When Barbara J. "Becky" Becker of Corning graduated in 1947, she was one of seven in the first graduating class of executive secretarial majors. She lived in an Alfred University dormitory, Bartlett Hall, during her first college year. The following year she lived at what was called Henderson House, on Main Street. Names like Orvis, Hinkle, Parish, Cottrell, Hritz, E.J. Brown, and Raymond were more than listings in a history book to Becker and her classmates -- they were their faculty and staff.
Barbara's Alfred State educational foundation was to open many doors throughout what she describes as a rewarding career in which she "wouldn't change anything." Her adventure actually began before she left the village of Alfred. She was offered two positions, one as chief accountant for Alfred State College, the other as the secretary to the president at Alfred University. She turned them both down.
"I had always wanted to work for Corning Glass Works," the Corning native said. "It was my desire to go home and work for Corning."
Soon she was hired as the secretary to the director of new products and of the Centennial. It was the beginning. The next stop was as executive secretary to the assistant treasurers, followed by executive secretary and then administrative assistant to the vice president and treasurer. Throughout these years her affinity for finances began to pay off.
"I always had a feel for the financial areas," she said, noting that her father was in that line of work and it was "kind of built in."
As doors began to open for women in the business world in the 1970s, "I was one of the first women to be afforded the opportunity to enter the financial management field at Corning Glass Works. In 1973 I became supervisor of Corporate Accounting and in 1983 supervisor of Management and Professional Payroll until my retirement in 1987." Throughout those years, Barbara kept abreast of the ever-changing financial field. From 1974-83 she received credits in intermediate and advanced accounting from Corning Community and Elmira colleges. She also took management courses through the American Management Association and programs in microfilming, payroll, and data processing. In those days, women in management positions at Corning Glass Works received $1 a week extra for each year of college or work experience, noted Becker.
At Alfred State, Barbara was an involved student. She was a member of the Commercial Club, chaired by E.J. Brown, and Andrew Hritz; on the business staff of the Kanakadea, the yearbook which was a joint publication of both Alfred State and Alfred University; was secretary at her student residence, Henderson House, during her second year at school; and treasurer of her class during her second year. She was also a member of the Neuman Club, assisting the Catholic priest from St. Bonaventure University who was assigned to minister to the students at Alfred State and Alfred University.
Barbara continued her commitment to community service as a professional. In 1976 she was elected to the Corning Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, serving the organization for 20 years, both on the board and as supervisory committee chair; she is currently director emeritus. She has served St. Vincent's Roman Catholic Church, Corning, as its first Community Council chair, as a lector, and on the finance committee. She continues to be a trustee of the church and is a Eucharistic minister. Becker is also a member, past president, vice president, and past chair of several committees of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Corning and the statewide organization.
Barbara noted that striving for quality and adaptability to change were inherent characteristics built into the instruction at Alfred State College. "My educational background from Alfred State afforded me a foundation for advancement in my career, not only in book learning but in giving me the confidence to meet the challenges of our everyday world," she said. "I am forever indebted to the College and its teachers for a truly beneficial education."