In the years following her graduation from SUNY Cortland, Ronnie Sternin Silver felt like she owed something to the College.
“Cortland was willing to do everything for us as students,” Silver said. “Why not give back?”
More than four decades later, Silver has repaid her alma mater with her post-graduate efforts.
She presided over the Alumni Association Board of Directors during 2008-10 and has served as a board member for the past 15 years.
As president, she oversaw the Strategic Planning Committee’s efforts to implement the recommendations of the Hezel Report, an evaluation strategy prepared for the College. Her tenure as a board member has coincided with a period of unprecedented growth at the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House.
“Ronnie Sternin Silver understands better than most the critically important role a public university like SUNY offers to the citizens and families of New York State and beyond,” said Douglas DeRancy ’75, assistant to the College’s vice president of Institutional Advancement. “She has been, and will continue to be, one of our most committed alumni advocates and ambassadors for SUNY and Cortland.”
A physical education major at SUNY Cortland, Silver exudes passion for education, specifically the notion that every student deserves a quality learning experience.
Her educational resume runs long. In her career, she taught physical education in Iowa and served in a variety of roles for two school districts in California.
She assumed the duties of volunteer coordinator, Parent Teachers Association (PTA) president and chairman of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee - among other jobs - during a 17-year stint in California education. She received a Santa Clarita (Calif.) Valley PTA Council Service Award and was recognized by the Los Angeles County supervisor for her outstanding service.
Silver relocated to Corning, N.Y. in 1996 and immediately recalled her time at SUNY Cortland.
“I needed a connection to the College when I moved back,” she said. “The anchor was truly my work at Cortland.”
Silver, who was a major contributor to the John L. Sciera Scholarship during her time out of state, joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors in 1996. She was introduced to an alumni network that she now considers a family.
“Everybody can do things their own way and accomplish something,” she said. “But at Cortland, it was never a one-person deal.”
Such was the case in 2002, when Silver attended her 35th Reunion at the College. The Class of 1967 banded together at a breakfast and decided to establish a scholarship on the spot.
“That’s what Cortland is all about,” she said. “It brings people together.”
Even though she spent several years away from New York, Silver never truly left Cortland.
When she spoke at the Commencement ceremonies in 2009 and 2010, she welcomed graduates to the College’s alumni family.
It is a group that boasts Silver as one its finest contributors.
Silver, who lives and substitute teaches in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., earned her lifetime teaching certification at the University of Iowa and completed course work in journalism at College of the Canyons in Valencia, Calif. She has four children: Amy, Leslie, Greg and Danny.