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  Issue Number 16 • Tuesday, May 7, 2019  


Campus Champion

Junior business economics major Chester Bennett added political science as a second major last fall. He hasn’t wasted any time putting it to use. He is president-elect of the Student Government Association and he will intern in Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s Washington, D.C. office this summer. Chester understands the importance of staying focused and this is how he intends to govern. He and other SGA officers plan to engage the student body and open conversations between students and the administration. “We would like to focus on two or three major areas and work with the College on continuing to improve SUNY Cortland for all future students.”

Nominate a Campus Champion

Tuesday, May 7

DiNardo Lecture: The 2018 Dr. Peter DiNardo ’68 and Judith Waring Outstanding Achievement in Research Lecture, presented by Professor Brian Barrett, Lynne Parks '68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House, 5 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8

Sandwich Seminar: “Where’s My Voice?” presented by Communication Disorders and Sciences Department graduate students and Assistant Professor Deborah Matheron, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Cortland Normal School Cornerstone Rededication: Old Main lobby, 2 p.m.

Thursday, May 9

Sandwich Seminar: “The Most Important Part of a College Education: Sleep,” presented by Associate Professor of Psychology Joshua Peck and student Marla Hairston, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon to 1 p.m.

HeatSmart CNY: Sponsored by SUNY Cortland Sustainability Office, HeatSmart participants learn what they can do to improve the efficiency and comfort of their homes, receive a free site visit and evaluation and have access to vetted and trusted installers, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Friday, May 10

Classes end

Dance Demo 2019: Works by faculty and student choreographers, Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 11 and
Sunday, May 12

Study Days

Monday, May 13

Final examination period. Continues through Friday, May 17.

PAWS For Stress Relief: Corey Union Function Room, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Works! Join the walks that begins at the Professional Studies Building, Smith Tower and Moffett Center bus stop and meet at Corey Union for a photo, music and food, 11:10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Midnight Breakfast: Neubig Dining Hall, 10 p.m. to midnight. Volunteers needed and are asked to be at the event from 9:30 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. (usually earlier as we leave once the dining hall is ready for the next service). To volunteer, email Eamon O’Shea or Chris Kuretich

Tuesday, May 14

PAWS For Stress Relief: Corey Union Function Room, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, May 17

Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Commissioning Ceremony: Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Graduate Commencement: Park Center Alumni Arena, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 18

Undergraduate Commencement: Park Center Alumni Arena, Ceremony A at 9:30 a.m.; Ceremony B at 2:30 p.m.; Ceremony C at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21

J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate ChallengeBuses will provide transportation to those who registered to participate on the SUNY Cortland team, Onondaga Lake Parkway, Liverpool, N.Y. The 3.5 mile run/walk begins at 6:25 p.m. 

Wednesday, May 22

Summer Session I BeginsRead full schedule

Thursday, May 23

UUP Professional Recognition Luncheon: Corey Union Function Room, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. RSVP requested.

Monday, May 27

Memorial Day: No classes, offices are closed.

Colorful Commencement to Cap College Careers


During SUNY Cortland’s 2019 Commencement, the families of graduating seniors will be seeing red.

Marking the College’s Sesquicentennial Celebration year, undergraduate degree candidates will march in brilliant red regalia — a first in the institution’s history — during the three undergraduate ceremonies to be held on Saturday, May 18.

Students participating in the graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, will wear traditional black caps and gowns.

All four Commencement ceremonies will be held in the Bessie L. Park 1901 Physical Education and Recreation Center Alumni Arena.  The graduate ceremony starts at 7 p.m. Undergraduate ceremonies will be held at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

This year, SUNY Cortland replaced a first-come, first-served online ticketing system with a new format for its three undergraduate Commencement ceremonies. The new system assigned students to specific ceremonies based upon their academic department. Students planning to participate in the event should visit SUNY Cortland’s Commencement web page to learn which ceremony their academic department has been assigned.

Red Dragons have always graduated with flair, as demonstrated in this 2018 image. This year, they add red regalia to the ceremony.

Two open receptions honoring new graduates will be held in Lusk Field House from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Students and guests may attend either of these receptions.

A total of 1,600 seniors applied to graduate during the 2018-19 academic year.

Of the 10 most popular majors at SUNY Cortland, the School of Professional Studies this year claimed the three most popular with exercise science, sport management and physical education boasting 153, 140 and 138 degree candidates, respectively. The School of Arts and Sciences took fourth as well as sixth through ninth place for prospective graduates in business economics (131), communication studies (119), psychology (76), criminology (72) and biology (60). Early childhood and childhood education remains the most coveted major in the School of Education with 129 planned graduates, the fifth most sought-after degree program at Cortland.

The College also will award 201 master’s degrees and 22 Certificates of Advanced Study.

“Commencement marks a moment when our students, their families and our faculty and staff pause to reflect with pride on what together they have achieved,” College President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “As they have for the last century and a half, our new graduates will leave this ceremony to achieve great things in whatever they choose to pursue.”

The first undergraduate ceremony will feature Ann Cody as Commencement speaker. Cody, who grew up in Groton, N.Y., is a medal-winning, three-time Paralympic athlete and internationally respected advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. She currently serves as a senior foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department.

The afternoon undergraduate ceremony will feature both Christopher Ashley and Donna Videto as Commencement speakers. Ashley is a Tony Award-winning Broadway director who built his successful off-Broadway and regional theater, television and film career on a foundation formed at the SUNY Cortland campus. His father, the late Larry Ashley, was a SUNY Cortland philosophy professor emeritus. Videto, a nationally respected professor in SUNY Cortland's Health Department, is a 2013 Chancellor's Award for Excellence recipient.

Three 2018 graduates checked the box for colorful regalia.

Both Cody and Ashley will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters from the College during the ceremonies.

The evening undergraduate ceremony will feature as Commencement speaker Henry Steck, a SUNY Cortland political science professor emeritus and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. Steck taught at Cortland for more than 50 years. At the time of his retirement, Steck was the longest-serving educator in the 64-campus SUNY system.

During Commencement, three SUNY Cortland faculty and staff members will receive Chancellor’s Awards, made by SUNY Administration to recognize consistently superior achievement and excellence by faculty and staff within the 64-campus system.

SUNY Cortland’s honorees will be:

Donna West, Modern Languages Department — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Kathleen Lawrence, Communication and Media Studies Department — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Carolyn Bershad, Counseling and Student Development — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service

Lori Crandall, Childhood/Early Childhood Education — Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Classified Service

Also during undergraduate Commencement, Tiantian Zheng, a professor in SUNY Cortland’s Sociology and Anthropology Department and a globally respected expert on human trafficking and sex issues in modern China, will accept the SUNY rank promotion to Distinguished Professor.

Titilayo Morgan ’99, president of the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association Board of Directors, will welcome SUNY Cortland’s newest graduates into the ranks of the College’s alumni, who live in all 50U.S. states and40 countries. SUNY Cortland has graduated more than 80,000 alumni.

For more information including on tickets and overflow parking and video livestreaming of the ceremony, visit the 2019 Commencement Ceremonies website or contact Special Events Coordinator Samantha Howell at 607-753-5453 or Special Events Assistant Susan Vleck at 607-753-2377.

Cortland Normal School Cornerstone to be Rededicated at Old Main


A century and a half ago, the rural village of Cortland gathered in what is now downtown’s Courthouse Park for what one historian described as “the largest, grandest, most elegant and most imposing demonstration ever witnessed in Cortland County.” 

That event was the dedication of the cornerstone for the Cortland Normal School; essentially the physical birth of SUNY Cortland.

That inscribed block of stone was one of the few things that survived the tragic fire of 1919 that leveled the original structure and gave rise to the construction of Old Main on campus hill. Since then, the cornerstone has been hidden away and largely forgotten.

Until now. On Wednesday, May 8, the cornerstone will be dedicated a second time in a visible place of honor in the lobby of Old Main, as part of SUNY Cortland’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration. 

President Erik J. Bitterbaum is inviting all faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends in the community to participate in the rededication of the Cortland Normal School cornerstone at 2 p.m. that day in the building’s Dorothea Kreig Allen Fowler ’52, M ’74 Grand Entrance Hall in Old Main. Refreshments will be served.

“The cornerstone is a physical representation of the many students who have learned here, the many that will learn in the future, and how the knowledge obtained at SUNY Cortland profoundly impacts the world,” said Erin Boylan, executive director of the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association and co-chair of the College’s Sesquicentennial Committee. “We are excited to rededicate the cornerstone in a place of honor during our milestone year.”

In addition to the cornerstone, the rededication will highlight the installation of an interactive touch-screen allowing people to search for historic College events along a digital timeline created by SUNY Cortland history students.

“It was a real thrill to work with History majors on the digital historical timeline for the sesquicentennial,” said History Department Chair Randi Storch, who spearheaded the timeline project with History Department student interns. “Not only did we all learn about the College’s 150-year history, students got to sharpen their historical thinking skills while creating a lasting artifact for Cortland.”

Storch and President Bitterbaum will both speak at the re-dedication, as will History Professor Kevin Sheets and Student Government President Sophie Umansky.

Storch and Sheets worked together to craft Our Common Ground, a fully-illustrated history of SUNY Cortland from 1990 through 2017. The book, intended to update an earlier history that ran from the College’s origins through the 1980s, was a special sesquicentennial project. It can be purchased online or at the Campus Store.

“Our Common Ground builds on the pioneering work of the earlier histories of the College to bring the story up to our recent past,” Sheets said. “It is a remarkable story of perseverance. Despite challenges and setbacks, the College — students, faculty, staff, alumni and committed friends — built momentum around an idea of a College that was inclusive and dedicated to offering the transformational opportunities capable of changing lives.”

SUNY Cortland is nearing the end of its sesquicentennial year, which kicked off at Alumni Reunion 2018 and will end with a final celebration this summer during Reunion 2019.

Capture the Moment


Sophie Umansky, left, and Julianna Santamaria help senior Jun Wong pick out a jacket and tie at the College’s new career clothing closet, Dragons Dress for Success. Located in Corey Union, Room 215, students now have a full selection of donated suits, blazers, shirts, shoes and more to assemble suitable attire for a job interview or professional event. Umansky, the Student Government Association president, united with Ronnie Sternin Silver ’67, emerita SUNY Cortland Alumni Association board member, to launch Dress for Success at the start of this semester. Since then, the campus community response has been fantastic. Read more

In Other News

SUNY Cortland student receives prestigious Goldwater scholarship

Collings 360240.jpg 05/07/2019

Junior Jeremy Collings developed his love for the outdoors during summers spent at the nearby Lime Hollow Nature Center, first as a camper and later as a nature educator.

He developed his passion for research by working with his parents, Raymond Collings and Leslie Eaton, who both teach in the College’s Psychology Department.

Now, as a recipient of one of the nation’s most prestigious scientific scholarships, he will have an opportunity to combine his scientific curiosity with his interest in nature and pursue a research career dedicated to making sense of our changing planet.

The conservation biology major was one of 496 college students from across the country to be named as a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar. He was the only student from a SUNY comprehensive college selected this year.

“It’s been really awesome and validating,” said Collings, who learned he had earned the scholarship in late April. “Before I even heard the news, going through the application process, the support I got from faculty advisors in my department, in Bowers Hall and across the campus has been really pivotal in approaching writing the essay and my career decisions in general.”

The Goldwater Scholarship program is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. It seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise in becoming the next generation of research leaders in these fields.

Applying for a Goldwater Scholarship requires students to submit a summary of research they have already worked on as well as a description of work they hope to do in the future. Collings has an impressive resume of research already under his belt.

As a high school student and as a SUNY Cortland freshman, he assisted his parents in psychology research. After his freshman year, Collings worked with Assistant Professor Andrea Davalos of the Biological Sciences Department on her work in invasive species management.

He expanded on that research over the summer between his sophomore and junior years as an undergraduate summer research fellow, assisted by a grant from the New York State Flora Association, studying swallow-wort management in New York State Parks. European pale and black swallow-wort, twining vines with seed pods similar to milkweed plants, are rapidly invading fields and forests in the Northeast, smothering local vegetation. They may be threatening monarch butterfly populations as adult monarchs have trouble distinguishing between milkweed and swallow-wort when laying their eggs, potentially increasing larval mortality.

Collings spent much of this academic year doing data analysis and he is currently writing a manuscript of a paper for publication.

“Going into college, I knew I wanted to study conservation and outdoor sciences and doing research here is really what honed me in on the idea that I can do real science with it,” he said. “Instead of just going out and identifying plants and talking to people about natural history, I can study these things and go through the scientific method and find knowledge about plant ecology and ecology as a whole.”

This summer, Collings will do further plant ecology research in conjunction with Texas Tech University. He was awarded a fellowship from the Ecological Society for America and will study the colonization of plant roots in and outside of deer exclosures to assess whether deer are affecting the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants.

Texas, like New York, faces a challenge of deer overabundance. Collings will be investigating how a large population affects plant life, plant nutrition and soil biology through their eating patterns.

“Ecology is already a really complex field in terms of all of the ideas and interactions and the variables you have,” Collings said. “Once you add in human effects and how to solve them, you’ve opened the door to interdisciplinary study where now you have to take into consideration sociology, politics, economics. It is really problem solving of doing research out in the field, which is very different than a lab environment.

“I enjoy having these huge, complex problems in front of me that stretch out into all of these different disciplines. I want to use biological research to try to address some of those problems.”

Collings plans to apply for Ph.D. programs in plant ecology this fall. He hopes to someday teach and continue his research at the college level.

He is thankful for encouragement and advice he’s received from SUNY Cortland faculty who helped push him toward research in the first place.

“There’s always been an open door somewhere in Bowers or across campus where I can go to talk to someone who’s going to give me really strong advice,” Collings said. “I’ve gotten congratulations from a lot of faculty members and it’s super awesome to know that all of these people who I look up to as amazing scientists and amazing researchers and amazing professors are recognizing the work that I’ve done.”

Chancellor’s Award Winners Named

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Three SUNY Cortland faculty members will receive the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence during the 2019 Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, in the Park Center Alumni Arena.

The honorees are:

  • Carolyn Bershad, director of Counseling and Wellness Services — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service
  • Kathleen Lawrence, professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
  • Donna West, professor in the Modern Languages Department — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

The Chancellor’s Awards provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the pursuit of excellence at all 64 SUNY campuses. Each campus president submits nominations, which are reviewed by the SUNY Committee on Awards.

This year’s SUNY Cortland award winners are profiled below:

Carolyn Bershad

As director of Counseling and Wellness Services, Bershad has significantly expanded her office’s outreach to SUNY Cortland students.

She provides leadership for the Counseling Center, Education and Wellness Services and Substance Abuse Prevention. Under her stewardship, student usage of counseling services has expanded substantially, including individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, consultation, training programs, research and educational programming and outreach. Bershad also has led accreditation efforts for the Counseling Center to ensure compliance with the highest standards.

Carolyn Bershad

She has taken on tasks outside of her job responsibilities. Bershad co-chairs the Jed Campus Task Force, a suicide prevention initiative, and is a key member of the Behavioral Assessment Team, a campus-wide intervention group that addresses issues of students in distress.

She has made time to deliver presentations that positively impact the campus community, speaking with faculty and staff in Advisement and Transition, Academic Support and Achievement, Alumni Engagement, Residence Life and Housing and the English Department, among others. Bershad’s efforts make campus and the greater Cortland community a safer and better-informed place.

“I know that Carolyn is motivated through both her passion for assisting students and her desire to have a lasting positive impact in the lives of the students she works to support,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Chris Kuretich. “Carolyn has been tireless in those efforts. She is a valued member of our campus community and I believe we are better off today because of the work she has undertaken and the impact she has made.”

Bershad’s focus on data-driven decision making has benefited colleagues and students across the nation, as she is a highly regarded expert in mental health counseling, behavioral assessment, crisis intervention, testing and assessment and educational programming. For nearly two decades, she has actively participated in the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the American Psychological Association and the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD). She currently serves on the AUCCCD Survey team and is past chair of ACPA's commission for counseling and psychological services.

“Dr. Bershad also brought innovation and creativity to her role as chair,” said Susan Stock, dean of Counseling/Advising/Transfer Services of the College of Lake County (Ill.). “In particular, she spearheaded the offering of webinars to the broader membership of the Commission, so those who could not attend the national convention could participate in valuable continuing education.”

Bershad has presented at numerous national conferences and at statewide seminars and local symposia, including serving as lead presenter at a SUNY-wide drive-in training session called “Best Practices and Cutting-Edge Guidance on Addressing Students of Concern: Behavioral Assessment Team Simulation.”

She joined SUNY Cortland in 2012. Bershad holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Pennsylvania State University, earned master’s degrees in cultural anthropology and Asian studies from the University of Hawaii and received her bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies from Binghamton University.

Kathleen Lawrence

Lawrence’s commitment to SUNY Cortland extends far beyond her role as professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department.

Kathleen Lawrence

In her 26 years at the College, Lawrence has been engaged in service activities across campus and her leadership skills have enhanced the educational experiences of students and colleagues alike. She has been an advocate for gender equality, serving terms as director of the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies and coordinator of Women’s Studies.

She has served on 31 College-wide committees, chaired the Faculty Senate for four terms and also represented faculty as an active contributor to the Middle States Self-Study Steering Committee.

“Her commitment to SUNY Cortland, and specifically faculty governance, is well beyond any other professor I have seen or worked with,” said Maggie Divita, associate professor in the Health Department. “She was an excellent chair, leading with strength, character and knowledge. She also worked hard to engage junior faculty and promote faculty governance as key at SUNY Cortland.”

Lawrence has served on College-wide committees including the Long-Range Planning Committee, the Undergraduate Advising Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, the Faculty Development Committee and the Institutional Planning and Assessment Committee. She also was active on the Commencement Committee for more than a decade, contributing ideas and participating as mace bearer, floor marshal and reader.

The co-founder of Planet of Women for Equality and Respect (POWER), Lawrence received recognition for excellence in the incorporation of diversity and/or multicultural perspectives in teaching. She contributed to the campus chapter of Phi Kappa Phi as president for two years and also was the chapter representative to the national body.

Lawrence also has been an advocate of education and awareness of health issues. She has worked to push students to study abroad and assisted Students Against Destructive Decisions and Video Club fundraisers as well as supporting organizations that assist children with cancer and cancer research fundraising. Lawrence has been a member of the board of directors for the Cortland YWCA and the Cortland College Childcare Center and has organized many creative service projects that link students with the local community. She has been invited to speak at the Cortland Regional Medical Center and the Rotary Club.

At SUNY Cortland, she coordinated and organized the “Barbie Conference” in 1997 and the “Barbie and Ken Too Conference” in 1998, both of which garnered national and international attention. She has been an expert on gender issues for national and international media outlets.

In the Communication and Media Studies Department, Lawrence has developed six new courses, a new concentration and a new degree program.

Lawrence was recognized with a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009. She has received national recognition for outstanding academic achievement as well as campus awards from student groups for her dedicated assistance to their activities.

Donna West

West, whose specializations in Spanish, linguistics and cognitive developmental psychology have provided a unique grounding for her teaching and scholarship, is being honored as a highly respected global leader in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research.

Donna West

West has earned master’s and doctoral degrees in linguistics from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Roanoke University.

Much of her research involves the intellectual movement advanced by American philosopher, logician, mathematician and scientist Charles Sanders Peirce, considered by many to be “the father of pragmatism.” Peirce, who lived from 1839 to 1914, was at the center of the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th century Western philosophy.

Employing as a foundation the theories of Peirce, West is able to draw connections among these areas leading her research in broad and innovative directions. Through her interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, West has earned a well-deserved international reputation as a noted authority in the field of Peircean theory semiotics.

West is the author of a large volume of published research, including one monograph, one co-edited book, 11 peer reviewed book chapters, 32 articles in peer-reviewed journals and nine articles in peer-reviewed conference proceedings volumes. Currently she has seven other submissions under review.

Her articles have appeared in prestigious peer reviewed journals spanning several fields, including The American Journal of Semiotics, The Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,Cognitive Semiotics, The Canadian Review of Philosophy, Philosophy and Science, Journal of Language Cognition and Semiotica.

In addition, West has presented more than 40 papers as author or co-author at national and international conferences, including in Brazil, Lithuania, Estonia and China. She serves on major editorial boards in her field, including The SSA Annual: Semioticsand the Public Journal of Semiotics.

Among her formal recognitions, West was elected to represent the United States on the International Association of Semiotic Studies Board and was appointed as a Founding Advisory Board Member, Deely/Maritain Memorial Chair in Philosophy and Semiotics, St. Vincent’s Archabbey and College, in Latrobe, Pa.

She joined the College’s Modern Languages Department in 2004 as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 2015.

She has taught undergraduate Spanish courses in Beginning and Intermediate Spanish, Advanced Conversation, Advanced Composition, Linguistics, Advanced Grammar and Cinema; and graduate courses in Linguistics, Language Pedagogy, and First and Second Language Acquisition.

Dowd Gallery Opens Student Select Exhibit

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SUNY Cortland’s student artists will soon have their own accomplishments recognized in the “Student Select 2019” exhibition, which opens on Thursday, April 25.

The annual art display kicks off with an opening reception and awards presentation from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Dowd Gallery, Dowd Fine Arts Center. The exhibition closes on graduation day, Saturday, May 18, at 3 p.m.

Sponsored by the Art Exhibition Association, the show and programs are all free and open to the public.

The gallery will be open while the exhibition runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment. The gallery is closed Saturday and Sunday except on May 18.


Reagan Mayer's "Dew, 2018," made of welded steel, captured Second Prize. Above left is a detail from the First Prize piece by Darien Fernandez, "Feed the Animals 1, 2018," made of oil on canvas.

The “Student Select 2019” juror is Holland Houdek, a practicing artist, assistant professor in professional practice and art gallery director at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. She chose 68 different works from 31 student artists to be exhibited. The works vary from sculpture, ceramics, painting, drawing, photography, fibers, book making, graphic design and video production.

“Student Select 2019” provides students with a venue to exhibit the works they have completed in their art classes and in the studio. Art majors and non-majors alike are given a shot at having their accomplishments on display.

“The annual exhibition presented in the Dowd Gallery offers students a place to share their work with the audience in a professional environment,” said Jaroslava Prihodova, interim gallery director. “The three-week event provides an opportunity to showcase tangible outcomes not only from art and design focused classes but also from students’ own personal creative activity outside of classrooms.”

After careful consideration, Houdek selected three students as winners of the Student Select 2019 exhibition.

  • First Prize went to Darien Fernandez of West Burlington, N.Y., a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) major with a concentration in painting. His oil painting, titled “Feed the Animals 1, 2018,” and other of his works accepted in the show were recognized for the high technical ability Fernandez demonstrated in various media.
  • Second Prize went to “Dew, 2018,” a welded steel wall object constructed by Reagan Mayer of Farmington, N.Y., a junior criminology major with a studio art minor.
  • Third Prize was awarded to Maryam Adib of Ithaca, N.Y., a junior BFA major who is concentrating in painting. Adib was chosen for her mixed media painting, “The Individual v. The Collective, 2018.”
    Maryam Adib won Third Prize for her mixed media piece, "The Individual v. The Collective, 2018."

  “The diverse selection of art produced by art majors, non-traditional students and non-art majors alike demonstrates their creativity, acquired skills and enthusiasm, and also honors the quality and dedication of the faculty at SUNY Cortland,” Prihodova said.

This year’s exhibition also features work from the following students: Kasey Berbary, Anna Brasted, Nicole Bravo, Kelly Brown, Steve Buscemi, Zaccharie Charvolin, Taylor Cook, Kali Cornwell, Sierra Dell, Alex Gentner, Mackenzie Green, Kaitlyn Hession, Kayla Hinkle, Megan Howland, Courtney Maurin, Ryan McCarthy, Royal McDonnell, Jillian McEvoy, Abigail Monson, Mike Morris, Megan O’Brien, Sydney Palmer Bishop, Waylon Partridge, Rafael Mejia Perez, Samantha Reali, Shane Reilly, Erin Schiano and Theresa Valletta.

For more information, contact Prihodova at 607-753-4216.



Student Wins SUNY-Wide Legal Essay Contest

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SUNY Cortland senior Rebekka Higgins received an email over this past winter break from assistant professor Timothy Delaune of the Political Science Department.

How would she like to enter the SUNY-wide Benjamin and David Scharps Memorial Legal Essay Award contest?

Higgins was up for the challenge.

She won first place among all entries in the SUNY system with her 2,000-word essay on this year’s selected topic: concealed carry on campus.

“It’s not an opinionated essay,” she said. “It’s a closed-universe essay question, so they give you a hypothetical law case and they give you a couple of cases and sources to use. Based on your interpretation of those sources, you advise the judge on what you think the outcome of that case should be.”

The Scharps Essay Award contest is open to SUNY students in the junior or senior years and is judged by a team of SUNY campus legal counsel and professional staff. It is named after Benjamin Scarps and David Scharps, brothers who were both attorneys.

Higgins will receive a $1,500 prize.

Students were provided with a fictional scenario in which multiple stakeholders react to passage of a law that permits concealed carry on college campuses. Their task was to act as a law clerk and draft a memo on the constitutional arguments presented in the case.

Higgins, a dual political science and criminology major from Queens, N.Y., was given five cases to reference for her argument and she used three in the essay. She chose District of Columbia v. Heller, National Rifle Association v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Federal Communications Commission v. Beach Communications, Inc. Higgins was also able to use the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to make her argument in her essay.

Previously, Higgins had written case briefs as assignments in Delaune’s constitutional law class, which helped prepare her for the contest. She also is taking SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Robert Spitzer’s course on gun control this semester. That has expanded her expertise on the subject matter.

“His class is extremely interesting and he is very knowledgeable,” she said of the SUNY Cortland professor of political science. “My knowledge on this topic has just grown from his class.”

In addition to her academic work, Higgins has completed internships with the City of Cortland Police Department, the Cortland County District Attorney’s Office and the office of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin.

After graduating later this month, Higgins plans to gain more experience before she settles on her academic future. 

“I’m one of those people who has a broad interest in a lot of things,” she said. “I’ve never exactly known what I want to do but law is definitely something that interests me. After I graduate, I want to work a little bit and really make sure I know what I want to do for grad school so I’m sure I’m going to grad school for what I really want to pursue.”

SUNY Cortland Hosting Academic Summer Youth Programs

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Middle school students interested in exploring the world through math and data will have an exciting new opportunity to do so this summer as a SUNY Cortland Data Dragon.

Students currently in grades 6 through 8 are welcome to join the inaugural Data Dragons hands-on learning experience from Monday, July 8, to Friday, July 12.

“Data is everywhere. Numbers are everywhere,” said John Foley, co-coordinator of the new academic camp. “So helping someone better understand it at a younger age, they become a better consumer of it. And if you get kids in middle school who have some basic concepts of it, that will just help them in high school and help them in college.”

Foley, professor and chair of the Physical Education Department, teamed up with Kathleen Burke, chair and professor of the Economics Department, to create a way for young students to gain an appreciation for collecting, analyzing and presenting data.

Throughout the week, there will be fun physical activities held both inside and outdoors. The students will measure things like heart rate and activity and will be able to calculate the enjoyment levels of themselves and others. They also will learn about the graphical representation of data and how to utilize Microsoft Excel to analyze and display the results.

Students will start by examining the colors of M&M candy to understand basic statistical concepts such as averages, percentages and frequency distribution. They will then take advantage of Park Center’s Activity Movement Pedagogy Lab to measure their own physical abilities and generate data to study.

“You see graphics everywhere now and understanding what those mean and how they’re trying to influence you will help you be an informed consumer and citizen,” Burke said.

At the end of the week, after students have learned and experimented with data, they will hold a poster presentation to share their personal findings, which will be accompanied by a pizza party.

Alongside the Data Dragons that same week, SUNY Cortland will also offer a Summer Art Workshop for students ages 14 to 18, currently in grades 8 through 12, that have a love for art and creativity. They will explore animation, fiber, mixed media and light-sensitive processes.

Each day, students will use a new medium and learn how to create their own art. Dyeing, heat transfer and embroidery will all contribute to the week’s theme of “Assemblage.” At the end of the week, they will present their creations to their family and friends.

The Summer Art Workshop will take place in Dowd Fine Arts Center. Three Art and Art History Department faculty members, Martine Barnaby, Charles Heasley and Jenn McNamara, designed this workshop to teach students the many forms art can take.

Both programs will run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the week.

The cost to register is $175 per student through Friday, May 31. The fee rises to $200 from June 1 to the registration deadline of Friday, June 21. Space is limited.

Lunch will be provided, but students are encouraged to bring their own snacks.

More information will be sent to registrants two weeks before the programs start.

To learn more and to register, visit

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Skyeler Paparteys

SUNY Cortland Graduate Student Leads Milkweed Planting

Broyles monarch 360240.jpg 05/01/2019

Graduate student Nicole Kuzdzal was driving home one day, brainstorming about a project.

Kuzdzal, who is pursuing a master’s in therapeutic recreation and working as a graduate assistant for Outdoor Pursuits, had been tasked with creating an environmental stewardship campaign as part of a grant Outdoor Pursuits had received from an organization called the Outdoor Foundation.

She heard a radio commercial for Agway, a lawn and garden store, which was offering free milkweed seeds to help sustain the local population of monarch butterflies.

Kuzdzal brought the idea of planting milkweed on campus to her boss, Connor Cumisky ’14, M ’18, assistant director of recreational sports for Outdoor Pursuits. Cumisky loved the idea, in part because he knew Professor Steve Broyles, chair of the Biological Sciences Department, is a milkweed expert.

Together, Broyles and Kuzdzal teamed up to create a milkweed planting event on Monday, May 6. Students, faculty and staff were welcome to join Outdoor Pursuits plant milkweed from 3 to 5 p.m. in two locations: the planter boxes outside Memorial Library as well as the bioswale between the Student Life Center and Lusk Field House.

Nicole Kuzdzal portrait

“In high school I was involved with my environmental science club and loved earth science and participated in an event called Environthon,” said Kuzdzal, an Allegany, N.Y. native. “Having that background, I was aware of the plight of the monarch butterflies and I did a little more research on them and this area doesn’t have a lot of milkweed to support the population.”

The monarch butterfly population has declined recently, largely because of the loss of milkweed to pesticides, climate change and human development across their migration route, which stretches from Canada to Mexico. Milkweed is the sole food source for monarch caterpillars.

Broyles is co-principal investigator of a $1 million grant to explore the molecular and chemical ecology of milkweed. So when he heard Kuzdzal was looking to explore a planting on campus, he was glad to lend his expertise. He helped choose the location of the planting sites and also donated milkweed plants being grown in the campus greenhouse.

“He’s helped us a tremendous amount. Honestly, I’d be lost without him,” Kuzdzal said. “He told me good areas and which breeds of milkweed would be best for each area. I had no idea there was more than one type. We’ve even been exploring planting some in Hoxie Gorge but that is still very much a work in progress.”

Kuzdzal, who plans to earn her master’s in May 2020, is looking for a career in adapted sports and also in connecting people with the outdoors.

SUNY Cortland Named Safest Campus in New York

Upd 360240.jpg 04/29/2019

The SUNY Cortland campus is the safest college environment in New York state, according to a new report. analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security analysis and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program to evaluate four main factors: hate crimes per enrolled students, violence against women per enrolled females, property crime per population and violent crime per population.

SUNY Cortland was the top-ranked college in the state.

“It is truly gratifying to be recognized for something that we’ve long known to be true: SUNY Cortland is one of the safest, healthiest and most supportive educational environments students and parents could ask for,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “I am grateful to the many campus professionals, and for our students themselves, for making SUNY Cortland such a special place.

The study calculated those four factors based on every 1,000 students, females or residents in each location. Reported hate crimes, instances of violence against women and violent crime were weighted to represent 90 percent of the final score.

Public, private and non-profit colleges that offer two- and four-year degrees with at least 5,000 students were considered in the report. named Cortland the safest college town in New York in 2017. Cortland ranked as the No. 21 safest college town in the nation in its updated report in 2019.

SUNY Cortland’s University Police Department moved into a state-of-the-art facility in Whitaker Hall in 2017. The department’s uniformed officers monitor activity on campus on foot, on bike and in patrol cars and use an extensive video surveillance network. The College’s 27 emergency blue light phones allow students to quickly and easily report emergencies or suspicious activity 24 hours a day.

The UPD sponsors educational programs on crime prevention, personal safety, self-defense, sexual assault prevention and other topics.

The College’s Title IX Office works to raise awareness about sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence as well as offer training to students, faculty and staff on how to identify and prevent domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Non-Traditional Students Inducted into Honorary

Non-Trad-NHS_1683.jpg 05/07/2019

Twenty-four non-traditional/adult students at SUNY Cortland have been elected to membership in Alpha Sigma Lambda, an international honor society honoring the academic achievement of undergraduate students over the age of 24. 

The SUNY Cortland chapter, Lambda Omicron, has elected members to the honor society. The induction ceremony and dinner, which celebrated its 20th year at SUNY Cortland, was held on April 23 in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. 

SUNY Cortland has inducted 645 student members over the past 20 years.

Alpha Sigma Lambda national standards indicate that students elected to membership are in the top 20 percent of all students at SUNY Cortland age 24 or older who have completed 24 credits of work at the College with a grade point average of 3.2 or better.  For the inductees to be in the top 20 percent of students at SUNY Cortland this year, they needed to have a grade point average of 3.62 or higher. The GPA range for this group of students inducted was 3.62 to 4.14.

Cheryl Hines, chapter councilor and coordinator of student outreach and non-traditional student support, advisement and transition, hosted the induction ceremony and dinner. President Erik J. Bitterbaum offered welcoming remarks to the new members.  Associate Professor of Psychology Joshua Peck was the faculty guest speaker. He shared some of his own experiences as an adult student as well as stories of adult students he has worked with and mentored at SUNY Cortland.

Sara Sampson, a senior dual major student majoring professional writing and political science and member of Alpha Sigma Lambda explained the ideals of the honor society. 

Peter “Kobe” Sarkodie was presented a military medallion by President Bitterbaum to recognize his service in the U.S. Army.

Students who have been elected to membership are:

Nicolette Marie Adams                         

Janiellee Alvarez                      

Alexandra Brown                    

Brionna Cicak                                             

Kathleen Collins                     

Maura Conlon                                           

Joshua Hagadorn                    

Laura Heslin                                                

Eric Kovatchitch                    

Elizabeth Lader                        

Richard Martino                      

Lauren Minholz                       

Jamie-Lee Minkley                  

Shelly Moscato                                        

Tracy Pang                                                  

Chelsea Parker                                           

Erin Reid                                     

Allison J. Rightmire                                  

Kyle Ripley                                                  

Peter “Kobe” Sarkodie                                             

Brandon Smith                        

Jessica Smith                                             

John Israel D. Ward Jr.

Bobbie Weaver   

Lori Schlicht, associate director, advisement and transition, was inducted as honorary member.

For more information about Alpha Sigma Lambda, visit

Library’s ‘Food for Fines’ Will Help SUNY Cortland Cupboard

Memorial Library is offering a unique way for students to pay overdue fines while helping the SUNY Cortland Cupboard

The Food for Fines program runs from Monday, April 29 through Friday, May 17. Students may pay their fines by donating non-perishable, unopened, unexpired food in cans, boxes and plastic jars.

Students will receive $1 off their overdue fine balance for each item of food donated. Replacement costs for lost or damaged books are excluded from this program. Those who do not have fines but wish to donate food may do so as well.

Donations will be accepted during business hours at The Help Center in Memorial Library. The food will be delivered to the SUNY Cortland Cupboard, which is filled with shelves of non-perishable food items and essentials that SUNY Cortland students living off-campus often cannot afford.

For more information on how to donate, visit The Help Center, call 607-753-2500 or email

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Carolyn Bershad

Carolyn Bershad, Counseling and Wellness Services, has been informed that the Counseling Center has met the criteria for full re-accreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), the only association that accredits counseling services on university and college campuses. Accreditation by IACS is dependent upon evidence of continuing professional development as well as demonstration of excellence in counseling performance. The Counseling Center offers individual and group counseling for students, as well as consultation and outreach to the campus community and beyond.

James A. Felton, III

James A. Felton, III, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, was elected president of the Iota Iota Lambda Alumni Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for the 2019-20 academic year. Alpha Phi Alpha is the first African-American, intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity founded on Dec. 4, 1906 at Cornell University. 

David Kilpatrick

David Kilpatrick, Psychology Department, spent his spring break doing professional development for teachers regarding the research on improving the reading skills of students with dyslexia for two state departments of education. He was in Ohio on March 13 and Virginia on March 20.

Kathleen A. Lawrence

Kathleen A. Lawrence, Communication and Media Studies Department, had her speculative abecedarian “The Large Tale of the Tiny Girl and her Big Dreams” published in Star*Line Magazine’s May issue. It is the print journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. This poem is a retelling of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, Thumbelina

Natasha McFadden

Natasha McFadden, The Cortland Fund, was honored at the Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards Ceremony on April 25. She received two awards for her work with the SUNY Cortland Cupboard food pantry: the Donald M. Wilcox 2019 Civic Engagement Award for her service on the Cortland Cupboard board, and the board was recognized with the Civic Engagement Leadership Award. Also, she received the Civic Engagement Leadership Award as a member of the New York State Mentor Program.

Celeste McNamara

 Celeste McNamara, History Department, was invited to give a lecture at The College of William and Mary in Virginia on April 1. Her talk was titled “Sin and Salvation: The Threat of Scandal in Early Modern Italy.” She also gave a workshop for the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Faculty on her forthcoming book on the reform of the Catholic Church in 17th century Italy. Finally, she guest-taught a class on European Reformations, introducing students to her research.

Mechthild Nagel

Mechthild Nagel, Philosophy Department and the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS), had her article, “Sicherheit statt Strafe” (Security Instead of Punishment) published in a gender studies forum by Netzwerk Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung NRW, Germany 

Frederic Pierce

Frederic Pierce, Communications Office, learned that his team won a SUNY Council for University Advancement (SUNYCUAD) Best of Category award in the category of Excellence in Marketing and Communications on a Budget – Special Events (Series). The award recognizes the College’s use of the alumni magazine, Columns, as a marketing vehicle and will be presented at the annual SUNYCUAD conference set for June 12 to 14 in Saratoga, N.Y.

Ryan Vooris

Ryan Vooris, Sport Management Department, co-presented a paper titled “Genre Effects on eSport Consumption Habits” at the International Association for Communication and Sport annual summit in Boise, Idaho on March 30.

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson, Communications Office, earned a Judges’ Citation for Excellence in Writing – News Writing from the SUNY Council for University Advancement (SUNYCUAD) for her feature story “Iraq War Translator Aspires to Teach Immigrant.” Wilson will accept the Excellence in Writing award at this year’s conference June 12 to 14 in Saratoga, N.Y.

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