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.”
When the staff at Day Automation comes to campus, they don’t come merely to meet new students; they know they are here to meet their future co-workers. The company’s system controls and video surveillance systems are operating in over 200 K-12 school districts, 20 colleges, universities, and hospitals across the state, thanks in large part to the work of Alfred State graduates.
“Of our entire technical and engineering staff, Alfred State grads represent over 50 percent of that staff,” said Mick George, director of marketing for Day Automation. “Our founder, James Day, is an Alfred State graduate, along with sales engineers, project managers, and one of our VPs.”
George says what makes Alfred State graduates into such great employees is a passion for the development of electronic, mechanical, and computerized solutions used by Day Automation clients.
“The students we contact for follow-up interviews have demonstrated enthusiasm. Alfred State graduates who are hired are capable to hit the ground running,” he said “Their education in electrical and mechanical engineering provides a solid foundation for building a facility’s video surveillance, access control, or building automation systems. Our in-house development and deployment software allows for a quick start-up and execution of jobs for entire K-12 school districts, universities, hospitals, and commercial buildings.”
Thanks to an emphasis on applied learning in all programs, and an abundance of majors focused on preparing students for in-demand careers, the employment and continuing education rate at Alfred State is an astounding 99 percent.
Companies like Rochester-based Surfwrench LLC recognize that new graduates are ready and qualified to begin their careers right away. Surfwrench attended a recent career fair looking for automotive technicians and people to develop the company’s app and website.
“The resumes that I’ve gotten from students shows they are very sharp developers,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and head of marketing and sales for Surfwrench LLC. “The idea that you have an application-based curriculum in the IT department is fantastic. It’s something that you don’t see a lot of, hands-on specialization in IT.”
Employers came from as far away as the west coast to meet students at the career fair. Cisco Meraki traveled from California to recruit talented students for both internships and full-time careers. Companies wanting to recruit on campus, post a job opening, and participate in future career fairs should contact Elaine Morsman, director of Career Development, www.AlfredState.edu/careers.
For the second consecutive year, the Alfred State Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Team earned a first-place finish in the annual intercollegiate BUV Design Competition in Batavia, OH.
The team tied with the University of Cincinnati for first place, making this the fourth time Alfred State’s squad has come out on top. The team has also come in second four times since first entering the competition in 2006.
The contest is a combination of a race and manufacturing design competition. Other schools that competed include Baylor University, Purdue, Trine, and Texas A&M.
This year’s team consisted of William Faes (mechanical engineering technology, Canisteo), Dominic Freudenvoll (mechanical engineering technology, Rochester), Robert Kelso (mechanical engineering technology, Middletown), and Kyle Glaub (mechanical engineering technology, Buffalo). The team was accompanied by Academic Support Technician Ray Gleason, and Steven Martinelli, professor in the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department, who served as team’s adviser.
According to Martinelli each team’s vehicle was judged prior to the competition. Points were awarded at the onset of the competition with respect to safety, innovation, and construction. The Alfred State team received all points possible at the inspection.
As for the competition, which was primarily an endurance test, each team’s vehicle was required to haul three 55-gallon drums full of water three times around a very muddy track that was about 1.5 miles in length. The teams then had to unload the water into a pond, reload the barrels with water, and repeat the process until the competition ended.
While the Alfred State squad experienced a number of mechanical challenges throughout the day, they never relented, completing four cycles of the competition. After all points were calculated, judges determined that the Alfred State group had tied for first.
“The team performed professionally and admirably through all of the difficulties and mechanical challenges that they faced,” Martinelli said. “They never once considered quitting.”