Alfred State is once again ramping up for its annual Homecoming and Family Weekend festivities, set to take place from Oct. 12-14 this year.
The first night, Thursday, will feature the annual Blue and Gold dinner from 4-6:30 p.m. in the Terrace Dining Hall, featuring music, giveaways, and prizes, followed by a dodgeball game between students and faculty/staff members at 8 p.m. in the Orvis Activities Center Gymnasium.
Plenty of excitement is planned for “Fun Friday,” including the seventh annual Carly’s Club Race for a Cure 5K Run/Walk, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium. The $15 fee goes to Roswell Park Cancer Institute for pediatric cancer research, and the first 75 participants get a free T-shirt.
Also on Friday will be the spirit rally and bonfire at 7 p.m. in the Pioneer Stadium parking lot, followed by the fireworks display near the Orvis Activities Center at 8:30 p.m. The popular Alfred’s Got Talent show will round out the night at 9:30 p.m. at the Cappadonia Auditorium in the Orvis Activities Center, as students, faculty, staff, and alumni put their talents on display.
On Saturday, the Alfred State community is invited to come out and support the Pioneers as they take on the Gallaudet Bison at 1 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium. Preceding the big game will be a chicken barbeque and tailgate as well as a Greek chili cook-off and a car show beginning at 11 a.m. Alumni, friends, and family members age 21 and older can enjoy a cocktail while watching the game from the End Zone Party inside the “alumni tent” located inside the stadium.
A family-friendly event will cap off Saturday’s festivities, as the “Magician for Non-Believers,” Peter Boie, will perform at 8 p.m. in the Cappadonia Auditorium, Orvis Activities Center. Boie’s hilarious show is sure to leave audiences laughing and astonished. Magic may not be real, but he’ll have you believing in it.
Colleen Argentieri, director of Alumni Relations and co-chair of the Homecoming/Family Weekend Committee, said, “We are again looking forward to welcoming back our amazing alumni, as well as many of the students’ families. The variety of events scheduled will provide lots of fun and excitement, and will add to the memories and good times at Alfred State.
Opened in 2008, Pioneer Stadium has been the home of Alfred State football, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field for nearly a decade. The college celebrated the opening of the newest addition to facility on Friday with a ribbon cutting.
The process to build a locker room facility started in 2014 when the college received state funding from State Senator Catharine Young. Design of the project started in July of 2015 and construction started just under a year ago. Gretchen Persbacker was the state university construction fund project coordinator and Le Chase Construction was the general contractor.
"This new facility enhances the culture of the campus and adds to the value of our athletic department", commented Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan during the ribbon cutting.
The facility features three locker room spaces. The largest space has over 100 lockers, showers, restrooms, and a laundry room while on the other side of the building there are a pair of identical locker rooms with 30 lockers, showers, and restrooms. The space also has a athletic training room facility situated in between the locker rooms.
"Like so many of the ambitious capital projects we've announced and celebrated at Alfred State College in recent years, the new Pioneer Stadium locker room facilities are another step forward for a college that is firmly focused on the future," said State Senator Catharine Young (R-C-I, 57th District). "I am pleased that I have been able to support many of Alfred State's efforts to expand and enhance its facilities and programming - including its athletics programs - all towards the goal of offering greater opportunities to students."
Director of Athletics Jason Doviak knows the importance of the new locker rooms. "The addition of this facility exemplifies our commitment to our NCAA Division III pursuit along with our dedication to provide our student-athletes with an outstanding athletic experience."
Owen Davis, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee President and a junior linebacker on the football team, is excited for the opening of the new facility. "This locker room complex will give a home to my team and the other teams that use Pioneer Stadium. The locker rooms will give us a better space to get ready for practices and games and will also help our team bond. We already have started to enjoy the space and look forward to reaping the benefits of this new building."
Pioneer Stadium opened in the Spring 2008. The field turf facility features lights, seating for 2,000 fans, and a fully functioning press box. In the summer of 2009, the facility was named Pioneer Stadium and permanent restrooms, concessions, and storage areas were built.
After a nationwide search, Vice President for Student Affairs Greg Sammons has announced that Alfred State has named Jason Doviak the new athletic director. Doviak, who will begin his new duties this spring, will oversee the day-to-day operations of intercollegiate athletics, physical education, and intramurals.
Sammons was impressed with his meeting with Doviak. "Jason's preparedness and attention to detail were very clear during our national search. His clearly articulated vision for the future of Alfred State athletics is generating excitement for his era to begin as a Pioneer."
College President Dr. Skip Sullivan is excited to welcome Doviak to Alfred State. "We are pleased to bring someone with such great experience and enthusiasm to our Athletic Department as we complete our NCAA journey. Jason brings a culture of winning that is just what we need at this time."
Doviak is ready to get started in his new position. "I am extremely humbled and excited to serve as the next athletic director at Alfred State. The academic programs offered coupled with the 19 varsity sports programs provide the student-athletes with a great recipe for a truly successful Division III experience. I am looking forward to successfully completing the final year of the NCAA provisional membership and ultimately achieving official NCAA Division III status."
Doviak comes to Alfred State after spending the past 12 years at Salem State (MA) University. He started at Salem as the assistant athletic director and worked his way up to associate athletic director, and senior associate director of Athletics and Recreation roles. At Salem, Doviak was in charge of the oversight of athletics including athletic training, sports information, equipment operations, scheduling, and 13 head coaches. He also was in charge of the annual budget development, developing and conducting leadership training sessions for students and coaches, and assessment and end-of-year reporting for the department.
Some of the accomplishments that he was part of at Salem State included:
· Initiated current department branding efforts including design and implementation of new athletic logos.
· Broadened the scope and effectiveness of athletic communications through implementation of a third-part website and added platforms of social media.
· Developed business plan and worked closely in designing the Gassett Fitness Center, a fitness and recreation project of over $15 million.
· Restructured department organizational chart and reallocated primary and secondary duties.
· Developed annual head coach assessment to evaluate the program, staff, and student-athletes.
· Established the Salem State National College Athlete Honor Society.
· Member of the NCAA DIII Baseball National Championship Committee.
· Served as a representative for numerous NCAA postseason contests.
· Served as an assistant baseball (pitching) coach between 2005-2011.
Prior to joining the staff at Salem State, Doviak was the athletics business administrator at the College of St. Rose (Albany, NY). He was responsible for annual budget development and creation for the athletic department including operational budget, restricted funds, and athletic aid. He also managed daily revenue and expense transactions, assisted in oversight of all fundraising activities, and assisted with coordination of department events, including alumni events, Hall of Fame, and a golf tournament.
Doviak also spent time as a marketing communications assistant at Pinnacle Systems Team Sports (Lowell, MA) and performed two internships - assistant director of Athletics intern and sports information director intern - within the Athletic Department at Siena College (Loudonville, NY).
A member of NACDA, Doviak has regularly attended the NCAA Convention and has served on numerous NCAA, MASCAC, and college committees.
Doviak has a Bachelor of Science in sport management from SUNY Cortland and a Master of Business Administration from The College of St. Rose. While at Cortland, Doviak was a member of the baseball team, a SUNYAC All-Academic team member, and a member of the national honor society, Phi Kappa Phi.
Doviak and his wife Leanne are the proud parents of two children, Jordyn and Zachary. "I would like to thank Dr. Skip Sullivan and Greg Sammons along with the search committee for this outstanding opportunity. I am honored to have been selected for this position and eager to begin working with the outstanding coaches, staff, student-athletes, and community members at Alfred State. This is a very exciting time for my family, and we are thrilled to begin this next chapter of our lives as Pioneers."
Two Alfred State faculty and staff members were honored recently with a Leadership through Civic Engagement Award.
The award is presented annually by the College Council to acknowledge students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have led or initiated exemplary academic and/or co-curricular initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to engaging in the community— locally, nationally, or globally — through service, volunteerism, activism, politics, and much more. This year’s recipients were Debra Burch, associate professor in the Culinary Arts Department, and Jason Cronin, senior staff assistant and head baseball coach in the Athletics Department.
Burch has demonstrated leadership by inspiring students, colleagues, and community members to support local disabled veterans. During the fall 2015 semester, Burch arranged for retired US Army Brig. Gen. Arthur Austin Jr. to speak at a Veteran’s Day ceremony. His visit launched a fundraising campaign for the LEEK Hunting and Mountain preserve - an organization that offers programs to wounded and disabled veterans.
Burch mobilized the efforts of 17 baking program students over several days to prepare bread, rolls, doughnuts, and other baked goods for the college sponsored bake sale. Furthermore, she arranged the visit for the Culinary Arts staff and student participants to the LEEK Preserve on Dec. 4 and presented the nearly $3,600 donation received through the bake sale. This campaign raised awareness and funds and exemplifies how college community members utilize their skills and gifts to support a larger cause.
Cronin has developed a culture of civic engagement among the approximately 30 members of his team through example and action. He directs and inspires his team to take part in many local and regional community projects, setting an ambitious goal of 300 community service hours. The team regularly participates in the Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany day of service each fall and has partnered with New York Special Olympics, the Alfred Box of Books Library, the American Red Cross, and the Bath Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The squad assisted Chemung County Habitat for Humanity with construction of the Elmira Habitat home in November 2015. They even took time out of a busy tournament schedule during the 2016 spring break to support the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Alfred State students are riding high in the saddle after advancing to the national finals of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association in Lexington, KY. Among the equestrians’ many accomplishments, Travis Harvey (Alfred Almond) completed the season as the high point western rider of Zone 2, Region 1 and placed in the top 25 among all riders in the national finals. Previously this year, equestrian club members also brought pride to Alfred State when the polo team won 10 out of 12 contests, including two victories over Harvard.
With the continued success of equestrian sports, the college will add western riding to the Athletic Department’s varsity sports starting in the 2017-18 school year. The move further solidifies Alfred State’s support of equestrian competition and creates more chances for students to compete at the highest level in horseback riding.
“By adding western riding as the 19th official varsity sport for the Pioneers, we are recognizing the success of our student athletes and their mentor, Professor Victoria Bolton, who advanced the program to this stage where they are now able to leap to a whole new level,” stated Athletic Director Dr. Kelly Higgins. “Support runs deep for equestrian sports on campus with the strong backing of President Sullivan, the entire administration, and following an extensive review and approval by the Intercollegiate Athletic Board. The transition begins now and I’m anxious to take the reins of this new varsity sport in 2017.”
“It is a great day to be a Pioneer,” exclaimed Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. "Alfred State is proud to be adding another official intercollegiate athletic program. Our equestrian team has been highly successful in recent years, and we are pleased to provide more great opportunities for our students."
Western riding is the first sport added by Alfred State since baseball returned to campus in 1995. Currently the equestrian program, including western riding, hunt seat, and polo, is a club team. The hunt seat and polo programs will remain club sports.
The western team, which currently consists of 17 members, competes in eight intercollegiate horse shows throughout the year where the riders earn points based on their placings at all of the shows. During the 2015-16 school year, the team was the reserve champion for Zone 2 Region 1. Six members of the team qualified for the regional show and three advanced to the semi-finals held in Murfreesboro, TN where Harvey then advanced to the national finals.
Vicki Bolton, who has guided the equestrian program during the club period is excited about the move. "The team is very enthusiastic about becoming a varsity sport, which will allow more students interested in horses and horseback riding an opportunity to compete."
The bond between a horse and rider is usually nurtured and developed over time. But in western equestrian shows, riders are paired with horses in a random drawing and the rider has only a few minutes to connect and build a partnership. The horses vary greatly in experience and it is the rider’s job to bring out the best performance after mounting the 1,200-pound animal for the first time. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) riders are judged by their control of the horse, the rider’s body positioning, and their ability to make the ride appear effortless.