Alfred State celebrated the achievements of hundreds of students during the 33rd annual Honors Convocation, with Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost, presiding over the event, and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Physics Lawrence E. Burns serving as grand marshal. view photos
The Alfred State Concert Band played the academic processional to open the ceremony, which was followed by the singing of the national anthem by the Alfred State Men’s Quartet. Daniel Huff and Gonio Miller of the Lehman Dar Dowdy Living Cultural Center, Seneca Nation gave the invocation.
Following the welcome by President Dr. Skip Sullivan and the provost’s remarks, Deans Awards for Academic Excellence were presented by the deans of the three schools, Jeffrey Stevens (interim dean, School of Applied Technology), Dr. John Williams (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology), and Dr. Robert Curry (School of Arts and Sciences). The recipients of the awards were Hannah Schaus, culinary arts: baking, production and management, Arcade; Nia Seward, digital media and animation, Newark Valley; and Jenii Statt, nursing, Andover. The deans later handed out the Student Awards for Excellence.
Receiving the Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence was Brandon Bryniarski, electrical engineering technology, Springville. Gregory Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, recognized Robert Mahany, construction management, Orchard Park; and Mary Rose Ricotta, forensic science technology, Derby, as the Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence recipients.
Patricia K. Fogarty, chair of the College Council, presented the Leadership through Civic Engagement Award to Holly Fiore, architectural technology, Niagara Falls; Katherine Holmok, business administration, Prattsville; and Kara Johnson, digital media and animation, Bergen. Holmok also received the Newman Civic Fellows Award from Fogarty.
Sullivan presented the Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards to 1975 graduate Dale Stell (landscape development), 1966 graduate Thomas Ward (accounting), and Steven Elwell (financial planning).
The Seneca Nation’s Huff and Miller gave the benediction, and the Alfred State Concert Band played the academic recessional to close out the ceremony.
Two dozen students, faculty, and staff were recently recognized for their contributions to Alfred State over the past year during the annual award showcase known as the STUEYs.
The event was hugely successful, with a large turnout from the Alfred State community. This year, there were a total of 24 award recipients who were selected for initiatives surrounding civic engagement, culturally inclusive programs, performing arts, Greek life, student engagement, and more.
Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan provided the opening remarks for the event, expressing how fortunate he was to be the head of such an outstanding institution where students and staff are so devoted and dedicated in their pursuits. Shortly after, as department representatives called their award winners to the stage, Sullivan and Vice President for Student Affairs Greg Sammons handed out awards to recipients.
The ceremony also featured four student acts spread intermittently throughout night. Abigail Campbell (construction management, Geneseo) sang a breathtaking a cappella rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables.” Musician friends, Torin Rockwell (mechanical engineering technology, Elmira) and Spencer Mosier (mechanical engineering technology, Wellsburg) gave a splendid performance of “Wagon Wheel,” featuring a banjo and guitar.
The Latin American Dance Team (LASO) provided a stunning dance number, and Alfred State’s flow arts and performance group, Cirklarna, closed the night with a spectacular lights show. Instrumental Music, led by Jerry Ives, also played several beautiful pieces throughout the show.
Sammons wrapped up the awards showcase by providing the closing remarks. He noted that the nominees and award recipients who were recognized that evening would go out to be true leaders and “difference makers” in their communities and workplaces after graduating from Alfred State.
Members of the Alfred State Honors Program recently enjoyed a rare sunny afternoon at the Wellsville campus by examining the college’s fleet of hybrid and electric automobiles.
The cars, purchased with money from grants earned by faculty and students, are used to train technicians to service these still somewhat unique vehicles. Several graduating seniors in the program explained the intricacies and risks faced when servicing electric cars. Note to “shade tree” mechanics: those orange wires mean “very high voltage!”
Honors Program members then took turns driving the cars around Wellsville. Everyone got a bonus when several classic cars arrived, driven by local members of the Chemung Valley Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Especially impressive was a beautifully restored 1953 Chevy two-door hardtop owned by Jerry Perry, of Andover.
In keeping with an annual tradition that has spanned decades, Alfred State nursing graduates took part in a pinning ceremony just days prior to the college’s 106th commencement exercises.
The event recognizes the years of study and hard work graduating nursing students have invested in preparation for their chosen career. Following in the footsteps of the many who came before, the graduates received their pins, lit their Florence Nightingale candles, and took The Nightingale Pledge, vowing to devote themselves to the welfare of those committed to their care.
But this year, there was something extra special about the ceremony and the graduating nursing class: they both commemorated the 50th anniversary of the college’s first nursing program.
“These graduates here on stage have worked extra hard this year because we have pressured them by reiterating the 50th graduating class of Alfred State’s nursing program,” Nursing Department Chair Linda Panter said during the ceremony. “That is a lot of pressure for these students because every day they were reminded of the 50th, so I congratulate you all.”
Also speaking at the ceremony was Jean Gonska, assistant professor, who mentioned that the students have one more hurdle to overcome: the exam that allows them to become registered nurses. She urged the students to be the first class to have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the exam the first time around.
“Wouldn’t that be cool? Our 50th class, 100 percent,” Gonska said. “You’ve got this. No pressure.”
The night prior to the ceremony, a 50th anniversary dinner was held at the Lake Lodge in Alfred Station, as nursing students, alumni, and past and present faculty and staff all gathered together to celebrate the first Alfred State nursing program’s golden anniversary. It was a time for those present to reflect, share memories, swap stories, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow nursing grads. State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, also honored the milestone with a resolution, which will be on display in the hallway outside the nursing offices in the Physical and Health Sciences Building.
Another way in which the anniversary will be permanently honored is through the graduating class’ donation of a commemorative brick that is to be placed in the Alfred Alumni Plaza on the Alfred campus. The brick reads “50th anniversary nursing class 2017.”
Alfred University third-year engineering student Matthew Finley has some big plans for a tiny house project, one that would involve partnering with Alfred State building trades students to see it come to fruition.
As part of their senior design project, Finley and 11 other engineering students at Alfred University have come up with a prototype design for the construction of a tiny house –a modern, energy-efficient structure generally occupying less than 500 square feet of floor space. Emphasizing a focus on green energy, some key features of the house include a solar array and battery bank system, a composting toilet, a rainwater collection and filtration system, and a garden affixed to the exterior. The home would be built on a special trailer chassis for mobility.
Having been aware of the partnership between the two colleges on the most recent Solar Decathlon home, the group of engineering students sought assistance from Alfred State students with the physical construction of the tiny house.
“Alfred State did such a great job on the Solar Decathlon house that it prompted us to reach out,” Finley said. “We also feel that building a tiny house is a unique opportunity for the students, as it is a chance to build in a new and exciting house market.”
Speaking to the real-world experience that Pioneers receive, Jack Jones, chair of Alfred State’s Building Trades Department, noted that Alfred State's building trades students construct a site-built house each year as part of their regular curriculum.
“If the tiny house project receives the necessary funding and a practical timeline can be established, the project will be a good supplement for our students' education,” Jones said. “These homes are getting a lot of attention right now. If built, this house will give our students a great opportunity to see how important it is to design and build for efficient use of space.”
The intended partnership between the two schools would involve Alfred State students constructing the majority of the house, Finley said, while AU students implement the engineering design aspects. So far, Finley said, AU students have designed the house and written the bulk of the proposal.
“A lot of research has been done in the way of materials, logistics, sizing different engineering aspects, and finding funding,” he said. “We have also done a lot of work in figuring out the process by which the house will be built, including what exact materials are needed and how they will go together.”
Finley had originally conceived the idea for the tiny house during his freshman year when he began thinking about living “off the grid.”
“I was attracted to the minimalistic eco-friendly concept,” he said. “However, this took a back seat as schoolwork intensified. Later toward the end of my sophomore year, I started to revisit the concept, and had thoughts of building an off-grid tiny house. I had mentioned it to some of my fellow students and friends who all thought the idea was awesome.”
Finley hopes to have his design come to fruition as a construction project for Alfred State students by the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, and to be completed by the end of the next school year. He said he is thrilled about the possibility of the two colleges working together.
“I think that both student bodies carry brilliant talents and skills into this project,” he said. “Bringing this to the table as a partnership will yield something special.”