A magazine for alumni, parents and friends of SUNY Geneseo
WHITE GOLD What Lies Beneath
geneseo Winter 2010
FEATURES 10 What Lies Beneath Joe Bucci ’67 leveraged a business opportunity to open one of the largest salt mines in the world and p r e s e rve a tradition. Students spend their entire Geneseo careers never realizing that each day, employees of an underground city pump out 16,000 tons of salt within walking distance of campus.
Thinking Big in Tight Financial Times Despite an uncertain economy and cuts in the State University of New York system, Geneseo delivers a premier education while operating in the black. Six Big Ideas are laying the foundation for long-term economic sustainability.
Funding Geneseo Decades ago, New York covered as much as 75 percent of the college’s operating costs, but no longer. How does Geneseo make up the difference?
One College Circle
Letters to the Editor
Random Profile: One Cup
Cover photography: Kris Dreessen Table of contents photography: Kris Dreessen ON THE COVER: Salt — or “white gold” as Joe Bucci’s father called it — has been an economic staple in Livingston County for more than 100 years. Bucci, a 1967 alumnus, keeps the tradition alive. Here he holds salt mined from Hampton Corners.
You were here ... Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Every year, new Geneseo graduates throw their caps in the air to celebrate a successful undergraduate career. They further their studies at graduate school or enter the workforce, start families and become integral parts of their communities. As so many alumni before them, they bring their ingenuity and their considerable talents with them on the journey. Last fall, the Scene asked students to gather on the College Green for a group photograph to represent careers, causes and fields of study for which they are most passionate. We invite alumni to find themselves reflected in the current generation of students â€” who are living in the same residence halls, studying in the same classrooms and discovering the same unique experience Geneseo has provided aspiring learners for 138 years.
Make Your Mark... Seniors are helping their fellow students and Geneseo carry on traditions of outstanding academic opportunities and camaraderie with the Make Your Mark initiative. Make Your Mark is rejuvenating the Senior Gift program, which engages seniors as active members of the Alumni Association and helps them develop an appreciation for philanthropy. Seniors can designate their gift to the program or field they are most passionate about, or the Fund For Geneseo, which supports student scholarships. In this way, new graduates are helping their fellow and future students. More than 20 percent of seniors have already contributed to the Senior Gift — double the participation from 2009.
1. Make Your Mark — Senior Gift 2. First-Year Institute 3. Women’s track 4. Invisible Children 5. Men of Action and Change 6. Ice Knights — Men’s ice hockey 7. Women’s soccer 8. Livingston County CARES (Hurricane Katrina recovery volunteers) 9. Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (G.O.L.D.) 10. Physics 11. Autism Speaks
12. Environmental engineering 13. C h e m i stry/biochemistry 14. WGSU Radio 15. Communications 16. Geology 17. Women’s basketball 18. Dance 19. Women’s field hockey 20. Art 21. Education 22. Biology 23. Religious studies 24. Pharmacy 25. Musical Theatre Club 26. Costume/makeup design 27. Geneseo First Response 28. Sculpture
Discover who the students in the photograph are online at go.geneseo.edu/ourgeneseo 2
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E SSAG E
Risks vs. Rewards: The Liberal Arts Factor
Vol. 35, No. 3; Winter 2010
“…we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” —Shakespeare
The Geneseo Scene is published by SUNY Geneseo, Division of College Advancement, Office of College Communications.
ife is a series of decisions. Large or small, simple or complex, each adds a piece to the mosaic of our lives. This fundamental reality underscores the importance of what is arguably the first major decision we make: which college or university to attend. As our alumni attest in these pages of the Scene, selecting Geneseo was the right decision, reflected by their success in — and beyond — their chosen fields. The college has provided a strong foundation of knowledge and personal growth that continues to support them in their pursuits. Their stories reflect Geneseo’s unwavering commitment to provide a liberal — and liberating — education. As a result, young men and women can follow their dreams, wherever they may lead. Then, as now, we impart to our students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Equally important, we offer diverse student life opportunities that help develop core qualities essential for productive lives and fulfilling careers: Belief in self. Leadership. Perseverance. Respect. Honesty. We educate the whole person, preparing each student to make effective decisions. In health care or business, government or community, athletics or arts, Geneseo alumni are innovative leaders who recognize the risks as well as the rewards that come from seizing bold opportunities that may at first be hidden from view. Take salt, for example. Millions of tons lie beneath our campus and surrounding farms. Yet, preparing each if not for Joe Bucci ’67, a former high school hisstudent to make tory teacher, the American Rock Salt company might never have been formed. His foresight and effective decisions.” determination helped create the second-largest underground salt mining operation in the world and a major employer in western New York. With the confidence drawn from their Geneseo education, other alumni profiled in this issue also have turned risk into reward. Consider George Speedy ’71. Not accepted when he first applied to Geneseo, he tried again after serving in Vietnam. Grateful for a second chance at life and an education, he became a partner in a law firm and in May 2009, he established the George Speedy ’71 Endowed Scholarship Fund to assist future students in need. Such generosity inspires us all as we navigate the changing economic environment of New York state and deal with the additional financial burdens placed upon the college. Like our alumni, we are prepared to make bold moves. Through the Six Big Ideas initiative, we are exploring options to improve efficiency and generate new revenue while strengthening the Geneseo education. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Scene and encourage you to share it with friends, family and colleagues. I am confident that they will be impressed with what we’re accomplishing at Geneseo.
Christopher C. Dahl, President Michael J. Catillaz, Vice President for College Advancement Anthony T. Hoppa, Assistant Vice President for College Communications Kris Dreessen, Editor Carole Smith Volpe ’91, Art Director Contributing writers: Lisa M. Feinstein David Irwin Laura R. Kenyon Jim Leach Anthony T. Hoppa George Speedy ’71 Alumni Relations Office Rose G. Anderson, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Michelle Walton Worden ’92, Associate Director of Alumni Relations Tracy Young Gagnier ’93, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Francis E. Zablocki, online community manager
“We educate the whole person,
Alumni Relations Office at Collins Alumni Center McClellan House SUNY Geneseo 1 College Circle Geneseo, NY 14454-1484 Phone: (585) 245-5506 Fax: (585) 245-5505 firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent Relations Office Tammy Ingram ’88, Director of Parent Relations Erwin 202 Phone: (585) 245-5570 Contact the Scene at email@example.com. Visit the Web site at scene.geneseo.edu.
Christopher C. Dahl
Letters to the Editor The Scene welcomes feedback and enco u rages discussion of higher-education issues and content. Send letters, which may be edited for space, to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the S ce n e editor, SUNY Geneseo, Roemer House, 1 College Circ l e, Geneseo, NY 14454.
Family ties I was particularly interested in the “Family Ties” story in the last S c e n e. Our family spans five generations of Geneseo alumni and begins with my mother’s great aunt, Georgia Reeves, who was the “dean of women” or its equivalent in the early 1900s. My mother and her sister are also graduates. My brother, my nephew and I met our spouses at Geneseo. This year’s freshman class includes my great niece. The women of the family have all been teachers, putting our Geneseo education to good use. I have taught everything from pre-K through college courses in abnormal psychology and art history. I often tell people that the great gift of Geneseo is that it taught me to really teach — not just a particular subject or grade level, but what it is that makes good teaching and real learning in any area. Geneseo holds a very special and warm place in my whole family’s hearts. Hopefully one day, the sixth generation of our family will arrive at our favorite institution’s beloved doorstep. — Hildreth Price Knapp ’63
The tough job of financing Geneseo I was quite pleased to see the article on the enormous job Vice President for Administration and Finance Kenneth H. 4
Levison is doing to keep Geneseo running properly in these tough economic times. I was a student in a Humanities II class that he team-taught with Dr. William Gohlman in 1994 or 1995. All these years later, I still remember much of what they taught us about the classics of Western Civilization. I am enrolled at CUNY Queens College working towards my master’s of library science degree. We hear horror stories about what might be coming in the spring semester and I hope Geneseo is not too adversely affected by the coming budget cutbacks. I wish Dr. Levison good luck with a very challenging job, and know that I will continue to support Geneseo financially to the best of my ability. — Evan Frankl ’96
Photo is a walk down memory lane What a beautiful and timely magazine. I was particularly entranced to find a photograph of myself in the “Memory Lane” section, seeking suggested captions for a picture published in the 1940 Normalian yearbook (see above). I am on the bottom far right, with fellow members of the Alpha Sigma Epsilon fraternity. The college hosted a Sadie Hawkins Day, when girls would ask their boyfriends out for dancing or a date. We were
waiting for a phone call to be one of the lucky guys. There were about 400 girls and about 100 boys at Geneseo at the time; we were worried. (I was called for a date.) No wonder so many students wish to enroll at Geneseo with its beautiful setting, outstanding education and memories in the making. — Harrison “Flops” Phillips ’42
Alumna reaches out As the advisor of my high school students’ Spanish Club at Kendall Jr./Sr. High School (N.Y.), I always look for worthwhile activities in which to participate with my students. After reading about junior Allison Kornblatt’s dental project in El Sauce, Nicaragua, my students thought one way for us to help the community of El Sauce would be to collect supplies for the dental clinic to help her project continue. I was a Spanish major at Geneseo for my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and have always felt special pride in the way Geneseo alumni continue to make a difference in the world. I have a special interest in the types of grassroots programs that seem to flourish at Geneseo. Helping Geneseo’s El Sauce effort is a wonderful way for me to bridge the real-life lessons I learned at Geneseo and the les-
sons I teach my own students. The project became a schoolwide effort. In all, we collected 1,120 tubes of toothpaste, 650 toothbrushes, 275 sets of dental floss and 50 bottles of mouthwash. The biggest lesson here though can’t be counted in numbers. It is in the reality that one person can make a huge difference — not just by providing a donation, but by encouraging others to contribute even the smallest gift. Hundreds of people giving their smallest gift becomes a gargantuan contribution indeed. — Gretchen Rosales ’01, MS ’08
Scene re u n i tes childhood friends As I read the “One Cup” feature with Jody Swilky ’73 in the fall issue, I realized I was reading about a guy that I grew up with in Island Park, Long Island, but we had not been in contact since I was a kid. What a surprise! I was not aware that he, too, is an alumnus of Geneseo. I have sent the article to my sister and others who know him, and have contacted him. The Scene is a great way to network and reconnect with people from the past. — Michael Fuchs ’77 Geneseo Alumni Association board member
One College Circle CAMPUS NEWS
Deirdre Kelly ’11, a Spanish and adolescent Spanish education major, celebrates the first snow storm of the season, stomping “Snow, let it snow” across the Sturges Quad.
6 6 7 8 8
Geneseo’s new Web site A muse-worthy residence Good chemistry Wanted: female scientists News in brief Winter 2010
Geneseo unveils new Web presence Before he graduates this spring, Ray FeDora wants everyone to know why he loves Geneseo. “Geneseo has given me the opportunity to get involved, meet great people and make more of myself,” says FeDora. “I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.” An assistant residence director, FeDora loves getting together with friends in the College Union, living and working in the residence halls and giving campus tours to prospective students. FeDora’s on-campus pursuits are featured in a video he created for “MyLife@Geneseo,” a series highlighting students’ lives and interests at Geneseo that appears on the college’s new Web site. The series is part of the fresh look and feel on the recently redesigned Geneseo.edu, with the goal of better reflecting the college’s academic rigor and research, community and rich campus life. “We wanted our site to reflect
The new Geneseo.edu
the college’s vitality across a broad spectrum — its academics, its organizations, its people and its events, both for people who know Geneseo well and those who haven’t discovered the college yet,” said Anthony T. Hoppa, assistant vice president of college communications. The Web site redesign was
Geneseo Alumni Community. The largest alumni undertaking to date, the site will be an online meeting place for alumni to reconnect with classmates, post photos and learn about upcoming events. “We’re thrilled to provide our alumni with such a rich resource,” says Rose G. Anderson, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “Our online community will enable alumni to stay active and engaged both with Geneseo and with each other.” Currently in the second phase of the Web site project, Geneseo’s college information technology (CIT) and college communications teams are conmore than a year in the making. verting more than 30,000 pages Working with a firm specializing from the old site to the new one. When complete, the colin higher-education sites, the lege will enter the final phase — college solicited input from continual evaluation and focus groups and hosted town improvement of Geneseo.edu hall-style meetings with faculty to keep features, photos and and staff to develop a design information relevant and that met the needs of the compelling. Geneseo community. — Laura R. Kenyon Now in development is the
Newest residence hall is muse worthy
Songwriter Kate Royal ’13 is inspired by her fellow artists and students in Writers House, the college’s second special-interest residence hall.
During her college experience, Kate Royal ’13 says she wants to be surrounded by people with similar interests, “who I can be inspired by and collaborate with.” She’s found that creativity and camaraderie at Seneca Hall, Geneseo’s newest residence hall and second special-interest house. More than 80 writers of all stripes, from songwriters to researchers to poets, live together, share talent at weekly openmike nights, plan special events and have opportunities to learn from leaders in the field. English Professor Tom Greenfield and other faculty mentor students and offer workshops. Royal has explored stream of consciousness writing and deep breathing and light meditation during such sessions. Visiting writers have stayed in Seneca Hall apartments, including Marjorie Chan, a playwright and librettist who writes operas, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz.
Chemistry professor, former student achieve good chemistry Geneseo chemistry professor Dave Johnson is beaming, and for good reason. Faoud Ishmael ’96, a biochemistry major who took courses with Johnson and worked with him as an undergraduate researcher, JOHNSON recently received his combined M.D./Ph.D. at Penn State and has been appointed assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State’s College of Medicine. Now, Johnson and Ishmael are collaborating as faculty colleagues on a drug therapy research project that they worked on when Ishmael
PHOTO BY KEN SMITH/PENN STATE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Faoud Ishmael ’96 at work in his lab at Penn State College of Medicine.
was a Geneseo student. “The most rewarding aspect of college teaching is seeing students like Faoud flourish,” says Johnson, “but to now be faculty research colleagues brings the Geneseo experience full circle for both of us. It’s very fulfilling.” When Ishmael was at Geneseo, Johnson and another
“One of the values of the residential experience is the integration of living and learning in a supportive environment,” says President Christopher C. Dahl. “Seneca Hall is specifically designed to foster that integration. It houses a classroom and other spaces where faculty and students can interact, teach, learn, discover and share leisure time.” Dahl helped dedicate Seneca Hall in October with a full house of dignitaries, faculty, staff and students, including Royal and pianist Jeff Fischer ’13. They wrote and composed songs especially for the dedication. Seneca Hall also is advancing Geneseo’s mission of sustainability. Its design meets strict Energy Star qualifications for lowenergy use. The hall also makes use of geothermal heating, pulling water from 32 wells dug 450 feet deep into the ground. The water is a constant temperature and is energy efficient. Building architectural firm Bergmann Associates was awarded a Certificate of Achievement by the American Institute of Architects for Seneca Hall’s environmentally friendly design. — Kris Dreessen
researcher were examining the naturally occurring substance apocynin as a means of preventing atherosclerosis — clogging of the arteries. Ishmael, Johnson and other students discovered the chemical reaction that apocynin undergoes to directly inhibit the production of harmful free radicals by an enzyme. These free radicals are thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis and other inflammat o ry diseases. The effects of apocynin on clogged arteries in early animal studies were dramatic. The altering of the original structure of the compound increased its effectiveness, which led Johnson to obtain the college’s first series of patents aimed at preventing atherosclerosis. The effort was sidetracked for several years, but with Ishmael now spending 85 percent of his time as a biomedical researcher at Penn State, he and Johnson revived the project and are reexamining the substance’s potential as a new agent to fight
atherosclerosis and possibly asthma and retinopathy, or damage to the eye’s retina. “It is very rewarding to collaborate with Dr. Johnson on a project that I worked on as an undergraduate and extend it to my current interests in human disease,” says Ishmael. “My experience at Geneseo was my first exposure to research and a major influence in my decision to pursue biomedical research.” Ishmael may have the opportunity to influence other Geneseo student researchers. Johnson has submitted a grant application to the National Institutes of Health to continue work on the project, which would support Geneseo students going to Penn State to work with Ishmael on biomedical research techniques. “I think the additional resources at Penn State would provide a unique opportunity to enhance Geneseo’s undergraduate research experience,” says Ishmael. — David Irwin Winter 2010
NEWS IN BRIEF Student and Campus Life honored with national award SUNY Geneseo’s student affairs program is being lauded by a pre-eminent higher-education organization in the United States. Robert Bonfiglio, vice president for student and campus life, recently received the most prestigious award conferred by the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education — the Ted K. Miller Achievement in Excellence Award. Bonfiglio has presented widely on standards for outstanding student experiences.
Geology research featured on the History Channel People have flocked to the G rand Canyon for ce n t u r i e s , amazed by the 18-mile-wide landscape and ancient fo r m ations. Dist i n g u i s h e d S e r v i ce Pro fe ssor Richard Young has spent most of his c a reer inve st i g ating how the G rand Canyon was fo r m e d , with student re s e a rc h e r s beside him. Last fall, he was one of several geologists featured in the season two premiere of the History Channel’s “How the Earth Was Made” series, speaking about the canyon.
Geneseo leads climate change research Geological sciences Assistant Professor Ben Laabs and students are part of a research team that is studying the last ice age of the Great Basin to solve mysteries of the glacial and palioclimate history of the western United States. Lessons learned from what happened 12,000 years ago are a basis for predicting climatic and environmental changes including global warming, according to Laabs. SUNY Geneseo is co l l a b o-
rating with Middlebury College for the project, which is supported by a $247,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Students are involved in
every component of research. A geochemistry lab also will be developed in Geneseo’s n ewly co m p l e ted $53 million I n te g rated Science Ce n te r, which will be used to pre-
pare samples for geologic dating. Students will utilize cutting-edge re s e a rch that has been widely applied in the last decade.
Wanted: more female scientists The disciplines of physics and geological sciences have traditionally not held high appeal among women. That may change thanks to a National Science Foundation grant awarded to a Geneseo faculty team PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN that will examine ways Geneseo Central School science teacher Randy French helps Mikaeli Robinson, of encouraging more left, and Natalie Haigh find the balance of an acid. female middle and high-school students to school to study physics and environment. consider the fields. geology is the first step.” “Our idea is to impact Geneseo is collaborating “There is a disconnect these students through their with the Geneseo Central between our middle- and teachers,” says Associate School District and four high-school science curricuProfessor Katie Rommelother surrounding districts lum and what geologists and Esham, who focuses on for the The Power of physicists actually do,” says math and science methods Physical Science (POPS) Randy French, a Geneseo in the Ella Cline Shear project, with an award of Central School teacher. “I School of Education. “We nearly $296,000 funded think students often don’t see plan to bring in teachers for through the NSF Math and relevance and we need to workshops with the hope Science Partnership-Start change that.” that they infuse excitement Program. The POPS program focuses in their classrooms about “Women are u n d e r r e p r eon developing a hands-on these fields of study.” sented in these disciplines enrichment curriculum with The team’s research will and many pull away from the real-world applications for contribute to the literature physical sciences before they small groups of students at on gender and science. The reach college,” says Kurt each partner school. The curteam will monitor the impact Fletcher, professor and chair riculum will focus on the of the project using surveys of Geneseo’s physics and interrelated and interdisciplito ascertain interest in the astronomy department, who nary issues of energy, climate fields before and after stuis leading the team. change and new approaches dents are exposed to the “Encouraging young to meeting the nation’s energy enrichment curriculum. women in middle and high needs while safeguarding the — David Irwin
Second chance A former race horse finds new life on the college’s equestrian team.
By Kris Dreessen arina Stamatis ’11 leans forward to stroke Oz’s mane, running her fingers through his hair. She pats his face and gently kisses the top of his nose. Oz closes his eyes, then nuzzles her shoulder. Among the Geneseo equestrian team members, Oz is known for his good nature and for craving attention. He’s a good teammate. In fact, says Ashley Grove ’12, “he’s one of my good friends.” As a beloved team horse, Oz walks, trots and canters in the competition ring. Not long ago, however, Oz was pegged as a problem horse, headed for euthanasia. Oz was a rescue horse from a Massachusetts racetrack. Several trainers had tried to rehabilitate the 9-year-old, chestnut-colored thoroughbred gelding. His feet weren’t healthy enough to ride long-term, and he was undisciplined. Adapting a horse from racetrack to riding ring is tough. Oz wasn’t making it. Oz’s former owner had bought the steed to give him a second chance off the track, but ran out of options. Just in time,
College equestrian is Geneseo’s newest varsity sport. Since 2004, athletes have competed against colleges and universities in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Ass o c i ation, including Division I schools. The team is led by Coach Kim Sanford, owner of Leg Up Stables in Geneseo. “As we looked to elevate another women’s sport to varsity status, equestrian was the perfect fit for the college and the community,” says Director of Athletics Marilyn Moore. Equestrian was a well-established club sport for years. In 2008-09, the te a m placed fifth in overall standings in its zone and region and sent seven riders to regional or zone championships.
Livingston County ferrier Ron Forbes met Oz and recommended Coach Kim Sanford take him at her Leg Up Stables. She did. “We gave him time to start over,” says Kim. Oz’s new life is an “absolute miraPHOTO BY KRIS DREESS E N cle,” says the forKarina St a m atis ’11 gives Oz, a former race horse, a big kiss befo re practice. mer owner, Elizabeth, a lifelong horse aficionado who horse is loved and well and doing fine. I’m wishes to remain anonymous. “I really didso extremely grateful.” n’t think it was possible. Kim was willing, She has made donations to the team to when no one was willing or interested to express her thanks, and even sent a camera take him.” so the team could share photos. Elizabeth had recognized Oz’s big perAt first, only the best riders could handle sonality and potential; Kim saw it, too. Oz. Now, experienced and more novice ridHe was a “beautiful mover,” says Kim. “I ers use him. could see he could be an athlete.” Ashley bonded with Oz right away and is Kim toned him up and, with experienced proud that she helped train him. She sadmembers of the equestrian team like Ashley, dles up five times a week to practice. Most worked with Oz to gain his trust and to work of those times, she chooses Oz; she has on a level other than full-out go. learned what makes him tick. Race horses spend their lives amped up “He likes gentle riders who let him do his for the starting gun, Kim explains. They thing,” Ashley says. Push too hard, and he aren’t accustomed to being with other gets nervous. Let him know what you want, horses or working with riders. Getting and he’ll do it for you. “If you’re a good them in the competition ring requires teammate, he’s a really great horse.” mental and physical rehabilitation, she Understanding a horse’s personality and says. She and the team had to teach Oz to how it learns is vital to the process, and to slow down — to not react to every tug on being a good equestrian, says Kim. It’s an the reins or shift in the saddle. ongoing effort and crucial learning process Elizabeth checks in on Oz every few for the students she coaches, too. months. “They’re teaching the horse to be a better “They’ve done a wonderful job,” says horse, a better athlete,” says Kim. “The stuElizabeth. “It’s an absolute miracle that the dents leave here as trainers, not just riders.” Winter 2010
WHITE GOLD What Lies Beneath
L A Geneseo alumnus took a risk to build the world’s second-largest salt mine. In doing so, he preserved a century-old industry. BY KRIS DREESSEN
ike many of Geneseo’s 5,000 students, Scott Lockwood ’04 crossed Sturges Quad thousands of times on his way to accounting classes in the School of Business, oblivious to the massive seam of salt that
courses under campus. The seam stretches across New York and runs clear to Ohio. Every day, workers at the world’s second-largest underground salt mine collect as much as 16,000 tons from the earth and haul it away to de-slick icy roads throughout the Northeast, Canada and Ohio. It’s enough salt to fill a line of 18wheelers five miles long. The mine is so close Scott could have walked to it before his class was over. Scott always drove by the offices of American Rock Salt — which are less than three miles away — but says “I never thought or knew much about it.” Most students spend their entire Geneseo education unaware of the underground city operating nearly beneath their feet. Down under, miners blast, break, crush and load 24/7. Front-end loaders scoop school-bus-sized heaps of salt with every pass. Joe Bucci ’67 can drive 20 minutes through the tunnels to catch up with workers where salt is being excavated.
Joe Bucci ’67 opened American Rock Salt in 1999, saving more than 1,000 jobs and preserving a century-old tradition in the region. PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN
PHOTO BY KRIS DREESS E N
A crewman drills holes in the rock face to prep for the explosives team. After detonation, miners haul fallen salt in front-end loaders. Then, it is sent on a series of crushers until it is ground to less than half an inch. From the loader, salt is ready for distribution in less than an hour.
Top: Nicholas Bucci, Joseph E. Bucci, Joe Bucci ’67
Joe, a third-generation miner, launched American Rock Salt after a Dutch conglomerate, AkzoNobel, closed its mine in 1994 in nearby Retsof after a roof collapse. Joe had a dream to open a new mine in Hampton Corners and resurrect the enterprise, along with the jobs miners had lost. A decade later, Joe and his partners have built the largest underground salt mine in the United States with a $17 million annual payroll and $195 million in gross sales. American Rock Salt is a leading economic engine in Livingston County, providing more than 300 full-time positions and 1,000 local trucking and rail jobs in winter months. A history teacher and real-estate entrepreneur, Joe didn’t earn a degree in business or engineering: He had the business instincts and foresight to seize an opportunity and a broad background, he says, to guide him through the challenge. “Joe reminds us to make use of all we have learned and what we are, to become a successful person,” says President Christopher C. Dahl. “His story reminds us to follow our dreams and to take intelligent risks.”
••• Salt in the blood Joe’s grandfather, Nicholas Bucci, risked everything when he left southern Italy for America 100 years ago, seeking opportunity. He found it in the handful of salt mines that operated near Geneseo. Nicholas spent 45 years making a living underground. He led a mule into the mine at Retsof. Joe’s father, Joseph E. Bucci, went to work in the same mine fresh out of high school. And then, after he served in World War II, he earned an associate’s degree and returned as the mine’s chief engineer. “My grandfather actually worked for my dad before he retired,” says Joe. “I think my grandfather was pretty proud.” Joe joined the family tradition at 14, ringing sales at the company store. “Salt,” he says, “is in my blood.” Joe stayed at the mine right through his undergraduate program at Geneseo, juggling education courses and double shifts as a mechanic assistant and night watchman. Once, says Joe, “I was home on break for two weeks and never saw daylight.”
It was at this time that he met and fell in love with his wife of 38 years, Elaine Tramontana Bucci ’66. After graduating from Geneseo in 1967, Joe followed his passion for teaching and became a high school history teacher at nearby York Central Schools. Later, he drew on his business sensibilities and also launched a real estate venture. In 1975, tragedy struck: his father was killed in a methane explosion in the mine, as he and a crew tried to diagnose a water leak. The blast killed four men. It did not deter Joe from the way of life that has shaped his family. Since then, with his own mine, Joe has made American Rock Salt one of the safest mines anywhere, earning the highest possible rating from the U.S. Department of Mine Safety and Health Administration. Joe and his partners also invest $6 million to $7 million annually to improve mine technology. Joe still works at the mine every day, often going underground. He wears his dad’s hard-hat as a tribute to his father. ••• The bottom falls out When AkzoNobel closed the Retsof mine in 1994, company leaders announced a comeback: They were going to open a new mine in Hampton Corners, a few miles away. With his real-estate expertise, Joe was hired to buy 11,000 acres of mineral rights from landowners. He woke up before dawn to catch farmers before they headed off into the fields. Laid-off workers like Steve Montemarano, who had 21 years at Akzo under his belt, had renewed hope. Steve took construction jobs, hopeful he would return to being a mining foreman. Akzo invested two years and $18 million in the project. Then, it pulled the plug. Joe was there when company representatives broke the news. Many employees were devastated that they would lose their livelihood. Some wept. “That was everybody’s life,” says Steve. Mining had sustained Steve’s family and hundreds of families for generations in this area. The closing presented a crisis. Men like Gary Boyd had four generations invested in mining. Joe knew most of the workers; they were neighbors, friends. He taught many of them history, including Steve, and watched them grow up. “I was devastated,” remembers Joe.
“That’s all these people had done for generations.” ••• Resurrection The way Joe saw it, Akzo walked away from $18 million in investments and a lucrative business plan to rebuild the mine. Joe’s father had dubbed the precious salt “white gold.” You can harvest it much more easily than gold and it came out valuable, no refinement needed. He had also done the necessary testing to determine that Hampton Corners would be a very salt-rich and productive mine area. “I just saw the business opportunity,” says Joe. “It was hitting me in the face every minute. The mineral rights were here. The salt was here.” Joe approached longtime member of the community and former Bank of Castile President Charles L. “Bud” VanArsdale. At the time, Bud was helping young business owners as director of the Small Business Development Center on the Geneseo campus. Bud had a long history as a banker who was committed to building and revitalizing his own community. Bud says he soon came to agree with Joe, that if the mine could be reopened it would be an enormous boost to the community and a successful business venture. Bud stepped forward to connect Joe with Rochester attorney Gunther Buerman and New York financier Neil Cohen. The three partners bought those $18 million in mineral rights and other investments for a bargain — $3 million. Joe was confident the business would be a success, but there were many hurdles first — obtaining financing, overcoming some public opposition in the wake of Akzo’s failure, and the uncertainties of construction. Tests showed the site was stable, but they could still hit gas or underground aquifers that would prove to be costly obstacles. In 1999, American Rock Salt opened for business as the first salt mine in America to open since 1960. ••• Community impact American Rock Salt’s impact can be seen in the economic and social fabric of the local community. Salt is as relevant as it was 100 years ago, says Patrick Rountree, director of the Livingston County Office of Economic
PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN
An American Rock Salt stockpile
The 411 on salt Salt now graces the tables of every diner and is tossed on snowy roads by the ton but in ancient times, it was so treasured that the pursuit of it often altered the course of history and defined cultural norms. For ages, humanity viewed salt as valuable, even mystical. Here are interesting tidbits about salt (NaCl). 1. Every adult body contains about 250 grams of salt — three or four salt shakers’ worth. 2. Ancient soldiers protected salt roads leading to Rome, Via Salarium, and received a stipend for salt. 3. Towns with names that include “lick,” “wich” and “saal” were founded around salt. 4. In Rome, salted raw vegetables, herba salata, were served with brine dressing — hence the modern word “salad.” 5. Too much salt can kill. In fact, overconsumption of salt was a method of ritual suicide in ancient China, especially among nobility because of its high cost. 6. In response to the British salt tax, Mahatma Gandhi led 100,000 people on a “Salt March” to make their own salt from the sea. This protest galvanized the people and partially inspired Indian independence. 7. Until the 20th century, bars of salt, amoleh, were used as currency in Ethiopia.
Tour the mine at go.geneseo.edu/salttour Winter 2010
Development. The Genesee & Wyoming Railroad, in fact, was built to serve the mines. It is now one of the largest shortline railroad companies in the world, operating on every continent except Antarctica.
American Rock Salt, says Patrick, kept the industrial tradition alive — in the jobs it maintains, the jobs it creates on the railroad, in trucking and with distributors and suppliers, as well as the quality of life for families, who invest in homes and
Joe Bucci ’67 inspects the salt seam in the mine, 1,280 feet below ground.
American Rock Salt: Snapshot • Employees descend 1,280 feet to work every day — as deep as the World Trade Centers were tall. • The salt mined was formed 400 million years ago, when the continents were still colliding and jawed fish first appeared. • The salt seam that runs under SUNY Geneseo is as big as Alaska. It runs 600,000 square miles, from New York to Ohio. • Geneseo’s campus would fit inside American Rock Salt’s available mineral property 50 times. (Salt is not mined under the campus.) • Miners could extract salt for 160 years in this area before the available 250 million tons would run out.
• American Rock Salt mines 4 million tons of salt each year. • It takes 45 minutes from the time salt is scooped by a loader until it’s crushed to the size of nickels and sent to the surface on a conveyor belt. • It’s a constant 65-degrees Fahrenheit underground. • Trucks, drillers and other heavy equipment are taken apart, sent down the cage elevator and reassembled underground. • It is so dark in the mine, you would be lost the instant you turned off your headlamp. “It’s pure black,” says Joe Bucci ’67. “You’d be down there forever.”
spend in restaurants and stores. “In a state like New York where you have companies that are opening and closing, this facility represents a rock of stability in stormy economic waters,” says Patrick. In many counties across the United States, larger employers like auto makers have shut down and set off a domino effect: Jobs are lost, and distributors and suppliers go out of business, followed by restaurants and other small ventures. What American Rock Salt really accomplished for Livingston County’s 63,000 residents is continued economic vitality, says Patrick. Ann Couture ’73 knows. After Akzo closed, business was tough at the NAPA auto stores in Livingston and Monroe counties that she owns with her husband, James, another Geneseo alum. They provide American Rock Salt and employees with vehicle filters and other parts. They may not be out of business without American Rock Salt, Ann says, but business would have definitely taken a hit. “We avoided the type of economic blow that so many other communities experience when a major manufacturer leaves,” says Patrick. “All of that has not happened because of the founders of American Rock Salt. They were trying to do something against incredible odds and they succeeded.” Steve Montemarano — now a foreman at American Rock Salt — recognizes that impact, every day. “Joe stuck it out; he cared for the people in the community,” says Steve. Alumnus Scott Lockwood ’04, who never really thought of salt as an undergrad, is now the company’s controller, managing $195 million in gross sales each year. He grew up in nearby Mt. Morris and is proud he now helps carry on what has been a social and economic tradition in the area for nearly 150 years. Approximately 90 percent of the company’s employees live in Livingston County. American Rock Salt spends about $100 million annually with vendors, says Joe. They look locally first for auto parts, office supplies and other items. “There’s something to be said for a company that’s locally owned,” says Scott. “Joe has made it very personal. He is involved, daily. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows every employee by name.” In fact, he does.
“How many people have that experience with their company’s owners, every day?” says Beth Hackett ’07, an American Rock Salt accountant. “It’s wonderful that people know who I am and that what I do every day makes a difference.” ••• The Geneseo connection Confidence, Joe says, is what led him to take the biggest risk of his life. He credits Geneseo with shaping that confidence. As an education major, Joe says he didn’t just learn to teach history. He learned to be an astute, creative thinker, from professors who were committed to mentoring him, and with friends who have inspired him through their own success. “It made me a well-rounded person,” says Joe. “The professors at Geneseo conPHOTO BY CAROLE SMITH VOLPE ’91 vinced me I could do anything I wanted Steve Montemarano, right, who had Joe as a history teacher growing up, and Charles K. Hunt wait to do. Those types of relationships I built for the cage elevator on the start of their shift. at Geneseo had a lot to do with my succampus. Contributions from American and his partners revived the region’s salt cess in life.” Rock Salt also have helped geology stuindustry. American Rock Salt preserved the That commitment, says President Dahl, community’s tradition: it fostered economic and the ability to envision solutions in a cre- dents study unique geologic formations all over the world. Last year, they vitality and added a remarkable chapter in ative way, to be entrepreneurial and to deal explored New Zealand. the region’s history. with any subject, is the cornerstone of a Geneseo alumni, including Scott and That pride fills Joe when he goes to sleep Geneseo liberal arts education. The proBeth, work at American Rock Salt as mareach night and when he greets workers gram teaches students like Joe — in any keting executives, accountants, controllers each morning. field — to be innovators and risk-takers, and as information technology specialists. “I never stop thinking about it,” says Joe. through coursework and hands-on collabo••• “I can’t. We did it despite obstacles. We ration, field experience and exploration of Reflection opened the mine. We put more than 300 diverse subjects. E v e ryday, American Rock Salt supplies a people back to work.” “You can see that in our successful American Rock Salt is proof, he says, that alumni, no matter what their majors are,” significant portion of the United States with road salt, using the latest safety standards if you work hard enough and you have a says President Dahl. “They are like Joe in and leading technology. Every day, Joe is at dream and vision, you can accomplish anythe sense that they are creative and are the mine overseeing a $195 million sales thing when opportunity comes your way. able to envision a successful outcome and operation that never sleeps. “If that opportunity doesn’t come, you do the work that brings it all together. He is ever reminded, he says, of what has keep searching for it,” says Joe. “And when Geneseo has succeeded in molding people been accomplished. Despite all the risks, he the door opens up, you walk through.” who are able to lead, innovate and engage others and improve the communities in which they live.” Joe gives back to Geneseo and its students in many ways through American Rock Salt. Through a partnership with the geology department, student interns have conducted surface-water collections at the mine to meet environmental standards and have mapped active mining sites. Every year, geology majors tour the mine for an intimate look at the world down under. Since 2004, the American Rock Salt Lecture has brought experts on paleontology, climate change, geophysical imaging, public access of water supplies in Each day, 16,000 tons of salt are mined — enough to fill a line of 18-wheelers 5 miles long. developing countries and other fields to Winter 2010
BY JIM LEACH
in tight financial times CONFRONTED BY A STATE ECONOMY THAT STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK VETERANS SAY HAS PRESENTED the university system with its greatest operating challenges in the past 30 years, Geneseo is responding with a strategic planning effort that centers on six initiatives known as the Six Big Ideas on campus. The initiatives, says President Christopher C. Dahl, are the alternative to “hunkering down and reacting to budget cuts by cutting everything across the board. The six initiatives will prepare Geneseo to meet the continuing budget crisis strategically by building on our strengths and finding ways to carry out our distinctive mission better and more effectively.” More than 60 members of the faculty and staff volunteered to work through the summer and fall on task forces that examined the feasibility of each idea, including reducing the course load each semester, adding programs for adult learners and establishing more collaborative research. An additional 50 faculty and staff members contributed to discussions. Final reports, submitted in December, will now be a resource for the college’s strategic planning committee as it sets Geneseo’s course. “The Six Big Ideas will give us a vision of the future of Geneseo,” says Dahl.
Here is an overview of the Six Big Ideas Bringing Theory to Practice As one of a small group of colleges in a project sponsored by the Charles Engelhard Foundation and offered through the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Geneseo was already exploring ways to engage students in and out of the classroom in learning opportunities that can have a high impact on their lives. “Our ongoing work with AAC&U on bringing theory to practice is a template and philosophical driver as we think about the kind of liberal education that moves the college ahead nationally,” says Dahl. Examples of what Dahl describes as “transformational learning experiences” include undergraduate research, learning communities, internships, service-learning opportunities such as the El Sauce, Nicaragua, program and international experiences in more than 20 countries. Such innovations, says Dahl, “have the potential to make Geneseo a national
ILLUSTRATION BY KEVIN SERWACKI
leader in 21st-century liberal learning, which is central to the work of all the task forces.”
Innovative Five-Year Professional Programs Members of this task force are looking at the prospects for developing five-year programs in which graduates would earn a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a master’s degree in a professional specialty. A particular focus is teacher education. Planners suggest a fiveyear bachelor’s/master’s program might better serve the needs of students while setting the college apart from its peers and potentially increasing revenue.
Rethinking the Course Load Most undergraduates at Geneseo enroll in five, three-credit courses per semester. Yet many of the best private liberal arts colleges in Geneseo’s peer group require students to take only four courses per semester. A four-course schedule could create greater
flexibility to develop the kinds of learning experiences that take place outside the traditional classroom, such as service-learning or independent research. Students would still expect to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in four years. “At a liberal arts college that believes in transformational learning for the whole person, measuring courses on the basis of seat time makes very little sense,” says Dahl.
Expand Instructional Delivery The possibility of offering summer courses, linking international courses to Geneseo courses and developing not-for-credit learning opportunities are all under consideration. This study recognizes that new populations might be served, for example, by offering courses in Rochester, providing “early bird” summer classes for incoming students, designing programs for alumni and other adult learners, or attracting more students to graduate study. This task force, like the others, is consid-
ering the new initiatives with a careful eye to preserve Geneseo’s character as a residential college for traditional-aged students and preserving its mission as a public liberal arts college. The group also is exploring the possibility of a Geneseo Summer Institute for alumni and other adults interested in an intellectually lively back-to-college experience — minus the grades and credits — that combines learning, socializing, recreation and educational travel to some of western New York’s many sites of historic significance or natural beauty. Such programs might run for two or four weeks and would give participants the opportunity to learn from and share ideas with some of Geneseo’s most outstanding professors and researchers in a relaxed and informal setting.
Collaborative Research Recognizing that working with faculty on original research can be a powerful learning experience, this task force has been charged to look for ways to expand the opportunities for collaborative research on campus. The team also is considering the potential advantages of establishing a Center for Collaborative Research to coordinate and support those activities.
Interim recommendations of the task force include increasing the number of grant proposals submitted by Geneseo, and increasing grant dollars brought into the campus in support of collaborative research.
dents to follow draft proposals of the various groups as they develop, and participate in their evolution. “One problem that an initiative like this has to overcome is the tendency of each task force to become isolated and unaware of what’s happening in the others,” says Schacht. “The wiki has given us Strategic Community a central location where members of the Partnerships This task force is examining the kinds of different task forces can share informapartnerships that can tion and keep tabs on the iniengage students and faculty “The Six Big tiative’s overall progress. And in community-based research the same is true for the larger Ideas will give campus community. They can and learning, at the same time making the college a the progress of the task us a vision of track better partner in community forces and even contribute to economic development. This the future of their work. The wiki provides group is collaborating with transparency and gives everyGeneseo.” the task force on instructionone a voice.” — President al delivery to explore a “We are looking for ways to Christopher C. Dahl do even better at the things we Summer Institiute for alumni and others. The charge to do best, including undergraduthis task force also asks, “More generally, ate research, international experiences, how can we bring new resources to campus internships, leadership programs and that will enhance both the quality and scholarship support for deserving stuaccessibility of a Geneseo education?” dents,” says Dahl. “The Six Big Ideas task forces ensure that, even in the most diffiProfessor of English Paul Schacht, who cult financial times, we will preserve and coordinates the six task forces, is using a enhance the opportunities that are the kind of Web site called a “wiki” (think essence of an outstanding liberal arts eduWikipedia) to enable faculty, staff and stucation in the 21st century.”
Funding Geneseo BY JIM LEACH
DURING THE PAST THREE DECADES, GENESEO — LIKE ALL SUNY COLLEGES — HAS BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR generating an ever-greater share of its annual operating budgets. Knowledge of where Geneseo derives its operating funds provides context to understand the significance of the Six Big Ideas. Today, New York state provides only about 34 percent of Geneseo’s total 2009-2010 budget of $118.9 million. And even that is up for negotiation in an economy like the one that has faced the state over the past two years. The Six Big Ideas, then, represent local thinking about how the college can ensure that its programs continue to address its singular mission of being one of the nation’s premier public liberal arts colleges. The people working on those ideas are the people who know the college best — members of Geneseo’s faculty and staff. So what are Geneseo’s local funding sources?
Tuition The single largest source of revenue to support Geneseo’s operating budget is the tuition paid by students. This year, Geneseo budgeted tuition revenues at $26.8 million. Like their counterparts at SUNY colleges across the state, Geneseo undergraduates hailing from New York pay tuition of $4,970 per year. SUNY’s Board of Trustees — one governing body that oversees all SUNY campuses — sets tuition systemwide. SUNY’s trustees in Albany approved a $620 annual tuition increase last year, the first since 2003. While some campuses, including Geneseo, would favor a system that allows individual SUNY colleges to set their own tuitions, such a differential pricing policy appears unlikely, at 18
including Seneca Hall. All construction and renovation of residence halls is financed through the state dormitory authority, and debt service on that financing is another major draw on the income from dorm rentals.
Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) Food service at Geneseo is provided on contract through CAS, a separate, local corporation with its own administration and employees that exists to support the college. The CAS board is made up of representatives from the student body, faculty, administration and community. Gross revenue through CAS was budgeted at $10.8 million this year, netting about $650,000 in direct program support for the College. CAS also contributes an estimated $1 million annually in other support, including improvements on facilities that CAS leases from the college.
The Geneseo Foundation
ILLUSTRATION BY KEVIN SERWACKI
least in the near future. So Geneseo’s tuition income is essentially beyond local control (assuming enrollment levels remain constant).
Fees One way that SUNY colleges have offset the decline in state funding over the years has been through the assessment of fees to cover services such as transportation, technology, health centers, athletics and entertainment — programs that contribute to the quality of life and breadth of experience at a residential liberal arts college. Geneseo students each pay annual fees of $1,356. These
fees account for approximately $10 million of Geneseo’s budget this year.
Dormitories Residence hall room charges total approximately $18.1 million in 20092010. But substantial costs reduce the college’s net revenue from room charges. Since 1985, SUNY colleges have been responsible for building and renovating the residence halls on their individual campuses. Over that period, Geneseo has invested more than $40 million to renovate the aging residence halls it inherited from the state. The college also has constructed three new residence halls,
The Geneseo Foundation is a nonprofit corporation with its own board made up of alumni, parents and friends of the college. The foundation receives and administers gifts for the college and manages Geneseo’s endowment. Through bequests, capital giving, interest on endowment and gifts to the college’s annual fund, the Geneseo Foundation currently provides between $1.5 million and $2 million annually toward Geneseo operations. The foundation enriches the life of the campus by funding scholarships, fellowships and grants that support faculty and student travel and research. In close coordination with the college’s administration, the foundation’s goal is to become an ever-increasing source of funds to augment Geneseo’s budget in ways that support and advance the college’s excellence.
Other sources Several other sources contribute to Geneseo’s operating and non-operating budgets in different ways. Most notably, income from summer and overseas programs totals $3.3 million, and sponsored research programs bring in another $1.6 million.
Thankful for the freedom that a Geneseo education provided him, trial at torney George Speedy ’71 is now helping other nontraditional students pursue their goals with an endowed scholarship.
The journey to freedom
An alumnus celebrates second chances.
George Speedy ’71 did not get into SUNY Geneseo when he first applied. Instead, he spent more than a year fighting on the front lines in Vietnam, soul searching and craving a new life at home. He returned with a desire to study. Now a trial attorney for 35 years, he is a partner of SpeedyTannkerAtkinson in Camden, S.C. Grateful for the second chance he received at Geneseo, he is creating those same opportunities for other nontraditional students.
come from a small town in western New York called Limestone. I doubt seriously if very many of you have heard of it. I have six brothers and sisters. It is clear to me that being in a large family taught me through example many of the values that allow me to be what I am today — the most important being the value of education. Although none of my siblings were able to attend a four-year college, much less earn a law degree, they all insisted that I stay with my studies even though it was evident that I cared more about fishing, hunting and sports. There is no question that, at their insistence, I managed to learn enough to have an educational base for my life ahead. I graduated from high school 15th in my class, and I’m proud to say that, but there were only 20 of us. In early January of 1965, I applied to SUNY Geneseo. I got an interview and my family was so proud to bring me to campus for my interview. I talked with a bright young dean, but my application was rejected. I went back to western New York to the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, where they were taking everybody at that time as long as you lived in the geographic area. I went to the university for approximately two semesters and spent too much time partying rather than studying, wherein the school ratified the decision that the young Geneseo dean had made, and asked me to leave. I left, my tail between my legs and the draft board on my butt.
It was 1966. The Vietnam War was raging, summer was about to begin and I was a prime candidate for the draft because I had lost my student exemption. My best friend from high school had suffered the same fate from another university, and after a night of commiserating over the disappointment that our folks were going to exhibit, we did the only thing that we felt we could — we headed to the post office to join the Navy. We arrived too early for the Navy recruiter. So, we joined the Marines, with their promise that we would become generals. I arrived in northern Vietnam in March 1967, stationed with the Lima Company, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines. I spent 13 months, 4 days, 5 hours and 21 minutes in Vietnam. I was a grunt on the front, an infantryman. It was far from the rank of general that I was promised. I know now that the minute I signed that dotted line I lost control of my life. I experienced things that no human being should experience. I cried more than once for my family, for my life in Limestone. I came home in mid-April 1968 to a c o u n t ryin turmoil. I just wanted to regain control of my life and not involve myself in the conflict between “The Establishment” and the anti-war effort. For the first time in my life, I made up my mind that I wanted to learn. I wanted the freedom that an education would give me. I once again turned to Geneseo. I think I wanted to atone for the rejection I experienced when I was first turned down. Now, I think it would have been a setback had I not been accepted into Geneseo the second time because I was ready. I was prepared. I was thrilled to be accepted to Geneseo on a provisional basis. I had to pass two courses in the summer before I could secure a full fall course load. The first course was sociology, and at the time I was pretty adept in the subject. I had to learn a lot of social skills in my 13 months, 4 days, 5 hours and 21 minutes in Vietnam. As a Marine, I quickly assumed a leadership role and developed the self-discipline necessary to be a good leader and a good person. I read furiously and realized that reading was important for my development as a person and to further my education. In the war, I learned to survive
physically and emotionally. For my efforts I was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat Valor. The other course I took that summer was philosophy. It was taught by a young professor from England, who asked me to prove the existence of God. I completed my paper and at the end I wrote, “I’m alive today because of God. I’m here today because of that. Let each become all he’s capable of being.” I had the time of my life at Geneseo for the next two and a half years. I was married by then, and worked part time as a bartender at The Palace Lounge. I joined the Sig Tau fraternity and played intramural sports with my brothers. I took as many courses as the college would allow. I met many students, townspeople and faculty who became good friends. The Vietnam War continued to affect my life. Geneseo students read the names of the dead in protest of the war on Main Street near the Big Tree Inn. When students were shot at Kent State, my fellow students protested, and it forced cancellation of our final exams. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller came to campus to make a speech; many students rubbed balloons so no one could hear his words. It was a tough time for a Vietnam veteran, but still, I felt I was accepted at my new home. After graduation, I earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1975 and have been enjoying a trial practice ever since. Life has been good to me. To that fine young dean who took a chance on me and gave me another chance at Geneseo — to the students and townspeople who befriended me — to the faculty who taught me — I say thank you. Geneseo allowed me to be all I am capable of being. I didn’t know that at the time. My education at Geneseo, coupled with my military background, gave me great selfconfidence. That confidence follows me to this day and has inspired me not to see roadblocks for my goals. Now, I am fortunate enough to be able to fund a scholarship for future students from similar backgrounds. By doing so, I feel like I am giving back, if just a little. The George Speedy ’71 Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide full tuition for a student who has overcome economic or personal challenges. The first scholarship starts in 2010-11 and targets students
George Speedy ’71 when he was promoted to corporal in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1968.
“For the first time in my life, I made up my mind that I wanted to learn. I wanted the freedom that an education would give me.” — George Speedy ’71
with unusual circumstances, such as students who are beyond the traditional college age, who are young parents seeking an education or are nontraditional students who have experienced an adverse situation or hardship in life. I will give back as much as I possibly can and more, because I wouldn’t be standing here and I wouldn’t be what I am if it weren’t for this college. The most important thing I have learned in life is to use the opportunities we have been given to better the lives of others, so they may have the same opportunities. Winter 2010
A garden of learning Students and faculty grow vegetables and community spirit on campus. By Kris Dreessen
t’s a chilly fall evening and students are quick-stepping to the dining hall with jackets zipped and hands in pockets, but it’s harvest time in the Geneseo Community Garden. Deep purple beets are ripe for picking. Turnips are as big as baseballs. Stalks of Swiss chard grow in neat rows of orange, buttery yellow and crimson. Colin Waters ’10, Molly Kerker ’09 and a handful of other students are kneeling in the soil, pulling out tomato vines and some of summer’s less hearty plants that won’t make it through fall. They are choosing today’s produce for a home-cooked meal. “You have a much greater appreciation of what you’re eating,” says Kerker. “It’s such a simple, direct connection from the earth to your mouth — it’s so satisfying.” Most meals in American homes travel at least 1,300 miles from farm field to plate, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. It’s as low as zero for students who volunteer at Geneseo’s Community Garden. They don’t burn fossil fuels. They don’t use pesticides. They plan, cultivate and pick, then walk home. They learn about sustainability and selfreliance and they probe larger food issues, like how methods of consumption have changed, impacts of large-scale farming and how we might manage the whole food-thing better. “It’s a good learning experience outside of the classroom,” says Waters, who wants to become a soil scientist. “We wanted to get people to think about food and where their food comes from.” Waters and Kerker helped start the campus garden in 2007 with other students and two faculty members — history Associate Professor Jordan Kleiman and English Associate Professor Kenneth
Cooper. In community gardens like Geneseo’s, people tend a collective plot and share in the bounty. Just two years later, the garden has doubled in size in the Spencer J. Roemer Arboretum. Up to 20 students volunteer twice a week, growing three full seasons. They plant heirloom tomatoes and other traditional produce alongside more uncommon veggies like mache lettuce and turnips. A whole network has emerged, says Kleiman, as students explore culinary tastes from crops that are best suited to the local climate. They share recipes and have potluck dinners. Community gardens are a growing trend on colleges and universities but gar-
• www.organiclinker.com/ food-miles.cfm — Calculate how many miles food has traveled to reach your plate. • www.localharvest.org/csa — Find Community Supported Agriculture farms in your area. • www.wwoof.org — Learn about volunteering at World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
PHOTOS BY KRIS DREESS E N
Growing vegetables like rainbow chard has given her more appreciation for food, says Geneseo Community Garden co-founder Molly Kerker ’09.
dening together and using it as a teaching tool is less common, according to Greg Bowman, manager of communications at Rodale Institute, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to training organic farmers. At Geneseo, the Community Garden is part of a greater initiative called the Geneseo Food Project. Through an active lecture series and ongoing curricular development efforts, students and faculty connect hands-on activities to broader questions about food, social justice and the environment. Students and faculty also have launched the Geneseo Community Supported Market. The initiative allows students and community members to buy shares of fruits and vegetables sold at a Rochester farmers market. Kleiman and Cooper also explore the history, evolution and future of the American garden in a class. Students examine the role gardening played, and can play, in communities. “It’s a good place to foster community — to grow relationships and ideas,” says Waters.
Alumni News ABOUT THE ARTIST: Kim Nguyen Heintz ’04 studied ceramics and computer art at Geneseo and specializes in digital art. She earned a master’s degree in information technology from Rochester Institute of Technology. She often includes hidden images and text in her work that are symbolic or act as a metaphor. “Reflection” (pictured) was featured in the Alumni Exhibition at the Lockhart Gallery last fall. The staircase represents a journey and the cat’s eyes are the window to the soul. The vibrant colors and black squiggles signify chaos and life’s roadblocks. Says Kim: “When I look into this piece, especially the eyes, I am forced to look at myself and who I am.” Find out more about her work at www.iciskaye.com.
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Making medical history Groove pioneer A higher calling Class Notes Winter 2010
PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN
Cancer combatant: Robert Rose ’84 helped develop a cervical cancer vaccine “This work was the most exciting thing I have ever been involved with in my life and I was thrilled to be a part of it.”
A b ove, Robert Rose ’84 was part of a threemember re s e a rch team t h at developed a va cc i n e to target the most prevalent st rains of the virus that causes cervical cance r.
Robert Rose ’84 remembers the decisive moment as a Geneseo sophomore that inspired his interest in biology. While walking in a Bailey Hall corridor between classes, he spotted an electron micrograph image of a T4 bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria. “It looked like a lunar lander and I thought, ‘That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen — and it just occurs in nature,’” he says. “I had to know more and became permanently fascinated with virus structure.” That experience led Rose to the front lines in the war on cancer. He became one of
three medical researchers at the University of Rochester responsible for developing a vaccine to prevent a cancer that kills more than a quarter million women around the world e v e ry year — 3,700 in the United States alone. The vaccine is marketed either as Gardasil by Merck, which targets four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), or C e rvarix by GlaxoSmithKline, which targets the two most prevalent cancer-causing strains of the virus. The vaccine has been shown to prevent cervical cancer precursor lesions and, in the case of Gardasil, more than 90 percent of the cases of
benign anogenital warts. At Geneseo, Rose was a nontraditional student. After graduating from high school in Hornell, N.Y., he worked various jobs, including seven years in the railroad industry as a brakeman and trainmaster for Conrail. “The railroad was a good job … but it didn’t feel right, so I took a chance,” he explains. “I quit and entered college full time at age 30.” Rose’s 4.0 freshman grade point average at Alfred State College greased the skids for his transfer to Geneseo. “I had tremendous mentors Continued on page 27
Called to Lead “I have actually brought all that I have learned at Geneseo WORK FROM THE COMBINE. PHOTO BY JAZZMINE BEAULIEU
John Robie Composer, musician and producer John Robie ’73 has created more than 100 songs and albums, including Top Ten hits and the most-sampled dance song ever made.
John Robie: One of Rolling Stone’s greatest
WORK FROM THE COMBINE. PHOTO BY JAZZMINE BEAULIEU
As a student at Geneseo, John Robie ’73 had a problem: he heard music in his head — all the time. The psychologist he visited set him straight: “He said, ‘So what? It just means you like music. Now get the heck out of here and go enjoy yourself.’” Robie did. A speech communications major, he found creative kin with a small group of student artists and musicians. He always made time to play Jimi Hendrix and original compositions with his bands. “It was nice being part of this mini subculture,” says Robie. “It was sort of a magical mix there at the time. You really felt like you were part of something.” After graduation, Robie moved to Manhattan and did odd jobs that wouldn’t hinder his goal.
“The only thing I ever wanted to do was make music and if something is all-consuming, one finds a way,” says Robie. Fate called when he collaborated with Afrika Bambaataa, a well-known Bronx DJ, on a dance song punctuated with synthesizers and futuristic sounds. They dubbed it “Planet Rock.” The rest is electro-boogie and hip-hop history. Released in 1982, “Planet Rock” went gold and hit No. 4 on the soul charts. More importantly, its style is credited with inspiring hip-hop and today’s electronic, techno, house and trance music. Rolling Stone crowned it one of the best songs of all time. It’s still one of the most sampled recordings, ever. “It is, of course, thrilling to be a member of such an elite club but it’s even more exciting to see just how influential ‘Planet Rock’ was,” says Robie. During the last 27 years, Robie has produced, played on or composed more than 100 songs and albums. He’s composed soundtracks for nearly 20 films, including ’80s masterpieces “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Pretty in Pink.” Several of his songs hit the Top Ten on U.S. and internacontinued on page 27
into my new career...” — Rev. Wendy Edwards ’81 Rev. Wendy Deichmann Edwards ’81 knows what it means to take a leap of faith. Involved with Geneseo’s United Methodist Church, she felt called to the ministry just months shy of graduating with a degree in special education. “I had wanted to teach from the time I was little and Geneseo had prepared me well, but there is a very mysterious element to a calling,” she says. “It came to me very deep and very profound and very undeniable, like a seachange — and it seemed completely right to give up my educational training for something that was even more compelling.” She followed her heart, enrolled in Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and “never looked back.” The decision changed her life — and made history. In October 2008, Edwards was inaugurated as president of United Theological S e m i n a ry in Dayton, Ohio. She is the first woman to lead a freestanding United Methodist seminary in the United States. “The spiritual dimension opened up for me in remarkable ways at Geneseo,” she says. Since then, she has served congregations in westcontinued on page 27
One Cup with Marie Lavallee Martin, Class of 1998 By Kris Dreessen n high school, Marie Lavallee Martin ’98 babysat little Paul. She was with him soon after he took his first steps and when he read beyond his ABCs. “That was so exciting,” she remembers. “I thought, ‘I would like to be able to teach kids how to read.’” In college, Marie started out in general studies at SUNY Stony Brook with a dilemma: Should she pursue her dream to be a teacher, or become a physical therapist for children? Her sister cautioned her that the competition was stiff for teachers. Landing a job could prove difficult. Therapy also was fulfilling, and maybe a safer bet. Marie followed her heart. She transferred to SUNY Geneseo her junior year, determined to be a teacher. “I said, ‘I don’t care if it’s hard to get a job, this is what I want to do,’ ” remembers Marie. “You have to do what you love to do.” At Geneseo, Marie says she “truly learned something” from every professor, who guided her transformation from preschool reading buddy, to tutor, to classroom leader. When it was time to fly solo as a student teacher with first-graders and sixth-grade math students, she was ready. “It was like baby steps,” says Marie. “The interaction with students was gradual. Each step took me deeper into the role of being the teacher in charge.” Marie earned her bachelor’s degree in December 1998. She landed her first full-time teaching job nine months later. She called her sister, of course. “She said, ‘I give you a lot of credit,’” remembers Marie. “I knew I could do it.” Eleven years after graduation, Marie’s Geneseo suitemates are still her best friends. Miles don’t matter. They travel from different states to reunite every year or so. And, when they had children Marie bought every baby a bib that bears a bit of Geneseo pride — “Geneseo Class of 2028.” “Geneseo really did breed camaraderie,” says Marie. “It felt like a family away from home.” Since graduation and that first job, Marie has served as a kindergarten teacher, third-grade teacher and literacy specialist. Now married, she is Mrs. Martin to her first-graders at Gladwyne Elementary School in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania. She has been there six years. Education professors like Donald Marozas and Sally LipaWade still inspire her in many ways, says Marie. At Geneseo, she never felt like a number. “I felt like a person — a person who was eager to learn and had professors who were vested in their students, and even knew their students by name.” The opportunity to make such a difference in her students’ lives inspires her now, every day. “You look back at those teachers who stood out and helped you realize something about yourself. It’s amazing to think that down the line, someone may have a memory like that about me.”
ONE CUP Inspired by the idea that everyone has a story to share, we offer the “random profile.” Each issue, we don a blindfold and throw a dart at a map of the United States to choose our state, then take aim again to choose a lucky alum. We catch up, relive memories and share life insight, like we are talking over coffee. Up next ... Montana. Could it be you?
QUICK FACTS Home: Wayne, Pa. Graduation year: 1998 Degrees: Bachelor of education from Geneseo and a maste r’s degree in reading teacher education from Long Island University. How you describe Geneseo: A small, close-knit co m m u n i t y. A gre at place to call your home away f rom home. Favorite campus hangout: Le tc hworth Dining Hall. We spent so much time in the cafe teria, whether we we re working or hanging out at night. Best Geneseo memory: A really, really hot May day, around finals. We had a kiddie pool filled up with water on the front lawn. Everybody was hanging out and relaxing and laughing and wondering what would happen next year, when we were going to student teach. It was very carefree. Most important life lesson you learned at Geneseo: That the old saying is true — friends are the family you choose. What you would tell fre s hmen or gra d u ating seniors: To the freshmen: The faculty is such a tremendous resource. Don’t think your class time is over when class is over. Make sure you utilize extra help and advice; they have a wealth of experience. It will help you now and it will help you later on.
Robie ... continued from page 25
tional billboard lists. He rarely relies on musical notation but he has mastered every state-of-the-art synthesizer so he can create intuitively with no self-imposed obstacles — and no second-guessing. “The second you allow doubt to creep into your process,” he says, “you’re over as an artist.” Now, Robie is exploring a groundbreaking visual art form — street art. Street art has one rule: You must tag the street. The artists embody the same community spirit, risk and excitement that he found
Rose ... continued from page 24
in the music subculture decades ago, he says. “It’s the backdrop of their lives,” says Robie. “It’s the new rock ’n’ roll.” Last spring, he and a partner opened The Combine in SoHo. The New York City gallery is part exhibition, part social experiment. Robie let loose more than 50 street artists to transform the ceilings and walls. Stairs. Doors. Floors. “We gave them unlimited freedom,” says Robie. The exhibition — named after President Obama’s slo-
Rev. Wendy Deichmann Edwards PHOTO PROVIDED
Rev. Wendy Deichmann Edwards ’81 has made history in her career.
Edwards ... continued from page 25
ern New York and New Jersey and taught at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Ashland Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary. At United, she built a track record of administrative lead-
ership, leading to her appointment as vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. Others asked her to consider the presidency. “Believe me, I didn’t go looking for it,” she notes, “but their request caused me to ponder the possibility and I finally accepted it. This was
gan “Work to do” — garnered international attention. Robie’s sole suggestion was that the artists donate some profits to organizations that bring art to city schools. They all did. In the same spirit, Robie is planning to install his next street art exhibition in Warsaw, Poland. — Kris Dreessen
Listen to “Planet Rock” and watch the hip-hop genre it inspired at: http://bit.ly/planet_rock
the ministry to which I was called — a ministry of leadership in theological education.” Edwards handles a full range of higher-education challenges as she leads the 139-year-old institution, including enrollment and personnel management, facility planning and strategic business development. She sees her calling as one of leadership because “that’s what good administration is.” “I have actually brought all that I learned at Geneseo into my new career,” she says. “The responsibility of education is to build a connection with the learner and honor the concept of allowing persons to become the very best they can be. And because I was able to experience that as a student, it made it believable to me that I could do that for others. It’s not just rhetoric.” — Anthony T. Hoppa
at Geneseo,” Rose says. “I washed laboratory glassware as a work-study student for Hank Latorella in biology … and he excited my scientific curiosity. I also hold Janice Lovett in high regard, who taught molecular biology, and microbiology Professor Bob Simon became the example of an academic researcher for me.” After graduating magna cum laude from Geneseo, Rose became a lab technician at the University of Rochester, where he earned a master’s degree in microbiology and a doctorate in virology. He was later appointed as an associate professor of medicine. His dissertation findings guided him and colleagues Richard Reichman and William Bonnez, both physicians, in their development of the cervical cancer vaccine. “My work involved the characterization of HPV,” says Rose. “We developed a non-infectious form of virus-like particles to trigger the same immune response as real HPV. This development was a crucial step in developing the vaccine.” The team’s groundwork generated the very first study of the vaccine in human subjects in 1996-97. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine for women in 2006 and recently approved it for males in the prevention of genital warts. Rose says the vaccine also has promise against some head, neck and throat cancers. “It’s very humbling to know that something we cooked up in the lab … has the capacity to prevent death and the terrible morbidity of a cancer,” he says. “This work was the most exciting thing I have ever been involved with in my life and I was thrilled to be a part of it.” — David Irwin
GENESEO ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
ALBANY – Joe Carr Wine Tasting
Alumni Events March 3, 2010
Geneseo, N.Y. — Panel — G.O.L.D. Women’s Expo
Rochester, N.Y. — Rochester Legal - Alumni Event
March 4, 2010
Geneseo, N.Y. — Geneseo Legal Panel
New York City — NYC Financial - Alumni Event
March 18, 2010
May 27, 2010
Washington, D.C. — Alumni Reception with Geneseo Student Externs go.geneseo.edu/washington
Long Island — Networking Social go.geneseo.edu/longisland
March 2010 Darien, Conn. — Alumni Event
Rochester, N.Y. — Networking Social go.geneseo.edu/rochester
March 25, 2010
July 9-11, 2010
Albany, N.Y. — Networking Social go.geneseo.edu/albany
Geneseo, N.Y. — Summer Reunion go.geneseo.edu/reunion
April 23, 2010
Geneseo, N.Y. — President’s Donor Dinner
Hamptons, N.Y. — Alumni Event
May 1, 2010
September 24-25, 2010
Geneseo, N.Y. — Greekfest on Spring/Alumni Weekend go.geneseo.edu/greekfest
Geneseo, N.Y. — Homecoming go.geneseo.edu/homecoming
Visit Events are added continuously. Please check the Web site for updates at alumni.geneseo.edu.
Above, Joseph Carr ’8 2 and Andrew Pelletier ’82
Below, Marie Morr TenBrink, left, ’93, Tracy Young Gagnier ’93, Penny Papageorge Meskos ’93, Tanya Woldbeck Gesek ’93 and Daniel Mody ’93
Above, Kathleen Romanow ’95, left, William Perillo ’11, Chad Salitan ’0 9, Kristen Kugel ’09, Karen Szulgit ’84 and Mike Bieeault ’85
Kimberly Owen Doty ’92, left, Stephanie Ligammari Mosher ’94 and Tracy Sawicz Pearce ’96
Above, President Christopher C. Dahl, left, Chris Walker ’85, Tim Drago ’65, Matt Rush ’89, Zigrid Rush and Nancy Dawes Cole ’67
Class Notes 1960s
professor and self-employed author. Cheryl Gelser Devinney ’69 retired from Perry Central School (N.Y.)
in Schenectady, N.Y. Patrick Riley is the senior vice president of KGBTexas in San Antonio. Peter Zaccarella, of Carrollton, Texas, retired recently after a 28year career with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bruce Sweet ’60 is a retired
Celebrating their 40th reunion July 9 and 10, 201 0. Darlene Brooks Darrow is the director of leadership, learning and accountability for the Maine-Endwell School District (N.Y.). John Merchant is a senior engineer at NorthropGrumman. Janice Wraight Thompson is the vice principal of Villages Charter High School in The Villages, Fla. Diane Fisher Walker was ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church.
Lawrence Mannato is a selfemployed artist/associate professor/instructor in Gorham, N.Y. Robert Orilio is an associate professor for the State University of New York Institute of Technology in Utica, N.Y.
Craig Braack was honored by the Bar Association for his outstanding service as the Allegany County, N.Y., historian. Roy Fedelem is a retired principal planner for the Suffolk County Planning Department, now working as a tennis pro for the Long Island Foundation for Education and Sports. Judith Robinson is a math teacher at Carvers Bay High School in Hemingway, S.C.
1975 Celebrating their 35th reunion July 9 and 10, 201 0. Dennis Lovaglio is a director for Deutsche Bank in New York City. Thomas McEvoy is the associate dean of students at Union College
David Pieramico is a senior adjunct faculty member for the Medaille College Adult Learning Program in Rochester, N.Y. He is also the associate executive director for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester.
Richard Marino won a local
New York Emmy award for a story he edited in 2008 for WPIX-TV in New York City. Marion McAlpine Pieramico
is a firstgrade teacher for the Richard Marino ’77 Penfield Central School District ( N . Y.) Dominick Speziale is a teacher in New York City.
Linda Goodwin Fields is the director/owner of Professional Institute for Real Estate Training in Watertown, N.Y. Mary Maynard is a business analyst for Thomson Reuters in Rochester, N.Y. Shane Palmer is a senior terr i t o ry manager for Genzyme Corporation. Brenda Robertson Reddout is an adjunct professor at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. Kathleen Pedulla Scaccia is the vice president of Kuhn & Pedulla Insurance in Webster, N.Y. Albert Servati is a division manager for Carpenter Co. in Tupelo, Miss.
Mel Barvinchak is a mental health social worker/therapist for the New York State Office of Mental Health/Elmira Psychiatric Center in Lansing, N.Y. Robert Clow is a science teacher at Wade Carpenter Middle School in Nogales, Ariz. William Dumont is a realtor for RE/MAX Partners in Andover, Mass. Cheryl Bold Wagner is the director of student support services at Marcus Whitman Central School District in Rushville, N.Y.
1980 Celebrating their 30th reunion July 9 and 10, 201 0. James Falbo is the vice president of operations for Devault Foods in Devault, Pa. Martha Palumbo Peterman is a paralegal at Hiscock & Barclay LLP, in Syracuse, N.Y. Tyde Richards is the owner of Forest Park Development Group.
Richard Altier is an associate broker for RE/MAX Realty Group in Pittsford, N.Y. Daniel Beer is the plant production manager at UniFirst Corporation in Albany, N.Y. Timothy Mouser is the owner of seven Little Caesars Pizza stores in Arizona. Anthony Roig is a recruiter for Almac Clinical Technologies.
Marjorie Ribbeck Cecere is a merchandiser for Kmart in Batavia, N.Y. Peter Hasby is a physician for
Group in Pittsford, N.Y.
Black Hills VA in Fort Meade, S.D. Michael Mooney is a creative director at Full Moon Advertising in Rochester, N.Y. Richard Solomon is a senior manager for BMC Software in New York City. Attorney Andrew T. Pelletier recently published the children’s book “The Amazing Adventures of Bathman” with the publisher Penguin Young Readers Group.
Kimberly Herrick Townson is
the executive director of Nonnie Hood Parent & Family Resource Center in Corning, N.Y.
Regan Mahoney is a business
manager/deputy director for the Loudoun County Health Department in Leesburg, Va. Patrick Murphy is the vice president of M&T Bank in Buffalo, N.Y.
Deborah Brudo is a senior IT manager at IBM. Constance Christakos
is the director of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Division of Congressional Liaison and Communications, in Washington D.C.
1985 Celebrating their 25th reunion July 9 and 10, 2010. R. Michael Gibeault is the vice
president of Robert Half Legal in Washington, D.C. Kimberly Sickau Preshoff is a teacher at Williamsville North (N.Y.). Gary Simboli was honored at the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council’s ninth annual community arts awards gala for his 25 years of efforts for the arts.
Virginia Cowie Martello is the
vice president of learning and development for New York Life Insurance Company in New York City.
Dawn Dioguardo ClarkMcBrearty is a development
associate at Stony Brook University in New York. David Cleinman, of Brooksville, Fla., recently published his first novel, “Principle Destiny with Black Rose Writing.” It is the story of a princess who must fight to save herself and her kingdom from malevolent forces. Gary Grose was appointed the U.S. marketing director for Marsh, an insurance broker and risk advisory firm, in Chicago, Ill. Michael Longo is a certified public accountant for
The Geneseo Knights basketball team flew to Seattle and competed in two non-conference games on New Ye a r’s Eve and Jan. 2, thanks to a generous gift from Tony Wiederkher ’87, in white, to the college’s Roundtable Athletic Association (RAA). Wiederkehr, an RAA board member, played for the Knights and is the founder and president of AeroMech Inc., an aviation engineering firm in Everett, Wash. He wanted to provide current players with the same bonding and memories he experienced as a college team player.
Sprague & Janowsky in Ithaca, N.Y. Adrienne Jones Weitzel is a CSR for Martin-Brower in Orlando, Fla.
Michael Lynch is a partner at The
Hunter Group International in Charlotte, N.C. Christine Buckheit Skinner works for Beaver Creek Elementary in Downingtown, Pa. Michelle Sweet is a cross-cultural trainer for Berlitz Business Communications School in Osakashi, Japan.
Myra Batista is a school psy-
chologist for the Center for Disability Services in Albany, N.Y. Kimberly Donohue is a registered nurse at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Charles Recchia is the senior reliability engineering manager for Intel Corporation. Craig Schlusberg is a principal with Aspen Advisors, LLC, a health care IT consulting firm.
Robert Smith is a senior manager
Timothy Berry is a senior graphic designer for Newsday in Melville, N.Y. Laura Mills-Lewis is a faculty relations consultant and associate director at Ernst & Young in New York City. Denise Romano will have her first non-fiction book published in April 2010 by McGraw Hill. “The HR Toolkit: An Indispensible Guide for Credible Activists” focuses on the importance of human resource professionals practicing ethically and within legal compliance.
1990 Celebrating their 20th reunion July 9 and 10, 201 0.
at Niagara Blower in Buffalo, N.Y.
Robert Blyth is a financial plan-
ning specialist for the city of Davis, Calif. Daniel Carpenter is the director of corporate partnerships for Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida. Paula Langan Heller is the director of human resources for Clough Harbor Associates. Stacey Ryczak Hunter is a self-employed freelance editor in Croton-onHudson, N.Y. Jacqueline Dycke Norris is a senior advisor for the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C. J e f f rey Paille is a principal for The Bonadio
Peter Lathrop is the AVP of
finance for John Hancock insurance and financial services in Boston, Mass. Teresa Worczak Parsons is a graduate student at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. Michelle Facteau Pedzich is the director of compliance for HR Works, Inc. in Fairport, N.Y. Michele Walsh Zito was promoted to executive director with The Pampered Chef.
1995 Celebrating their 15th reunion July 9 and 10, 2010. Ander Bergstrom is a senior
cinematic animator for Midway Entertainment in California. Korie Buttles is a school psychologist for Fayette County Public Schools in Kentucky. Kimberly Manna Dimondo is pursuing a career as a weightloss coach and personal trainer. David Flynn is the vice president of tax for InterActiveCorp in New York City. Gary Hodgins recently graduated with a doctorate of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Northern Arizona University. Michael Hoyt is an assistant professor at the University of California, Merced. Joseph Stewart-Pirone is a law student at Northern Kentucky University.
Eileen Hegmann Connell is a
speech-language pathologist for Connell Speech and Language, PC, in New York City. Kimberly Hinsdale is a registered nurse for Winter 2010
CLASS NOTES WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y. Michael Koroluk is a senior manager at BAE Systems, Inc. in Arlington, Va. Mark Scallon is a director for Polaris Management Partners in New York City. Erik Sto n e is a system analyst/ programmer for Frontier Communications in Rochester, N.Y. Mary Woods is the assistant general counsel in litigation for CBS Corporation in New York City.
Andrew Berkowitz won the
National Association of Broadcasters’ “Don’t Tax That Dial” competition, protesting the proposed “Performance Tax” on radio stations. Danielle Langton Ellingston is a global development policy coordinator for Global Washington in Seattle,
Wash. Tina Kuenzi McPherson is an MBA student at the University of Iowa. Christopher Obstarczyk finished the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon in July 2009 and raised more than $1,000 for charity. Michael Torres is the director of institutional research at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Daniela Borja is a senior marketing manager for Molson Coors in Denver. David Card is the communications director for Americans for Democratic Action. Marc Jacob opened his own law practice concentrating on transactional and real estate work in St. Louis, Mo. Vincent L i l l a rdwas promoted to be the submarine warfare project leader for the Institute of Defense Analysis. Nathan Raby is a family physician at the Central Maine Medical Center in Poland, Maine. Amanda Pielecha Sauter is a stu-
dent success advocate for TRIO Student Support Services at Medaille College in Buffalo, N.Y. Amy Zakrzewski Tulowiecki is a teacher for the Williamsville Central School District (N.Y.).
Seth Annabel is a software development manager for GHX in Louisville, Colo. Cara McKay Barnwell is a registered nurse at Sound Shore Medical Center in New York. Debra Burnett is an assistant professor at Kansas State University. Brian Davis is a corrections officer for the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Denise DeAngelo is a speech pathologist for Mt. Sinai Hospital in Astoria, N.Y. Kristen Palmer Driskill is an English language arts instructional supervisor for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Rochester, N.Y. Daniel Farr is a
visiting assistant professor of sociology at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va. and recently accompanied a student trip to China. Julie FitzGerald is a psychologist for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit no. 22 in Doylestown, Pa. David Hamond is a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in New York City. Max Heller is a chiropractic doctor and co-owner of Syosset Health and Wellness Center (N.Y.). Kevin Henry is an assistant principal for the Manchester School District (N.H.). Kristina Choffin Henry is an assistant principal for the Brookline School District (N.H.). Lori Lehmann is a special education teacher at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls in New York. Reema Marji has received the Teachers Network Metlife Fellowship for the third year, which allows her to work on educational policy reform. Shannon McCall is the assistant
Scene around the world Are you packing to cruise the Nile or adventure in the Amazon? Rediscovering America on a drive? Reuniting with a Geneseo friend or seeing the sights in a new place? Take a photo of yourself with the Scene on vacation, business or other trips and submit them for our n ew feature. Include your T-shirt size; we’ll send a Geneseo shirt in thanks if we use your image. Send your images to email@example.com with a subject line of “Scene Around the World.”
Above, Tom House ’82, right, brought a bit of Geneseo to the Crow Fair on the Crow Reservation in Montana. House is now a lecturer in Communicative Disorders and Sciences at Geneseo. He’s with his friend, Rich Williams, of Maine. At left, Lee Perkins McGuigan ’85, of Berrville, Va., took her Scene on a family mission trip with their church to Alaska and took a photo at the Portage Glacier.
field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Salt Lake City. Patrick McCauley is a psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Maulid Miskell is a program director for the Department of Regulatory Agencies in Denver. Jennie Herbert Raby is a selfemployed IT consultant in Poland, Maine. Rachel Liptak Schoenthal is a clinical technologist for the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Natalie Gleason Tulley is a merchants specialist for Whitney Education Group in Cape Coral, Fla. Elizabeth Whipple is an audit manager for Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester, N.Y.
2000 Celebrating their 10th reunion July 9 and 10, 2010. Jeffrey Klus is the lead mathematics teacher at Fairport High
Send your class note or notice to
firstname.lastname@example.org. School in Fairport, N.Y. Daniel Pasquarelli is associate manager of auto claims for Travelers Insurance in Charlotte, N.C. Joshua Stoeckl is a teacher for the Clarksville-Montgomery School District in Tennessee.
Melissa Feder is a revenue cycle manager at Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C. Sean Johnston is a radiology resident physician at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans.
Jessica Blum is a government and foundation relations manager for Devereux in Villanova, Pa. Anna Borshchevskaya is a research
assistant for the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Kelly Crane is a coordinator for Schenectady Community Action Program in New York. Michael D’Ambrogio is a police officer for the New York Police Department. Andrew Greenspan is a senior administrative manager at HSBC Bank in Washington, D.C. Rebecca Graham Honan is an accounting manager for Genesee & Wyoming Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. Deborah Kim-Lu is a business support analyst for the Federal Reserve of New York in New York City. Elizabeth Miele is a preschool speech and language supervisor for the Hawthorne Foundation Inc. in New York. Ralph Minervino Jr. is the education services manager for the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. Justin
Pinchback is a consultant for Bain & Co. in Boston. Justin Rymanowski is in his third year of neurology residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Robyn Smith works for the Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C.
Lindsay Kurek Clayton earned her doctorate in audiology in May 2007 and now works for the Syracuse VA Medical Center. Kevin Fryling is a freelance writer. Katrina Szozda Keith is a special education teacher for Cohoes City School District (N.Y.). Justin Madden is an account manager for Niche Media in New York City. Hayley Kleitz Nelson is a doctoral candidate at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. Te resa Culligan Po l l o c k is a realtor for the Greater Raleigh Realty Team and a math
At right, Lindsay Ann Kurek-Clayton ’03, of Liverpool, N.Y., on her honeymoon at Hanalei Bay in Kauai, Hawaii. Below, Diane Nadeau Massura ’71 hiked seven miles with her husband, Jim, for a great view of the Great Smoky Mountains from on high, with the Scene tucked in her backpack. She snapped this photo on top of 6,555-foot Mt. Le Conte.
Above, Fran Gardner Cendrowski ’82 brought her Scene to Washington, D.C. where she attended a summit to End Homelessness among Veterans.
CLASS NOTES teacher for Wake County Public Schools in Raleigh, N.C. Michael Sheehan is the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of WisconsinMadison. Lolita Simmons is a physician assistant for Premier Orthopedics in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Nicole Santariello Allen is a read-
ing teacher for the Fairport Central School District in (N.Y.) Daniella Aloof is a teacher for Spotsylvania County Schools (Va.). Adam Belle-Isle is a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual in Fairport, N.Y. M e l i ss a Co m m i sso is a graduate student in the department of physics at the University of Virginia. Allison Gaudy is a gradu-
ate student at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Michael Glenn is the chief operations analysis officer for Mantria Corporation. Julie Grandstaff is an event planner for YES Network in New York City. Caitlin Halladay Hawks is a compliance analyst for Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc. in Fairport, N.Y. Drew Kaufmann is a middle school social studies teacher for New Generation International Schools in Cairo, Egypt. Stephanie Roberts is an information literacy specialist for the Ilion Central School District (N.Y.). Aneeta Vidyarthi Shepardson is a teacher for the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District (N.Y.).
2005 Celebrating their 5th reunion July 9 and 10, 201 0. Andrew Conley is a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in
Rochester, N.Y. Matthew Cruz is a financial consultant for DSL Financial Services in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Jennifer Fisher was recently tenured as a consultant teacher for Falconer Central Schools (N.Y.). Sean Gavin is the assistant to the chief of staff for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Washington D.C. Miriam Rathbone Murray is the coordinator of young alumni and student programs at the State University of New York at Oneonta. Jennie Owens is a guidance counselor at Groton High School in Groton, N.Y. Rachel Pagliocca is a legislative assistant for Congressman John Hall in Washington, D.C. Brandy Rinck is a geo-archaeologist for Northwest Archaeological Associates. Jane Rowlands is a career services representative for Bryant & Stratton College in Rochester, N.Y. Rebecca Weller is a cost accountant for Saint Gobain in Granville, N.Y. Celeste Young is an art teacher at Albany Community Charter School (N.Y.).
Sarah Aumick is a school counselor for Charter HS for Applied Technologies in Buffalo, N.Y. Danielle Drogi is a second-grade teacher for the NiagaraWheatfield Central School District (N.Y.). Mila Kundu is a master of science candidate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Preeti Prasad is a client associate at Greenwich Associates in Stamford, Conn. Jennifer Burningham Zopp is a science teacher at Bronxville Union Free School District (N.Y.).
Kelly Beach is an operations manager at PharmaSmart in Rochester, N.Y. Michelle Humble English received her master of arts degree in English and publishing from Rosemont College in May 2009. Jamie Fragnito is a grant writer for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee in Albion, N.Y. Robert Kane is the director of
banquets for Red & White Catering in Binghamton, N.Y. Elizabeth Lamme is a public policy associate for the National Academy of Social Insurance in Washington, D.C. Kaitlyn Lucia works in investor relations at King Street Capital Management in New York City. William Martusewicz is the assistant controller for Toshiba Business Solutions NY/MI in Rochester, N.Y. Jenna Nigro is an assistant at KPMG LLP in New York City. Michelle Sang is a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. Erica Truncale is a development assistant for Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass. Jordan Van Brink is a film publicist for 42West in New York City. Amy Williams is a special education teacher at Newfield Elementary School (N.Y.). Sarah Williams is a specialist in the customer order process for Paetec in Fairport, N.Y.
Meghan Ganey is a first-grade teacher for Auburn Enlarged City School District in N.Y. Sarah Giermek is a teacher for the Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas. Kevin Jezorek is the supervisor of manufacturing for Byram Laboratories. Daniel Longhurst was teaching English in Normandy, France, for one year and is now in a masterâ€™s program for education at Union Graduate College. Katie Oâ€™Hea is an account executive for Incisive Media in New York City. Timothy Picciott is a financial advisor for Waddell & Reed, Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. Sarah Pursel is a primary varying exceptionalities teacher for Hillsborough County School District (Fla.). Catherine Smura is a teacher for the PalmyraMacedon Central School District (N.Y.).
Renzo Castro is an intern for New York state Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in Garden City, N.Y. Julie Dioguardi is a third-grade
teacher for Batavia City Schools (N.Y.) Daniel McConvey is an AmeriCorps VISTA recruiter for Generations Inc. in Boston. Sarah McDonald is participating in the Teach for America program and was recently hired as a middle school science teacher in the Greenburgh-Graham School District in Hastings, N.Y. Jordan Mentry is an agency sales representative for Colonial Voluntary Benefits in Watertown, N.Y. Tiffany Palmer is a community research coordinator for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Nicole Postell is a promotions assistant for the Stephens Media Group in Rochester, N.Y. Nicole Shattuck is a sales associate for CGI Communications, Inc. Angela Stewart is a graduate research assistant at SUNY Geneseo. Maegen Williams is a recruiter for c1search in Rochester, N.Y.
Robert Clow ’79 & Donna
Bonaparte Clow, Aug. 8, 2009. Emily McRobbie ’90 & Eric Pepin, Sept. 12, 2009. Brian Coyne ’93 & Sandra Burgess, July 14, 2009. Christine DiCosola Harras ’95
& Joseph Harras, July 24, 2009. Danielle Langton Ellingston ’97 & Damon Ellingston, Sept.
21, 2008. Tina Kuenzi McPherson ’97 &
Chad McPherson, Aug. 8, 2008. Carrie Knittel Rabasa ’97 & Carter Rabasa, April 25, 2009. Kevin Henry ’99 & Kristina Choffin ’99, July 16, 2005. Gail Lovette Racine ’00 & Joseph Racine, July 4, 2009. Bradley Storz ’00 & Christine Melhaff ’00, May 2, 2009. Erin Barry Lam ’01 & Joseph Lam ’01, July 6, 2008. Robin Sachner Goldstein ’02 & Seth Goldstein, July 18, 2009. Gerhard Grosnick ’02 & Heather Bost ’02, July 24, 2009. Jennifer Rheinheimer Rymanowski ’02 & Justin Rymanowski ’02, June 27, 2009. Megan Carlucci Zarchy ’02 &
Scott Zarchy, July 11, 2009. Seth Art ’03 & Emily Wilson ’03, Aug. 29, 2009.
Lindsay Kurek Clayton ’03 & Christopher Clayton, May 30, 2009. Hayley Kleitz Nelson ’03 & Thomas Nelson, Sept. 5, 2009. Kelly Brown Redmond ’03 & Nicholas Redmond, June 20, 2009. Elizabeth Tertinek ’03 & J.P. Midgley, Sept. 12, 2009. Carrie Cain ’04 & Joseph Cecere ’04, June 27, 2009. Heather Mitchell Oviedo ’04 & Enrique Oviedo, Aug. 1, 2008. Rebecca Margolis Sellmeyer ’05 & John Sellmeyer, July 11,
2009. Meagan Santini Kinsella ’06 & Brian Kinsella ’06, Aug. 22, 2009. Matthew Marshall ’06 & Lauren
Smith, May 30, 2009. Ashley Wilson Wiese ’06 & Michael Wiese ’06, Sept. 26,
2009. Michelle Humble English ’07 &
Justin English, Aug. 2, 2009. Nina Filletti ’07 & Mark Ranieri ’06, July 25, 2009. David Morris ’07 & Sarah Morris ’07, Aug. 15, 2009. Neil Campbell ’08 & Helen Stefanovic, May 31, 2008.
Stephanie Norton ’87 & Michael, Jack Norton, Oct. 16, 2007, and Kiera Louise, June 15, 2009. Erin Gilmore Lehmann ’93 & Frederik, Edward Gilmore, Aug. 27, 2009. Sarah Dutton Hambleton ’94 & Neal, Flint Andrew, May 17, 2009. Kristin Gray Simora ’94 & Robert, Natalie Helen, March 19, 2009. Dana Champlin Barnes ’95 & Michael, Jacob Weston, Jan. 7, 2008, and Kaden Michael, April 24, 2009. Rosanne Vallone Johengen ’95
Madeline Anne, March 13, 2008. Maureen Ford Chorma ’98 & Tim Chorma, Andrew James, Oct. 1, 2009. Marc Jacob ’98 & Debra, Asher, January 2007 and Noah, March 2009. Amy Zakrzewski Tulowiecki ’98 & Thomas, Leah Grace,
April 14, 2009. April Wood-Brustle ’98 & Kevin, Joshua and Micah, May 11, 2009. Kristen Palmer Driskill ’99 & Jamie, Abigail Marie, Feb. 18, 2009. Matthew Ebbecke ’99 & Amanda, Sarah Grace, June 12, 2008. Kristina Henry ’99 & Kevin ’99, Elizabeth Katherine, May 20, 2006, and Alison Marie, April 20, 2008. Robin Russo Malafeew ’99 & Brett, Jack Thomas, Aug. 26, 2009. Courtney Adams McLaughlin ’99 & Andrew, Meaghan Ann,
April 22, 2009. Melisa Denny Meyer ’99 & Todd, Morgan Elizabeth, June 14, 2009. Lauren Crescenzo DeGasperis ’00 & Philip, Andrew Philip,
Dec. 31, 2008. Anne DeOlde ’99 & Ryan ’00,
Katarina Anne, May 22, 2009. Meredith Keiser Klus ’00 & Jeffrey Klus ’00, Colin Zachary, Dec. 8, 2008. Erin Barry ’01 & Joseph Lam ’01, Jacob William, April 14, 2009. Ralph Minervino Jr. ’02 & Leah, Pearl Kathryn, July 21, 2009. Kathleen Inclima ’03 & Nick Kovall ’04, Nicholas Richard, Sept. 8, 2009.
In Memoriam ALUMNI Leigh Gridley Brundage ’33,
Mark your calendar! Summer Reunion 2010 July 9-10 Come home to Geneseo !
Anil Sharda ’76, Nov. 15, 2008. Kirby Brown ’93, Oct. 8, 2009.
FACULTY Bertha V.B. Lederer, distinguished service professor emerita, died Oct. 6, 2009. She was 97. She taught at Geneseo from 1945 to 1980 and was chair of the divison of fine arts. The Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in the School of the Arts bears her name. Robert Roecker, professor emeritus of biology, died Jan. 7, 2010. He joined Geneseo in 1962 and was caretaker and supervisor of the biology vivarium animal collection from 1965 to his retirement in 1983.
& Chris, Cooper, May 12, 2009. Christine Labeste ’96 & Marc Lambrechts, Alexandra Olivia, Feb. 22, 2008.
July 29, 2009.
Danielle Langton Ellingston ’97 & Damon, Paige Odette,
May 7, 2009.
Feb. 8, 2009.
March 7, 2009.
Lana Allen McClurg ’71,
Rev. Michael Mahler, former longtime chaplain at the Geneseo Interfaith Center, Inc., died June 29, 2009.
Lisa Rand Flynn ’97 & David Flynn ’95, Henry David, Feb.
26, 2009. Kathryn Carpenter Caraher ’98
& Howard, Kyle Joseph and
Leola Young Mustari ’47,
Oct. 10, 2009. Deanne Clancy Callan ’60, Pamela Schum Cooper ’69,
April 21, 2009. Glen McIntyre ’71,
Aug. 31, 2009. Susan Foote ’74, Sept. 29, 2009.
Baseball diamonds Club team players re l i ve precious days By Kris Dreessen Above: center, Mudcats Rookie Robert Siciliano ’13 meets Dr. John Keene ’98 on the field.
Visit go.geneseo.edu/ alumsport to see more alumni sports photos.
he first organization Justin Swackhamer ’05 joined at Geneseo was the baseball club. At the time, he was having trouble adjusting. He wasn’t fitting in. He wanted to go home and attend community college. “I joined the club baseball team and everything changed,” says Justin. “They were like big brothers. I could count on them and they gave me encouragement. It was a team. That’s what I needed.” His involvement with the Mudcats made all the difference, he says, in turning around his college experience and finishing his biology degree. Last September, he again suited up in Mudcat blue to smash line drives and play the field with current and former ball players. For three years, Mudcats alumni have organized a reunion game versus current Geneseo baseball club members. The club plays other colleges in the region and is now
part of the National Collegiate Club Baseball Association. Every Mudcat since the team’s inception in the early 1980s is invited to the reunion. Attending this year were 16 alums who graduated between 1994 and 2009. Several, like organizer Dr. John Keene ’98, gripped the steering wheel, b l e a ry-eyed at 5 a.m. to drive from Long Island. Others came from Westchester, N.Y., Washington, D.C. and Delaware. Justin flew in from Denver to relive the team spirit. “It was all about the good times we had at Geneseo,” says John, a three-year member and 1997-1998 captain. “It was more than just playing ball. Your teammates ended up being your best friends.” They spent more time together off the field than on. John remembers the proud initiation rite, when older players rounded up the newbies for a game. Instead of opponents, they found a surprise — uniforms. “We’d parade every o n e
around town to show everyone who we were and introduce new members,” recalls John. On the diamond each September, Mudcats experience a time warp. “We sat in the dugout looking at each other,” says John, “and it’s like time hadn’t passed. It just seems like yesterday that we were having the time our life. Myself, and most of the guys, would say that our times at Geneseo were some of the best times of our lives. It’s nice even for a couple of hours to go back and have that feeling again.” Mudcats captain Dan Nagorski ’10 always looks forward to the alumni game — which is also the season opener — so he can play ball with former teammates and those who came before them. He looks forward to returning after he’s graduated, too. John and Justin will probably be at the dugout to welcome him. “I bled blue for four years,” says Justin. “I still do.”
B ASEBALL PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE CUSANO ’10; FILMSTRIP PHOTO: BIGSTO C K P H OTO; PHOTO ILLU ST R ATION: CAROLE VOLPE ’91
Making a Global Impact iscovery is nothing new to the island of San Salvador. Part of the Bahamas, the tiny isle claims to be the first place that Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. For Geneseo biology major Kun Ma ’10, traveling to this paradise allowed for her own personal and academic discovery. In late December, Kun spent more than two weeks there diving in and exploring the waters while studying marine biodiversity and conservation. “This study abroad program was the best opportunity,” says Kun, providing her with hands-on research experience and face-to-face encounters with species and habitats many students only read about. Kun’s trip is part of her journey at Geneseo toward her dream of being a conservation biologist. An international student from a small village in Inner Mongolia, Kun came to Geneseo after earning a bachelor’s
degree in business management in China. A recipient of the Mary Robinson-Slabey ’64 Endowed Scholarship for International Students, Kun says her experience in the Bahamas would not have been possible without the generosity of Mary, an alumna who is passionate about supporting international students. Mary’s scholarship is also helping Vishal Rajput ’12, of Mumbai, India, pursue a career in international business. As a member of the Peace Corps, Mary traveled to St. Lucia in the late ’60s to assist schools with curriculum development. Rather than being disappointed with large class sizes and a lack of textbooks, Slabey was inspired by the drive and intellect of the people of St. Lucia. “People in the community were very interested in what was going on in the world,” she says. “Even though they were poor and may not have received advanced education, they were very aware.”
Above, Mary Robinson-Slabey ’64 created an endowed scholarship to provide opportunity for international students, such as Vishal Rajput ’12, of India, and Kun Ma ’10, of Mongolia, to attend Geneseo.
Slabey later earned a maste r’s degree and doctorate, but never forgot the lessons she learned in St. Lucia. Now retired from a professorship at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, Mary supports international students who come to Geneseo to continue their educations. For Mary, supporting Geneseo is about much more than simply writing a check. I t’s about connections, and making the world a bit smaller. “The international students are very appreciative. They are always thanking me,” she explains. “There is no sense at all that they take this for granted.” Kun Ma would agree. Make a difference ... Visit giveto.geneseo.edu
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PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN
Associate Professor George Briggs, a 23-year faculty member and chair of the biology department, enjoys a fresh snowfall and solitude along trails in the Spencer J. Roemer Arboretum. Director of Admissions Emeritus Spencer J. Roemer donated the 20 acres to encourage students and the Geneseo community to understand, enjoy and preserve the natural world.
Encompassing a variety of voices, the Scene tells the Geneseo story in a compelling manner to engage readers and inspire alumni, parents and...
Published on Feb 8, 2010
Encompassing a variety of voices, the Scene tells the Geneseo story in a compelling manner to engage readers and inspire alumni, parents and...