Honors Convocation Held at ASC

Alfred State College student academic achievement was celebrated April 26 during the 24th annual Honors Convocation.  ASC President Dr. John M. Anderson welcomed the gathered students, families, faculty, and friends and congratulated them on their achievements.

Keynote speaker Robert E. Rees, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Electrical Engineering Technology Department at the College, reminded the group "that honor and the future are what this convocation is all about.

"Receiving an honor such as the ones recognized today raises the expectations of society-society will not let you do great things if you are not honest or ethical," noted Rees in his remarks.  He then advised students to "work hard to improve what you do and always do your best."

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.

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.

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. 

Another facet of the ceremony was the presentation of the State University of New York (SUNY) 2008 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence to winners Justin Cross, Bloomfield, and Jennifer Lorow, Angelica. The Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence was created to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and been recognized, for the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, or career achievement. Announcement of the award was made by Dr. Steven J. Tyrell, vice president for student affairs. 

Cross, an architectural technology major, serves as the president of the Alfred State Architecture Club, and president of the Alfred State Chapter of the American Institute of Architectural Students (AIAS).  He is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Tau Alpha Pi national honor societies, the WINS Club, and the Alfred State College Honors Program.  Cross has also participated in soccer intramurals on both ASC and AU campuses.  The Honeoye Central School graduate is the son of Pamela and Lynden Cross, Bloomfield.

Lorow, a senior in the liberal arts-humanities associate degree curriculum, has served as a student ambassador and head tour guide for the ASC Admissions Office; as co-editor of Ergo, the student literary magazine; as contributing writer to the student newspaper Tor-Echo; and is a member of the International Club.  She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a recipient of the Eleanor Graves Memorial Scholarship, which is given to an outstanding student in the School of Arts and Sciences, as exemplified by character, citizenship, involvement in college community activities, and scholarship.

The Genesee Valley Central School graduate (who also attended Marathon High School in the Florida Keys, and Titusville High School in Titusville, FL), is the daughter of Michael Lorow, Angelica, and Lou Ann Thurston, Titusville.  She is the granddaughter of Betty Whitehouse, Titusville.

Additionally, Tyrell presented the Freshman Advocate Award, sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, which is given to the employee at Alfred State who had a most positive influence on a student's freshman year at the College. This year's winner, Debra Tomm, keyboard specialist, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was cited by her nominator Katy Mormino, Alfred, liberal arts and sciences: social science, as "a staff member whom students can turn to for assistance, whether it is in regard to an academic concern or a personal problem."

The recipient of the first Dr. Khalid Ashraf Memorial Annual Award, established in memory of Dr. Khalid Ashraf, was presented to Meredith Perrin, Belfast, liberal arts and sciences: social science by Ashraf's widow Mary and their daughter Courtney.  Ashraf, a native of Pakistan who joined the Alfred State faculty in 1973 after completing his doctoral program at Cornell University, was killed in an accident in June 2007.  The award is based on factors such as financial need, good academic standing, and the completion of at least 24 hours in the program. 

President Anderson & KollerNew to the ceremony this year was the awarding of an honorary doctor of science degree to Dr. James Koller, Rochester, awarded in recognition of his service to and support of Alfred State College throughout the past 20+ years.

Koller's involvement with Alfred State College began in 1981 when then-NYS Gov. Hugh Carey 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. and 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).  He also served 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.

Anderson noted: "Mr. Koller, by virtue of the authority vested in me, the faculty of the State University of New York through its College of Technology at Alfred concurring, I confer upon you the degree, doctor of science, honoris causa, and invest you with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereunto.  In token, thereof, I hand you the diploma and direct that you be vested with the hood appropriate to your degree," whereupon Dr. Ronald R. Rosati, ASC provost and vice president for academic affairs, placed the doctoral hood over Koller's shoulders.

Koller then went on to remark that it was the dedication to the college that he witnessed over the years from the faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, that kept him involved with Alfred State.

"Anything I could do to help would be energy well spent," he noted.

Stage Party for HonorsPictured here, members of the stage party prepare for the ceremony:   Jeffrey Stevens, who gave the benediction; Dr. Ronald R. Rosati, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who presided over the ceremony; Dr. James Koller, honorary degree recipient; Dr. John M Anderson, Alfred State College president; Robert E. Rees, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Electrical Engineering Technology Department, who gave the keynote address; and Lawrence ("Ed") Burns, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, and longest-tenured faculty member who served as grand marshal.