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  Issue Number 3 • Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019  


Campus Champion

SUNY Cortland’s Outdoor Pursuits (OP) has something for everyone. Members of the campus community can rent hundreds of items for outdoor adventures such as camping, biking, winter travel, climbing, hiking and paddling, or they can explore with a group under the guidance of trip leaders. Managing the OP leaders are graduate assistants Nicole Kuzdzal (right), a therapeutic recreation major, and Morgan Costello (left), an outdoor and environmental education major. Nicole and Morgan run the climbing wall, oversee the Cortland Bike Project and lead trips and workshops — true champions for the positive impact of the outdoors on mental and physical health, happiness and overall well-being. Follow Outdoor Pursuits on Instagram for photos from their adventures.

Nominate a Campus Champion

Tuesday, Sept. 24

Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee Series Discussion: “Indebted by Proxy: How Women and Children are Faring in the Carceral State,” presented by Christopher Wildeman from Cornell University, as part of a year-long multi-disciplinary discussion series focused on debt. Sperry Center, Room 104, 5 to 6 p.m.

Clark Center Lecture: Arctic Politics, Sperry Center, Room 106, 6 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Red Cross Blood Drive: Schedule an appointment online at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, Corey Union Function Room, noon to 5 p.m.

Sandwich Seminar: “Immigration Policies and Human Rights, presented by History lecturer Ute Ritz-Deutch, Old Main Colloquium, noon to 1 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday Series: “Healthy Red Dragons,” with health promotion interns, Nutritionist Andrea Hart, Recreational Sports, Counseling and Wellness Services and SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, Student Life Center, noon to 3 p.m.

Brooks Museum Lecture Series: “‘We Will Not Give Up Una!’ Riverine Citizenship and a City in Love with a River in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina,” presented by Azra Hromadžić from Syracuse University, as part of the series theme “The Power of Action,” Moffett Center, Room 2125, 4:30 p.m. A reception to welcome the speaker begins at 4 p.m. in the Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126.

Panel Discussion:Opioid Pill Prescribing, Addiction, Prevention and Treatment: Urgently Needed Reforms,” to include presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), sponsored by the Psychology Department, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 26

Red Cross Blood Drive: Schedule an appointment online at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, Corey Union Function Room, noon to 5 p.m.

Sandwich Seminar: Supporting Campus Diversity and Equity, presented by members of the President’s Council on Inclusive Excellence, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon to 1 p.m.

Red Dragon Pride Day: Campus photo at 1 p.m. and free t-shirts and ice cream to follow, Corey Union steps, 1 p.m.

Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee Series Film:Payback,” the film adaptation of the College’s common read by Margaret Atwood. As part of a year-long multi-disciplinary discussion focused on debt. Sperry Center, Room 104, 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Gallery Talk: “A Place with No Fences: Fostering Curricular and Scholarly Connections at the Academic Art Museum,” with Leah Sweet, Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs at the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Dowd Gallery, Dowd Fine Arts Center, 5 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 27

Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee Series Discussion: Spanish painting and drawing artist and scholar Juan Gallego will discuss his work on immigration as well as his forthcoming graphic novel The Plague, Dowd Fine Arts Center, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 1

Study Abroad Fair: Student Life Center lobby, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 2

Sandwich Seminar: Using ONESearch, presented by Memorial Library staff members, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Lecture: “The Boer War (1899-1902) British Policy Towards the Boer in South Africa,” presented by John Sheehan, Sociology/Anthropology Department, Moffett Center, Room 2125, 4:30 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday Series: Empowerment Self-Defense,” with University Police Officers Frank Dalton, Steven Rolfe and Danielle Salisbury, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 7 p.m.

Screening and Reception: “Cold Brook,” followed by a reception with William Fichtner, director and star of the film, which features scenes filmed at SUNY Cortland in 2017, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 p.m. Please RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Thursday, Oct. 3

Lecture: “Communicating About the Climate Crisis,” with University of Utah professor Julia Corbett, Sperry Center, Room 104, 4:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion: “Toni Morrison, American Writer: The Language of Moral Clarity,” Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 4:30 p.m.

Theatre Performance: Lysistrata,” intended for adult audiences, tickets available online, Dowd Fine Arts Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 4

Family Weekend 2019: Check-In at Corey Union lobby, 4 to 8 p.m.

C-Lax Legends Weekend: Cortland Lacrosse Legacy Club inaugural induction weekend, tailgate from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by Red Dragons vs. NY Tech, Stadium Complex, 6 p.m.

Cortland’s Got Talent: Talent show hosted by SUNY Cortland’s chapter of the NAACP, Corey Union Function Room, 6:30 p.m.

Theatre Performance:Lysistrata,”  intended for adult audiences, tickets available online, Dowd Fine Arts Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 5

Family Weekend 2019: Check-In at Corey Union lobby, 9 to 11 a.m.

C-Lax Legends Weekend: Cortland Lacrosse Legacy Club inaugural induction weekend, Alumni vs. current Red Dragons game, Stadium Complex, 9:30 a.m., Lacrosse Legends Club Dinner, Corey Union Function Room, 4 p.m., Syracuse University vs. the University of Denver, Stadium Complex, 7:30 p.m.

Fall Employee Appreciation Day: Faculty, staff and their immediate family members receive free admission and lunch at the Stadium concessions when cheering on the Red Dragons football, women’s soccer, volleyball, field hockey and tennis games, 1 p.m.

Performance: The Evasons Mentalist Duo, two-person telepathy, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 to 9 p.m.

Theatre Performance:Lysistrata,”  intended for adult audiences, tickets available online, Dowd Fine Arts Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 6

C-Lax Legends Weekend: Cortland Lacrosse Legacy Club inaugural induction weekend, Draggin Draginz Alumni Game, Stadium Complex, 9 a.m., Farewell Brunch, SUNY Cortland Alumni House, 10:30 a.m.

Theatre Performance: Lysistrata,”  intended for adult audiences, tickets available online, Dowd Fine Arts Theatre, 2 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 7

Education Conference: Digital Content for Your Discipline, sponsored by the School of Education, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 1:45 to 3 p.m.

Green-flix Environmental Documentary Series: “Wasted: The Story of Food Waste” followed by a discussion facilitated by Brock Ternes, Sociology/Anthropology Department Moffett Center, Room 2125, 6 p.m.

Actor William Fichtner to screen new movie on campus


Television and movie actor William Fichtner will return to SUNY Cortland Wednesday, Oct. 2, to offer a free, public screening of “Cold Brook,” a movie that was partially filmed on Cortland’s campus.

Fichtner, who directed, co-wrote and starred in the film, shot most of the movie in western New York, but did several scenes in Cortland, using college students as extras in the summer of 2017. It was the first film directed by Fichtner, an accomplished actor with a regular role on the acclaimed CBS television comedy “Mom” and an impressive list of movie credits that include “Blackhawk Down,” “The Dark Knight,” “Armageddon,” “The Perfect Storm” and many others.

The movie is set for theatrical release on Nov. 8. But Fichtner is giving the Central New York community an early look with a special showing in Old Main Brown Auditorium, less than 200 yards from where he filmed an important scene in the movie.

Actor William Fichtner will return to his old stomping grounds Oct. 2 to give an early screening of his new drama, "Cold Brook."

“I always knew in the end that there were a couple of shots I really needed that I could only get in Cortland,” said Fichtner, recalling how he had to persuade his producers that he had to add another location into the film’s budget.

“Erik (Bitterbaum, president of SUNY Cortland) was so supportive,” Fichtner said. “When we were done, he said it would be great someday if we could do a screening on campus, and I never forgot that. I wanted to honor that.”

The screening begins at 7 p.m. After the movie, Fichtner will answer questions from the audience and attend a reception in Old Main’s Dorothea Kreig Allen Fowler ’52, M ’74 Grand Entrance Hall. All three events are free and open to the public.

“Cold Brook,” which Fichtner co-wrote with actor Cain DeVore specifically for Fichtner and “Sons of Anarchy” actor Kim Coates to star in, is the story of two small-town guys who embark on an incredible adventure.

“Truth be told, the story of my journey with ‘Cold Brook’ is not so different than the story of its two protagonists: Ted and Hilde,” Fichtner said. “It’s about friends trusting each other and trusting in a story they believe in; about pursuing something all the way to the end and growing into the best possible version of yourself.

“So too has been my process writing ‘Cold Brook’ with one great friend, so that in time I could have the opportunity to direct my first feature and act in it alongside another great friend. Sometimes it’s all that simple. Surrounding yourself with the people you love to do the thing you love most.”

During an earlier campus visit, film and television actor William Fichtner, right, met SUNY Cortland president Erik J. Bitterbaum. In the upper left image, he is shown meeting Cortland students who are interested in television and film.

Fichtner began visiting Cortland while he was a student at SUNY Brockport because it was the hometown of his college girlfriend. The relationship didn’t last, but his friendship with her family remained strong over the decades, with Fichtner, a Western New York native, frequently traveling to the Cortland area to stay with them at their summer camp.

This camp, located off Cold Brook Road in Cortland County, plays a big part in the movie, Fichtner said. On the SUNY Cortland campus, Fichtner’s crew filmed scenes on Graham Avenue, between Brockway Hall and the Miller Building, as well as on Holloway Field. Several SUNY Cortland students helped out with the production as interns or extras.

The Cortland screening is one of three SUNY campus previews Fichtner is hosting in New York state, while “Mom,” which is starting its seventh season, is on a brief filming hiatus. On Oct. 1, the movie will be shown at The College at Brockport, and on Oct. 3 it will be viewed at Farmingdale State College.

“I graduated from Brockport and I spent two years at Farmingdale,” Fichtner said. “Before ‘Cold Brook’s’ actual release I wanted to do something special at Cortland and at my two alma maters as well.”

Magazine recognizes university's diversity efforts


SUNY Cortland has been nationally recognized for the progress it has made in diversity, equity and inclusion as it has evolved from a campus that was 95 percent white two decades ago, to a university in which more than a quarter of all enrollees are students of color.

The many Cortland programs and initiatives undertaken to embrace racial and ethnic diversity, gender identity and sexual orientation, faith and spiritual differences, and campus community members with disabilities were honored Sept. 18, as SUNY Cortland received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

The HEED Award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. It is awarded by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

It’s the first time Cortland has been honored with this award. The university will be featured among other winners in the magazine’s November 2019 issue.

Top colleges and universities for diversity are honored annually by INSIGHT Into Diversity.

“SUNY Cortland is honored to be recognized as a recipient of the HEED Award,” said James Felton III, the university’s chief diversity officer and director of the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office.

“This award demonstrates the university’s efforts to promote a more open and welcoming place for all, and the strong commitment that President Erik J. Bitterbaum has placed on diversity,” Felton noted. “It also acknowledges the many individuals on campus who work tirelessly to promote the success of all faculty, staff and students.”

The magazine considers what candidate colleges and universities have accomplished in many different areas, including: health and wellness, support (financial, social, academic and professional), campus climate, community outreach, events and celebrations, social justice and activism, policy and innovative diversity education.

The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion, said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient,” Pearlstein said. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

Cortland long has strived to infuse inclusion and diversity into the university experience, both inside and out of the classroom. The HEED Committee cited some of the most compelling reasons to the magazine’s judges:

  • The university’s longtime, annual student-run Diversity Conference, which last year drew hundreds of students from campuses across New York state and beyond.
  • The institution’s growing annual Kente Celebration marking campus diversity among graduating seniors. This year, more than 100 students were honored, the largest number ever.
  • The launch in July 2019 of a Kente Alumni Reunion program by the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association.
  • Outreach efforts of the association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee.
  • The School of Education’s C.U.R.E. Program preparing students to teach in urban or multicultural classrooms.
  • Creating an Applied Learning Practitioners initiative.
  • A host of study abroad/international awareness programs and initiatives.
  • Title IX/Green Dot training and educational programs to foster a safe and equitable campus experience.
  • An inaugural TRANsAction Day focused on gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Conducting an Intergroup Dialogue Series on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Conducting ongoing leadership workshops focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • The Multicultural Male Initiative/Men of Color Student Leadership Conference.
  • The Wellness Wednesdays series covering the gamut of physical, mental and social wellbeing topics.

“We are thrilled to present our 2019 HEED Award to you and your colleagues because your campus truly exemplifies ‘excellence in diversity,’” Pearlstein said.


HEED Award Application Committee members met with SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum, shown on the right in front of Corey Union. With him, from the left, were Mary Schlarb, James Felton III, Zachariah Newswanger,  Eunice Miller, Jeremy Jimenez and Kathleen Lawrence. Members not pictured are Vierne Placide, AnnaMaria Cirrincione and Roman Rodriguez.

Only a handful of New York state’s higher educational institutions have earned the recognition, including the following three others in the SUNY system: Buffalo State College, SUNY College at Old Westbury and the University at Albany.

Besides Felton, HEED Award Application Committee members included AnnaMaria Cirrincione, director of multicultural life and diversity; Jeremy Jimenez, assistant professor, foundations and social advocacy; Kathleen Lawrence, professor, communication and media studies; Eunice Miller, senior staff assistant to the provost; Zachariah Newswanger, associate vice president, facilities management; Vierne Placide, assistant professor, health; Roman Rodriguez, student director of diversity, equity and inclusion; and Mary Schlarb, director and senior international officer, International Programs.

“Having worked with a team of colleagues to earn the HEED Award for two consecutive years at my previous institution, this award also serves as motivation to continue to grow and expand in this area,” said Felton, who had been the inaugural chief diversity officer at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland.

“Winning the HEED award does not mean that we have achieved our diversity goals,” Felton noted. “It means we are more truthful and intentional about how we do diversity work.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers also will discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online. For more information about the 2019 HEED Award and the magazine, visit

Capture the Moment

Capture moment soccer rings.jpg

Members of SUNY Cortland’s 1980 women’s soccer national title team returned to campus on Sept. 13 and 14 and showed off their new championship rings. Because of budget restraints in 1980 — the team drove for two days straight in a pair of red vans to play in the national finals in Colorado — the team did not receive rings at the time. Team members also unveiled a gift, a new scoreboard on Holloway Field that pays tribute to their accomplishments. Learn more at

In Other News

Presidential candidate to join SUNY Cortland panel on opioid crisis

Pill bottle 360240.jpg 09/13/2019

The opioid crisis in the United States often starts when patients are prescribed opioids for pain after routine surgeries. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain — one of every four — will misuse them.

Associate Professor Joshua Peck of SUNY Cortland’s Psychology Department will be joined by other professionals interested in policies aimed at preventing opioid abuse for a campus discussion that will include an appearance via Skype of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election.

The event, “Opioid Pill Prescribing, Addiction, Prevention and Treatment: Urgently Needed Reforms,” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium on Wednesday, Sept. 25. It is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Miller Building lots on Graham Ave.

“In our local and national news we're hard-pressed to go a week without the mention of the devastating impact that opioid abuse has taken on our communities,” Peck said. “Up to this point, the emphasis has been on litigating pharmaceutical companies and increasing funding for opioid treatment. However, when we look at successful outcomes concerning opioid abuse treatments, the data suggest that conventional treatment methods are largely ineffective. Thus, our panel will focus on novel preventative practices that can be combined, improved and expanded to protect patients from opioid pill abuse before it ever starts.”

Gabbard, who will join the panel via Skype from the campaign trail, has made addressing the opioid crisis a major part of her campaign platform. She co-introduced the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2019 in May with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). The act would prohibit the illegal marketing and distribution of opioids and create criminal liability for top company executives.

“As we look at treatment options and support for those dealing with this addiction, it's important that we actually focus on the root cause of the problem," Gabbard said on the House floor in support of the legislation. "We have seen for decades how major pharmaceutical companies have misled the FDA, doctors, and patients about the safety and risks of opioid dependency on commonly prescribed prescription drugs in their efforts to sell more drugs."

Also joining the panel are:

  • Vincent Benivegna, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon from East Lansing, Mich., who serves on the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission.
  • Tom Maher, regional director of the Healthcare Leadership Council, who has worked on that organization’s Inroads Against Addiction
  • Scott Noren, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon from Ithaca, N.Y., who will campaign for the 23rd Congressional District of N.Y. next year.

Noren has tried to avoid prescribing opioids to his patients and has found success in using other methods to manage chronic pain. He read Peck’s academic research on addiction and reached out to create this discussion.

The idea for this event is to talk about the opioid crisis from various perspectives. Noren and Benivegna will provide insight from a medical angle, as doctors who interact directly with patients. Peck will offer a glimpse at the research side of the crisis and how his work in behavioral and neural mechanisms and treatment strategies for substance abuse support this alternative approach on opioid prevention, rather than just focusing on treatment.

Noren in particular will make a case for exploring options to prevent opioid pill prescription as a means to cutting abuse. Although an estimated four to six percent of people who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin, opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017. Certain areas of the country have been particularly hard hit by the crisis. Overdoses increased by 70 percent in the Midwest in that time period.

This national trend has been felt in our own backyard, as opioid abuse has risen dramatically throughout Central New York. Onondaga County, just north of Cortland, had more opioid deaths in 2017 than any other county in New York, after seeing it’s numbers triple since 2014, according to the Onondaga County Health Department.

Maher, who has more than three decades of political and public affairs experience, will touch on policy reform and oversight topics.

Congresswoman Gabbard will deliver her thoughts on how to tackle the crisis from a federal level.

Ultimately, the panelists hope to create pathways to partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, prescribers and researchers and create a new model for prescribing through both state and federal laws.

For more information, contact Peck at 607-753-4217.

A live stream of the event will be available on

How jailing a parent impacts a child

Sin_Eater_painting_WEB.gif 09/24/2019

Being confined to prison certainly costs the inmate a staggering sum in terms of opportunities, employment and prospects for the future.

But the way that having a parent in prison dashes the hopes of youth and takes a toll on the child’s well-being during crucial, formative years, is a little less studied.

Christopher Wildeman, who directs Cornell University’s archive of child abuse and neglect, will lecture on the discriminatory impact of mass incarceration in the U.S. on family health and well-being, at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at SUNY Cortland.

Wildeman, whose talk takes place until 6:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 104, will contrast how America treats its law offenders with Denmark’s approach to criminal justice that emphasizes rehabilitation.

Christopher Wildeman

The talk continues the SUNY Cortland Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee’s (CICC) year-long series on “Debt,” a concept that will explore a wide range of issues spanning criminal justice, inequality, immigration and climate change.

The series events are free and open to the public.

Wildeman is the 2013 recipient of the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology.

A professor of policy analysis and management and sociology, Wildeman is a provost fellow for the social sciences, director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and a senior researcher at the Rockwool Foundation research unit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

His research and teaching interests concern the consequences of mass imprisonment, including inequality with emphasis on families, health and children.

Prior to joining Cornell’s faculty in 2014, Wildeman served as an associate professor of sociology at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Princeton University. From 2008 to 2010, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar and postdoctoral affiliate in the Population Studies Center (PSC) at the University of Michigan.

Additional talks in the “Debt” series through mid-October are as follows:

THURSDAY, SEPT. 26. The CICC will screen “Payback,” the film adaptation of the series’ common read by noted author Margaret Atwood, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 104.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 27. Juan Gallego, an associate professor and artist at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, will discuss his work on immigration as well as his next graphic novel, The Plague, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Dowd Fine Arts Center’s Dowd Gallery. Gallego, who earned his Ph.D. in 2004 at the Universidad Complutense School of Fine Arts, currently teaches painting techniques and illustration there. He is the author of several published comic book short stories. In November 2018, Gallego released a graphic novel, Como si Nunca Hubieran Sido (As if They Had Never Been), about the tragic death of immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 9. Professor Todd McLane, farm director at Tompkins Cortland Community College, and Kelly Wessel, chair of TC3’s Environmental Studies Program, will give a talk on ecological services and the food system. The lecture relates to TC3’s five-year-old Farm-to-Bistro Program, which offers a sustainable farming and food systems degree track. The presentation is from 5 in 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

Featured Conversations in the Disciplines guests as well as Cortland faculty, staff and students are invited to contribute original works, which the committee plans to publish the collected works under the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity’s ongoing book series under an agreement with publisher Palgrave-MacMillan. The institute is an independent public policy think-tank dedicated to the promotion of interdisciplinary research.

 The “Debt” series programming is supported by a $5,000 grant from SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines, a program created to build connections between SUNY faculty and visiting faulty from non-SUNY institutions. The series is co-sponsored by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, the Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the Research and Sponsored Programs Office, the President’s Office and the Cortland College Foundation.

To submit an event, a Field Guide contribution, volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, or for more information, contact organizer and Assistant Professor of Economics Benjamin Wilson at 607-753-2436. Stay current with the series news on Twitter at @SUNYCortCICC.

Above left is a painting of a 19th century Scottish funeral. During this time, many believed that eating a piece of bread or pastry from the deceased individual's face or chest absolved them of their sins as they passed into the afterlife. As the tradition evolved, Sin-eaters were people who got paid to absorb the sins of the recently deceased.

“Lysistrata” opens 2019-20 performing arts season

Lysistrata 360240a.png 09/24/2019

SUNY Cortland’s first theatre production of the 2019-20 season is “Lysistrata,” a Greek comedy by Aristophanes that was originally staged in 411 B.C.

Audiences, however, should expect something much different than a traditional Greek play.

“It’s probably the most inappropriate thing that’s been on the Cortland stage,” said senior Cait Zuckerman of New York, N.Y., who plays Lysistrata in the production that opens Thursday, Oct. 3 in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre. “The translation is easy to follow and it’s a super good time.”

Director Deena Conley, associate professor in the Performing Arts Department, chose a 2009 translation by J.A. Ball and Michael Chemers that uses colloquial language and contemporary references. It brings to life the timeless story of “Lysistrata,” in which the title character gets women to band together in denying sex to their husbands in hopes of ending the Peloponnesian War.

“It’s about people at war and the power of women both then and now,” Conley said. “Society is coming to the realization of the power that both genders possess and should be conscious of. It’s done in such a fun way that it’s not offensive.”

SUNY Cortland’s musical theatre majors spend time in class reading and performing sections from works including classic Greek plays and Shakespeare. “Lysistrata” offers students an opportunity to take some of those lessons to the stage.

JoDee Hall, a second-year student from New York, N.Y. leads the chorus of women characters in the play. Sean Amato, a junior from Stony Brook, N.Y., leads the male chorus. Their role is to connect with the audience, which they do to hilarious effect in this particular play.

“The chorus is really the backbone,” Hall said. “We’re helping the audience understand the story fully and what we’re all feeling as the men and the females in the show.”

“It’s very much like two siblings fighting,” Amato said. “It’s fun because a lot of the show feels like me and JoDee going back and forth and messing with each other with banter and really poking fun.”

This updated version of “Lysistrata” is still set in 411 B.C. Greece but its main themes — sex, power, war and gender relations — are sure to resonate with today’s audiences.

“It’s really cool because we’re still in the peak of the #MeToo movement going on right now and this is the farce Greek version of that,” Zuckerman said. “Yes, it’s an old story but it’s what we’re still doing now. It’s war. People are at war for no reason.”

Despite the gravity of these topics, SUNY Cortland’s production of “Lysistrata” promises to handle them with plenty of raunchy humor and innuendo.

“it’s funny to think that this was originally written in 411 B.C. and you think of people in togas being proper,” Amato said. “But they were being silly and making these jokes.”

Because of the thematic nature of the play, “Lysistrata” is recommended for adult audiences only.

Performances in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre on Oct. 3, 4 and 5 begin at 7:30 p.m. and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 6. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for faculty, staff and senior citizens and $9 for SUNY Cortland students and are available at

Spanish artist to discuss depiction of immigration

Juan_Gallego_2_WEB.jpg 09/24/2019

The words “graphic novel” conjure ideas of fights to the death between good and evil by masked superheroes in colorful spandex.

However, the medium also serves to deliver socially important messages to the worldwide masses through that universally understood language of pictures.

Such is the work of Spanish painting and drawing artist and scholar Juan Gallego, who will give an artist’s guest lecture about his forthcoming graphic novel, The Plague, and will discuss how that relates to the immigration tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea, on Friday, Sept. 27, at SUNY Cortland.

An associate professor who teaches painting techniques and illustration at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, Gallego will begin his hour-long presentation at 9:30 a.m. in Dowd Gallery, located in the Dowd Fine Arts Center.

Presented by the Art and Art History Department, the talk is free and open to the public.

Born in Madrid, Gallego earned his B.F.A. and Ph.D. at the Universidad Complutense School of Fine Arts. A faculty member at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos since 2014, he previously was an associate professor at CES Felipe II University in Madrid and also taught at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Norte Joven Association for Youngsters at Risk.

He is the author of several published comic book short stories. In November 2018, he released a graphic novel, Como si Nunca Hubieran Sido (As if They Had Never Been), about the tragic death of immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Currently in its third edition, that work was awarded at the Splash Sagunt ComicCon in Valencia, Spain, and has been presented in many different cities of Spain.

An image from Javier and Juan Gallego's graphic novel, As if They Had Never Been, depicts the tragic death of immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Above left, Gallego is shown at his studio.

Gallego’s graphic illustration work also has been depicted in boredpanda’s 64 Powerful Street Art Pieces That Tell the Uncomfortable Truth.

He has exhibited his artwork in solo, two-person and group exhibitions. His illustrations have appeared in numerous national and international galleries, venues and art fairs in Spain, China, Colombia and South Korea. In Madrid, Gallego’s work has appeared in Galeria Fernando Pradilla, Galería Santiago Echeberria, Galería Gema Lazcano, the Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, and ArtMadrid.

He also is the author of several published comic book short stories.

His commercial art work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, catalogs, music video albums, web pages and film documentaries.

The event is sponsored by the College’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC), the Art and Art History Department, the Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, the Research and Sponsored Programs Office, the President’s Office and the Cortland College Foundation.

The lecture also is made possible by a grant from the SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines, which supports the CICC’s yearlong interdisciplinary series on the theme of “Debt,” which is exploring a wide range of issues spanning criminal justice, inequality, immigration and climate change.

For more information about the talk, contact Szilvia Kadas, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of graphic design and digital media, at 607-753-4190, or visit her website.

For more information on the CICC’s “Debt” series or to submit an event, make a Field Guide contribution, or volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, contact Ben Wilson, assistant professor of economics, at 607-753-2436. Stay current with the series news on Twitter at @SUNYCortCICC.

Cortland named one of nation’s healthiest campuses

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It’s official. SUNY Cortland is one of a handful of higher education institutions nationwide to fulfill all the requirements for recognition as one of the healthiest campuses in the United States.

Partnership for a Healthier America, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging healthy eating, exercising and other behaviors, notified Cortland that the university had successfully completed its three-year commitment to implement a daunting list of initiatives.

Cortland will be formally recognized for the accomplishment this spring, at the Partnership’s annual summit meeting in Chicago. Only 32 colleges nationwide have earned that honor. In the 64-campus State University of New York system, besides Cortland only Binghamton University has achieved it.

“We deeply appreciate this acknowledgement,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “It demonstrates on paper what we already knew in our hearts, that SUNY Cortland offers an encouraging environment for active lifestyles, good nutrition and healthy choices.”

The campus will celebrate its success from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Student Life Center lobby during its annual Wellness Day health screening. Students can earn a free water bottle and a chance for a 30-minute massage just by participating in assessment activities at various health stations. The idea is to make members of the SUNY Cortland community more aware of their personal fitness and health.

Students, faculty and staff also are encouraged to post photos of themselves engaging in healthy activities on social media, using #HealthyCampus in the caption. The other healthy Partnership for a Healthier Campus schools are doing it, and it would be good to show them what Red Dragon Strong really means.

To earn the designation, SUNY Cortland signed a three-year commitment to implement and document initiatives in 23 different areas ranging from healthy nutritional options to academic offerings. A faculty and staff committee led by Cortland health educator, Lauren Scagnelli ’12, M '14, ushered the process to completion last spring.

“The committee worked hard to complete new initiatives and refresh what was already being done here at Cortland,” Scagnelli said. “We all take pride that we have completed the requirements and, more importantly, that we continue to assist students in all areas of health and wellness.”

Partnership for a Healthier America, an offshoot of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to fight child obesity, began focusing on college campuses because it is a time of profound change for young people when lifetime habits are formed.

Research shows that overweight and obesity rates increase by more than 15 percent for first-year college students. According to a study published in 2014 in the journal Preventive Medicine, 95 percent fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and more than 60 percent report not getting enough physical activity.

In general, SUNY Cortland — which educates future coaches, physical therapists, medical professionals, physical education teachers, biologists, fitness instructors and health educators — has bucked the trend. In addition to 23 varsity sport teams, Cortland offers 36 club sports, dozens of intramural activities, a very active outing club and a wide variety of fitness programs. Every day, nearly a third of the student population uses the Student Life Center to lift weights, run on the elevated track, play basketball or engage in activities such as yoga and meditation, group exercise classes, swimming or another fitness or recreational activity.

In addition, the university offers a wide range of nutritious dining options through its Auxiliary Services Corporation, and a variety of activities aimed at raising awareness about healthy eating. Nutrition initiatives include an increased emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, and vegetarian entrees in the dining halls, as well as the creation of a healthy catering menu.

Lecture Series to explore power of action

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Action can have consequences, both intended and unintended.

Whether it’s humans deliberately effecting social change in their societies or tiny woodland creatures interacting to create a ripple effect on their immediate surroundings, it’s worth thinking about all the things that can alter the world, sometimes for the better.

At SUNY Cortland, starting on Sept. 25, the 2019-20 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series will take on the theme of “The Power of Action” in four separate lectures or poster sessions.

This fall, an anthropologist will tell how a village in Bosnia-Herzegovina fought off an international development deal to dam their river. A biologist will describe the complex ecological interplay of creatures dwelling just out of sight. Next spring, a health educator will relate how public advocacy is improving lives, most recently with the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements. A student panel will share their ideas on the power of action.

The Brooks lectures and receptions are free and open to the public.

“This year’s theme addresses the many individual endeavors and social movements that have sought to solve problems and bring an end to social, political and environmental injustice,” said organizer and Brooks Museum director Sharon Steadman, a SUNY Distinguished professor and faculty member in SUNY Cortland’s Sociology/Anthropology Department.

“In addition, this theme allows us to consider various types of ‘action’ that are not immediately observable, but that have real and dramatic effects on our present and future lives,” she said.

The talks all take place on Wednesdays and begin at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125. Before each lecture, a reception to welcome the speaker will start at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126. Refreshments will be served during the student panel presentation.

The talks will be introduced by Kent Johnson, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of sociology/anthropology, as Steadman will be on sabbatical during the series.

The series opens on Sept. 25, with a presentation on “‘We Will Not Give Up Una!’ Riverine Citizenship and a City in Love with a River in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

The Una River is central to actual events that took place in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, as told by upcoming speaker Azra Hromadžić. 

The speaker, Azra Hromadžić, is an associate professor of anthropology in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

A cultural anthropologist, her research interests are focused on the anthropology of international policy in the context of state-making in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her book, Citizens of an Empty Nation: Youth and State-making in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina(University of Pennsylvania Press), explores the internationally directed postwar intervention policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the response of local people, especially youth, to these policy efforts.

Azra Hromadžić

The Una River frames the Bosnian northwestern border with Croatia, and is famous for its beauty, fast currents, emerald color, water quality and tourist potential. During the 1990s war, the tributary also was credited with keeping the population of Bihać, a quiet town in northwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina, contented and safe.

In June 2015, Bihać was enveloped in a political protest. According to Hromadžić, thousands of people got together — mostly digitally but also directly — to object to the city’s recent decision that gave concession to a joint Russian and Bosnian energy company to build a dam on the city’s river Una.

“Armed with love for the river and the political agency this emotion generated, the 2015 protest led to a politically significant outcome,” Hromadžić said. “Pressured by the people, the city’s government reversed its decision to grant the concession.”

The steps the townspeople took represented the only reversal of a city government’s decision, on any matter, in the country’s postwar history. Hromadžić made ethnographic observations and gathered data in interviews to examine what Bihaćdid to bring about this political and social outcome.

“My new project — to examine water as a site of ‘vital politics’ — emerged from this moment when the political rule stumbled,” she said.

She spent the spring semester of 2017 as a Fulbright Scholar in Bosnia-Herzegovina where she conducted research and taught at the University of Bihać. This experience propelled her to begin a new research project on water politics and pedagogies, political imagination and infrastructure in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Hromadžićhas received many awards for her excellence in teaching and research.

Peter Ducey, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY Cortland, will lecture on “Amazing Interactions Under Our Feet: Creatures, Stories and Lessons” on Oct. 30.

Peter Ducey

“Largely unnoticed by most people, yet occurring all around us just beneath the surface, are dramatic interactions among a fantastic set of organisms,” said Ducey, a Biological Sciences Department faculty member who chairs the university’s Undergraduate Research Council.

“Some of the creatures have familiar names but are in actuality much more interesting and important than generally believed,” he said. “Other creatures, including some of the stars of this talk, will be new to most listeners and guaranteed to impress.”

Although outside people’s view, these animals can have significant impacts on above-ground humans. Human actions also have influenced this unnoticed world.

“The ecological interplay will be described in stories of invasions, competition and predation,” Ducey said. “However, we also will explore how historical perspectives on the study of these systems provide insights into the limitations and power of scientific approaches more generally.”

Ducey, who earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan, has served as a consultant to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as well as environmental engineering companies on remediation projects. These have included creating a map of amphibian and reptile populations and developing new habitats for the animals.

In 2009, Ducey was honored with an Outstanding Conservationist Award from The Wildlife Society. In 2006, he was presented with the SUNY Chancellor/Research Foundation Recognition for Exemplary Contributions to Research and Scholarship.

Continuing the series in the spring, on Feb. 17Alexis Blavos, a SUNY Cortland associate professor of health, will discuss “Advocating for our Lives.” Her topic builds on the famous Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good [people] do nothing.”

Alexis Blavos

“In the era of oppression, discrimination and fake news, we must advocate for ourselves, and our lives, more than ever,” Blavos said. “We cannot simply do nothing. This means we must come together with passion to organize, research, strategize, implement and persist.”

According to Blavos, advocacy in public health has a history of focusing on funding for health care, school health education, the REACH program and women’s health. She asserts that today’s advocacy is taking on a much more personal focus today with the #MeToo movements and #BlackLivesMatter. Her lecture will explore advocacy skills as it relates to public health and life in general.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” Blavos said, quoting Dr. Seuss.

Blavos, who has a doctorate in health from University of Toledo, has an article about #BlackLivesMatter, written with several co-authors, currently under review by the Seneca Falls Dialogue Journal. Her research on assorted public health topics has been published extensively in professional journals. Among many honors for teaching and research, Blavos was recognized in 2014 as Outstanding Health Educator of the Year by the Ohio Society for Public Health Educators. For her engaging and supportive personality, SUNY Cortland students chose her from among all faculty in 2018 to receive the Student Affairs Faculty Connection Award.

The series concludes on March 25 with a presentation by a student panel titled “The Power of Action.” The students will provide various examples of activism across the world that have sought to solve global and local problems.

The 2019-20 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from the Cortland College Foundation, the Sociology/Anthropology Department and the President’s Office. For more information, contact Johnson at 607-753-4557.

TOP LEFT IMAGE: In 2016, six students who are now graduates took part in a cleanup of the Tioughnioga River as a form of hands-on learning. In the center is Stephanie Mele ’18. The others are, clockwise from the lower left: Kristina Georgilis ’17, Molly Butler ’17, Matt Race ’17, C.J. Molina ’18 and Andrea Canale ’17.


Denver-SU scrimmage to highlight C-Lax Legends Weekend

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SUNY Cortland will host a pair of college lacrosse exhibition games as part of its C-Lax Legends Weekend, Oct. 4 to 6.

On Friday, Oct. 4, SUNY Cortland’s men’s lacrosse team will take on the New York Institute of Technology at 6 p.m. at the Stadium Complex. NYIT is coached by Billy Dunn ’80. A small fee will be charged at the gate to support a charitable cause.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the men’s lacrosse teams from the University of Denver, coached by Bill Tierney ’73, and Syracuse University square off at 7:30 p.m. at the Stadium Complex. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the gate. Proceeds will benefit SUNY Cortland men’s lacrosse.

Dunn is 118-61 overall as the head coach at NYIT and most recently led the team to the NCAA Division II tournament in 2018. He previously worked as a physical education teacher and coach at various high schools in the Long Island area. A defenseman at SUNY Cortland from 1977 to 1980, Dunn helped lead the Red Dragons to three consecutive SUNYAC championships. 

Tierney has won an NCAA-record seven national Division I men’s lacrosse titles as head coach, including stops at Denver and Princeton University. He led Denver to a national championship in 2015 and earned the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association National Coach of the Year award. Tierney, a member of the C-Club Hall of Fame, was a member of SUNY Cortland’s national championship men’s lacrosse team in 1973.

He is also an inaugural member of the men’s Lacrosse Legends Club, which will hold its first initiation dinner on Saturday, Oct. 5. The other 2019 inductees are Joseph Cuozzo ’59, Mike Messere ’66, Richard Speckman ’67, Dave Urick ’71 and Paul Wehrum ’72.

The weekend serves as a celebration of the formation of the Cortland Lacrosse Legacy Club and will feature a wide variety of events for former players, friends and their families. For a full list of events and to learn how to register, please visit

C-Club to induct seven new members

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Seven new members will be inducted into the SUNY Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame during its annual ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The 2019 honorees are:

  • Stanley Kowalski ’69, M ’72 (posthumous), men's lacrosse, football
  • Jack McGetrick ’72, M ’74 (posthumous), men's lacrosse, men's soccer 
  • Charlyn (Charlie) Robert ’78, field hockey, women's lacrosse
  • Terry Febrey ’82, women's soccer
  • Frank Ciliberto ’83, men's soccer
  • Tony Zawadzki ’86, football
  • Stefan Mascoll ’99, men's track and field

In addition to Saturday night's official ceremony, the inductees will be introduced at halftime of the Cortland-Buffalo St. football game earlier that afternoon.
Established in 1969, the C-Club Hall of Fame recognizes Cortland alumni who competed as athletes at the College and who have since distinguished themselves in their professions and within their communities. Honorary members are recognized for their long and significant contributions to SUNY Cortland athletics. New C-Club members have been added annually and this year's ceremony will bring the Hall of Fame roster to 270 alumni and 30 honorary members.

Nominations for next year's C-Club Hall of Fame voting will be accepted until January 15, 2020. The nomination form is available online. A person must be nominated in order to be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame.
A detailed look at this year's inductees is available at

Stanley Kowalski '69 M '72
Stanley Kowalski was a three-time All-America midfielder for Cortland's men's lacrosse teams as well as a standout football defensive back. The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame (1997) and Long Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame (1989) inductee was a highly successful coach and teacher at Half Hollow Hills High School and in collegiate lacrosse for almost four decades.

Jack McGetrick '72 M '74
Jack McGetrick was an All-America lacrosse defender and a regional All-America soccer goalie for the Red Dragons who enjoyed a successful run as a men's lacrosse head coach at the University of Hartford and Bellarmine University.
Charlyn (Charlie) Robert '78
Webster, Mass.
Charlyn (Charlie) Robert played four seasons of both field hockey and lacrosse at Cortland, coached field hockey at Union College for 13 seasons and was one of the nation's top athletic administrators as the director of athletics at Nichols College (Mass.) for 17 years.

Terry Febrey '82
Rochester, N.Y.
Terry Febrey earned two women's soccer All-America honors and was the 1981-82 Broderick Award winner as the nation's top player. She helped Cortland win the first-ever women's soccer collegiate national title in 1980

Frank Ciliberto '83
Spencerport, N.Y.
Frank Ciliberto was a two-time men's soccer All-America defender who helped the Red Dragons reach the NCAA Division III "final four" as a senior and national quarterfinals as a junior.
Tony Zawadzki '86
Melville, N.Y.
Tony Zawadzki overcame physical handicaps early in his youth and shined as a linebacker for Cortland's football team. A two-time All-American, he is the Red Dragons' leader with 393 career tackles.
Stefan Mascoll '99
Haymarket, Va.
Stefan Mascoll was a three-time national champion sprinter for the Red Dragons who earned a total of five All-America honors and nine SUNYAC titles in three seasons.

National champions donate scoreboard

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Recent renovations to Holloway Field, home of SUNY Cortland’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, provided an opportunity for a special group of alumnae to contribute.

The field’s new scoreboard is a gift from the members of Cortland’s 1980 women’s soccer team, the first national intercollegiate champions in U.S. history.

“It was a way to get some recognition and a way to give back,” said Terry Febrey ’82, who was the sweeper and co-captain on the 1980 team.

The scoreboard unveiling on Saturday, Sept. 14, held during a SUNY Cortland women’s soccer match, wasn’t the only exciting new thing displayed by members of the 1980 team that weekend. A number of players finally got the championship rings they never received.

They had to buy them for themselves.

In 1980, just a few years after the passage of Title IX, women’s collegiate sports were undergoing massive growth. However, the NCAA did not yet sanction women’s soccer.

That Cortland team played through its regular season, going 9-3. The team then beat Princeton, Harvard and the University of Connecticut to win the Eastern Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) title, which was supposed to be the end of the line.

Yet Steve Paul, who was the women’s soccer coach at Colorado College, created a new national tournament in 1980 that brought together teams from around the country including Texas A&M, UCLA and the University of North Carolina.

With a shoestring budget, the Cortland players piled into two red vans and drove to Colorado Springs for this first-of-its-kind tournament. They knocked off Colorado State, Harvard and UCLA in three consecutive days to become the nation’s first women’s soccer champions.

The team got a police escort down Main Street in Cortland — and a feature-length documentary “Cortland to Colorado” in 2017 — but they didn’t get rings. Until Febrey, who worked together with teammates Susan Hoffman ’84 and Joan Schockow ’85, decided to get the rings created and distributed the night before the scoreboard unveiling.

“It’s one of those things where we had to pay for it ourselves, just like the old days,” Febrey said. “But nobody’s talking about that. We’re happy to have them and we’re happy with the way they look. I’ve had mine on for 24 hours and already people are noticing the ring and asking questions and that’s exciting. You put pictures on Facebook and people are happy to see them.”

Cortland’s 1980 team started making a push to get together as a group about five years ago during the filming of the documentary. They came back for Alumni Reunion 2017 for the documentary premiere and many returned this month for the scoreboard ceremony.

“There is a little bit of magic there,” Febrey said. “To win a national championship, you need a certain type of people to come together. One of the things I’ll always remember is how we always tried to do what was best for the team. If a person was open, you hit the open person, no questions asked. We were always getting together to talk about the team and strategies and what would make us better. It was always about us, never about an individual person. That always works to your advantage.”

Most of all, they enjoy being around each other and spending time with their coach, Anna Boserup Rush Zado ’57 who was present at the weekend ceremonies.

There was some time for shenanigans as well. During Saturday’s game, Lisa Langworthy Parsons ’82, M ’90, the team’s top prankster, snuck into the visiting team’s dugout.

And Febrey walked to the sidelines to inspire Cortland’s current women’s team as they were scoreless with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the half.

“At halftime, I went over and yelled, ‘Let’s get a goal!’” she said. “‘Wait a minute, let’s get two goals!’ So that was fun for me.”

Final score: Cortland 2, RPI 0.

A little bit of that 1980 magic happening all over again.

Cortland in the news

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Tommy Sheehan ’14 had two dreams as a child.

One, he wanted to teach fourth grade.

Two, he wanted to go on the hit reality show “Survivor.”

Mission accomplished. He’s done both.

Tommy Sheehan portrait

Sheehan teaches fourth grade at Floral Park-Bellerose Union Free School District on Long Island. His passion for teaching — he is known to jump up on desks and rap about long division — was what sealed the deal in his application process for “Survivor.”

The series’ 39th season begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25 on CBS.

Sheehan was featured in the latest edition of Moments, SUNY Cortland’s monthly alumni enewsletter, and he also did an interview with Parade.

In other news:

  • Matthew Madden, associate professor in the Physical Education Department, and Charles Yaple, professor emeritus in the Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department, were quoted in a Cortland Standard story on the social and physical benefits of playgrounds for young children.
  • The Observer-Dispatch (Utica, N.Y.) wrote about Paul Wehrum ’72, M ‘74, who will be honored as part of the SUNY Cortland Lacrosse Legacy Club weekend on Oct. 5. Wehrum recently retired as the head men’s lacrosse coach at Union College and previously led Herkimer County Community College to eight NJCAA national championships.
  • Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor and chair of the Political Science Department, spoke with NPR about firearms manufacturer Colt announcing that it will suspend production of its AR-51 semi-automatic assault-style rifle. Spitzer was quoted by the Statesman (Austin, Texas), commenting on presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s proposal for a national gun buyback program.
  • The late Gerry Gentner ’66 will be posthumously elected into the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame. The Amherst Bee provided details of his career as head softball coach at Williamsville South (N.Y.) High School, which included state titles in 2000, 2004 and 2006. His daughter, Julie Gentner Murphy ’03, is a member of Cortland’s C-Club Hall of Fame.
  • Bob Bulman M ’17 was named chief operating officer of the Albany Empire, an Arena Football League team. He previously served as COO of Mohawk Valley Garden, the parent company that oversees the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
  • The Cortland Standard provided an update on the $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding that was awarded to the City of Cortland. The university’s Institute of Applied Geospatial and Drone Technology will use $100,000 of that money.
  • Noelle Wolford Stolle ’98, a former member of SUNY Cortland’s gymnastics team, was featured in the Newport (Ore.) News Times for her role as tumbling coach with the Taft High School cheerleading team.

Classified staff recognized for years of services

The 2019 Annual Service Awards Ceremony recognizing classified staff and Research Foundation will be held on Friday, Dec. 6, in the Corey Union Function Room.

The following employees are slated to receive awards. To note a correction or addition to the list, contact Michelle Congdon in the Human Resources Office by email or phone at 607-753-2302. 

2019 Service Awards Awardees


Charlene Lindsey, Field Experience and School Partnerships Office


Douglas Adsit, Facilities Operations and Services

Lucinda Compagni, Development Office

Michelle Congdon, Human Resources Office

Janet Daugherty, Educational Opportunity Program

Sherry Ellis, Library

Amanda Halliwell, Sociology/Anthropology Department

Kathleen Hudson, International Programs

Heather Hurteau, Child Care Center (Research Foundation)

Laurie Matthews, Child Care Center (Research Foundation)

Theresa Montez, Recreational Sports

Christine Newcomb, Cortland College Foundation (Research Foundation)

Teresa Ripley, Facilities Management Office

Dorothy Barrett Smith, Cortland College Foundation (Research Foundation)

Scott Suhr, Biological Sciences Department


Ryan Kleveno, Motor Pool

Tanya Lowie, Facilities Operations and Services

Robert Maarberg, Heating Plant

Cynthia Perelka, Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education

Lou Anne Simons, Library

Pamela Smith, Chemistry Department

Jennifer Stiles, Communication Disorders and Sciences Department

Patricia Wolff, Duplicating Center


Robert Albro, Facilities Operations and Services

Christina DiGiusto, Communications Office

Heather Drew, Information Resources

Charles Greenman, Fleet Operations

Robert Orphan, Facilities Operations and Services

Sharon Peters, Facilities Operations and Services

Tammi Vassalotti, Facilities Operations and Services

Suggest a feature story

Faculty/Staff Activities

Anna Curtis

Anna Curtis, Sociology/Anthropology Department, recently had her book, Dangerous Masculinity: Fatherhood, Race, and Security Inside America’s Prisons, published by Rutgers University Press.

Mark Dodds

Mark Dodds, Sport Management Department, presented “Using the Law to Combat Sport Corruption” at the 2019 Current Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports and Entertainment event held at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Bonni C. Hodges and Mike Urtz

Bonni C. Hodges, Health Department, and Mike Urtz, Athletics Department, conducted a webinar for the Society for Public Health Education titled “Student Athlete Wellbeing: One Team, One Family, Many Branches.” The webinar provided an overview of student-athlete wellbeing challenges, current student-athlete wellbeing initiatives in the U.S., and a process used to plan future student-athlete wellbeing initiatives at SUNY Cortland.

Michael Hough

Michael Hough, Biological Sciences Department, authored a book, Flora of Cortland and Onondaga Counties, New York, that is now available from Amazon.

Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy, Health Department, and her project staff team of 15 undergraduate and graduate students and alumni surveyed more than 500 adult cigarette smokers and e-cigarettes users over 13 days of the 2019 New York State Fair as part of the “Patterns of Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in New York State” research project.

Murphy’s research interests include tobacco control and cancer prevention. Previously she conducted a survey of tobacco users at the fair in 2011. This latest research at the fair will allow her to compare changes (from 2011 to 2019) in the patterns of electronic cigarette use among adults in New York state and examine smokers’ beliefs about the harm or safety of various tobacco and nicotine projects. 

Murphy teaches epidemiology courses where students learn about how to collect, gather and analyze survey data to answer a research question. This project at the fair provided a fun and real-world experience for students to see how data is gathered from humans “in the field,” which in this case was the fairgrounds. 

Several SUNY Cortland undergraduate and graduate students took part in experiential learning and were able to apply and practice their survey research skills and communication skills as they interacted with fairgoers and invited them to participate in a brief survey. Also, the students had the chance to speak with potential college-bound students who are interested in attending SUNY Cortland and speak with numerous proud SUNY Cortland alumni who were at the fair. 

Now that the surveys are complete, Murphy will work with undergraduate students to compile the data, analyze it and then write up the results for publication and dissemination. The findings from this research will be important given the public health epidemic of vaping which has received considerable attention in the news.

Robert Spitzer

Robert Spitzer, Political Science Department, chaired a panel on “Assessing the Presidency of Donald Trump” at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, held in Washington, D.C. Aug. 29 through Sept. 1.

James Webb

James Webb, Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC), has been awarded the title of certified executive chef by the American Culinary Federation. This certification comes at the end of an intensive training process. Some of the requirements are completion of courses in food safety, supervisory management, a written and practical examination and more than five years as a supervisory chef. 

Webb has been with ASC since 2010. He led the culinary effort during the New York Jets training camp and has been instrumental in the development of many of ASC’s newer concepts like Pomodori and Greens & Grains. Webb is the executive chef at The Bistro in the Student Life Center and will now serve as ASC Dining’s senior executive chef.

Tiantian Zheng

Tiantian Zheng, Sociology/Anthropology Department, was invited by Clarkson University to deliver a talk on her book Red Lights on Sept.13.

Submit your faculty/staff activity

The Bulletin is produced by the Communications Office at SUNY Cortland and is published every other Tuesday during the academic year. Read more about The Bulletin. To submit items, email your information to

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