Alfred State College Plans Honors Convocation

Alfred State College will celebrate the academic achievements of its students during the 24th annual Honors Convocation slated for Saturday, April 26, at 4 p.m. in the Orvis Gymnasium on the Alfred campus.

The convocation recognizes the outstanding work of students through acknowledgement of membership in a variety of honor societies as well as the conferment of scholarships and special recognitions.  More than 300 students will be honored at this year's celebration, presided over by Dr. Ronald R. Rosati, ASC provost and vice president for academic affairs.  The welcome and introduction of keynote speaker, Robert E. Rees, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Electrical Engineering Technology Department, will be given by Dr. John M. Anderson, college president.

In addition to honoring ASC students, this year's Honors Convocation will confer an honorary doctor of science degree on James Koller, former College Council and Development Fund Board member, as well as honor the recipients of the Freshman Advocate Award and the Alumni Award for Outstanding Faculty, who will be announced the day of the event.

Rees began his distinguished career with SUNY in 1986 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering technology.  He became an associate professor in 1990 and attained the rank of professor in 1996.  In 2007, he was honored by SUNY with the Distinguished Service Professor designation.  Rees served two terms as chair of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department including two years also chairing the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department, and six months as interim dean of Information Technology.

Prior to joining the Alfred State faculty, Rees worked for 10 years as a Van de Graaff Accelerator technician at a nuclear physics laboratory and as a project engineer and electrical engineer in the steel industry.  After earning his master's degree, Rees taught electrical and electronics engineering technology at Vermont Technical College.

Rees has been involved in the community throughout the 22 years he has been a member of the Alfred State faculty.  In 1988 he founded the a cappella madrigal vocal group, Kanakadea Chorale, which presented concerts each year for more than 10 years and entertained area nursing home residents.  He has also been a trustee of the Union University Church. Rees is a competitive triathlete having attained age-group honorable mention all-American national ranking for the past few years (top 10%).

Since 1999, Rees has been the ASC engineering science transfer program coordinator,  advising all students intending to continue study toward a degree in engineering after completion of an associate's degree, taking sophomores to transfer institutions, and recommending them for acceptance to the program of their choice. 

For more than 15 years, Rees has served on committees of the United University Professions (UUP).  He has spent over 10 years focusing on issues pertinent to the Colleges of Technology sector.  Rees held several terms as the UUP Alfred Chapter vice president for academics and, for the past six years, has been the Alfred Chapter president.

Professor Rees' committee memberships have included the UUP Statewide Elections and Credentials Committee, the NYS/UUP Joint Labor Management Campus Grants Committee, and the 2002-04 and 2006-07 UUP Negotiations Teams.  Rees has served four years on the UUP Statewide Executive Board, has co-chaired the NYS/UUP Joint Labor Management Health and Safety Committee, and was recently appointed to the NYSUT Health & Safety Task Force.   

In 1992, Rees received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Professor Rees earned both the bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Pennsylvania and Vermont.  He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and of the SUNY Two-Year Engineering Science Association. 

Dr. James E. Koller's (Rochester) involvement with Alfred State College began in 1981 when then-NYS Gov. Hugh Carey (D) chose him to fill a vacancy on the Alfred State College Council.  Subsequently, Koller went on to serve on the Alfred State College Development Fund Board, Inc.; as vice president of the SUNY Association of Council Members and College Trustees (ACT) from 1983-91 (from which he received the organization's Distinguished Service Award in 1992); and on the Honorary Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

During his tenure at the helm of the Development Fund Board, Koller was responsible for overseeing the activities of the group whose primary objective is to raise, manage, and disburse funds to maintain Alfred State College's margin of excellence. 

In 2000, the Jim Koller Volunteerism Award was established to honor Jim and to recognize the time, effort, and energy he has invested in the future of Alfred State College. 

Koller, who retired from Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, as manager of film and paper manufacturing, Kodak Park Division, holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska, and an MS and BS from Creighton University, Omaha, NE.  He is a graduate of Edgemont High School, Edgemont, SD.