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.”
Alfred State recognized approximately 700 May 2017 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 14. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held on the Alfred campus.
The student speaker was Kaleigh R. Daggs, of Rochester, a May 2017 graduate of the forensic science technology baccalaureate degree program. She is a member of the Alfred Cru church group, the Alfred State Science Society, and is a junior black belt at Caparco Martial Arts in Chili, where she studies Goshin Jitsu, a form of karate.
A major highlight of the ceremony was the conferment of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Albert R. Styrcula, a 1959 general business management graduate. Styrcula’s career started out at Foodcraft, a small processing and distribution company that dealt in dairy products. Initially, his jobs varied from accounting work to driving trucks to delivering milk to washing bottles.
However, by 1972, Styrcula had worked his way up to the top of Foodcraft, becoming CEO and chairman of the board, positions he held until 1988, when Uni-Marts Inc. acquired the company. During that time, the company’s sales increased from $2 million to $50 million under his leadership. In the mid- to late-‘80s, he even fended off corporate raiders, having to use much of his own money to assure he maintained control of his company.
Despite all of his success, Styrcula has remained as down-to-earth as ever, never forgetting from where he came. He not only credits Alfred State with giving him the knowledge and knack necessary to run a small business, but also for Judith, his wife of more than 57 years, whom he met at the college.
Styrcula has also been a generous donor and dear friend to the college for several years. He is a longtime member of the Alfred State President’s Society, and also created the Albert and Judith Styrcula Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to hard-working students with financial need from Dundee, Marcus Whitman, or Penn Yan High Schools or from Yates County.
Another major component of the ceremony was the presentation of the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence to five graduating students. The award honors Paul B. Orvis, a former president of Alfred State and State University of New York dean for two-year colleges. Recipients must meet the criteria of service, leadership, character, and scholarship.
Receiving the award were Jacob Fassett, Cooperstown (School of Applied Technology associate degree recipient); Michael J. Shoemaker, Buffalo (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate degree recipient); Elisabeth Wolff, Camden (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate degree recipient); Heather Fumia, Holley (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate degree recipient); and Gordon Trahan, Canajoharie (School of Arts and Sciences associate degree recipient).
Abigail C. Campbell, a construction management major from Geneseo, sang the national anthem, and the Alfred State Men’s Quartet performed the college’s alma mater. Students were led out in recessional to the music of the Gates Keystone Police Pipes and Drums.
For many years, Evelyn Turner has been a strong supporter and friend of Alfred State, particularly when it comes to the college’s Culinary Arts Department.
Now, thanks to one of her many contributions – a combination of funds and gift-in-kind items – culinary students have an impressive, newly renovated space to sell baked goods from, “The Hank and Evelyn Turner Pastry Emporium,” which the college recently dedicated in their honor.
Located in the Culinary Arts Building on the School of Applied Technology campus in Wellsville, the emporium includes a new two-sided bakery case that features refrigeration on one side to keep items cold. Adjacent to the bakery case is a new island cupboard with a granite top. That was constructed by students in the building trades: building construction program.
Work on the emporium was completed in April, just weeks prior to the dedication. Culinary Arts Department Chair Deb Burch said her department has been waiting for many years to acquire such a beautiful bakery case and received one only two months after Turner became aware of the need.
“The new bakery case has improved the quality of the products the students are making because they want to make the baked goods as delectable and appealing as possible to go in the beautiful case,” she said. “Evelyn made this possible.”
Danielle White, executive director of Institutional Advancement, said, “We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful and caring friend of the college. Evelyn has impacted many students’ lives with the generous scholarship funds she donates every year and the extra funding she has provided over the years to help make our culinary arts programs what they are today. She is so proud of the students, and we are so grateful to her.”
Speaking to the culinary students during the dedication, Turner said, “I’m going to continue to help in every way that I can, and I’m always here for you. I’m proud to be associated with each and every one of you. I’m proud of your accomplishments and the ones you are striving to achieve. Keep up the good work.”
Examples of Turner’s ongoing generosity include the Evelyn Turner Culinary Arts Annual Scholarship, which is in memory of her husband, Henry “Hank” Turner. This provides two culinary arts students and two culinary arts: baking, production and management students in good academic standing with $2,000 each.
Turner also donates $10,000 for the Evelyn Turner Excellence in Culinary Arts Annual Scholarship, which is disbursed evenly among four returning culinary students with financial need who have attained high academic standing.
In 2013, Alfred State honored Turner with the President’s Medallion, which is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the college. Turner’s contributions have stemmed from three main motivations: her admiration for the culinary students who work in various rotations, her emphasis on the value of education, and her belief in the ability of food to bring people together.
Despite having been born in Louisa, KY, Turner is proud to call Wellsville her home. She and her late husband owned and operated Turner & McNerney Pipe Line Inc. in Wellsville, where she managed finances, human resources, records, and internal controls for the company as assistant vice president and business manager. The couple often discussed the calling they both felt, which was to support other hardworking people in their endeavors.
Alfred State recently installed five students in the Zeta V Chapter of the Sigma Lambda Chi honor society.
Civil Engineering Technology Associate Professor Timothy Piotrowski is the adviser to the newly installed student members, all of whom are construction management majors. These students, who are part of the second class of inductees into the college’s chapter of Sigma Lambda Chi, include Aaron Buck (Rochester), Ashley Battley (Seneca Falls), Eric Lyden (Camp Hill, PA), Joe Johnson (North Chili), and Lindsey Thiel (Liverpool). One additional student, Robert Mahany (Orchard Park), will be inducted in a special ceremony upon his return from his semester study abroad in Sorrento, Italy.
Other faculty members who participated were Associate Professor and Department Chair Erin Vitale, Associate Professor Jeff Marshall, Assistant Professor Tabitha Sprau-Coulter, and retired Professor Ron Nichols.
Sigma Lambda Chi is an international honor society within the construction industry. Chapters may be established at a school, college, or university that has a major discipline of education in construction.
To be installed by a chapter, a student must be at least a junior and have a GPA in the upper 20 percent of qualified students in the program. They must also have participated in one or more extracurricular activities; demonstrated excellent leadership, character, and personality traits; and worked in some phase of construction for at least one summer or winter break.
Membership in this society is certainly an important milestone in a student’s college career and indicates a significant accomplishment for the inductee, as well as to potential employers. Members are permitted to wear the memorabilia associated with the society at graduation for further recognition.
According to Sigma Lambda Chi International President Christine Piper, there are approximately 75 chapters and more than 19,000 current members in the United States, Australia, and Ireland.
More than two dozen Alfred State students and employees were initiated recently into the college’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.
Student inductees included:
Also initiated were Dr. Karla M. Back, professor, Business Department; Troy W. Morehouse, interim director of Student Engagement; Valerie B. Nixon, executive vice president; and Michael E. Ronan, professor, Automotive Trades.
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “I am extremely proud to welcome the newest members into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society chapter here at Alfred State. Their hard work and dedication throughout their time at our college has certainly paid off, and I congratulate each one of them on this honor.”
Evan Enke, assistant professor in the Computer and Information Technology Department and president of the Alfred State Phi Kappa Phi chapter, said, “On April 24, the Alfred State chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was honored to induct 22 new student members and four faculty members into the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Surrounded by friends, family and faculty, the new members’ academic achievements and campus contributions were recognized by both the Phi Kappa Phi officers as well as by the campus leadership. Phi Kappa Phi is proud to add its newest members, as these inductees embody the organization's motto, ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’”
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, according to www.phikappaphi.org, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. It has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines.
Each year, around 30,000 members are initiated, and only the top 10 percent of a graduating class and the top 7.5 percent of juniors are invited to join. Alfred State’s chapter was formed in February 2015.
Throughout the academic year, students spend countless hours utilizing their talents and knowledge to create some amazing projects, a number of which were on display recently for all to see during the annual Student Showcase.
With the aid of models, posters, prototypes, multimedia exhibits, and sometimes even their advisers, the students took attendees step-by-step through their own learning and achievement process. Examples of projects included a fire-fighting robot, an automated wood-cutting system, a virtual reality project, membrane heat pump research, community service efforts, a replica of a NASCAR motor, and more.
Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost, said, “I never cease to be overly and utterly amazed by the work that our students do. Across our curricula, our students engage in hands-on, applied learning, and they make discoveries and create products that will benefit all of humanity.”
Robert Privitera, a human services management major from North Tonawanda, said, “The Student Showcase is great because it lets students get the opportunity to really be proud of the work they’ve produced and to show it to other people. It’s one thing to turn in an awesome project and just be proud of it by yourself, but getting the opportunity to show it off and tell other people about is really rewarding.”
Brittany Richards, a forensic science technology major from Geneseo, said, “The Student Showcase is a really great way of showcasing a project I was able to work an entire semester on and display the hard work I’ve put in and kind of brag about it in a way to all of the faculty and staff and students who get to come through and see it.”