It’s not every day that industry executives, sports and music celebrities, and others make their way into Wellsville in classic cars, a replica of the DeLorean time machine from “Back to the Future,” and more, all in a collective effort to give back to children in need.
Such was the case on Wednesday, May 25, however, as more than 40 teams cruised onto the Alfred State School of Applied Technology campus, which served as one of the stops along the thrilling, seven-day Everyone Loves Kids (ELK) Charity Challenge.
Beginning this year in Detroit on May 21 and ending in Lake Placid on May 27, the ELK Charity Challenge, according to its website, www.elkcc.org, is an interactive adventure that pits “philanthropic vehicle enthusiasts against one another in a seven-day journey to give back to America’s children. Each day, participants navigate through numerous challenges and locations, testing their dedication, determination and preparation.” The team with the most points is given $10,000 at the end of each day for its respective children’s charity, including Shriners Hospitals for Children, Texas EquuSearch, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
While in Wellsville, the challengers took part in multiple events in three locations on campus, testing their electrical, automotive, and culinary arts skills. At the end of the day, the racers assembled bicycles to be donated to a local charity.
Competing from Alfred State in a 2012 Chevy Volt were School of Applied Technology Dean Ana McClanahan, Automotive Trades Assistant Professor James Fleischman, and Hannah Van Norman, a heavy equipment, truck and diesel technician major from Geneva.
Speaking about what she has liked most about the Charity Challenge, Van Norman said, “I really enjoy meeting all these new people, and I like the surprise of what challenges we have that day. We’re handed an envelope and have to search on Google and use our GPS to find out where we’re going. I like the suspense of not knowing what we’re going to be doing that day. It’s been a lot of fun.”
McClanahan has been impressed by the level of camaraderie that developed on the race, as well as the level of devotion to charities.
“The combination of benevolence and competition is really good, clean fun,” she said. “It’s fun to be around people who like that.”
Taking part in the race and having the Wellsville campus serve as one of the stops along the way also provided an excellent opportunity for making connections and showcasing Alfred State’s commitment to hands-on learning and producing job-ready graduates.
“I have made several contacts during this event who have agreed to come and share their expertise and experience with Alfred State as a whole,” McClanahan noted, “so I believe all three schools within our college will benefit.”
Craig Corbell, who headed the group that launched the ELK Charity Challenge, spoke about how impressed he has been with the way Alfred State is preparing students for the real world.
“Alfred State does a wonderful job of giving students real-life experience working on houses, vehicles, equipment, and more,” he said. “It’s first class and I would recommend this college to anybody who is looking to enter a trade type of program.”
A video report showing the ELK Charity Challenge events in Wellsville is available online at: www.tinyurl.com/jpobykv
The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State, has welcomed a new board member, Mark Payne, of Canisteo.
An assistant professor in the Building Trades Department, Payne joined the Alfred State faculty in 2007. He instructs students in the heavy equipment operations program, works with the Office of Student Engagement to manage the Hands On Project Room (HOPR) in the Student Leadership Center, and also serves as the Alfred State Disaster Relief Team adviser. In 2012, he received the Leadership through Civic Engagement Award and the Pioneer Award.
Prior to joining Alfred State, Payne worked for the New York State Department of Transportation and the Greater Southern Tier BOCES. Payne and his wife, Sarah, are the parents of two children, Nathan and Riley.
Alfred State’s reputation for hands-on training and job-ready graduates is attracting international attention, and is now identified as a model for building a new college half a world away. Alfred State recently hosted representatives from a Nigerian school who came to Alfred to discuss best practices for running a successful technical college.
Visitors from Nigeria’s Kwara State Government and the International Vocational Technical & Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC) in Ajasse Ipo came to discuss a partnership and to see how well suited Alfred State is for meeting their goals.
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, noted that the interest in forming a partnership came about when the college was contacted by representatives working with IVTEC and Kwara State. Through emails, conference calls, and conversations, that initial interest developed even further.
“I think the meetings have gone very well,” Sullivan said. “Executive Governor Ahmed is a very gracious man and we’re delighted he and his team chose to spend some time with us in developing this Memorandum of Understanding. This is a creative opportunity for Kwara State to lead Nigeria in a new way of doing vocational and occupational education, and Alfred State is pleased to be a partner in that.”
Both Sullivan and Abdulfatah Ahmed, executive governor of Kwara State, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a plan that would allow IVTEC faculty to visit Alfred State to shadow and work alongside its faculty for at least one full semester. The plan would further allow three IVTEC administrators to spend a semester at Alfred State to learn processes and administrative structure to help determine and define the needs of IVTEC.
Ahmed said he and the other visitors were happy with what they saw on their tours of both campuses in Alfred and Wellsville, especially in their particular areas of interest, including technology, construction, and automotive trades.
“I foresee a very strong relationship with Alfred State because we believe it’s truly going to blossom into levels where this type of training and technology will be given the right footing in Nigeria,” he said. “Most importantly, they will help us see how we can truly set up entrepreneurship in Nigeria to help fit into today’s economy.”
Among those who made the trip to the Southern Tier were Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, executive governor of Kwara State; Yomi Ogunsola, chief economic assistant to the governor and director general of Kwara Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Bureau (acting as IVTEC project supervisor); Mosunmola Bello-Sha’aba, assistant director of Kwara PPP Bureau (acting as IVTEC project manager); Dr. Ade Somide, CEO BET, acting as IVTEC project consultant; Kayode Adeyemi, SSA Government House head of Protocol; and Gbolahan Oseni, member of Protocol.
Kwara State, according to its website, www.kwarastate.gov.ng is known as “The State of Harmony” because of the peaceful relations that exist among its multicultural and diverse population of about 2.5 million people. Created in May 1967, Kwara State is one of the 36 states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
According to information on the Kwara State PPP Bureau’s website, www.kwarappp.gov.ng/ivtec, IVTEC is a vocational and technical college, with aims to train and raise not just technically sound artisans, but entrepreneurs with the skills necessary to build businesses that would contribute to the development of the economy of the nation of Nigeria.
Provost Dr. Kristin Poppo noted that Alfred State uses applied learning to prepare exceptional professionals in the trades, and that such experts are in demand around the world.
“We look forward to working with Kwara State in Nigeria to open a technical college where young Nigerians can learn building trades, automotive technology, electrical trades, and welding through excellent instruction and hands-on learning,” she said. “Bringing Nigerian instructors and administrators to Alfred State will ensure that this new school offers our same level of excellent instruction recognized by employers throughout the United States and now drawing attention internationally.”
Pictured at the table during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding are Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, executive governor of Kwara State, left, and Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State. In the second row, from left to right, are Yomi Ogunsola, chief economic assistant to the governor and director general of the Kwara Public-Private Partnership Bureau; along with Patricia K. Fogarty, Alfred State College Council chair.
In addition to the Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club’s great success at the 70th Annual Northeast Woodsmen’s Conclave, a pair of club members also rose to great heights in the STIHL Northeast Collegiate Qualifier.
Alfred State’s own Kara Stone, a surveying and geomatics engineering technology major from Lake View, won the national collegiate championship for female competitors, but due to a scoring error on the field, split the women’s STIHL title with a competitor from SUNY Cobleskill. Sutton Carhart, a construction management engineering technology major from Stafford, took second place overall in the men’s division.
As a result of their achievements in the STIHL competition, Stone received a $500 scholarship, and Carhart was selected as a wild card athlete to compete against seven others in the STIHL Timbersports US Championships July 15-16 in Chicago.
Stone noted that, “Anything is possible with a great coach, hard work, blisters, and being sore for weeks on end. Being the national top female competitor was my biggest goal and it feels amazing to win that title.”
Carhart said, “It’s an honor to be part of the team that won the Northeast championship and to be selected as one of eight from the entire country to compete in Illinois is still a hard concept to grasp. Training for that competition while working a full-time job will be a challenge, but we are going to make it happen.
While the conclave and the STIHL event featured hundreds of top competitors within the region, the Alfred State Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club held its own, as the men’s team took first place and the Jack and Jill team came in second in their respective divisions in the conclave.
All events were held in April at either the athletics events field on the Alfred campus or at the Lake Lodge. Singles events included axe throw, birling, underhand chop, single buck, super suede, and stock saw; doubles events are standing block chop, fire build, and crosscut to death; and triples include underhand chop and quarter split.
The Woodsmen’s Club’s most recent success capped off another successful year, one that saw the men’s team finish undefeated and the Jack and Jill team win two out of three shows, with one second-place finish in the fall.
Speaking about the conclave and STIHL qualifier, Coach Scott Bingham said hosting a competition of this magnitude is a feat that one doesn’t fully comprehend until they have done it.
“To host the championships and to win it with a team this young that was founded only six years ago is unheard of,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of athletes.”
Bingham added that having Stone win the female division and Carhart move on to Chicago as one of the finalists for the entire country in the male division is really phenomenal.
“One of my biggest challenges as their coach was balancing just how far I could push the team without pushing them too far,” he said, “however it appears as though my pushing and their hard efforts matched perfectly.”
Alfred State recognized approximately 700 May 2016 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 15. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held on the Alfred campus.
Sullivan told students that commencement is a time to celebrate the achievement of their goals and aspirations, and to reflect on their various accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom.
“Commencement is also a beginning,” he said, “a beginning that is limitless in its possibilities and expanded by the knowledge you have gained through your experiences at Alfred State.”
The student speaker was Stephanie A. Pembleton, who graduated in fall 2015 with an Associate in Science degree in liberal arts and sciences: social science and a Bachelor of Science degree in human services management. Pembleton, a member of Psi Beta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, is also a Pi Nu sister, a member of the Greek Senate Board, and a recipient of the Dr. Khalid Ashraf Memorial Scholarship.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Tim Sanders, the former chief solutions officer at Yahoo and a current sales and leadership keynote speaker. Sanders spent most of his career on the cutting edge of innovation and change. He was on the ground floor of the quality movement, the launch of the mobile phone industry, and most notably the birth of the World Wide Web. Today, he’s gravitated to disruptive change for more than 30 years.
Sanders was an early-stage member of Mark Cuban’s and Todd Wagner’s broadcast.com, which had the largest opening day IPO in history. After Yahoo acquired the company, Sanders was tapped to lead their ValueLab, which enabled sales teams to close hundreds of millions of dollars of new business through rapid collaboration.
A major highlight of the ceremony was the conferment of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Lee Brasted, a 1962 engineering science graduate. Brasted, who retired after 32 years of service as a civil engineer at Shell Oil, was responsible for a part of a team that accomplished truly amazing and transformational things for Shell Oil, the oil industry, and the world.
Brasted was the leader of a unique group of engineers who were responsible for the design, fabrication, and installation of platforms for drilling and producing offshore oil fields. In his career with Shell Offshore, a Shell Oil subsidiary, he played key roles in designing offshore drilling platforms from California to the Gulf of Mexico and from the North Sea to the South China Sea.
In September 2000, Brasted was elected as one of the SUNY Alumni Honor Members for 2000 and was a special guest in Albany. Brasted has been a generous donor to the college for many years as an unrestricted donor, donating approximately $100,000, simply wanting to help the college and our students in any way needed.
To pay tribute to his unwavering kindness, support and generosity, the college created the Lee Brasted Engineering Science Endowed Scholarship in 2010 with some of the unrestricted funds he contributed. Shell Oil supported his desire to help his alma mater with matching contributions to his generous gifts.
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 Benjamin Rawleigh, Dansville (School of Applied Technology associate-degree recipient); Matthew B. Porterfield, Hamburg (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate-degree recipient); Brendan Cataldo, Adams (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate-degree recipient); Christine M. Dodd, Montrose, PA (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate-degree recipient); and Heather Andersen, Penn Yan (School of Arts and Sciences associate-degree recipient).
The Alfred State Men’s Quartet performed the national anthem and the college’s alma mater. Students were led out in recessional to the music of the Gates Keystone Police Pipes and Drums.
Continuing its end-of-the-semester tradition of helping students de-stress during finals week, Alfred State’s Hinkle Memorial Library once again held its Dogs in the Library event May 9.
Students were able to relax with a group of friendly dogs and handlers and grab a snack to keep them going. This semester’s event featured 10 visiting dogs, the most the library has brought in so far, with breeds ranging from Australian Shepherd, to Newfoundland, to Basset Hound, to rescued mixed breeds. The dogs were registered through either the Canisteo chapter of Therapy Dogs International or the Pet Partners chapter out of Syracuse.
“Some of these groups have been coming long enough to have an ongoing rapport with the students, and students often will take an annual picture with their favorite dog,” said Library Instructional Support Assistant Amie Acton. “By continuing to offer this event every semester, we are establishing the library as a welcoming place for relaxation as well as studying. Students know we care about their well-being and their experience here at Alfred State, and we hope our efforts contribute to an overall positive college experience.”
When Alfred State determined that the largest residence hall on campus, the MacKenzie Complex, was due for a makeover, the design came from a very fitting source: architects who not only attended the college, but also lived in MacKenzie themselves. Their personal experiences offer a unique insight into what should be done to transform the residence hall to meet the needs of students both today and tomorrow.
“It adds a lot of excitement to my role in getting this accomplished,” said Mach Architecture Executive Vice President Douglas Schaefer, a 1985 architectural technology graduate. “It’s also a giving back to the college. As an architect, everything I do affects somebody’s life down the road with those spaces I build. Now, with MacKenzie, I know who it’s affecting.”
Schaefer along with Mach Architecture Associate Robert Brunner, a 2008 architectural technology graduate, recently unveiled plans dubbed the “MacKenzie Makeover” to a crowd of students, faculty, and staff.
Schaefer explained how the first phase of the project will involve renovating the East Tower to create a new entrance and gathering spaces for students on each floor, while reinventing the Central Quad to create an attractive core for the 1,200-student residence hall that is warm, welcoming, and feels like an extension of one’s own home. The quad’s design includes a 35-foot-tall atrium with the light illuminating natural surfaces of rock and wood throughout.
When compared to other residence halls across the state, MacKenzie will be in a class all of its own. Eric Gerken, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) design manager, said that beginning in the fall of 2016 and continuing over the next several years, “this phased project will reconstruct MacKenzie into the largest, most modern dorm across the SUNY system.”
Gregory Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, added that the goal of the renovation is to make the college’s largest residence hall the first choice for students. And Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of the college, stated, “Today certainly serves as a reaffirmation of our commitment to continuously advance our campus. The desire to continue to improve certainly is based on a single focus and that is making the experience even greater for our students.”
Talking about the next steps in the process, Glenn Brubaker, director of Facilities Operations, said, “As this project goes out for bids, we can get this off the ground this fall, with the construction fences up and the construction zone established when students return.”
“We are optimistic that this project will make MacKenzie the hub of a vibrant living community on campus and we look forward to moving ahead,” stated Matt Ryan, senior director of Residential Services, as he noted that MacKenzie will remain open for business during the construction.
Dave Sengstock, executive director of Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), talked about changes due to the closure of MacKenzie’s Exit West Café, stating, “In response, we will be extending the hours of operation for dining facilities all across campus with nighttime offerings, and introducing a new food truck to serve the Alfred State campuses and in particular the area surrounding MacKenzie.”
During construction, a central laundry in the quad will be replaced with multiple smaller laundry areas and vending options closer to the residents’ rooms. Then when the reinvented central quad opens, students will gain new amenities, including a large laundry, dining services, and a fitness center.
Brunner said it is “almost breathtaking” to be a part of this massive project. He said having an inside knowledge from their student years has definitely given him and Schaefer an edge with helping to create the new design because they understood MacKenzie.
“It’s great having that inside knowledge of the building and being able to work on it and make it better,” Brunner said. “It’s architecture at its best.”