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Doug Barber '66
2006 Distinguished Alumnus
From an early age, Doug Barber, '66, (construction technology) the 2006 Alfred State College Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, knew what he wanted to do with his life: he wanted to build. And he has. He laid the foundation of both his professional and personal life at Alfred State College where he earned his associate's degree, served as a faculty member and as dean. He helped raise the construction programs to their TAC/ABET-accredited status, many in both two- and four-year formats, while at the same time developing a construction company of his own that helped build the village of Alfred. He capped this life with volunteer work to give back to the institution that had given him so much.
Most of all, Doug helped build lives-the lives of the students he touched, not only through his teaching, but also through his work on the Educational Foundation which provides scholarships to ASC students across the curricular spectrum.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is designed to honor those graduates who have not only succeeded in their chosen careers, but those who have also succeeded as human beings...contributing to their communities as well as enjoying pleasurable pursuits for their own personal fulfillment and growth. A closer look at Doug will reveal why he is an ideal choice to be the 2006 recipient.
Doug, a native of Briarcliff Manor in Westchester County (NY), enjoyed the summers he spent working construction. At the urging of a school guidance counselor, Doug investigated several two-year construction programs: Wentworth Institute in Boston, SUNY Delhi, and Alfred State College. Not only did ASC offer what Doug was searching for academically, but the people he met, both on and off campus, cinched the deal! From that point forward, Doug's future became inextricably entwined with Alfred's for the next 38 years.
After his graduation, Doug accepted a position at R.E. Hebert and Co., asbestos installers in Rochester. After a year there, Doug was returning home to work for Tuff-Top Asphalt to build custom-surfaced tennis courts and driveways, a job he'd held throughout his college career, when Al Nudd, ASC Civil Technology Department chair, asked him if he'd be interested in a one-year lab assistant position. It took Doug all of a heartbeat to agree. The position was renewed, and when Doug returned for his second year, he met a tall slender brunette in a yellow miniskirt working in the campus bookstore. Doug and Kay's (Carter) fate changed that day.
Doug's lab assistant position was renewed for three years when Dean Gary Frasier informed him that he'd need a bachelor's degree to continue teaching. So Doug made Kay an offer she couldn't refuse (marriage) and they moved to Kenmore while Doug completed his courses at Buff State in industrial management, where he graduated cum laude.
The Barbers returned to Alfred State for a couple of years until, again, Frasier approached Doug and advised him to earn a master's degree. So, with the blessing of his colleagues who generously covered his classes for eight weeks at the end of spring semester, Doug, accompanied by Kay and daughter Krista, headed to the University of Florida at Gainesville, where he earned a master's degree in construction management. He was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society that draws its members from all academic disciplines within colleges and universities.
His return to Alfred cemented his place in ASC and Village of Alfred history. During his tenure at Alfred State, Doug moved through the ranks from technical assistant to associate professor, and served stints as assistant vice president for academic affairs as well as dean of the School of Management and Engineering Technology. As dean, Doug provided leadership for curriculum and faculty development, assisting department chairs and faculty in starting eight new baccalaureate programs and two associate degree programs, increasing enrollment by 525 students.
In 1981, Doug was honored by the ASC Alumni Association when they named him "Teacher of the Year" in his school.
Doug says that his ASC degree "provided both breadth and depth of information" in his discipline. The program at that time (before the School of Applied Technology was born) provided more hands-on experience then, as well as a smattering of engineering techniques, problem solving, surveying, structural analysis, a peek into new areas in construction, and experience with the commercial side of building construction. The curriculum gave him basic experiences in manual skills, so when he began building houses on his own, he had the confidence to do it.
But there was a synergy there as well: when he returned to the classroom, he could incorporate his real-world experiences into his lessons.
Doug's dedication to the construction and technology education fields was manifest in several ways. He served as a member of an evaluation team for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); he was inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau, the NYS Technology Education Association; he participated in ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conferences as both a panel member and moderator; and was active in the Rochester Construction Specifications Institute, where he received several awards for his commitment to knitting academics with the construction industry. He was also a key player in the inception and development of the baccalaureate-level construction management degree at the College.
Doug served as consultant and coordinator for an ASC/FEPADE contract to rebuild the curriculum and administrative systems for Institute of Technology of Central American (ITCA) in El Salvador. The relationships he helped build there are still intact today.
Within all his roles, Doug cultivated relationships with area and regional businesses and alumni, resulting in donations of lab equipment, scholarships, and a van for field trips.
From 1991 to 2005, Doug served on the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., [a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State College dedicated to improving the ASC community through the support of educational programs; and providing monetary support to enhance learning opportunities for students through scholarships, work grants, and academic club activities. The Educational Foundation owns and maintains the Applied Technology campus in Wellsville.]
During his tenure as president of the Ed Foundation from 1992-2002, an operations manual of policies and procedures was completed and updated annually, the chart of account was redefined, and a reserve fund was established and grew to $1 million. He was instrumental in creating the Meservey Hill subdivision to support the building construction curriculums of the Wellsville Campus. He advocated gender and career balance on the EF board of directors.
In addition, Doug has donated three building lots to the Ed Foundation for the Wellsville building construction students to build new homes and improve the housing stock available to incoming faculty at ASC.
His expertise as a contractor was also a handy asset when Doug became involved in the Crandall Hook and Ladder volunteer fire department in Alfred (He served actively for 20 years, as chief for four; he is still a life member).
"I liked the challenge of firefighting," Doug recalls. "It was adventurous and demanding-physically and mentally. I was an interior attack guy, and it was helpful that I understood the structure of buildings to better fight the fires," he notes.
Doug also spent 15 years on the Alfred 21st Century Group Board of Directors, a not-for-profit community development corporation dedicated to planning and developing the Village using private and grant funds and a generous amount of volunteer labor. He served as a consultant for residential rehabilitation projects and was project superintendent for the downtown sidewalk and lamp post project.
Taken individually, each of Doug's career moves and avocations reveal a love of what he does, but combined, the sum total of his activities paints a picture of a man who always worked for the betterment of his environment-for his students, his colleagues, and his home.
"Alfred State College has been an integral part of my life since I was 18 years old. It allowed me to build a wonderful life with my wife Kay and our two kids (Krista and Kevin--his family has grown to include a son-in-law and two grandsons), and to be able to spend my retirement traveling to visit my family in far-flung parts of the globe and settle in Bradenton, FL. I am grateful for all that Alfred State College has given me, and believe in ‘giving back' to the community where we work and live."
Doug, who returns to Alfred often, was the guest of honor as he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award at ASC's Pioneer Dinner in the fall of 2007.