Outstanding Alumni Volunteer Award
John Reardon ’50
SUNY Cortland alumni have always been in good hands with John Reardon ’50. An accomplished cartoonist, he has drawn and then donated thousands of images over the past half century that have celebrated the people and personalities near and dear to his alma mater.
Reardon’s clever illustrations have graced Cortland sports and banquet programs and have been presented as gifts to C-Club Hall of Fame inductees. Legendary Cortland Coach Carl “Chugger” Davis was a Reardon favorite. Reardon’s art, depicting Davis’ colorful idiosyncrasies, is part of the Davis Building collection at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
For years, the Bessie L. Park 1901 Center conference room, now called the Hall of Fame Room, featured a collection of Reardon’s three-dimensional paper reliefs depicting athletes in action competing in every sport the College offered at the time.
At the first-ever Post-World War II Reunion in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the 1990s, Reardon surprised each of the 75 participants with an individualized, 12-inch by 18-inch portrait depicting the graduate in a pose related to his or her sport or interest while a Cortland undergraduate.
His talents included making intricate figures using peanut shells for torsos and adding wires for appendages, hair and whatever else was needed to create a 3-D caricature that became a treasured keepsake for the subject.
“John was selfless to all requests that the College made for his talents,” explained Rose Marie Luppino Kleinspehn ’49, who nominated him for the honor. “John has a big heart and shared it with all of his who loved him back.”
A 1978 inductee into the C-Club Hall of Fame, Reardon grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he was the high school yearbook art editor. He served in the same capacity at SUNY Cortland, where he co-captained the football team, was a lacrosse defenseman and a heavyweight in wrestling.
An Army Air Force veteran, he earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Cortland, a master’s degree in secondary administration from Hofstra University and his director’s certification from New York University.
He taught and coached in Orchard Park, N.Y., where he started the wrestling program, Valley Stream, N.Y. and Roslyn, N.Y., before beginning his 27-year career at North Shore School District in Glen Head, N.Y. He retired in 1983 as district director of physical education and athletics.
Reardon received the Nassau County Football Coach of the Year Award, and Distinguished Services Awards from both the Kiwanis and and the Nassau Zone of the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
He and his wife, Winnie, moved to East Aurora, N.Y., where he substitute taught, volunteer coached and became an award-winning woodcarver.
The Reardons have five children, Jon ’75, Jody, Dariel, Douglas and Tracy.