and architects, “Annual: 2012” at the National Academy Museum & School in New York City reveals the cross-generational dialogue occurring in the art world by juxtaposing contemporary masters with emerging and midcareer artists. Purchase faculty members Donna Dennis, Kate Gilmore, Sharon Horvath, and Murray Zimiles all have work in the exhibition, which is on display through April 20, 2012.
Larry Clark, Dance, was appointed the artistic director and one of three adjudicators for a new festival in Hong Kong called the AsiaYouthDance. Clark judged six dances from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, taught a master class, and chaired a debate on choreography as well. The directors of the festival are Purchase alumni based in Singapore, Selina Tan ’94 (Dance) and her husband, Tommy Wong ’94 (Design/Technology). Clark also joined Conservatory of Dance Director Wallie Wolfgruber for three weeks in Singapore as an artist in residence at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). While there, Wolfgruber taught ballet and choreographed a new work, which she set on the NAFA students. Wolfgruber’s piece, “Aglaia Turns Her Cheek,” featured 13 dancers on pointe. Clark instructed modern dance classes and also created a new work AsiaYouthDance during his residency.
Hal Galper, Music, released a new recording this winter, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Hal Galper Trio (Origin Records), featuring Jeff Johnson on bass and John Bishop on drums.
David Grill, Theatre Arts, provided lighting direction for the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, featuring pop icon Madonna. The Indianapolis event was Grill’s eighth as lighting director for the Super Bowl fantasia. Gill was also lighting director for the Pan American Games 2011 in Guadalajara. Karen Guancione, Art+Design, was the artistic director of the 2011 New Jersey Book Arts symposium, “Money, Currency, Value, and Exchange,” and co-curator of an accompanying exhibition, which featured six New Jersey artists.
The Pan American Games lighting design by David Grill
Tommy Hartung and Sarah Walker, Art+Design, are both recipients of 2011 Painters & Sculptors Grant Program awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. The $25,000 grants assist individual painters and sculptors creating work of exceptional quality. In addition, Hartung was interviewed by PBS’s Art21 in New York Close Up, a documentary film series devoted to New York City artists in the first decade of their professional careers.
Galper, Johnson, and Bishop
Anne Gilman, Art+Design, had a solo exhibition, “Observations, Errors + Corrections: A Survey of Anne Gilman’s Drawings, Prints + Artist Books,” at the Allen Hall Art Gallery at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in October 2011.
Sharon Horvath, Art+Design, presented “Lovelife,” a solo exhibition of paintings on paper, at Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York in October and November 2011.
Photo: Michael Lionstar
Kate Gilmore, Art+Design, had work shown this winter in “Campaign,” curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, at C24 Gallery, and in “The Annual” at the National Academy Museum (both in New York), as well as a long-term installation in the group exhibition “Unfolding Tales: Selections from the Contemporary Collection” at the Brooklyn Museum. Gilmore was also included in “Videobytes” at Russ and Daughters, in collaboration with the James Cohan Gallery; “Who’s Afraid of Performance Art” at the Fonds d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Broken Homes” at Momenta Art in Brooklyn. Her work was featured with Xavier Simmons in the David Castillo Gallery presentation at Art Basel/Miami.
Todd Coolman, Music, performed this winter in international jazz festivals held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and in Bermuda. Coolman also performed in the fall with Jon Faddis, Music, and the Jon Faddis Quartet, in Mumbai, India, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ inaugural international jazz festival. Antonio C. Cuyler, Arts Management, will have his essay “Living Beyond the Dream Deferred: An Auto/ethnography of My Experiences in the Academy” published in the anthology Overcoming Adversity in Academia: Reflections from the Ivory Tower by the University Press of America next fall. The anthology is a collection of expository essays on Generation X professors’ experiences in academia.
Stuart Isacoff, Music, published a new book, A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians—from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between (Knopf, 2011). Several prepublication reviews lauded this new book, including “ a big slice of heaven for piano lovers” —Booklist. Discussing his new book, Isacoff was a featured speaker in “Author Talk” at the 92nd Street Y in New York in December 2011. In January, Stuart Isacoff he lectured on the history of the piano PURCHASE | 1
PURSUITS/FACULTY NEWS & NOTES at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the museum’s curator of musical instruments, Ken Moore. Isacoff discussed his book on NPR’s All Things Considered, and the Wall Street Journal covered the book’s release. Warren Lehrer, Art+Design, received a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to make a series of video animations based on voices from his Crossing the BLVD project. Lehrer also received a commission from the Queens Symphony Orchestra to compose expressionist titles/visuals for 1001 Voices: A Symphony for Queens, with a libretto by Judith Sloan and music by Frank London. The newest manifestation of Lehrer’s Crossing the BLVD project is a short animated video, Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World. The video manifesto was officially released in February: www.earsay.org/globalization/. Judy Lieff, Dance, had the broadcast premiere of her documentary film Deaf Jam on the PBS series Independent Lens in early November 2011. The film continued to play nationally on all the PBS stations during the rest of the month. It was also screened at the Woodstock Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, and the Starz Judy Lieff Denver Film Festival, and was recently the centerpiece of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. In January, it was screened at Lincoln Center as part of the 2012 New York Jewish Film Festival; it now heads to Sweden to participate in the 35th Goteborg International Film Festival. Laura Kaminsky, Music, was awarded a commission for a new musical composition by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc. Kaminsky is also artistic director of Symphony Space in New York, and currently serves as a director of Chamber Music America. Her new work is written for the St. Petersburg (Russia) Chamber Philharmonic. Phil Moffa, Music, recently celebrated the first anniversary of Butcha Sound Studios’ Manhattan location. In the past year, Moffa, who owns and operates Butcha, has produced and mixed several projects at the new facility, including collaborations with fellow faculty members Joe Ferry and Du Yun, as well as many Purchase alumni. Studio production and studio composition students have also had the opportunity to work as interns at the New York City facility. www.butchasound.com. Gene O’Donovan, Theatre Arts, is the production manager of the new Broadway show The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall, recognized with a 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play in the West End before coming to New York. The Mountaintop’s lighting design, scenery, and projection design teams are composed of Purchase College Theatre Arts alumni. PURCHASE | 2
Rachel Owens, Art+Design, has a new multimedia installation, “Inveterate Composition for Clare,” located in the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, across the street from the United Nations on the corner of First Avenue and 47th Street. The public sculpture, a New York City Parks Department project, is dedicated to the late Clare Weiss, curator of public art for the Parks Department from 2005 to 2009. Ted Piltzecker, Music, published an article, “Clearly Speaking,” in the September 2011 issue of Percussive Notes.
Rachel Owens’s “Inveterate”
Christopher Robbins, Art+Design, completed a cross-cultural art project in Serbia. The project explored the contemporary views of identity of young people in the region of southern Serbia and northern Macedonia through printmaking workshops and discussions. Workshops took place in Serbian towns that are known for their specific cultural identities, and culminated in an exhibition of the art created and “logos” produced, in a gallery setting, on the streets of the towns in which the workshops took place, and in an e-book for further distribution. Additionally, Ghana ThinkTank, a project co-founded by Robbins, has been selected for the U.S. State Department’s smARTpower program to work in Lebanon with the Arab Image Foundation. Established in 2011 by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, smARTpower engages a diverse range of American visual artists to work with communities around the world to create community-based projects. Michael Torlen, Art+Design, is now represented in the permanent collection of the Springfield Art Museum in Missouri. His watercolor and gouache diptych painting, “Hot Fat” (2011), was purchased by the Watercolor U.S.A. Honor Society from the exhibition Watercolor USA 2011.
Conservatory of Dance Faculty and Staff with Beijing Dance Academy delegates
Carol K. Walker, Dance, and Wallie Wolfgruber, director of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase, hosted a delegation of 15 faculty and administrators from the Beijing Dance Academy, the premier professional dance training institution in China, in October 2011. The Conservatory of Dance hosted five visiting scholars from the Beijing Dance Academy last year, and two more faculty members will be in residence during the spring term. Purchase College and the Beijing Dance Academy recently signed a memorandum of understanding to initiate a student exchange program between the two institutions, which began in the fall of 2011.
PURSUITS/FACULTY NEWS & NOTES Eric Wildrick, Art+Design, has two public art sculpture installations, “About Eight Hands” and “About Five Hundred Hands,” on view at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers through April 20, 2012.
Eric Wildrick’s sculptures
School of Liberal Arts & Sciences Shemeem Burney Abbas, Political Science, republished “Sakineh, the Narrator of Karbala: An Ethnographic Description of Women’s Majles Ritual in Pakistan,” in Islam and Society in Pakistan: Anthropological Perspectives (Oxford in Pakistan Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology; Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010). The article was originally published in The Women of Karbala: Ritual Performance and Symbolic Discourses in Modern Shi’i Islam. Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat, Political Science, was invited by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights to participate in its international conference, “Human Rights—Current State of Debate,” held in December 2011 in Warsaw, Poland. Arat also recently published a journal article, “Globalization, Feminisms, and Women’s Empowerment: Comments on Rhoda Howard-Hassmann’s Essay, ‘Universal Women’s Rights since 1970,’” in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Human Rights, as well as a book chapter: “From Omission to Reluctant Recognition: Political Parties’ Approach to Women’s Rights in Turkey,” in Human Rights in the Middle East: Frameworks, Goals, and Strategies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). Stephen Cooke, Chemistry, received a National Science Foundation grant of $44,086 for a chemical instrumentation project. The instrument, a type of Fournier transform microwave spectrometer used for the study of molecules, acts by shining radio waves onto interstellar molecules—molecules in space—and examining the response. Meagan Curtis, Psychology, published two chapters, “Musical Communication Stephen Cooke as Alignment of Non-Propositional Brain States” and “Alignment of Brain States: Response to Commentaries,” in Oxford University Press’s Language and Music as Cognitive Systems. James Daly, Biology, and his Japanese colleague Takashi Aoki have published the chapter “Pasteurellosis and Other Diseases” in Fish Diseases and Disorders, vol. 3: Viral, Bacterial, and Fungal Infection, 2nd ed. (CABI, 2011). Jan Factor, Biology, and 11 students completed the first offering of the Coral Reef Biology and Ecology course in Roatan, Honduras, during the winter session. Eight students became certified scuba divers during the program, and all used scuba to learn about the ecology of the MesoAmerican reef, as well as the fish, invertebrates, turtles, and dolphins that inhabit the reef. The program culminated in research projects carried out underwater. Factor received a 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization for this program. Geoffrey Field, History, published Blood, Sweat, and Toil: Remaking the British Working Class, 1939–45 (Oxford University Press, 2011). The book,
the first scholarly history of the British working class in the Second World War, examines the war’s social and political impact on workers in the varied contexts of the family, military service, the workplace, local communities, and the nation. Field also co-edited the latest issue of International Labor and Working-Class History (Cambridge) on “Labor and the Military” with essays on Bolivia, Great Britain, German East Africa (Tanzania), and the United States. He contributed an essay, “Civilians in Uniform: Class and Politics in the British Armed Forces, 1939–45.” John Gitlitz, Political Science, was honored in January with a Martin Luther King Jr. Award at a ceremony hosted by the LarchmontMamaroneck Committee on Human Rights. The award recognizes Gitlitz’s local efforts as well as his work in Peru and other Latin American countries—researching, documenting, and helping develop initiatives to achieve equal opportunity and protection for underrepresented and exploited populations. Gitlitz was also one of 11 invited speakers to a three-day congress on intercultural justice organized by the Peruvian judiciary. The more than 400 attendees included five Supreme Court justices, judges from the majority of appeals courts in the country, and other judges, as well as academics, peasant community and ronda leaders, and indigenous leaders from the Amazon jungles. Paul Kaplan, Art History, is a fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, where he is working on his study of black Africans in Italian and European art circa 1600. He is also serving as a consultant on “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe,” an exhibition at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore that will open in the fall of 2012, and contributing two essays to the exhibition catalogue. Kaplan has been invited to lecture at the British Museum as part of its “Cultural Olympiad,” which will take place in the late summer or early fall. Suzanne Kessler, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the project director for a grant that partners Purchase College with the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Bank Street College has approved a third-year contract, for $27,596, to supply its Future School Leader Academy with curricula and training institutes in diversity and school improvement. Chrys Ingraham, Sociology, is formulating the curricula and working with the Bank Street faculty to provide the training institutes for school district leaders in Putnam and Westchester Counties. Alexis Silver, Sociology, is serving as the program evaluator. This project, which began in September 2009, will conclude at the end of June 2012. Susan G. Letcher, Environmental Studies, along with Deborah A. Clark of the University of Missouri—St. Louis, was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation grant for $441,524 to continue ongoing research that began 29 years ago in the rainforest of northern La Selva, Costa Rica. “LTREB Renewal: Multidecadal Performance of Tropical Rainforest Canopy Trees—Climate Change, Disturbance, and Ontogeny” is the longest investigation of annual tropical rainforest performance worldwide. This five-year project renewal, which will bring the total period spanned by the La Selva measurements to 33 years, will greatly increase scientific understanding of the impacts of warming and of other potentially changing climatic factors on tropical Susan G. Letcher rainforest trees.
PURCHASE | 3
PURSUITS/FACULTY NEWS & NOTES Michael Lobel, Art History, was a Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. The eight-week visiting professorships are focused on the history of American art and transatlantic exchange and are shared among the departments of art history and American studies at the École Normale Supérieure, the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, and the Université de Tours. Veronica Perera, Sociology, will lead a new study-abroad program in Buenos Aires this summer. Students participating in the three-week program, “Social Activism, Memory, and Human Rights in Argentina,” will explore contemporary Argentinean society, politics, and culture. Two complementary courses—one in sociology and one in literature and art— will address Argentina’s “dirty war” (1976–83) and its political, socioeconomic, and cultural legacy, which led to the 2001 crisis. Jason Pine, Media, Society, and the Arts, was invited to give a presentation of his forthcoming book, The Art of Making Do in Naples, at Hofstra University as part of the conference “Delirious Naples: For a Cultural, Intellectual, and Urban History of the City of the Sun.” He also participated in a workshop, “Methodological Problems in Urban Anthropology,” at the Institute for Philosophical Studies in Naples. Paul Siegel, Psychology, was awarded a $10,000 research grant from the American Psychoanalytic Association and a $4,000 research grant from the International Psychoanalytic Association. These scientific organizations have generously supported Siegel’s research, awarding him $47,000 in the past three years. The funding will support an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) study Siegel is conducting at the New York State Psychiatric Institute of Columbia University Medical Center (NYSPICUMC) in collaboration with Dr. Bradley Peterson, director of MRI research and director of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYSPI-CUMC.
F O N D LY R E M E M B E R I N G A R T I S T AND FORMER PROFESSOR JAN GROOVER The Purchase College community was saddened to learn of the passing of former professor Jan Groover, an esteemed photographer who taught in the School of Art+Design. Professor Groover was hired to teach part time in 1979, and in the fall of 1982 became a part-time associate professor. She taught at Purchase College until 1991. Professor Groover was a recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. She leaves behind a wealth of photographic work, some of which has been displayed at the Whitney, the Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, and the International Center of Photography. She is remembered fondly as an inspiring and influential teacher. “Jan’s affiliation with Purchase was a cherished one. She thrived on the conversations, the discussions, the laughs with each class,” notes Janet Borden, Jan’s longtime friend and dealer (Janet Borden Gallery). “I don’t believe that the effect that she had on the students can be overstated. Her regard for them was immeasurable.”
Brooke Singer, New Media, was awarded a research residency and production commission from Matadero Madrid Contemporary Art Center with Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga. The residency in Madrid ran in December 2011 and January 2012. The project, “Excedentes/Excess,” focused on food waste in the city, using Madrid and New York City as case studies. Jennifer Uleman, Philosophy, delivered “This Is What Democracy IS Like,” an invited multimedia presentation on Occupy Wall Street at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, in November 2011. Uleman organized and gave a presentation at “Thinking Occupation: Philosophers Respond to Occupy Wall Street,” a special session at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division meeting in Washington, DC, in December. The title of her presentation was “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants: Thinking Occupy Wall Street.”
Untitled, 127, 1982; 11x14, platinum-palladium
Mary Alice Williams, Journalism, moderated a panel discussion, “The Women at the United States Supreme Court,” in February at the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was among the esteemed panelists. Chuck Workman, Film and Media Studies, was asked to make the 90th Anniversary film for the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the organization behind the Motion Picture and Television Country House and several medical centers that cater to film and television industry workers. The short film, which features Jon Hamm and many other film and television stars and executives, Chuck Workman premiered November 5, 2011, and then was shown at several screenings throughout December in Los Angeles and New York. Workman was invited to bring another of his new films, Visionaries, to Hamilton College in November and to Indiana University in early 2012. The film played at Tribeca and several other festivals in 2010 and 2011.
PURCHASE | 4
∂ By David McKay Wilson Photography by Kelly Campbell
For her senior project as a student in the School of Art+Design, Chaya Herman ’09 created a line of 30 greeting cards, which she says belong in the “dysfunctional family” section of the card rack. With deepest sympathy, sorry for your loss, laments the outside of a bereavement card. Although in your case, you are probably better off, it confides inside. Herman’s dark humor and graphic-design expertise have turned that project into a fledgling business that’s ramping up for a robust 2012. Her company, Dented Can Greetings, sold 72,000 cards from a selection of four on display at Target department stores in 2011. Another 25 Dented Can cards are in the Target pipeline for 2012.
PURCHASE | 5
Tabachnick, an attorney and award-winning lighting designer, says performing and visual artists are particularly affected by the new paradigm. “You must be entrepreneurial. That’s the underlying critical issue today for any artist who has to build his or her own career,” says Tabachnick, who was general manager of New York City Ballet.
Dented Can Greetings: From senior project to fledgling business
Seeds were sown for the cards during Herman’s high school days in Somers, NY. The idea blossomed into reality at Purchase. “I remember looking for greeting cards, and they all said the same thing—none expressed what or how I was actually feeling at that time,” says Herman, 31, who now lives in Nyack, NY, and also sells her line at www.dentedcangreetings.com. “My cards are what you expect to see visually on the outside, but tell the truth about what you’re actually thinking or experiencing on the inside. The truth can be very funny and getting people to laugh at themselves is what it’s all about.” Earning a living from versions of the truth, however, takes more than snappy design and good humor. Like so many entrepreneurial Purchase alumni, Herman followed her dream to carve out a niche in the ever-fickle economic world with single-minded dedication, business savvy, and the stamina to weather the ups and downs of a business start-up. The entrepreneurial spirit that drove Herman to create her own line is shared by fellow Purchase alumni who have struck out on their own, or who have redefined their roles within an organization by creating new opportunities. “You really can chase your dreams,” says Nathaniel McClure ’00, founder and CEO of Scientifically Proven Entertainment in Farmington Hills, MI, which creates and produces video games. “Nothing is guaranteed, but there are opportunities out there. You might fall on your face, but then you just get back up and keep going.” Ali Sciandra ’12, whose senior project this spring will develop a line of personal-care products for homeless and women’s shelters, says she’s determined to bring her dream to market after graduation in May. Her project’s staged event will be a presentation to shelter operators and potential funders and investors. “Working for a large firm isn’t my ideal situation,” says Sciandra, 21, who grew up in Buffalo. “While I’m still young, I want to break the mold—before I succumb to it.”
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY: MIX ART AND SMART Entrepreneurship is a Purchase College attribute. “The ability to marry creative expression with creative thought is a critical component of today’s business world,” says Ken Tabachnick, dean of the School of the Arts at Purchase. “And that only intensifies the necessity that all our students develop an entrepreneurial outlook.” He says it’s increasingly important in the arts, with the declining clout of the art world’s large institutions.
PURCHASE | 6
The School of the Arts has responded to the changing dynamic with courses that provide insight for those striking out on their own. Tabachnick teaches a course, “Business and Strategic Planning,” which delves into how to launch one’s dream and move it forward. Visual artists can study gallery management, while the Conservatory of Music offers a class in managing music groups. Creative thinking runs strong among students, alumni, faculty, and staff, as well as in the institution itself. The Purchase College Association’s “Purchase Park2Fly” service is pure entrepreneurship. The endeavor involves an offsite parking operation for Westchester County Airport travelers (see page 11), capitalizing on unused campus parking space. The college’s continuing education program is gaining attention throughout the community with a raft of new programs, inspired to address the growing needs of residents seeking noncredit courses in such areas as interior design, social-media marketing, nonprofit management, and Pilates instruction. There’s also a teaching certificate program for artists looking for school residencies. “The program for teaching artists was a great fit,” says Director of Continuing Education Kelly Jackson. “There’s a skill set they need.”
COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES It doesn’t hurt to have spent four years in an environment that embraces and encourages creative thinking when opportunity strikes the entrepreneurial nerve. Brendan McElroy ’08 was bartending in midtown Manhattan to make ends meet in 2009 when he dropped his iPhone 3G and cracked its screen. Apple was going to charge him $200 to repair it. He decided to fix it himself. McElroy, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music who majored in studio production and likes to tinker, figured out how to replace the screen for much less than $200. Then he placed an online ad on Craigslist offering his repair service, charging about $125 for screen replacement. At first, he did all the repairs. But the demand grew so great that by August 2010, he decided to hire help and open a store called Dr. Brendan on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. He opened his second store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in September 2011. Today, McElroy has five employees to handle the increased workload since he expanded his repair business to all Apple products.
“We wanted a way to have an artistic dialogue through collaborative design,” says Amy, of Oakland, CA, who is three years younger than her sister. “We felt we had something to say that wasn’t out there.” They started with eight bold designs for handpainted wallpaper, including some patterns loosely based on paintings by Matisse and Picasso. Their catalogue, carried by showrooms around the world, now includes 20 designs, each with four to six color variations. The Mills sisters are now developing a collection for hotels, which remake their interiors every four or five years. Those designs are expected to be more subdued than the zebra or leopard prints that homeowners have found for their powderroom walls.
TURBULENCE STARTS BEFORE TAKEOFF
McElroy organized a public birthday party for what would have been Steve Jobs’s 57th birthday. The “party,” staged outside the New York City Flagship Apple store, drew national media attention.
He also provides data-recovery services starting at $125—far below what his competitors charge. He’s now looking to establish shops on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side. “The toughest part was transitioning from a one-man show focused on repairing phones, to having a small business with employees that does many things,” says McElroy, 30. “It got more complicated very quickly.” It’s not uncommon for siblings to have similar skills, talents, and mindsets. And it’s not surprising that sisters who combine creative energy with critical thinking would wind up together at Purchase. Amy Mills ’92 and her sister, Noelle Mills ’92, both studied printmaking at Purchase, and then found work in the fabric and wallpaper trade. Thirteen years after graduation, they decided to collaborate on their own line, which would be sold through their company, Paper Mills.
Amy and Noelle Mills with samples from thier Paper Mills wallpaper line.
Some students launch their businesses while still undergraduates. Dan Flohr ’78 arrived at Purchase in the mid-70s as the campus was taking shape and the U.S. government was providing substantial incentives for the installation of solar hot-water heaters. As Flohr earned his degree in environmental science, for a time, he ran a construction company out of his Purchase dorm room, which had crews installing solar hot-water heaters in suburban Westchester. “It was a little weird when Dun & Bradstreet came to campus looking for my office,” recalls Flohr, 56, of Wilmington, NC. His success with solar energy in homes expanded to the commercial market. But Flohr wasn’t content in the construction field. A couple of years after he graduated, the IBM personal computer burst on the scene, and he learned how to work with the spreadsheet software called Lotus 123. Soon, he had established a software company that developed templates for corporate financial information. When a mail-order firm approached him, wanting to buy his company, he sold it, less than six years after graduating. “It all happened so fast,” he says. “There I was, in my late 20s, having sold my first company. I then needed to find another problem to solve, using the new technologies.” That mid-1980s personal entertainment phenomenon the SONY Walkman next captured his imagination. His idea: develop a Walkman that tuned in to only one station, which he would sell to radio stations like Z100 as a promotional giveaway. Before long, he had an order for 5,000, which led to spinoffs for governments and businesses around the world. That business evolved when Flohr developed and marketed the first PC fax-modem. It later went public as a video conferencing and broadband networking company. He then did some real estate development and while that proved profitable, it didn’t tap into his creativity as did technology. (He called it “boring.”) His latest company, called Sequentric Energy Systems, has developed a sophisticated system that helps electric utilities manage the power grid. It’s now in use in residences and commercial locations served by utilities in the U.S. and Canada. Flohr’s success at Sequentric didn’t come overnight. He developed the technology in 2004, but didn’t begin selling it to Duke Energy until 2008 as the company became interested in develop-
PURCHASE | 7
By day, Lohrasp Kansara ’04 studies acting, finds work in television dramas, and works the business side of his thriving career. By night, he’s the internationally renowned deejay called DJ L, playing his engaging mixes at trendy hot spots in Manhattan and around the world. Not bad for an economics major who transferred to Purchase after his dream of playing professional basketball crumbled. Kansara could score with his deft shot, but he stopped growing at six feet one inch and wasn’t nearly hefty enough to withstand the sport’s physicality at its highest levels. “When you have such a big dream, and it doesn’t happen, it breaks your heart into bits and pieces,” says Kansara, 28, of New York City, who also works as a model for print magazines. “I had to find another dream. And I was very lucky to find something new that I loved.” Kansara’s penchant for dreaming—and knack for living out those dreams—has fueled success in the performing world. At Purchase, Kansara (who graduated with a 4.0 GPA) discovered the art and craft of deejaying while interning in 2002 at Def Jam Records, where he learned about music production at one of the top hip-hop labels. He quickly discovered that the successful music producers at Def Jam had gotten their starts as deejays. “Deejaying for me started as a hobby, and it became my passion,” says Kansara, whose deejay business can be found at www.experiencel.com. “I fell in love with it. It was a new dream that gave me new meaning, new desire.” He started spinning—and scratching—vinyl albums at Purchase College parties. He created CD mixes and passed them out by the thousands to spread his name. Before long, DJ L had a brand, and was in demand at other college campuses and New York clubs. His renown brought him gigs around the world—Paris; London; Dubai; Kingston, Jamaica; Mumbai, India; Melbourne, Australia; and Gstaad, Switzerland. “The easy part is the music; the harder part is getting the gigs to get the revenue,” he says. “You need to keep yourself on everyone’s radar. And you need to keep your fans wanting more and following you.” In February, he played at the VIP Room and White Room in Paris, and the W Hotel and China White in London. He no longer carts around crates of LPs. Today, he has 10,000 digitized songs in his laptop—from Chris Brown’s Turn Up the Music, his current favorite dance tune, to songs by the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye.
PURCHASE | 8
He says he comes to the clubs for his midnight shows with a blueprint for the evening’s music in his head. But that plan often changes by the time he plays the last dance at 5 a.m. “I let my imagination and the crowd take me where they take me,” he says. His imagination also led him in 2008 to the Black Nexus Acting Studio in Manhattan to study with Susan Batson, one of city’s premier acting coaches. There he discovered his love for acting. His television credits include roles on Law and Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, and Damages. Acting is Kansara’s newest passion, and he’s working hard to share it with the world. “An actor has such an opportunity to inspire and change the world,” he says. “I’ve come to love it as much as basketball, maybe a little bit more. We’ll see where it leads me.”
ing the Smart Grid. “At a point, I was wondering, ‘Am I being stupid here?’” he says. “But then the patents were issued, and Duke stepped in. The entrepreneurial lows can be really far down there, but the highs can be really high. “A definition of an entrepreneur is someone who has a great idea, tells it to 100 people and, when they all say it’s a dumb idea, looks at him or herself in the mirror firmly convinced that they are all wrong.” Flohr adds, “You need to believe in yourself big time. A big ego certainly doesn’t hurt.” Nathaniel McClure, the consumer video-game producer, was certainly riding high in the video-game world on the Call of Duty franchise at Activision, working his way up over six years from being an entry-level tester to becoming producer of Call of Duty 4. His team had gelled, shipping 14 versions of the top-selling game over 10 months. But it came at a cost. He was sleeping in his office several nights a week. At 3 o’clock one morning, he’d had enough. “There I was, at one of the world’s top video-game franchises, and I was killing myself,” says McClure, who lives in Farmington Hills, MI, with his wife, Andrea Anderson ’00, and their three children. “At that second I knew it was time to leave and start my own company.” His company’s first game, Real Heroes Firefighter, took the first-person shooter concept from Call of Duty and transformed it into a nonviolent game, in which the firefighter is “shooting” with his fire hose to extinguish a fire and using his ax to save people. Other games he has developed include Rock of the Dead, in which the player kills zombies and aliens with guitars
and drums, and Man v. Wild, which is based on the Discovery Channel show. But McClure’s success has come with his share of adversity. He moved his company to Michigan to take advantage of the state’s generous subsidy program for film and entertainment enterprises, which provided a 40 percent rebate for corporate spending in such businesses. The state, however, denied his application for the funds. He sued and won his case against Michigan, which granted him the subsidy. But the state has since appealed that decision. “It has been a frustrating couple of years,” he says. “But we’re doing all right. And that’s a perfect example of how I fell flat on my face. Or maybe it was more like getting hit in the head with a two-by-four.”
ENTREPRENEURS BET ON THEMSELVES Some entrepreneurs, such as graphic designer Herman, set sail direct from college. Others, such as Warren Katz ’93, president of Global Scenic Services, and Mark DiMassimo ’86, CEO and chief creative officer at DIGO Brands, worked for well-established firms before launching their own companies. DiMassimo worked in top public relations firms such as J. Walter Thompson, BBDO, and Kirshenbaum & Bond before he started his firm in 1996. Over the ensuing 15 years, DiMassimo says he has prospered, and has developed his company with dedication to constant improvement, resilience, and optimism. “It helps Mark DiMassimo to be a little unrealistic in the beginning,” says DiMassimo, who lives with his wife, Jill, and three boys in Rye, NY. “You have to be able to fall in love with ideas so totally, so they look easier to do than they really are.”
In one of Scientifically Proven Entertainment’s first video games, Rock of the Dead, the player kills zombies and aliens with guitars and drums.
PURCHASE | 9
Katz, who majored in technical direction at Purchase, began his career at Showman Fabricators in Long Island City, NY. After eight years, he was about to turn 34, and the Atlas Scenic Studios in Bridgeport, CT, was up for sale. He took the leap and bought it. As 2012 dawns, Atlas has 55 employees and has become one of five major scene shops in New York City. Katz’s company built the sets for two Broadway shows running in January 2012—Wit and Follies—and fabricated substantial portions of the scenes for How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and Anything Goes. He also designs sets for fashion shows for Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, and Sergio Rossi. “I figured I needed to try it so I didn’t have regrets later in life,” says Katz, 40, of Stratford, CT. “I needed to do it before I was old and a curmudgeon, which I happen to be now.”
FLEXIBILITY TO FIND OPPORTUNITY IN OBSTACLES Entrepreneurs are good at reinventing themselves and their products or services. Peter Fogel ’80, an actor and stand-up comic, grew weary of show business by his late 30s. He moved to Delray Beach, FL, and developed a freelance life that included writing advertising copy, Internet marketing, corporate training, and motivational speaking at corporations and associations. Fogel also keeps in touch with his inner funnyman as the co-host of the no.1 self-indulgent help program on Internet radio: “The Boomer Humor Radio Show” ( www.boomerhumorradio.com and www.reinventyourselfnow.com ). “Since the day I graduated from Purchase, I’ve been on my own,” says Fogel. “I’m a martial artist who, when defending myself, uses my hands, arms, elbows, and the environment—everything I have. When reinventing yourself, you need all present and past skills you have to overcome obstacles that might otherwise get in your way.”
P U R C H A S E | 10
That reinvention can happen within an organization as well. Anna Finke ’03, who studied dance at Purchase, met the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham while serving as a production intern at Merce Cunningham Dance during the summer after graduation. The internship led to a job with the company in the fall of 2003, working on its lighting crew. When the company’s costume designer was unable to accompany the group on tour to Asia, Finke, who’d grown up on a strawberry farm in Minnesota, mentioned that she could sew. She flew to Asia to work on Cunningham costumes. That trip led to more costume work and to getting hired as the company’s wardrobe supervisor, which didn’t tap into her artistic proclivities. But she kept at it, looking for opportunities within the company. She began taking photographs, and soon became the company’s official photographer. By 2007, she’d designed her first costume for the company, and later became the group’s costume designer. “I didn’t study photography or costume design at Purchase, but being a dancer really helped,” she says. “I used to be in the dancers’ shoes. I knew what they needed in a costume to be comfortable. And it’s nice to know, when shooting, that I have an eye for what the dance should look like.” Even the greatest performances must come to an end. The Cunningham company closed on New Year’s Eve with a huge finale, for which Finke designed the costumes. She’ll be working there for six months as the company’s costumes are shipped to the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, MN, for its permanent collection. It’s time for Finke to reinvent herself— a 21st-century task that entrepreneurial Purchase alumni seem well equipped to carry out. “At Purchase, the dance program is very intense, and you don’t know how you are going to get through, but you do,” she says. “I found my way by going to the right places, meeting people, being open, and seeing where the world brought me.”
Purchase Park2Fly Takes Off!
Spearheaded by Bill Guerrero, adjunct professor in the School of Liberal Studies & Continuing Education, the Purchase Park2Fly enterprise provides public access to discounted, on-campus parking for travelers flying in and out of the nearby Westchester County Airport. The initiative was developed with help from undergraduate students enrolled in Guerrero’s course “Entrepreneurship Business Plan Writing.” Park2Fly (www.pp2f.org) was launched in April 2011. The service offers a highly desirable alternative to onsite airport parking (which can cost as much as $30 a day, and is often packed to capacity). For $10 a day, Park2Fly travelers can drop cars off to be valet parked at the college’s W1 lot. A 24-hour shuttle service transports travelers to and from the terminal. The W1 lot is one of two expansive parking areas located near the entrance to The Performing Arts Center. While W2 (the other public space for daily parking) has always been well used, the W1 space has remained—until Park2Fly—an underused resource. Guerrero, who is also executive director of the Purchase College Association (PCA)—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation registered by the State of New York to provide Purchase College students, faculty, and staff with high-quality, low-cost auxiliary services that support the academic mission—has taught the entrepreneurship course for the past decade. “I gave the business plan to a team of four students in the class, so they could put their spin on it,” says Guerrero. “The students responded, adding nice elements such as visual branding, the taglines, and preferred services for Purchase students, faculty, and staff, who pay just $1 a day.” Airport parking is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week commitment. The PCA invested $200,000 in three shuttle buses, a temporary office, and minor site improvements. Purchase Park2Fly has a staff of 21, including Phil Sanford ’11, marketing coordinator for the Purchase College Association, and John Simmons ’11, one of the valet drivers. Sanford took Guerrero’s class in the fall of 2010, and was part of the four-student group working on the business plan. The group also included Joshua Spielberg ’12, Kevin McQuade ’12, and Shomari Rollins ’12.
“We ran with it,” says Sanford. “It was amazing—all the details in the business plan. Everything from who do we hire to what kinds of shuttles we would get. Then there was the logistics of Lot W1, and the marketing, media, and branding effort.” Sanford developed the marketing and branding materials; Rollins dealt with operations, while McQuade and Spielberg worked with personnel and customer service. Profits from the service will support the college. The service’s motto: Your Travel Supports Their Journey. Sanford became so involved in the venture that he interned for the Purchase College Association during the spring of 2011, and that experience led to a full-time job with the PCA in June. The service fills a need at the airport, which has about 1,300 spaces. On some days, the garage fills up, so Purchase Park 2 Fly provides essential capacity for the airport. It’s also a deal for cost-conscious flyers, offering a fee approximately 64 percent less than regular airport parking to Park2Fly travelers. The parking fee started at $5 a day when the service was launched in April 2011. Marketing was done through direct-mail coupons sent to homes in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. On June 1, the price rose to $10. Guerrero says it could rise again, to ensure that the operation becomes profitable and provides an income stream for the college. A rosy sign: the lot had 450 cars over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. As one Purchase staff member relates, “I hate holiday travel to begin with. Park2Fly made the departure part easy and nearly free of cost. But kudos go out to the company for my safe return home. My flight was delayed, and I ended up landing at Westchester Airport at 2 a.m. I called Park2Fly, collected my luggage, and the shuttle was already waiting for me (and a few other Park2Fly customers) when I went outside. I wouldn’t expect that quality of service from a private limousine company. The driver, despite the late-night holiday weekend, was more professional, courteous, and efficient than those for ‘high-end’ service shuttles I’d used in the past. A day or two later, one of the crew called me to say my baggage tag had been found on the ground of the lot, and asked how best to return it.”
P U R C H A S E | 11
New Leadership for the Purchase College Foundation By Kristi McKee
ast fall, Lucille Werlinich, an esteemed donor and board member since 2009, accepted the appointment as chair of the board of the Purchase College Foundation (PCF). Emily Grant, its leader for more than 15 years, retired in 2011. board member.” It came as quite a surprise when Emily Grant approached her with news of her retirement and an invitation to replace her as board chair.
Werlinich brings enormous fundraising experience and a keen eye for identifying opportunities. “Lucille is a fantastic fundraiser who is not afraid to ask for what she feels passionate about,” explains Jeannine Starr, associate vice president for institutional advancement. Fortunately for Purchase College, a multitude of programs and activities here fuel her passion. While somewhat new to the PCF board, Lucille Werlinich has a long association with Purchase College dating back to the late 1980s. Attending concerts at The Performing Arts Center as a board member for the now-defunct Philharmonia Virtuosi led to her association with the Purchase College Affiliates, and then to what she describes as “peripheral involvement” with the Conservatory of Dance. Although numerous students had been beneficiaries of the Werlinich family’s largesse for some time—the Nancy Jo Abeles Scholarship, founded by her mother, was Purchase College’s first endowed scholarship—students would soon benefit from Werlinich’s own generosity. Her relationship with Purchase College grew when, following her mother’s death in 2001, Werlinich assumed administration of the family’s foundation, the Joseph and Sophia Abeles Foundation. “I zoomed right in on the dance part of it because that’s what I knew best,” she recalled recently. In addition to contributing to the Adopt-a-Dancer program, she founded the Purchase College Toe Shoe Endowment. “I know how hard it is for scholarship students to buy toe shoes.” A growing interest in climate change led her to grant money to the Environmental Science program; she’s also funded student research projects in the School of Natural and Social Sciences, six different faculty support grants, and the journalism program. Already filling the vacancy on the Westchester Community College Foundation board left by her mother’s passing, she also agreed to join the Purchase College Foundation following the death of her father in 2008, “not expecting to be anything other than just a P U R C H A S E | 12
Any trepidation Werlinich may have felt when originally tapped for the position has seemingly dissipated. While the workload and challenges might seem daunting to some, she exudes a certain selfassurance as she outlines the goals for her tenure, undoubtedly the result of years of successful fundraising. With the intention of leading the board in support of President Schwarz and the Purchase College Strategic Plan, Werlinich proposes the formation of two new board committees, Scholarships and Student Success. The Scholarship Committee will see a group of board members sit with faculty and staff as they review scholarship applications and juggle the challenges of meeting the demand for financial assistance. In her experience as chair of the Scholarship Committee at Westchester Community College (WCC), she found that “once board members read those applications, they get involved. [At WCC] there were people on the Scholarship Committee for ten, fifteen years and every time they’re asked to sit and review the applications, they show up, and then they come back to the board and say, ‘We need to raise more money.’” The graduation rate at Purchase College has risen to 52 percent from a low of 27 percent ten years ago. To help meet the president’s goal of increasing the rate to 60 percent for the class of 2015, the Student Success Committee will focus on those matters preventing students from persisting. While anxious to begin her new endeavors at Purchase, she acknowledges that it will take time to implement fully the structure to support these activities. “It’s going to be slow, but I think it’s very worthwhile.” A lifelong resident of Westchester County, Werlinich believes the distinctive blend of conservatories and liberal arts inspires her most about Purchase. “Also, I love that it is local.” Jeannine Starr observed how both Lucille Werlinich and Emily Grant adopted Purchase as their hometown college, “supporting it with the same affection as if it were their own alma mater.” “The impact both women have made here is immeasurable; Purchase College is proud and grateful to remain the recipient of their generosity as the PCF leadership transitions from one extraordinarily capable chair to the next,” acknowledges President Schwarz.
Emily Grant: Friend, Supporter, and Purchase Fan Forever
(L to R) Emily Grant, Al Osman, and Dr. Betty Osman In November, fifty people gathered for dinner at La Panetière in Rye, NY, to honor Emily Grant.
The land on which Purchase College sits was once home to meadows and fields where Mamaroneck residents Emily Grant and her daughters would hike, picnic, and ride horses. She introduced herself to Purchase College when the first buildings were constructed, and as the college grew, so did her involvement here. Emily Grant joined the board of the Purchase College Foundation (PCF) in 1969. She supported the college at a time when there were no alumni to fill the role of benefactor. Her leadership of the PCF board began in 1995 and the legacy she leaves behind is profound. Countless faculty members have had their research funded, the many Friends organizations on campus have received generous donations, and the entire campus community benefited greatly from her participation as chair of the last capital campaign, which raised $24 million. She helped launch the Piano Fund, enabling the college to purchase its first new Steinway in years, and served as trustee on both Friends boards of the Neuberger Museum of Art and The Performing Arts Center. Her greatest impact is felt, however, by the generations of students who have received Grant scholarships. Recognizing their vested interest in maintaining the quality of public higher education in their community, Emily Grant and her husband Eugene are charter and lifetime members of the President’s Club, founded in 1982 to encourage unrestricted support for
the college to provide direct aid to students through scholarships. Scholarships make it possible to recruit top-notch students for their talents, abilities, and scholastic achievement rather than focusing on their ability to pay. Ninety students each year receive Emily and Eugene Grant Merit Scholarships, Music Scholarships, or Vocal Studies Scholarships. Grant once said, “We are inspired by the talent and quality of our superb faculty and the ambition and determination of the student body. The dynamics are palpable and impressive. Sharing our time and resources has been our privilege and pleasure.” While space does not permit an entire list of exactly how Purchase College has benefited and continues to benefit from her earnest and distinguished generosity, we can say with pride and humility how grateful the college is to have been the recipient of her tireless dedication for so many years. On Wednesday, November 30, fifty people gathered for dinner at La Panetière in Rye, NY, to honor Mrs. Grant. Among those in attendance were her husband Eugene, two of Mr. and Mrs. Grant’s three daughters, their lifelong friends Monty and Marilyn Hall, and President Schwarz, in addition to several Purchase College Foundation trustees and supporters. Joshua Benevento, a Purchase Conservatory of Music alumnus and visiting professor of voice, performed a trio of arias in her honor. Emily Grant remains an active member of the board of the Purchase College Foundation. —Kristi McKee
P U R C H A S E | 13
Ring any bells? Circa 1996. Before 1997, how did you know where you parked your car in W1 and W2?
Post on Facebook (facebook.com/SUNYPurchaseCollege) Twitter (twitter.com/SUNY_ Purchase) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT DO YOU g
9 Circa 1970. One of a hundred bolts collected from the Neuberger Museum of Art contruction site, silverplated, and distributed to Purchase faculty, staff, and administrators. Who has one of these?
P U R C H A S E | 14
Circa 2003. What inspired this design? Who came up with the idea?
Let us know what you know.
Circa ? The beachwood tree behind the administration building. What are the stories behind these carvings?
@PURCHASE Photography by Jim Frank
Circa 1984. A mural in the tunnels. Do you know the artists? Do you know what went on in the space?
P U R C H A S E | 15
Creating a Gateway to the Burgeoning Biotech Field By David McKay Wilson
atience, says Peter Powchik, M.D. ’79, is important in the field of biotechnology when you’re developing drugs to cure human illness. Powchik, who heads up the clinical development group at Regeneron, Inc., in Tarrytown, NY, is now leading studies on a cholesterol-lowering drug that was synthesized a few years ago and won’t be on the market for several more years.
“It will end up being a seven- or eight-year run, and that’s quick,” says Powchik, who majored in chemistry at Purchase and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry since 1996. “Some compounds could take up to 50 years to get to market.” Powchik is among a growing number of Purchase alumni working in biotechnology. That’s the burgeoning field of applied biology that holds great promise in developing products for a host of global problems—in medicine, agriculture, and energy. The first laboratory he used at Purchase, in the mid-1970s, was housed in a temporary trailer while the Natural Sciences Building was under construction. Powchik remembers experiencing a sense of awe the day the new laboratories opened during his second year on campus. Decades later, Purchase College celebrates an opportunity to renovate its second-floor laboratories in the Natural Science Building to create a campus center for research in cellular and molecular biology as well as biotechnology. Work in these laboratories can prepare science majors for graduate studies in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science. The lab will also help prepare Purchase graduates for work at biotechnology companies such as Regeneron, which has added 1,100 jobs since 2006. “The new labs will help us better serve the downstate community with graduates for careers in the sciences,” says Jan Factor, professor of biology and coordinator of the college’s biology program. The renovations, financed with a $378,489 grant from the National Science Foundation obtained by James Daly, associate professor of biology, were being designed this winter and are expected to begin this summer. The project includes renovation of a large laboratory space for cellular, molecular, and biotech instruction and research; installation of a new autoclave; the provision of new and specialized bench space; and a renovation of the college’s microscopy laboratory, which houses the school’s transmission electron microscope and scanning electron microscope.
P U R C H A S E | 16
Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz presents Dr. Andrew Murphy (top) and Dr. David Venezuela with the 2011 Purchase College Science Entrepreneurship Award.
The facilities will allow students to deepen their work in areas such as DNA sequencing, in which students can read the DNA code embedded within an organism, and electrophoresis, a process that allows students to analyze molecules and compare samples. “Our facility is more than 30 years old, and it’s important to modernize it,” says Factor. “Bringing all this modern equipment together makes more sense and will help students better carry out their research programs.” After Purchase, Powchik went on to study medicine at NYU Medical School, did his medical and psychiatry residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and later held a fellowship at Columbia University in molecular genetics and developmental psychobiology. He ran a research group at Mount Sinai and spent a year at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island before holding various clinical development positions at Sepracor, Inc., and Pfizer, Inc., from 1996 to 2001. He worked at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. from 2001 to 2005, rising to become the drug giant’s vice president of U.S. clinical development and medical affairs for neuroscience. After a year serving as chief medical officer at Chugai Pharma USA, he joined Regeneron. When he arrived, he found spanking-new laboratories, reminding him of his days discovering the mysteries of organic chemistry in the Natural Sciences Building at Purchase. “It wasn’t until I came to Regeneron that I moved into a new lab again,” says Powchik, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson with his wife, Olivia Sklar ’77, and their two children. “It’s nice when they are brand new,” he said.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: WESTCHESTER COUNTY The college’s relationship with the Westchester biotechnology company is developing. Two scientists at Regeneron—Dr. Andrew Murphy and Dr. David Venezuela, vice president of functional genomics—received the 2011 Purchase College Science Entrepreneurship Award. Powchik returned to the Purchase campus in late January when Regeneron rented The Performing Arts Center for a company-wide meeting. Powchik says Westchester is well situated for growth in the biotech industry, with its proximity to several metropolitan New York uni-
John Ambroseo ’83, president and chief executive officer of Coherent, Inc., in Los Altos, CA.
versities and day trips to the Boston area or to Washington, DC, to confer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “We’re relatively centrally located and there are good medical resources nearby,” he says. Regeneron’s proximity to Purchase College has proved beneficial to Kieran Feeley, 27, of Chappaqua, a research associate at Regeneron since 2007, who has his sights set on medical school. Since 2009, he has enrolled in science courses at Purchase to burnish his background in the natural sciences. This fall, he took courses in cell biology and anatomy. Feeley discovered Regeneron’s research laboratories while an undergraduate at Hamilton College. He worked there as an intern for three summers; last summer, he helped train some of the 70 college interns who arrive to learn about biotech research. He’s now working in Regeneron’s Genome Engineering Technologies Group, doing molecular biology research into various systems of gene expression. “I like scientific research, and finding out things we don’t know,” he says. “Those findings can be useful in terms of human health and developing knowledge out on the scientific frontier.”
BIOTECHNOLOGY SKILLS ARE IN DEMAND The growth in biotechnology in metropolitan New York has sparked a demand for employees knowledgeable about science research and the protocols involved in carrying it out in the laboratory setting, and Purchase College is well situated to prepare students for this career. The Purchase science faculty and administration are currently discussing the possibility of developing a concentration in biotechnology within the college’s biology major. This year there are 170 students majoring in biology, the largest major among the college’s laboratory sciences. Suzanne Kessler, dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, says the biotechnology concentration would provide a solid foundation for biology majors interested in landing jobs right out of school rather than considering further scientific studies in graduate or medical school, which has been a traditional career path for those who major in the natural sciences. P U R C H A S E | 17
Professor Ronnie Halperin, chair of Purchase College’s School of Natural and Social Sciences, says such a concentration would be a good fit for the school’s science faculty, which has considerable expertise in the fields of cellular and molecular biology. “It could serve a sizable group of students at Purchase,” Halperin says. “Biotechnology is a great career these days.”
BIOTECHNOLOGY: A PART OF FUTURE HEALTHCARE
“It would provide them with the kind of hands-on skills that would be useful for an entry-level position in the biotech industry,” says Kessler. “We pride ourselves on our science students who go on to medical and graduate schools. But there are many students who are either not ready for or not interested in professional training.”
John Ambroseo ’83, president and chief executive officer of Coherent, Inc., in Los Altos, CA, wasn’t planning on a career in biotechnology when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Purchase College in the early 1980s. But after earning his doctorate in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, he headed west, finding a position at Coherent, a California-based company specializing in lasers and laserbased technologies. Coherent’s products use laser technologies in nontherapeutic biomedical applications and diagnostics, including DNA sequencing and retinal scanning. Coherent has been a pioneer in develop-
Scholarship Grant Supports Students in Science & Technology Carlos Romano ’12 first came to Purchase College as a Port Chester High School freshman to participate in a science enrichment program. Now a Purchase senior majoring in biology, Romano has served as a mentor in that program; he is also vice president of the Purchase College Pre-Medical Club, and is preparing to apply for medical school. This spring he will complete his senior project—an analysis of the structure and function of lobster mouthparts. He is conducting the inquiry using the college’s scanning electron microscope, at magnifications of up to 10,000 times.
Romano is among 10 Purchase students majoring in scientific fields in 2011–12 who have received significant tuition assistance through the program, which includes funding from the NSF and Purchase College, according to Stephanie McCaine, director of admissions. The NSF program is designed to support students majoring in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry as part of a national effort to aid scholars interested in the STEM fields. About 170 of Purchase’s 4,200 undergraduates major in those fields. Freshman Yoon Jeong Choi ’15, of Rye, NY, says she first became enthralled by chemistry in a Rye High School baking class, in which she saw how combining ingredients in precise but varying amounts resulted in different chemical reactions.
A grant awarded last summer by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) scholarship program is making it all possible. A first for the college, the grant totals nearly $600,000, and will provide annual scholarships to freshmen, transfer, and continuing students over its five-year period. The program will support academically talented and financially needy biochemistry, biology, and chemistry students.
“I’m not a perfectionist, yet. I want to be, especially in chemistry,” says Choi, the child of South Korean immigrants, who is majoring in biochemistry and says she’d like to become a pharmacist. ”I have to know everything before I take a test, because I really don’t like making mistakes. At the same time, I know I’m learning when I get it right the second time. In chemistry, you can’t make mistakes, so it’s a field that suits my nature.”
“I like to learn about how things in the body work together, and how the breakdown of one little thing can hurt the whole system,” says Romano, the child of immigrant parents from South America, and the first in his family to attend college. “In the future, I think it would be rewarding to help fix a part of that.”
The NSF grant is expected in 2012–13 to serve 18 incoming students, including 10 transfer students, McCaine says. To qualify, high school seniors need a grade point average (GPA) of 90 and SAT scores of at least 1,200. Transfers need to have a 3.25 GPA in college.
P U R C H A S E | 18
ing laser medicine, providing technologies for dermatology, and hair and tattoo removal, as well as dental and surgical procedures. Ambroseo worked his way up in the company—as sales engineer, product marketing manager, and national sales manager. After serving as president and general manager of the Coherent Laser Group, and then president of the Coherent Photonics Group, he became president and CEO of the company in 2002. He says biotechnology will play a central role in the development of the healthcare industry in the United States and around the world. He notes that healthcare reform in the United States could expand the market for health services for more than 30 million Americans. The growing middle classes in countries such as India and China want better healthcare as well, which Ambroseo says will further expand the market. “How are we going to provide healthcare for all these people without decreasing the quality of care?” he asks. Part of the solution is increasing the supply of healthcare professionals and developing new drugs. Another part, says Ambroseo,
ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTING SUCCESS IN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES The NSF program builds on the College’s Bridges to Baccalaureate program, which since 2000 has assisted minority students enrolled in community colleges in the Hudson Valley region seeking fouryear degrees in the sciences at Purchase. That program, which runs through 2014, provides support for summer research to 18 community college science majors a year, said Joseph Skrivanek, the professor of chemistry who originally spearheaded the Bridges program. Students each receive a stipend of $2,700. Many of the summer students enroll at Purchase. A number of them have continued their scientific studies on the graduate level. Luis Jusino ’07 of Hyde Park, NY, for instance, is seeking his master’s degree in public health at New York Medical College in Valhalla while working as a case manager at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel. Two other former Bridges students, Jonathan Mathis ’10 and John Vega ’08, are in medical school—Vega in his third year at Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn and Mathis in his first year at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Mathis, 26, who grew up in New Windsor, NY, learned about the Purchase program while earning his associate degree at Orange Community College. He participated in the summer research program, and then transferred to Purchase. He subsequently was accepted to highly competitive summer research programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan. “These programs opened my eyes to research. There are so many questions to be answered,” says Mathis. “At one point, I had a couple of jobs, but I wasn’t faring so well in class,” he recalls. “But I had to put money in my pocket. The scholarship gave me the time I needed to really focus.”
involves developing better tests for diagnosing illness, which Coherent has done. “Biotech plays a big role in figuring out ways to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of tests,” says Ambroseo. “And if you improve the sensitivity and accuracy of tests, you can better identify, monitor, and track the progression of a disease at much earlier stages.” His California-based company employs about 2,400 people worldwide. Coherent is among a minority of Silicon Valley companies with substantial manufacturing operations remaining in California. Ambroseo says there remains a need for skilled workers with strong training in the sciences. His company needs people who are skilled in biochemistry to develop the reagents for the medical tests. Those with experience in biophysics can help build Coherent devices. Coherent also seeks employees with backgrounds in optics, software design, and electrical engineering. “We are at a point in our history where there’s a real jobs crisis in our country,” he says. “We have to rely on innovation to remain competitive, and that means developing products that do things better, and smarter.”
Vega, who comes from Poughkeepsie and transferred from Dutchess Community College, participated in the research program for two summers. He says those days in the laboratory provided a chance for him to delve deeply into research. One summer, he worked on a study that determined the effect of fatty acids on breast cancer cells in rats. He got to know professors, and they were there for him throughout his time at Purchase. “It’s a small program, which is good,” says Vega. “If you have questions, you have a 100 percent chance to ask your professor. You can take your education as far as you want to take it.” Skrivanek’s successful program in the lower Hudson Valley may go statewide. He’s now working with the State University of New York to replicate the Purchase science program with community college graduates at 32 of SUNY’s 64 campuses. And that includes having the proper support for the science majors once they enroll. Over the last 12 years, the program has evolved and expanded to become a national model for increasing retention and graduation rates, particularly among minority students. Thanks to significant funding from the National Science Foundation, the PepsiCo Foundation, Morgan Stanley, and Purchase College Trustees Phyllis Hyacinthe and Deborah Larkin, the program has served over 300 students, of whom 60 percent are underrepresented minorities and over 70 percent of whom have graduated with a four-year degree. “The most important thing is to keep the students,” says Skrivanek. “We have enough things in place now at Purchase, with tutoring and mentoring programs as well as career development. So far, our NSF students this year are doing quite well.” The project director for the NSF STEM scholarship grant is Joseph Skrivanek, coordinator, Purchase College chemistry and biochemistry programs. Co–project directors are Dennis Craig, vice president for enrollment and integrated marketing; Wendy Morosoff, director of the Career Development Center; Joanne Tillotson, associate professor of biology; and Mark Condon, associate professor of biology and allied health services at Dutchess Community College.
P U R C H A S E | 19
NEWSBRIEFS P URCHASE COLLEGE HOSTS UNITED ACADEMIA CONCERT In November, the Purchase Symphony Orchestra and other students from the School of Arts Conservatory of Music performed with internationally acclaimed artists at the United Academia concert at The Performing Arts Center. The United Academia concert was a celebration of the first anniversary of the United Nations’ Academic Impact global initiative, which aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations to support the highest principles in human rights, literacy, sustainability, and conflict resolution. Purchase performed under guest conductor George Manahan, music director of the American Composers Orchestra and former conductor of the New York City Opera for 14 years. “This was an exciting and unique opportunity for our students to perform with internationally acclaimed artists,” said Thomas J. Schwarz, president of Purchase College. “The concert brings to the attention of the public our highly accomplished students, who will become the next generation of professional musicians to perform around the country and the world.” President Schwarz is a member of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), an Academic Impact partner organization of university chief executives from higher-education institutions around the world. The concert was sponsored by the Puglia Center of America, in collaboration with Purchase College, and under the patronage of the Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l’UNESCO; the Commissioner’s Office for Culture, Tourism, Peace and the Mediterranean Area of the Region of Puglia; and the Province of Bari.
Caught off guard by the anxiety of releasing a book, coupled with the fear of unfavorable reviews or lack of attention, Roche eventually concludes, “I realize it hardly matters. It’s been my experience that projects have a way of seeping into the world and finding their audience.”
N EW DONATION BOOSTS JOURNALISM PROGRAM On behalf of the Dr. E. Lawrence Deckinger Family Foundation, Executive Director Nancy Deckinger recently extended a significant gift to the journalism program at Purchase College. The purpose of the non-endowed fund is to provide support for the study of investigative journalism. The Deckinger donation is the first to specifically target journalism at Purchase, and may be used to grant student research awards, faculty stipends, and program costs associated with the implementation of investigative journalism curricula and initiatives, with an emphasis on government spending and accountability. This is the second big boost this year for investigative journalism at the college. Over the summer, Purchase established a partnership with InvestigateNY (INY), the New York Center for Investigative Reporting. Administered on campus by Journalism Professor Mary Alice Williams, president of the INY Board, and a broadcast news veteran, the program provides students opportunities to contribute to investigative reporting in the New York region. INY is managed and its stories and content are reported and produced by experienced, professional investigative journalists. As befits its journalistic mission, INY operates as a separate and independent journalistic entity within Purchase College.
A LUM SUZZY ROCHE RELEASES FIRST NOVEL Suzzy Roche, best known as a founding member of the folk-rock group The Roches, recently published her first novel, Wayward Saints, which is garnering critical acclaim. Suzzy Roche attended Purchase in the 1970s, but failed then to finish her degree. She instead formed a band in 1979 with her two sisters, whose debut album the New York Times proclaimed “recording of the year.” The Roches recorded 11 albums together and spent more than 30 years performing live, collaborating with other musicians, writers, actors, and dancers along the way. Returning to Purchase College after a 30-year break, she received her B.F.A. in acting in 2005. “I loved SUNY Purchase.... I always felt bad about not finishing the degree—or really, what I felt bad about was not getting educated.” In addition to her formal studies, the education she received from a life lived in pursuit of creative Suzzy Roche opportunity resulted in a novel described as “funny, smart, poignant, the prose so clear, so direct, so true. This book is a joy,” by Jane Hamilton, author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World. Half a Heart and Before and After author Rosellen Brown enthuses, “Wayward Saints is the best and most surprising debut novel I’ve read since I can’t remember when.” PURCHASE | 20
(L to R) Jeannine Starr, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Nancy Deckinger, and Suzanne Kessler, dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
URCHASE TO HOUSE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR P CARNEGIE HALL NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA Carnegie Hall announced in January the launch of the first National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, a major new initiative that, beginning in summer 2013, will bring together the most talented young orchestral players from across the nation. Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the NYO-USA provides an opportunity for 120 exceptional young musicians (ages 16 to19) to come together with their peers, supported by a faculty of leading professional orchestra musicians and a different celebrated conductor each year, for a two-week intensive musical residency on campus at Purchase, followed by an international tour to top music capitals around the world. Renowned conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the orchestra in its inaugural year.
NEWSBRIEFS LECTRIC CAR-CHARGING STATIONS E INSTALLED ON CAMPUS Purchase College received a $15,000 federal grant to buy electric vehicle –charging stations, which are rare (if not completely absent) in Westchester County. The stations, located near the entrance of the Purchase Park2Fly airport shuttle operation, are now up and running.
F OCUS ON FRENCH CINEMA 2012 Regional audiences experienced the best contemporary French-language films from France, Belgium, Quebec, and Africa during Focus on French Cinema 2012, held March 23–25 at The Performing Arts Center. The rigorous two-week training residency will take place on campus at Purchase College. The NYO-USA initiative marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership between Carnegie Hall and Purchase College, in which the two organizations will share resources and explore collaborations in support of their missions and advancing shared educational goals. Thomas J. Schwarz, president of Purchase College, is a member of the Advisory Council of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Following the residency program at Purchase, the NYO-USA, conducted by Maestro Gergiev, will hold debut performances at the college’s Performing Arts Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. An international tour will follow, spanning Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London, with Maesto Gergiev at the podium.
A LUMNUS WINS ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION James Spione ‘85, an independent filmmaker based in Katonah, NY, received an Oscar nomination for Documentary Short Subject, for his film Incident in New Baghdad. Although a different film ultimately received the award, Incident in New Baghdad remains highly acclaimed, James Spione recognized as the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Documentary Short. The film recounts the July 2007 killing of two Reuters journalists and a number of unarmed civilians by U.S. attack helicopters. U.S. Army Specialist Ethan McCord, who witnessed the attack and rescued two children caught in the crossfire, was denied psychological treatment in Iraq for his PTSD. McCord, who turned against the war as a result of his experiences, began traveling the country, speaking out for the rights of PTSD sufferers and against the American wars in the Middle East, as a result of the WikiLeaks release of the cockpit video of the incident.
Presented by the Alliance Francaise of Greenwich in partnership with Purchase’s School of Film and Media Studies, the Avon Theatre, and the Greenwich Arts Council, the festival included an exclusive screening of Angele et Tony. Directed by Alix Delaporte, Angele et Tony has taken the French cinema community by storm with both leading actors, Clotilde Hesme (Angele) and Gregory Gadebois (Tony), winning France’s most coveted national film award, the Cesar. The festival also featured continuous screenings of ten other critically-acclaimed feature films and shorts. According to Renee Amory Ketcham, president of the Alliance Francaise of Greenwich, “The festival was an extraordinary opportunity for people in this region to experience the best of the best right in their own backyard.” The Opening Night Gala featured a buffet with fine French cuisine, courtesy of Les Maitres Cuisiniers de France and the Academie Culinaire de France, and champagne donated by Perrier Joet.
According to Michelle Stewart, chair of the School of Film and Media Studies, students were invited to produce a documentary film of the entire festival. “It was total immersion for them,” she said.
Filmmaker magazine described Incident in New Baghdad as “one powerful and disturbing film.” Spione’s films include Inauguration: Spirit of the Crowd (2009), Our Island Home (2008), American Farm (2005), and others. He has worked as a director, writer, and producer in film and television. P U R C H A S E | 21
NEWSBRIEFS USIC ALUM DAN ROMER M SCORED TOP FILM AT SUNDANCE Dan Romer ’04, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music’s studio production program, wrote the score for a film that won the top prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Beasts of the Southern Wild, the debut film by Benh Zeitlin, received both the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Excellence in Cinematography Award: US Dramatic. Manohla Dargis ’84 hailed the film in the New York Times as “the standout of this year’s Sundance and among the best films to play at the festival in two decades,” while the score drew praise by others as “magnificent” and “outstanding.”
S TUDENTS PITCH IN TO CLEAN UP LONG ISLAND SOUND More than 70 Purchase students turned out at a Long Island Sound beach in Rye, NY, last fall for the 26th annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. The students, along with environmental sciences faculty members Susan Letcher and Jeff Main, spent the day not only hunting for and picking up trash and debris, but also recording everything they found and where they found it. Over the past 25 years, the International Coastal Cleanup has become the world’s largest volunteer effort for ocean health. Nearly nine million volunteers from 152 countries and locations have cleaned 145 million pounds of trash from the shores of lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean on just one day each year. They have recorded every item found, providing a clear picture of the manufactured items affecting the health of humans, wildlife, and economies.
Dan Romer is a record producer, mixer, songwriter, and arranger based in Brooklyn, NY. His past credits include scoring two awardwinning short films, Death to the Tinman and Glory at Sea, as well as a Google Chrome commercial and a series of official Obama presidential campaign commercials. He’s also produced albums for several new artists such as Jenny Owen Youngs ’04 and Ian Axel, He Is We, April Smith, Lelia Broussard, Cara Salimando, and Jukebox the Ghost. He is quickly establishing a name for himself as an in-demand producer/co-writer and one of the leading up-andcoming production talents in New York. Fox Searchlight has acquired the film, so look for it in theaters later this year.
F IRST CONTACT: THE SEARCH FOR LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE In March, the School of Natural and Social Sciences presented its Science in the Modern World spring 2012 lecture series, featuring Washington Post columnist Marc Kaufman. Kaufman has spent the last several years shadowing scientists as they research the question “Are we in the world?” During this project he has accompanied researchers to the deepest mines on the earth looking for extreme life and to high arctic locations that mimic the conditions on Mars; flown through the plume of an erupting volcano; listened to signals from space; and spent time with scientists in their labs. The result was his book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth, which chronicles current work looking at the origin of life on Earth, and the search for life in our solar system and beyond. His lecture at Purchase provided an understanding of what is really known about life “out there.”
PURCHASE | 22
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Stephen Ferri, a Purchase College junior in the School of the Arts’ Conservatory of Theatre Arts Design/Technology program, is paving his way toward success. Having founded two of his own theatre companies—the Harrison Summer Theatre and the New Musical Theatre Series—the 21-year-old was named one of “Twenty-Two People to Watch” by Westchester magazine in January.
STUDENTS ADD COLOR AND FLAIR TO PURCHASE LIFE
From Anime to Zumba: Fun at Purchase Is Student-Run
By Kris DiLorenzo
Zombies parading through campus en route to their prom; students starring in their own TV show, contemplating mandalas in Tibet, spreading Culture Shock—these are examples of Purchase College’s nationally renowned creativity.
CREATIVITY IS EVERYWHERE Creativity at Purchase isn’t confined to the visual and performing arts. Students put their unique stamp on even traditional extracurricular activities such as athletics and student clubs. From silly to serious, their range of interests and activities is kaleidoscopic—and if something doesn’t exist, they’ll invent it.
BEYOND BASEBALL Take, for example, the Ultimate Frisbee team. Expanding the menu of varsity and intramural sports, co-captains Nicholas Springer and Cole Rice revived the sport and named the team in homage to its 1990s predecessor, the Atomic Dogs; now the Sub-Atomic Puppies travel regionally to participate in college tournaments. Why Frisbee? “It’s exercise, but also a way of life,” explains literature major Springer, a junior. “It’s a no-contact, self-officiated sport; it’s about the spirit of the game, and the sense of community. Wherever we play, I meet people and make friends from other colleges.” The Nerf Guild is another example of a quirky hobby going mainstream. A small group of friends with toy guns, playing games such as Capture the Flag and King of the Hill in the residential basement tunnels, morphed into a club, then a subsect of the Role-Playing Game Association. Now the Nerf Guild is an independent intramural sport and recreational club. A new, atypical fitness program is the Stage Combat Club, which appeared thanks to the efforts of sophomore Jennifer Brent, a graphic design major. A martial arts student for three years and member of the Fencing Club, Jennifer wanted to study stage combat, but that discipline was limited to Theatre Arts students. Last year she started a club open to all students, taught by Jared Kirby, the college’s fencing and stage combat instructor. “I wanted a physical outlet; to have something physical to do so I’m not lying on my bed gaining weight,” jokes Jennifer. She explains the connection with her career path: “I want to go into character design, so seeing how the body moves is important for my own benefit.” PURCHASE | 23
Purchase College Student Government President Brittany Mayes
UNIQUE TRADITIONS Uniqueness is a Purchase hallmark. “Our most popular events are Culture Shock, FallFest, the Zombie Prom, Fall Ball, and any Latinos Unidos or SOCA (Students of Caribbean Ancestry) event,” says Brittany Mayes, PSGA (Purchase Student Government Association) president and one of Purchase’s busiest students. “Students create new events every year.” Culture Shock, an annual two-day music festival in April, presents unorthodox musical acts and performance artists, who have included electronic music wiz Dan Deacon, singer Regina Spektor, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Biz Markie, and Destiny’s Child, among other well-known names. The colorful Fall Ball celebrates the college‘s strong LGBT culture. Sponsored by the LGBTQU (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Union), Purchase’s oldest and largest student organization, the event features a dance and a drag queen and king competition; its previous themes have been Moulin Rouge and Candy Land. Board member and co-president (with Chloe Lubin) Lauren Doty, a political science major, explains why the ball is so successful, with nearly 400 attendees. “This is a vibrant, creative, growing community. To be able to go to a school where it’s so visible and well known is a great testament to how open Purchase is.” The Purchase approach to impending final exams isn’t exactly what people expect, either. Before they hit the books, students have one last hurrah: Pancake Madness, a 9 p.m. to midnight fever-pitch breakfast served by faculty and staff, where more than a thousand dancing students are packed shoulder to shoulder, and the number of pancakes consumed has yet to be counted.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Many signature events, student-run services, club events, and a smorgasbord of other activities take place in the Student Center. The “Stood” is the college’s heartbeat, home to two concert venues, the Student-Run Art Gallery, film screenings, laser tag, Night of a Thousand Pizzas, Roller Derby night, the Art Co-Op, FallFest, and yes, the Zombie Prom, among other experiences…with more to come.
exercising great autonomy as well as broad responsibility. Brittany is the student body’s main representative to the college administration, meets with faculty and staff members, sits on the College Council, and gives a State of the Union address to the campus. She’s also busy off campus. “This winter I also was a site leader for a student-planned Purchase Alternative Service Trip to New Orleans,” Brittany says. “We went to work with Project Lazarus, an organization that provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS who are unable to take care of themselves.” College publications, radio stations, and even television stations are nothing new, but they work the Purchase way: student founded and student-run. The Brick, a digital newspaper with its own show, Brick TV, airing weekly on Purchase Television, has just launched a radio show on WPSR. Students also produce The Submission, an interdisciplinary journal of creativity, whose covers feature extraordinary artwork, and recently the weekly print and electronic newspaper, The Purchase Independent, known as the Indy, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Roisin McCarty, the Indy’s editor-in-chief, says she “fell in love with” her work. “The Indy really helped me acclimate to the campus during my first semester, and because of that I decided to start attending meetings.” The sophomore literature major doesn’t mind the scheduling challenges of coordinating a staff of students. Says Roisin, “Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the first copy come out of the printer when we’re done putting an issue together.” YouTube and video blogs are part of Purchase culture, and “digital ambassadors” Sophie Bernbaum and Eric Desorta are highly visible with their Vlog Blog: http://sophieanderictalkpurch.tumblr.com/. They offer their particular take on ordinary life incidents, answer questions, comment on just about anything Purchase-related, and seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the student body. Psychology major Eric explains succinctly what’s different about Purchase from other strongly arts-oriented schools: “The dancers don’t just hang out with the other dancers. I know at least four people from every social group!”
It would be hard to find an area of interest that student clubs and organizations don’t cover. A random sampling includes the HipHop Club, the Cheese Club, Feminists Organizing Real Transformation Here (FORTH), Comics United, the Organization of African Peoples in the Americas (OAPIA), the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the Pacific Asian Organization (PAO), Hillel, and clubs in nearly every academic discipline. Joining that roster is the student-run Emergency Medical Service (EMS), and a bicycle repair shop, Broken Spokes, is under consideration.
Academic work generates creativity of a different sort. A senior project can metamorphose into a permanent fixture, a career launching pad (see “Entrepreneurs” on page 5), or a foot in the door to graduate school. Says Student Senate president and drama major Matt Sekellick, whose own project was a production of Beowulf//Grendel, “There are senior projects in the Humanities Theatre almost every week in the spring: dance B.F.A. concerts, visual arts gallery shows, and theater B.A. projects. There are also events like the Natural Science Symposium—a tremendous opportunity for students to present their own research studies in a professional environment.”
Most clubs and organizations are financed with grants distributed by the PSGA, one of the rare student government associations
Thanks to free admission to the Neuberger Museum of Art and $5 tickets to Performing Arts Center events, students have easy access
PURCHASE | 24
Student Senate President Matt Sekellick (center)
to a spectrum of performances and exhibitions. And lecture series, sponsored by many academic programs, provide a yearlong stream of opportunities for all students to hear from esteemed authors, artists, researchers, and social scientists. Internships, both on campus and off, range far beyond office gopher jobs. Arts management major Keila Mera held simultaneous internships at Comedy Central and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and currently is an intern at both Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. “I made some great connections,” she says of her fast-paced television experience. “Not only that, but the people I met, including interns and heads of departments, also have become friends.” A semester abroad or exchange program can send students to exotic locales. In January, students fulfilling their natural science requirement studied coral reef biology and ecology at the Roatan Institute for Maritime Science on one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. This summer, students can study philosophy, art, and culture at the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, India, home of the exiled Tibetan government and the Dalai Lama. During her summer stay in Pisciotta, Italy, to study language and culture, senior graphic design student Stephanie Cuenca lived in a town with one main street, no TV, radio, or phones, and a flight of 70 stairs leading from the local piazza to her apartment. “Because I had no access to the outside world, I took a lot of photos and put them on my blog,” says the Brooklyn native. “I wanted to be immersed in a place completely different from where I’m from, where I got the experience of the culture in its true form, and this program was it.”
SERVING THE COMMUNITY Closer to home, Amanda Zambrana, a drama major and president of Latinos Unidos, one of the oldest campus organizations, demonstrates the meaning of civic engagement. She created her own event, “It’s a Baby Shower.” Now in its second year, the “shower” collects donations of clothes and other basic goods for centers serving new mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds. “Think globally, act locally” is another way students get involved with important issues. The Green Team focuses on environmental sustainability: it initiates campus cleanups, raises awareness about reducing energy use, and has held a Green Expo, inviting corporations to campus to show how they promote sustainability. Now, about the Zombie Prom: after years of the usual homecoming celebrations and formal proms, students decided to think outside the box, and came up with this event. Every year, costumed and made up as zombies, several hundred of them march through campus to the Stood for their special kind of prom. Dancing to live bands is a must; formal wear is optional.
CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS Active Minds The Alternative Clinic Anime Club Anthropology Club Aperture (Photography Club) The Art Co-Op Arts Management Club ASA (Asian Students Association)
OAPIA (Organization of African Peoples in the Americas)
INTRAMURALS, RECREATION, LEAGUES & TOURNAMENTS
PAO (Pacific Asian Organization)
Pre-Med Psychology Club
PTV (Purchase Television)
Purchase Environmental Activists
Tennis Badminton Volleyball
PUSH Ideas into Action
RPGA-P (Role Playing Game Association— Purchase)
CANDIES Cheese Club Chess Club Comics United Critique Club (Visual Art)
SOCA (Students of Caribbean Ancestry) Sociology Club Stage Combat
DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) Club
Student Art Gallery
FORTH (Feminists Organizing Real Transformation Here)
Fusion Christian Fellowship
ATHLETICS AND SPORTS Fall Varsity Sports Men’s Golf
The Green Team Hip-Hop Club
Men’s & Women’s Cross Country
Capoeira Fencing Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Nerf Guild Rugby SOL (Step Out Loud) Stage Combat Tae Kwon Do RECREATIONAL AND FITNESS CLASSES Zumba Mat Pilates Martial Arts Aqua Zumba
The Independent (Indy)
Women’s Volleyball OFF-CAMPUS TRIPS
Japan Club Latinos Unidos
Winter Varsity Sports
LGBTQU (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Union)
Men’s Basketball Women’s Basketball
Women’s Swim & Dive
Mount Olympus, the Print Shop MSA (Media, Society and the Arts) Club NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group)
Men’s Swim & Dive
Spring Varsity Sports Baseball Men’s Tennis Men’s Volleyball
Professional Sports Games (Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Devils, Rangers) Outings Paintball Ski/Snowboarding Trips Skateboard Park Museum Trips (MOMA, Natural History) Broadway Shows and Concerts
PURCHASE | 25
Dear Alumni and Friends: Purchase College continues to grow, rebuild, and thrive. For those who have visited campus recently, you will notice a new campus mall, which focuses more on green than brick. But with all the change, much still remains the same, and Purchase is still the strong, independent institution it always has been. Take some time this spring to visit Purchase, attend one of the Alumni Association’s events, including an alumni Pancake Madness, or the Purchase +30 reunion, or visit us during the annual Culture Shock festival. Join us on Facebook, Twitter ( @purchasealumni ), or LinkedIn. There are so many ways to get reconnected and network with your fellow alumni. Help us to grow our online communities and share in our common experiences as Purchase alumni. Many of our initiatives, and the important initiatives of student scholarships and faculty development, are supported with the generosity of fellow alumni through the Purchase College Annual Fund. If you have already given a gift to this year’s Annual Fund, I thank you for your contribution. If you have never given, I encourage you to join me as a donor to the Annual Fund. Every little bit counts. To find out more about the Annual Fund, go to http://www.purchase.edu/giving/ and click on “Annual Fund”. You can even give online. As alumni and friends of Purchase, you have a place on the team as we join with the administration, faculty, staff, and current students of Purchase to continue the efforts to build a better college. Help lead the charge as a donor, or become a part of our team through scholarship support, volunteerism, and active participation in campus and alumni life. Please stay in touch by sending professional and personal news for Class Notes, as well as updated addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, to email@example.com. Do you have any suggestions for how we can better connect with your fellow alumni? Let us know. I look forward to hearing from you and am honored to serve as your President.
Jeffrey S. Putman, Ed.D. ’96 President, Purchase College Alumni Association, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jeffrey S. Putman ’96 was elected president of the Purchase College Alumni Association in December 2007. He is currently assistant dean for student affairs at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.
PURCHASE | 26
1976 Lauren Wood-Radcliffe (language and culture) teaches French and Latin at John Jay High School in the KatonahLewisboro school district in New York. She travels frequently with her French classes to Quebec City, Montreal, and France, and has taken students to Italy. She and her husband Clifford live in Yorktown Heights; they have four children. ages 21 to 30, and three spirited Weimaraners.
1977 Lisa Levart (dance) recently published her first book of photography, Goddess on Earth: Portraits of the Divine Feminine. The book is the culmination of more than eight years of work in which women of all ages and backgrounds were each photographed exploring and celebrating their power, strength, and beauty by embodying a goddess or sacred myth. Some of the “goddesses on earth” include actors Olympia Dukakis, Shirley Knight, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Karen Allen; best-selling authors Isabel Allende, Madhur Jaffrey, and Rose Styron; and fellow Purchase alum singer Suzzy Roche. The project has evolved to include a multimedia installation that celebrates the strength, wholeness, and self-esteem of contemporary women and girls. Viewers of all ages are inspired to embrace their own identity as they experience this empowering, feminist sanctuary. See goddessonearth.com.
1978 Mark Patnode (visual arts) enjoyed designing new logos for the U.S. Navy commander submarine Atlanta. They can be seen at sublant.navy.mil. Michael Rabinowitz (music performance) continues to play with the Charles Mingus Orchestra and performed at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival last fall. He participated in the Gil Evans Centennial project, realized by Ryan Truesdale, which will release newly discovered, previously unrecorded pieces by Gil. Live performances of these works are scheduled for May. Michael has been invited to Mexico this spring for a weeklong festival of improvised performances and teaching by Omar Tamez.
1980 Carol Dallinga (sociology), L.C.S.W., C.G.P., E.M.D.R., was the featured speaker at the fall 2011 conference of the Illinois Group Psychotherapy Society in Chicago at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her topic for mental health professionals was “Marketing Your Practice: Thriving in a Changing World.” Robyn Tanzman Ochs (language and culture), after 27 years as an administrator at Harvard University, is stepping away to focus fulltime on speaking, writing, and activism. She travels around the United States (and beyond) speaking about gender, sexuality, and identity, with the goal of increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities and mobilizing people to be powerful allies within and across identities and social movements. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife,
Photo: Laurie Swope.
Peg and Robyn on their wedding day Peg Preble, and has spoken at Purchase several times. She can be found online on Facebook and at robynochs.com.
1981 Curtis Kasefang (design/tech) is celebrating eight years with Theatre Consultants Collaborative, L.L.C. (TCC). TCC was founded by Curtis and two colleagues, and has grown to include nine other members. In 2011, they completed theaters for Austin City Limits, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, Thalian Hall, and 12 other municipalities and schools. Since graduation, Curtis has worked as a technical director, production manager, and theater consultant, with a short stint as the vice president of a behavioral healthcare practice. Henia (Shatz) Stein (sociology) is a freelance writer working on her second and third books. She recently published her father’s Holocaust memoir, Why My Father Ran, and says “Research was a lifelong project, but writing began five years ago.” See: http://www.amazon.com/ Why-Father-Ran-Henia-Stein/dp/1463796331.
1983 Leslie Kincaid Burby (acting) received a 2011 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director for her work on Eddie Antar’s The Navigator, which was produced by the WorkShop Theater Company. In February, a four-week revival of The Navigator was staged at the WorkShop Theater Company’s Main Stage Theater.
Nora (Baskin) Raleigh (literature) won the 2010 ALA Schneider Family Award for Anything But Typical. She has published short stories, and her personal-narrative essays have appeared in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and The Writer. She teaches creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and the Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Her eighth young-adult novel, The Summer Before Boys, was released by Simon & Schuster this spring and received a starred review from Kirkus. Another young-adult novel, Surfacing, will be published in 2013. Kevin Sutton (visual arts) had an exhibit, “Kevin Sutton: Paintings on Paper,” from December 3 to 22, 2011, in New York.
1984 Mark London (design/ tech) is vice president of the Lighting Design Kevin Sutton Group, an Emmy Award–winning lighting production services company. The group has designed and worked on installations in Istanbul and New Delhi. Currently Mark and others are working on new projects in Abu Dhabi and Beijing. The Lighting Design Group employs many Purchase alums, including Mike Grabowski, Mark Janesczko, Adam Gabel, Paul Morrill, Nic Harris, and Sean McLoughlin, who have been lighting all the political debates for Fox, NBC (MSNBC, CNBC), and ABC. The group will be lighting the United Kingdom Olympics and the fall conventions and elections. Maria Reina (dance) is now a chef and has been doing demos at the PepsiCo Farmers’ Market in Purchase during the summer. Other alums at the market are farmers and soapmakers. The market is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until November. See www.bellacucinamaria.com.
1985 Larry Gomez (photography/visual arts) taught elementary school in Brooklyn for several years before attending Brooklyn College and receiving an M.F.A. in 1992. Since then, he has enjoyed success as a commercial and fine artist, with his work in solo and group exhibitions in and around New York City. El Museo del Barrio (Brooklyn) acquired one of his paintings for its permanent collection in 2000. Commercially, Larry worked as a graphic designer in 1995 for the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour and at Fox5 for a decade before moving to NBC Universal in 2005, where his most recent work included the Martin Bashir Show. Larry is married and has two daughters, and lives in central New Jersey. To view his portfolio or get in touch, see behance.net/lgomez222, facebook.com/larry. gomez1, vimeo.com/user5654487, or larrygomez.net.
1986 James Cruickshank (political science) is director of research and development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Real Estate Assessment Center, Washington, DC, where he conducts statistical modeling and prototypes and builds innovative analytical tools to improve the effectiveness and operations of public and assisted housing. James leads a team of analysts in a “think tank” laboratory-type environment of innovation. He also served as the HUD disaster recovery chief in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helping resettle hundreds of displaced families until their housing units could be repaired. He’s been accepted as a local New Orleanian because of his efforts. James lives in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington and enjoys traveling the world with his twin brother John in his free time. John S. Cruickshank (political science) is a senior analyst at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, and has been with the U.S. government for more than 25 years. He is the Micronesia and South Pacific desk officer responsible for building research and education in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. He has briefed heads of state and governors and has been a featured expert source for national print and broadcast media. He was selected to give the commencement address at Guam Community College in May 2012. He is the twin brother of James Cruickshank, also class of 1986. Janice L. Minor (music) is the clarinet professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, and the Saarburger Serenaden International Music Festival and School in Saarburg, Janice L. Minor Germany. Active as an orchestral player, solo recitalist, chamber musician, clinician, and music educator, Janice has performed and appeared in a wide variety of venues throughout the United States and Europe. She has been a soloist with, among others, the United States Army Europe Band in Heidelberg, the United States Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Aspen and Staunton Music Festivals, and the Lucca Music Festival in Lucca, Italy. She has also performed on soundtracks for the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Janice is a Buffet Crampon U.S.A. performing artist-clinician and music reviewer for The PURCHASE | 27
Clarinet, the official journal of the International Clarinet Association.
Inspiration behind the film VITO, gay activist and author of The Celluloid Closet Vito Russo.
1988 Heather Rolland (social science/visual arts) has organized a Catskill Mountain hiking group called Gowns for Greenbacks. This group bushwhacks and climbs the Catskills and Shawangunks in long formal gowns (men wear either gowns or tuxedos) to raise money for preservation of the Catskill Mountains and, more recently, to raise money to assist the farmers in the Catskill region who were devastated by Hurricane Irene. Her daughter, Maya, is currently studying in Germany for a year. Heather can be reached via her Facebook page or by contacting email@example.com.
2012. Look for it on the film-festival circuit in various cities around the world next year.
Joshua Mehigan (philosophy) is the recipient of a 2011–12 creative writing fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, this fall Poetry magazine awarded him the 2011 Editors’ Prize for best feature article published in the past year. The article, “I Thought You Were a Poet,” takes up the subject of poets and madness. It’s available online at www.poetryfoundation.org.
Dannielle Tegeder (visual arts) is headed this spring to the Yaddo Foundation residency—an artists’ community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, NY. Dannielle’s work is shown in galleries nationally and internationally and her studio is in midtown Manhattan at the Elizabeth Foundation. See DannielleTegeder.com for details of upcoming projects and shows. She is also an assistant professor of art at the City University of New York at Lehman College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gayle Gibbons Madeira (dance) won the 2011 U.S. Tango Championship in the salon (improvisation) category. (She won the same competition in the stage category in 2008.) The competition is for the Argentine tango, not the ballroom version. Gayle recently created choreography for an independent Gayle Madeira and Sid film, Cut to Black, Grant, 2011 U.S. Tango by filmmaker Championship Daniel Eberle, to be released later this year. Last year her artwork was featured in another of Eberle’s films, Prayer to a Vengeful God. Gayle is also the manager of a software testing team in a financial institution. Her website is www.gaylemadeira.com. Jeffrey Schwarz (film) had the world premiere of his film VITO, a documentary about beloved gay activist and author of The Celluloid Closet Vito Russo, at the prestigious New York Film Festival in October 2011. VITO, which is an HBO Documentary Films presentation, will have its world premiere on the network in June PURCHASE | 28
Nicholas (Nick) McCarthy (film) had his feature film, The Pact, selected for the Sundance Film Festival this year. Writer/director Nick has had short films at Sundance before, but this is his first featurelength effort. The festival had a record number of submissions this year (around 9,000), and Nick was one of only 120 or so selected. His film was covered by the New York Times: carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com.
1998 Iris Bodre (literature), who publishes under the name Abigail Suzahns, had a book signing in January at BooksAMillion in Brandon, FL, for her first published work, Living a Lifetime in 625 Days.
1999 Farah (Barzai) Jan (political science), after graduating from Purchase, earned a master’s degree and is now working on her Ph.D. at Rutgers. She is not at the dissertation-writing stage yet (she is in her second year) but just published an article in a refereed journal. Michael Meyer (art history) campaigned to represent the Third District on the Yonkers City Council in 2011. Michael is a lifelong city resident; he is married and has three children, and now owns a fine-art company with his
wife. The 44-year-old Republican beat Jay Bryant, the former GOP pick, in their party’s two-way primary in September, but lost the council race.
2001 Gregory MacAvoy (visual arts), Noah Post (visual arts), and Phil Moffa (’02 and M.M. ’10, studio composition) are cofounders of Glasschord Art and Culture magazine, which was launched in January 2011. The online publication features works from many media, including painting, photography, music, film, poetry, and prose. In its first year, Glasschord was viewed by more than 50,000 people in over a hundred countries and is steadily growing. Glasschord has featured the work of several Purchase faculty members and alumni alongside many other notable artists and composers. See glasschord.com.
2002 Bianca LaVerne Jones (acting) played the lead in the B.E.T. film Burned, costarring Eric Roberts. The film has been shown nationally at more than ten film festivals, including the Urban World Film Festival in New York, at which Bianca shared the red carpet “with the likes of 50 Cent, Spike Lee, and Chris Rock.”
2003 Jason Hanasik (visual arts) has had his work reviewed on PBS’s “Art 21” blog. His work has been critically acclaimed and featured in such renowned publications as Aperture. See www. jasonhanasik.com. Tiffany Rea-Fisher (dance), after graduation, performed with Compania de Dance, Spain; the Kevin Wynn Collection, NYC; Dance Anonymous, Cyprus; Abraham.in.Motion, NYC; and the Brett Howard Dance Company, NYC. She joined Elisa Monte Dance in 2004, and was named Dance Magazine’s “On the Rise” person for its August 2007 issue. Tiffany began her administrative work for Elisa Monte Dance in 2007. In 2009, she was promoted to associate artistic director, and has now added the title of director of operations. Christina (Chrissy) Reilly (visual arts) is the vice president and creative and operations director of WIN-Initiative (win-initiative.com), a boutique stock photography agency. She manages and interacts with a group of 800 photogra-
Send your news, updates, and photos to: purchase.edu/alumni Remember to include your class year and major.
phers in 22 countries. Chrissy is also responsible for organizing WIN’s special events, including the “Take 5ive” lecture series; managing its international photography competition, 10 BEST 10; and acting as creative director of WIN’s magazine, WINk (wink-mag.com). She holds a master’s degree in fine art from the City College of New York. In 2011 she was on the jury for Photolucida’s prestigious photography competition, Critical Mass. In her spare time, she also designs and creates a jewelry line focused on beadwork and found objets d’art called WAXTHEDUCK. Peter Sloan (graphic design and new media) has a book deal with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. See SloansBookPress.com. After graduating from Purchase, he attended the SUNY New Horizons graduate learning center and got a 2.5-year certificate in the summer of 2009. He did a one-year medical residency within the department of health radiology, which counts toward an M.D. or nursing degree. His first book listed on www.bn.com is Peter Sloan Teaches How to Troubleshoot PCs.
2004 Delia Kelly (drama studies) is a television editor and producer for NBC’s New York Live, as well as a segment editor for ABC’s The Chew. Her previous credits include writing and editing for the Howard Stern Show on Demand and editing for Psychic Detective, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen magazines, as well as the award-winning documentaries Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis and Blood of My Brother and the feature film Perception. See www. deliakelly.com. Glen Parker (philosophy) received an LL.M. degree in 2011 from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where he currently works as a fellow with the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution. This winter, Glen (who served as PSGA president while at Purchase) and a partner started a private conflict-resolution company, Parker Murphy Mediation, based in New York City. He and his partner offer mediation services, specializing in divorce and housing matters. One of the founders of the Purchase College student-run newspaper The Independent (affectionately known as the Indy), Glen recently contributed an article for its 10 th-anniversary edition.
2005 Matthew Albanese (photography) had work displayed in the “Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities” exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design. He was in good company; Matthew’s photography appeared along with works by James Casebere, Lori Nix, Walter Martin, and Paloma Munoz.
2006 Cashel Sapphire Campbell (liberal studies) has been working as a freelance artist since gradua-
tion. An actor and dancer, Cashel is particularly dedicated to the art of belly dancing and is currently training with Arianna Al Tiye at the Mark Morris Dance Studio. She has taken classes and workshops with renowned performers and instructors, including Alanah, Allisyn “Oya” Swift, Djhari Clarke of Desert Sin Dance Company, Dr. Sunyatta Amen, Elisheva of Bellyqueen, Hanan, Jeniviva, Ranya Renee, and Shoshanna. She has starred in a number of OffBroadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions as a featured belly dancer. She intends to pursue a master’s degree in dance movement therapy. For bookings, workshops, and classes, call Cashel at (516) 587-7013, or email her at Cashelsapphire@yahoo.com. Amber Galeo (women’s studies) just finished her master’s degree at Columbia in human rights, and the field of women’s rights is still the cornerstone of her research. Joshua Pramis (journalism) started with Travel+Leisure magazine’s digital team in August 2006 and is still with the company. He was recently named the social media editor. He also edits the monthly “Digital Traveler” page and writes feature articles and blog posts for the website. See www.joshuapramis.com, www.travelandleisure.com/authors/681, www. facebook.com/joshuapramis, and twitter.com/ joshuapramispinterest.com/joshuapramis.
2008 Zak Block (cinema studies) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Squawk Back (www. thesquawkback.com), an online literary publication specializing in outsider and transgressive literature. Meredith Burns (acting) is the managing director of Glass Bandits Theater Company. Since it was formed in 2008 by a group of Purchase College acting alumni, Glass Bandits has remained committed to producing “alive and accessible theatrical events” aimed at a “misfit audience of twenty-somethings and nontraditional patrons.” Whether it’s Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, boldly staged in an intimate Bushwick loft, or The Boogyman Thumbs A-1-A, an original saga about the love between a serial killer and a court journalist played out against the wild backdrop of an Oz-like north Florida, Meredith says that the Glass Bandits “are sure to deliver experiences you’ll never forget. See www.gbtheater.com.
2007 Jared Albert (journalism) was promoted to publicist at Animal Planet. He was previously a junior publicist. See jared _ albert@discovery. com and http://press.discovery.com/us/apl. Elizabeth Maeve Hartley (psychology) pursued a joint J.D./M.B.A. program and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in the spring of 2011 with a master’s degree in business administration. She then transferred to the Roger Williams School of Law, from which she expects to graduate with a law degree in the spring of 2013; she plans to sit for both the New York and Connecticut bar exams. Elizabeth says she attributes much of the success she has enjoyed in both graduate programs to the rigorous educational experience offered by the psychology department at Purchase College. Samantha Rattner (design/tech) is living in New York and working as the assistant costume designer for the popular TV series Gossip Girl. She has also designed for Nicholas Andre Dance and “Sewing Hope” (a project of the Fount of Mercy Vocational Development Program). Her work has been featured in Portfolio Fusion magazine. Sophia Soloway (literature) just finished her first year as a journalism graduate student at NYU and says she “loved it!” To see her latest video on shopping for spring in the bad economy, go to: sophiemae333.blogspot.com
Glass Bandits Theater Company Hunter Canning (acting) is making his Broadway debut in War Horse at Lincoln Center. In New York his credits include The Late Christopher Bean at TACT, ’68 at LAByrinth, Reconstruction at the Ohio Theater, and John MacDonald’s Dust at the Incubator/ Tenement St. Workshop. He appears in the upcoming film Porcupine Hugs and also in The Exploding Girl, and did voiceover work for Dead Red Redemption. Hunter’s photography Hunter Canning portfolio can be seen at huntercanningphoto.com. Meryl Cates (journalism and dance) was a 2010 fellow in the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Dance Criticism held at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina. The competition was highly selective and there were only about a dozen people chosen from a worldwide pool of applicants. The three-week intensive program convened at Duke University, where the fellows met with top dance critics and others to study the changing face of arts journalism in the United States. They interviewed visiting choreographers and dance artists, attended nightly performances at the festival, and engaged in PURCHASE | 29
intensive writing workshops. Meryl can be reached at email@example.com.
2009 Zach Blane (design/tech) was recently chosen to be one of Live Design Magazine’s “Young Designers to Watch.” See http://livedesignonline.
Ben Pfannl (new media studies) traveled to Africa last summer. His first impression of Malawi was that it reminded him of the countryside of Paraguay, where he comes from. Ben went to visit his friend Carolyn Murphy ’09, who is a Peace Corps volunteer in the village of M’Balula in the Mangochi District. He recently exhibited his photos from this trip in Rome, Italy.
com/theatre/0106 _ Zach Blane
young _ designer _ zach _ blaine/.
Currently living in New York, Zach is the lighting designer for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s new play Suicide, Incorporated, as well as for the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Musical. Zach designed the workshop of YANK! for the Roundabout Theatre Company and Zero Hour for the Barrington Stage Company. He was an assistant to Brian MacDevitt on 13, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome, America, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and spent two summers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. See www.zachblane.com/. Christa DeFaber (history) was just appointed digital services librarian for the College of Westchester in White Plains. This new position was created to support online education. She will be working with both the online division and the library. Christa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tomomi Fujita (sociology) attended a scholarship award ceremony at the Harvard Club and was the second winner to receive a $5,000 scholarship. Only five graduate students were chosen from New York. She took a course for Japanese language teachers at the Japan Society in New York this semester; she was one of four students (out of forty) selected to be a teaching assistant and will give Japanese lessons this summer. PURCHASE | 30
2011 Ryan Ekey, ’11 (major), officially turned professional when he entered the Special Olympics Fundraiser Pro-Am tournament at the Fountains Golf Club in Lake Worth, FL, in 2011.
Ryan Ekey Ekey made his mark at Purchase when he shot a 9 over par 80 at the 2009 Sage spring invitational, rendering him the first Panther ever to win a tournament as an individual. At first he was ambivalent about turning pro, but a move to Florida last fall propelled the 24-year-old into golf as a career. He remarked recently, “I love the game of golf and hopefully there’s a place for me in it as a professional.” Kristen Kamsler (women’s studies), after graduating this past May, got a job as an associate producer for a show called Teen Kids News. It’s a nationally syndicated program for teens and is seen in over 200 cities and 10,000 schools, and also on the American Forces Network. In the New York area it’s on channel 5 at 9:30 on Saturday mornings. For additional information, visit the website at www.teenkidsnews.com. Rachelle Pean (psychology) just started in the master’s in social work program at Hunter College.
M’Balula, Mangochi District
2010 Benjamin Potter (dramatic writing) has been commissioned by a European network to write and direct six episodes of a major new sports series that will air in 2012 on the Travel Channel. At 24, he is the youngest director ever to be commissioned by the network. The show will reach 100 million homes. Benjamin is now eligible to join both the Directors’ Guild of America and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. A commercial that he produced for European shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec has also just been released in more than 30 countries. His nationwide commercials have been seen on major British networks, including Sky and ITV. Details about his upcoming series can be found at www.channel2020.co.uk or www.shouttv. co.uk, and he can be reached at ben.potter@ channel2020.co.uk.
Stephanie Scavelli (environmental studies) spoke on September 1, 2011, at the Purchase Quaker Meeting House on “Appreciating Relationships: Mushroom-Tree Associations”; Stephanie, a member of COMA, the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association, shared the story of how she discovered mycology and the appreciation of mushrooms.
CORREC TION PURCHASE magazine inaccurately referred to David Recca ’05 (music) as David Dalrymple in a wedding announcement last issue. David Recca and Sarah Dalrymple Recca ’08 (music) were married in April 2011. We apologize for the error.
PHOTO: OREN VOURMAN / SPORTS INFORMATION
Ian Cofino (graphic design) created the documentary, I Got Next, recently released by the website Hulu.com, which offers streaming ondemand video content. The film focuses on the Street Fighter video gaming community and follows a year in the life of four prominent players, chronicling their experiences. Having created a motion graphics trailer about the street-fighting community for his senior project in graphic design at Purchase, Ian was inspired to continue working on it after graduation. He spent more than a year writing, directing, filming, creating the motion graphics for, and producing a full-length feature film. He credits his advisor, Robin Lynch, for her generous support and encouragement. The documentary can be seen at www.hulu. com/watch/297036/i-got-next, and Ian can be reached at email@example.com.
Derek Greten-Harrison (M.M., music) is an adjunct faculty member in the opera department at the Conservatory of Music. He produced the debut album of Etherea Vocal Ensemble, the all-treble classical chamber group he founded and directs. The CD, Ceremony of Carols, was released on the Delos label in November 2011 to critical acclaim and commercial success, earning a rave review from Opera News magazine, debuting at number 3 on the iTunes classical chart, and placing near the top of the Billboard traditional classical chart for six straight weeks. A second album is already in the works, to be released later in 2012.
C A LY P S O R A E P H O T O G R A P H Y
MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENTS Michael Mancini (history) married David Kachermeyer last September in Cazenovia, NY. They spent their honeymoon in Aruba.
John Carey, Jr. (philosophy) passed away on September 12, 2011.
Michael Mancini & David Kachermeyer
Laurie Minsky and Stephen Sage
Seth Wilson Orlofsky (music) and Victoria Worthington Ludas were married last September under a 150-year-old white oak tree in Anderson Park, Montclair, NJ.
Erica Abbott (dance), a 29-year-old Brooklyn-based dancer, was killed when she fell off her bike and was fatally run over by a passing vehicle. Erica lived in East Williamsburg and grew up in Rochester. She was a part of AFCDance, a now-defunct modern-dance company, where she danced and did costume design.
College Dance Team and a peer educator in the Office of Health and Peer Education at Purchase. She now works in digital marketing for HIP Genius in New York City.
Michelle MacNaught died on November 20, 2011, in Delhi, NY, after a multiyear battle with stage IV ovarian cancer. Born on September 22, 1990, Michelle was a gifted student whose dedication to her studio work in the midst of illness was a great inspiration to all who knew her. Over the last months of her life, Michelle poured her energy into mature, hauntingly beautiful, and emotionally evocative woodblock prints, etchings, and drawings that chronicled her difficulty with the disease.
Lindsay Burdick (B.A.L.A., history and photography) and Gregory Witts ’09 (liberal arts) celebrated their first wedding anniversary in 2011.
Seth Wilson Orlofsky Seth is a music producer and freelance writer, and is an administrator at SOMA, Inc., in New York City. He and his wife took a wedding trip to Mohonk Mountain House. They reside in Brooklyn. Stephen Sage (economics) wed his Purchase College sweetheart, Laurie Minsky ’05 (journalism), last September. Purchase holds a special space in their hearts; they even had their engagement photo shoot at the college. Stephen was an RA; he received the Paraprofessional of the Year award in 2004, was the varsity basketball captain and the volleyball captain, and played soccer. He also received several sports awards, including the Purchase College Male Athlete of the Year (2004) and HVMAC Athlete of the Year (2004), and co-hosted a television show on PTV. Laura was a captain of the Purchase
2007 Tiffany Charles (music) and Donelle Charles (liberal arts) were married in June 2011 in Mahopac, NY. Tiffany is now the manager of the Purchase College Bookstore. Donelle is a Purchase College University Police officer.
Michelle MacNaught Her work was displayed in a solo exhibition, attended by numerous Purchase friends and more than 300 others, at the Leo Koenig Gallery in New York City on November 15, 2011. A catalog of her work, with a forward by New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl, which was put together by fashion photographer Tom Munro and designer Pascal Dangin, is available from D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers).
Tiffany and Donelle Charles
All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for ovarian cancer research.
P U R C H A S E | 31
12 Senior economics major Jamie Claus brings an entrepreneurial spirit to her role as fundraiser in charge of the senior class gift. Historically, the senior class gift has tended to be small and used strictly for scholarships. Jamie wants to change that. Diligent research on trends in student giving at other colleges inspired her to donate a portion of this year’s funds to something tangible that students could see and appreciate. Although she still intends to continue the tradition of funding scholarships, she hopes to collect enough money to convert a seldom-used staff lounge in the library into one for general use, complete with new furniture and decor and vending machines. Having served as a resident assistant for two years, Jamie describes herself as very freshman-
Class of 2012, Have You Given Your 12? oriented; “I think a lot about what would make it easier for freshmen coming in.” Fueled by her enthusiastic presentation to the Purchase College Foundation board, two board members have agreed to match dollar for dollar the funds raised, while a third has offered a challenge grant, promising a match as long as she hits her mark of $3,000 from the senior class. Jamie believes that the key to success lies in increased awareness. “Students don’t give because they don’t understand why they are giving.” Hoping to inspire a majority of seniors to give a $12 gift, she coined the slogan “Class of 2012, Have You Given Your 12?” Students receive wristbands in exchange for their donations, a tactic designed to create buzz about the program.
By Kristi McKee
To generate further excitement, plans for seniors-only events, restaurant promotions, and a highly visible countdown clock to graduation are in the works. Concerned not only about raising money but about giving back, she recently said enthusiastically, “The things I’ve gained outside of academics at Purchase College are immeasurable.” She hopes her classmates understand that “it doesn’t matter that you’re graduating; you can still have an impact on the college.” In her eyes, failure will be measured by students using the excuse “I didn’t know it was happening” for not giving. That doesn’t seem likely this year. YOU can help the class of 2012 reach its goal with a gift today.
School of the Arts
Gala 2012 PURCHASE | 32
Gotham Hall, New York City Join the Gala Committee. Now is the perfect time to get involved. Contact Jeannine Starr at (914) 251-6040 for information.
Alumni Association Benefits
Alumni, Parents, and Friends:
Purchase alumni are among the college’s greatest assets. The college gains strength from your active involvement. Your Purchase College Alumni Association Membership Card provides the following benefits and services.
One of the most effective ways you can support the foundation and the college is through the Purchase College Annual Fund. The Annual Fund provides the unrestricted dollars necessary to support areas of greatest need at the college. Every dollar helps and does make a difference! Won’t you consider a gift of $50, $100, or $500? You can become a member of our prestigious President’s Club with a gift of $1,000!
USE THE CARD AS IDENTIFICATION FOR: » A 20% discount on current membership fees for use of the pool and fitness facilities at the gymnasium; use of facilities is $10 per day
» A 15% discount on all professional programs at The Performing Arts Center
Give what you can. Every dollar helps us to retain students and augment the quality of education for our students.
» A 10% discount on membership to the Neuberger Museum of Art, a 10% discount at the Museum Shop, and 2-for-1 admission
And remember, our student-run phonathon program will be calling you soon for support. Pick up the phone, and take the opportunity to speak with a student from Purchase. They enjoy the conversations they have with alumni, parents, and friends of the college.
» Full use of the library for the discounted fee of $75 per year » Lifetime access to Career Services, (914) 251-6372 » A 25% discount on tuition to Long Island University’s Graduate Program
You can always contribute online at www.purchase.edu/ giving, call (914) 251-6046 with a credit card, or mail your check (made payable to The PCF/Annual Fund) using the form below.
ALUMNI ARE ALSO ELIGIBLE FOR:
» A substantial diccount is offered for alumni using the Purchase Park2Fly with service to the Westchester County Airport
Thank you for your ongoing support of Purchase College students.
(Visit: www. pp2f.org/purchase and click on “discounts” to make your reservation using the special alumni link)
» A free subscription to the alumni magazine » Opportunities to represent alumni on various campus committees and projects, to speak with students on campus, and to serve on the Alumni Association board of directors
Alumni, Friends & Parents: Remember to help reduce paper consumption. Please subscribe to our new electronic version of PURCHASE magazine. Send your e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
» The opportunity to become a Career Mentor to a student, and to offer internships or jobs
» Invitations to all alumni-sponsored activities
For other current alumni news, updates, and events, visit: facebook.com/PurchaseAlumni twitter.com/PurchaseAlumni
For a free Alumni Association card please call, write, or email: email@example.com TEAR OFF:
Your Support Makes a Difference Name
Because of your support, Purchase thrives.
I wish to reinvest in Purchase. Here is my tax-deductible gift of
Address, if changed:
to the Purchase College Annual Fund:
Online giving at www.purchase.edu/giving Phone (home/cell/business) Please send me a free alumni card so I can take advantage of my alumni benefits.
By check to:
By credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) by calling (914) 251-6046
I am interested in working with the Alumni Association, with students, and/or on campus committees. Please call me. I would like to be a voting member of the Alumni Association.
Please sign here: (There is no cost associated with this privilege.)
We welcome your news. If you wish your performances, exhibits, services, or businesses to be listed on the Purchase College website, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 251-6054.
PCF/Annual Fund, Purchase College 735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY 10577-1400
Or listing your account # here:
Signature: I have included Purchase in my will. Please call me about estate planning.