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  Issue Number 9 • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024  


Campus Champion

Jonah Reardon ’13, associate director of alumni engagement, frequently works behind the scenes to make events special. He’s driven by the joy that comes from seeing the connection people make with our institution. So, when SUNY Cortland's football team traveled to the NCAA Division III championship game in Virginia, Jonah stepped up and donned the famed Blaze costume — fueling Red Dragon passion on the field and in the crowd. It was his first engagement as a mascot, but Jonah always leads with a Blaze-like enthusiasm. This passion helps create heartfelt connections between Cortland and our alumni each and every day. 

Nominate a Campus Champion

Thursday, Jan. 25

Welcome Week Resource Fair: For new students, learn about the academic support, co-curricular and well-being resources available, Corey Union first floor, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Part-time Jobs Info Session: 4 to 5 p.m. Learn more and register on Handshake

Dowd Gallery Opening Reception: Meet the artists from "Eye Witness," an exhibition of fine art featuring Minna Resnick, Carla Stetson, Lin Price and Susan Weisand, Dowd Gallery, 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 26 

International Welcome Back Celebration: Corey Union first floor, noon to 1:30 p.m. 

Wednesday, Jan. 31

Study Abroad 101: Every Wednesday at 3 p.m., Old Main, Room 220

Teacher Certification Requirements Overview: Online via Handshake, 6 to 7 p.m.

Conley Wellness Wednesday: Learn about Meditation, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 6 to 6:45 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 1

Red Cross Blood Drive: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, noon to 5 p.m. Click here to make an appointment

Dowd Gallery Artist Talk: Carla Stetson will share personal experiences as an artist as part of “Eye Witness,” an exhibition of fine art featuring Minna Resnick, Carla Stetson, Lin Price and Susan Weisand. Dowd Gallery, 5 to 6 p.m.

Abraham Lincoln Demond 1889 Day: Presented by the Student Government Association's Diversity Board, it is the second annual event that celebrates the life of the first African American to graduate from SUNY Cortland, Corey Union Function Room, 6 p.m.

Performing Arts Staged Reading: “In Emily's Words,” a new musical based on the life and work of groundbreaking Victorian era novelist Emily Brontë, as part of a College/Professional Theater Partnership between the Performing Arts Department and CreateTheater, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 3

Performing Arts Staged Reading: “In Emily's Words,” a new musical based on the life and work of groundbreaking Victorian era novelist Emily Brontë, as part of a College/Professional Theater Partnership between the Performing Arts Department and CreateTheater, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 6

Safe Zone Workshop #1: Online via Webex, 3 to 5 p.m. Register for Workshop #1

SUNY Cortland among nation's best schools for outdoor experiences


It’s a beautiful world out there, and SUNY Cortland is among a select group of schools recognized for offering students opportunities to experience the best Mother Nature has to offer.  

That’s according to the Bear Grylls-founded, which ranks Cortland among “the best college and university choices for outdoor and nature lovers.” 

The website was co-founded in 2023 by Grylls, a survival expert, author and TV host who’s spoken about the importance of incorporating the outdoors into education. 

That’s a breath of fresh air to Rhonda Pitoniak ’01, M ’16, director of Cortland’s William H. Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education, who agrees with Grylls. 

“It is important to disconnect from electronics and to connect with the people and space surrounding you,” she said. 

Students hike at the William H. Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education.

For its list of 12 campuses selected from around the country, looked for regions with good access to the outdoors and schools near those areas that had strong outdoor programs. Cortland, described in the article as “well known for its outdoor recreation major,” was matched alongside the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Miami and other schools that stress the educational value of off campus experiences. 

“This is wonderful recognition for one of the most unique aspects of our campus,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum.  

“We can’t tell SUNY Cortland’s story without mentioning the university’s special connection to the outdoors, especially in the Adirondack wilderness. It makes me very proud when our students seize the opportunity to learn or do research through our one-of-a-kind outdoor classroom, in programs spanning history, childhood education, conservation biology and many others.” 

The university owns the Huntington Memorial Camp at W. H. Parks Family Outdoor Center on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park, along with its sister campus, named Antlers, located along the same lakeshore.  

Canoeing at Huntington Memorial Camp is one of the many ways that SUNY Cortland lets students experience the natural world.

Cortland’s location in Central New York was also a factor. reviewers liked the area’s access to wilderness and hiking trails, along with its proximity to the Finger Lakes, ski resorts and state parks. 

Outdoor Recreation, a major within the university’s Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department, lets students find career paths that embrace nature, including outdoor leadership, natural resource and recreation management, camp management and environmental and cultural interpretation.  

As the longest-running recreation program in New York state, it’s known for the more than 95 percent employment rate of graduates, creating and operating the international Inclusive Recreation Resource Center, and for co-founding the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors, a 37-year-old network of outdoor education scholars. 

Top among its unique advantages is Camp Huntington — the only National Historic Landmark in the SUNY system — which provides study opportunities across majors as varied as physical education to chemistry. 

Students explore the Labrador Hollow Unique Natural Area in Tully, N.Y., as part of the Outdoor Pursuits program.

Thanks to its rustic location among the scenic peaks of New York state, Cortland’s home in the Adirondacks is also perfect for programs like Outdoor Pursuits, which loans equipment and organizes student adventure trips through Recreational Sports. 

“SUNY Cortland’s students are fortunate to be located in the center of the state allowing easy access to many parks and natural features,” Pitoniak said. “The Outdoor Education Centers owned by the university consisting of Hoxie Gorge Nature Preserve, the Raquette Lake facilities and Brauer Field Station offer both academic and non-academic opportunities for our students.” 

Hoxie Gorge and Brauer are both field stations, the first located seven miles south of the main campus in Cortland and Brauer situated eight miles southwest of Albany, N.Y. 

University hosts second DeMond Day


Yusuf Muhammad Jr. ’99, M ’01, a transformational public high school principal in Atlanta, Georgia, will deliver the keynote speech Thursday, Feb. 1, at SUNY Cortland’s second annual Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day celebration.

Muhammad is currently the principal at Phoenix Academy, an Atlanta school serving underprivileged students.  

Having spent more than a decade turning around troubled schools, he will discuss the value of devoting one’s life to helping others similar to the life of DeMond, SUNY Cortland’s first African American graduate. Muhammad’s presentation is titled “Embracing a life of service: my journey through SUNY Cortland.”

Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day was initiated last year to honor DeMond, who graduated from Cortland just 24 years after the Civil War and became a leader in the national fight against the prejudicial policies and segregation that were enforced across much of the United States. The event, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room, marks the official start of SUNY Cortland’s 2024 Black History Month event series.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, courtesy of the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association. An RSVP to attend DeMond Day is requested.

History records DeMond as a talented, ambitious man whose accomplishments reached far beyond New York state.

A portrait of Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889

Born in Seneca, N.Y., he attended the Cortland Normal School — the institution later to become SUNY Cortland. After graduation, DeMond studied theology at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., the same church from which Martin Luther King Jr. would one day help launch the civil rights movement. On Jan. 1, 1900, DeMond delivered an oration describing the achievements of African Americans and calling  for them to be given full rights as American citizens. The address was published and distributed to the public.

In 2019, SUNY Cortland’s chapter of the W.E.B. Du Bois Honor Society was named for DeMond. Last year, a group led by Tatum Pittman ’23, then the SGA’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, created the day in his honor.

“As a student at SUNY Cortland, I didn’t know this information about DeMond,” Muhammad said. “When I learned about it and read a couple pieces about him, I just started thinking about his life in serving four generations ahead. Really, we are standing on the shoulders of a giant who made it possible, who went through a tough journey so that people like me can impact the world. Thinking about his sacrifices, his struggles, there’s something great in him. Yet I find parallels in my own life.”

Muhammad said he’ll discuss how his alma mater set his feet on an early path to a life journey of civic engagement.

“I want to encourage not only embracing a life of service for the community you’re in, but for yourself,” Muhammad said. “I’ve really had to focus on the idea of selfcare with the challenges I’ve been through in my own life.”

Raised in the tough Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y., Muhammad lost his father when he was only 11. Now he is a widower proudly raising four daughters, including the oldest who is an honor student at Howard University.

This year's DeMond Day keynote speaker Yusuf Muhammad '99, M '01 is shown with his high school protégées fourth from the left. In the top image, Ernie Logan '73 gave the keynote speech in 2023 to inaugurate Abraham Lincoln DeMond Day.

Muhammad enrolled at SUNY Cortland through its Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). During his undergraduate years, Muhammad served as president of the Black Student Union, a resident assistant, a member of the EOP Board and a contributing writer for the Dragon Chronicle.

He was recognized with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence as well as many Cortland undergraduate awards, including the Seth N. Asumah Uhuru Award for Academic Excellence, the Larry Newkirk Memorial Scholarship, the Student Support Committee Leadership Award, the Student Support Committee EOP Best Student Award, the EOP Academic Excellence Award, the James McKee Memorial Award for Outstanding Student in African American Studies, and the Excellence in Student Teaching Award.

Muhammad earned his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Social Studies and African American Studies. Awarded a SUNY Cortland Underrepresented Graduate Fellowship, he received a Master of Science in SUNY Cortland’s Literacy Education Graduate Program. Accepted into Cornell University’s Africana Studies Graduate Program, he graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in African and African American Studies.

Yusuf Muhammad '99, M '01 stands between two successful high school students.

Returning to Brooklyn, Muhammad entered the teaching profession and taught social studies at the Benjamin Banneker Academy. A graduate of the New Leaders Aspiring Principal’s Program, in 2012 he became a high school principal in the New York City Department of Education. In 2016, Muhammad accepted an offer to lead a low-performing high school in Atlanta. There, he helped create a culture of academic achievement that led to the school’s removal from the Georgia Department of Education’s list of schools needing support.

Additional DeMond Day speakers will include:

  • SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum
  • Lorraine Lopez-Janove, SUNY Cortland’s chief diversity and inclusion officer
  • Tracy McPherson Hudson ’89, M ’93, Ph.D., SUNY Cortland assistant professor of physical education
  • Clay Barnett, the event organizer and Student Government Association director of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Daniel Walker ’06, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association president

DeMond Day sponsors include the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, President’s Office and the Student Government Association.

For more information on DeMond Day, contact Clay Barnett at the SGA. For more information on Black History Month events, contact Charlotte Wade, assistant diversity officer, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office.

Capture the Moment


After a long, quiet lull over winter break, the SUNY Cortland campus was once again buzzing with activity this week, as more than 6,700 students started spring semester classes. They were welcomed by faculty, staff, temperatures in the teens and dreams of warmer days to come.

In Other News

Black History Month events at a glance

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SUNY Cortland will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) throughout February with a series of events that include historical and cultural lectures, panel presentations, a Wheel of Fortune-style competition focused on Black history, a formal masquerade ball, and a discussion of the contributions of Black filmmaker Spike Lee.

SUNY Cortland will open BHM on Thursday, Feb. 1, with its second Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, honoring a groundbreaking graduate and enshrining his legacy. Yusuf Muhammad Jr. ’99, M ’01, the principal at Phoenix Academy, an Atlanta school serving underprivileged students, will deliver the keynote speech at 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.

For the remainder of February, BHM campus events will be posted online on the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office webpage. Events are open to the public and free unless otherwise noted. Event changes may occur throughout the month so please check back for the most up-to-date information.

Some of the upcoming events include:

  • Making Shakespeare sexy again. Many students from underrepresented communities who enter the class of SUNY Cortland Assistant Professor of English Willnide Lindor express that their past encounters with William Shakespeare’s plays have left them uninterested in his works due to the lack of diversification among characters and their characterization. Lindor’s discussion, “Making Shakespeare Sexy Again: Pedagogical Approaches to Race and Empire,” will explore how students may rediscover the classic playwright through posing the questions that matter to them. Lindor will speak from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Old Main Colloquium.
    Las Vegas was the theme of last year's Black Student Union formal dance party.

  • Discussing geography of disability. Most research on individuals with communication difficulties has been conducted on the majority-Caucasian, English speaking population, so these investigations may not necessarily be applicable to individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. “It is important to consider this when thinking about individuals with disabilities, specifically those with significant communication difficulties,” said Nimisha Muttiah, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of communication disorders and sciences. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, she will discuss “The Intersection of Disability and Individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds” from 11 a.m. to noon in Corey Union Fireplace Lounge.
  • Microaggressions 101. SUNY Cortland wellness and diversity professionals will team up to let students learn to recognize when they are being targeted with tiny, but emotionally harmful acts of aggression in their daily lives. Lauren Herman Scagnelli ’12, M ’14, a health educator with Conley Counseling and Wellness Services, and Katrina Hodge, assistant director of multicultural life and diversity, will share the basics about microaggressions in their wide variety of identities during “Microaggressions 101,” an informational table in the Student Life Center Lobby from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. While there, enter a name to win a gift basket.
  • Discussing Race on Zoom. Marcus Croom, an assistant professor of literacy, culture and language at Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Education, will discuss the continued urgency of enhancing the ways in which individuals understand race and its implications for teaching racial literacies in schools. His online critical dialog on racial understanding, titled “If Black Lives Matter at School, then What is Race? with Dr. Marcus Croom,” will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8. Dianne Wellington, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of literacy and a Diversity Faculty Fellow, will facilitate.
  • Black Woman Superhero Complex panel. A panel of speakers will weigh in on what is otherwise known as the “strong Black woman narrative” on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The panel, moderated by Katrina Hodge, assistant director of multicultural life and diversity, will share their perspectives, advise how they navigate through the BWS complex in their lives and in predominately white spaces, and offer suggestions on how to support Black women as they seek to navigate the unrealistic expectations imposed on them. Panelists will include Yolanda Clarke, assistant professor of health; Tracy Hudson, assistant professor of physical education; Eden Strachan, author and founder of Black Girls Don’t Get Love; student Kyrstin White; Natalie Marie Angela Yoder, area coordinator in the Residence Life and Housing Office; and student Kyla Young. The presentation will run from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Old Main Colloquium.
    A student in The Cortland Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) program interacts with young students in a local school.
  • Analyzing Spike Lee. Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee has a career spanning over 40 years, according to Christopher Ortega ’06, SUNY Cortland associate professor of communication and media studies. Ortega will share his ideas on this popular media giant in a talk titled “Those that’ll tell don’t know, and those that know won’t tell: Spike Lee’s life and career” on Wednesday, Feb.14, in Old Main Colloquium. The lecture runs from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. “Spike Lee’s long career as a filmmaker and provocateur remains impactful on popular culture,” Ortego said. “Spike spent much of his career as an almost singular Black voice in an industry not interested in the stories he wanted to tell. While many Black directors have now joined Lee, it is worth taking some time to look at Spike’s films and how they are still relevant today.”
  • Black women’s health: college disparities. Yolanda Clarke, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of health, will discuss Black Feminist Thought (BFT), as originated by Patricia Hill Collins, in her talk titled “Black feminist thought and the health disparities of Black women at predominantly white colleges and universities” on Thursday, Feb. 15. The lecture, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. in Corey Union Fireplace Lounge, offers the 30-year-old concept of BFT as a strategic approach to locating and eradicating what is considered by some academics to be a particular barrier to Black women’s health and success in life.
  • Prison letter-writing workshop. The Black Student Union will take time to recognize the injustice experienced by men in the Black community, share their solidarity, and encourage hope by writing letters to incarcerated men from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, in Corey Union Voice Office. The Week of Events program is presented in collaboration with Men of Value and Excellence.
  • BHM Wheel of Fortune. The Black Student Union will host a “Black History Month edition” game of “Wheel of Fortune” where participants can showcase their knowledge of Black history. The competition for prizes begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Corey Union, Room 301.

Throughout February, campus community members are invited to take part in the online, interactive 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge at First launched at SUNY Cortland in 2021, the challenge gives campus community members an opportunity to immerse themselves in Black history and culture with a daily theme and a list of several options for reading, listening or watching. To complete the challenge, individuals may choose at least one activity per day and are welcome to explore more. This year, on Thursday, Feb. 29, members of the Anti-Racism Task Force Multimedia Subcommittee, which started the challenge, will present a sandwich seminar discussion among new and past participants on the program’s impact to date.

Events later in February will be released in the Feb. 20 edition of Bulletin.

Co-sponsorships and funding for Black History Month were made possible by the President’s Office, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Men of Value and Excellence, the Anti-Racism Taskforce Multi-Media Sub Committee, the Health Promotion Office, the Provost’s Office, Memorial Library, School of Education, New York State United Teachers, and the departments of physical education, English, health, communication disorders and sciences, literacy, philosophy, communication and media studies, sociology/anthropology, economics, sport management, chemistry and kinesiology.

For more information, contact Charlotte Wade, assistant diversity officer, at 607-753-2975 or in Miller Building, Room 404A.

Emily Brontë unplugged 

Students-Front-2.jpg 01/23/2024

Oscar Wilde once said that life imitates art. A new play inspired by another successful Victorian novelist suggests that the opposite also is frequently true.  

The life of Emily Brontë, the groundbreaking author of Wuthering Heights, is the subject of a stage musical being developed with the help of SUNY Cortland students. 

“In Emily’s Words” is the second show brought to the university by CreateTheater, a company that helps writers develop and produce their work. It began a Professional College Musical Theatre Partnership with the university last year with “The Bone Harp.” 

The two staged readings at the Dowd Fine Arts Performance Studio — at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 3  — will conclude a two-week workshop that lets students in the Performing Arts Department be a crucial part of the creation of a new show. 

Admission is free but it is requested that anyone interested in attending contact to ensure enough seating. 


Each reading will be followed by conversation between the audience and the cast and creative team that gives the show’s creators a chance to hear their dialogue and music performed and get an idea of the impact on a live audience. The lessons learned will shape future changes to the musical.  

Music and lyrics are by Jessy Tomsko, with the script credited to Tomsko and Brontë. Jeff Cox, a New York-based music director and conductor who has performed internationally and on Broadway, is the musical director. 

Director Kevin Halpin, a professor in the Performing Arts Department, said that “In Emily’s Words” is a show that both the cast and audience will find rewarding. 

“It has themes of the nature of art and how we as artists are inspired, and how much comes from within us versus things outside us,” Halpin said. “But what I find most fascinating in the piece is the banter between the characters in the book and the writer, and ... the idea that that there is this creative flow outside of us that we tap into. It's done with a lot of humor in this piece, which I think is really fun.” 

He added that it takes on contemporary themes like the struggle for women in a traditionally male-dominated field to have their voices heard. The novel it’s inspired by is, Halpin said, an exceptional starting point for the musical. 

Wuthering Heights itself is such a groundbreaking novel so different from the (novels) people were reading in Victorian-era England,” he said. “There are characters where there's no real clear wrong or right. There's no clear villain. It's very, very much about human nature and what drives us in a very contemporary way. It's really, truly ahead of its time.” 

As with “The Bone Harp,” students involved with “In Emily’s Words” will be invited to New York City in the spring to be part of another reading as the show progresses.   

“To be part of something that will grow beyond this, to be part of the script developed as part of the partnership with SUNY Cortland and CreateTheater so that they (the students) will always be a piece of this moving forward — that's a wonderfully exciting thing,” Halpin said. 

New this year, CreateTheater has partnered with a company called Streaming Musicals that will record the development process of “In Emily’s Words.” 

Halpin noted that the streamed performance is a way for Cortland’s students and its Musical Theatre program to broaden their visibility. 

“They’re going to be doing a documentary on the whole process for us,” he said. “Including when we’re at their studio in the city doing a version of it, recording it to stream on their platform as a full piece as well.” 

President’s talk highlights success despite national challenges

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SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum outlined key reasons for the university community to be optimistic despite the challenges facing higher education institutions during his Spring 2024 State of the University Address on Jan. 18.

Those reasons include a record number of first-year student applications, a strong retention rate and a commitment to new academic programs and initiatives.

For the second year in a row, the university has received historic interest from prospective students, with nearly 16,000 first-year applications for Fall 2024. SUNY Cortland’s healthy enrollment follows good news this past fall from the State University of New York system, which reported a statewide increase in first-time undergraduate enrollment of more than 2,500 students in 2023 and has seen a surge of first-year applications for Fall 2024.

“We’ve stayed stable, which is a good sign for us,” said Bitterbaum, while also referencing recent university closures across the U.S. and enrollment shortfalls that many campuses face.

A second reason for the university’s bright outlook is its stellar 81% first-year retention rate, a number that is roughly 20 percentage points higher than the national average for comprehensive public universities. Still, he noted that challenges such as student debt and some public perceptions of higher education threaten enrollment and student persistence across the country.

“For me, when I listen and talk to students, the key for them in staying here is you, our faculty and staff,” Bitterbaum said. “If you can think of ways to bring students into what you do, it says to them, ‘We see you and we care that you’re here.’”

The president described his student-first vision for SUNY Cortland, which holds that student success relies on the collective talents of academic departments and offices across campus. Those include Advisement and Transition, Career Services, Conley Counseling and Wellness Services, The Learning Center, Student Health Service, The Writing Center as well as Disability Resources, Institutional Equity and Inclusion, Multicultural Life and Diversity, Residence Life and Housing, Title IX offices and many others. 

“I think we have a reputation as a student-first campus,” Bitterbaum said. “We have a vision of ourselves that we’re here to help our students succeed and I think the entire community can make a real difference.”

During his discussion of new programs and initiatives, the president mentioned SUNY Cortland’s plan to create an online bachelor’s program in integrative studies for students who started their college education but never officially earned their degree. He cited approximately 40 million Americans who may fall into this group, including non-traditional students, military veterans and others looking to finish their studies.

“We think we can draw those students back,” he said.

On the topic of online learning, the president pointed to SUNY Cortland’s 12 graduate programs offered in online or hybrid formats and their success in attracting working professionals from places outside of Cortland. Those opportunities now include childhood education, community health, educational leadership, English as a second language, history, literacy education, physical education leadership, therapeutic recreation and sport management.

Bitterbaum mentioned the university’s newest undergraduate major in tourism and recreation while also celebrating highlights in many areas since the fall semester:

  • Student research: SUNY Cortland’s Michael J. Bond ’75, M.D. Alumni/Undergraduate Science Symposium saw the highest attendance of the event’s eight-year run, introducing student researchers to successful alumni scientists. Three undergraduates traveled to Cuba to present their independent work, marking the university’s first trip to the island nation since the COVID-19 pandemic. Five students also attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists in Phoenix to help strengthen their career goals in STEM.

  • International scholarship: Two more Cortland students earned a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State: Frank Denteh, a biology major who traveled to India, and Ashton Patalidis, a criminology and sociology major who studied in Australia. This past fall, SUNY Cortland also welcomed 50 new international students, who brought the total number of scholars from other countries on campus to 88 — believed to be an all-time high for the university.

  • University accolades: SUNY Cortland was recognized as a top school for students with disabilities, ranking 42nd on a national list of disability-friendly colleges. More recently, the university was named among the nation’s best schools for outdoor experiences by the Bear Grylls-founded for its access to nature and academic programs tied to the outdoors.

  • Construction updates: Bitterbaum shared in-progress photos of the $27 million project taking place in Cornish and Van Hoesen halls. The renovation, expected to be completed in January 2026, will bring new facilities for the Communication and Media Studies Department, Conley Counseling and Wellness Services, Disability Resources Office and Educational Opportunity Program. The university’s Alumni Association also won a $500,000 New York state grant to support restoration projects at the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House near downtown Cortland.

  • Athletics success: A dominant fall sports season included five conference championships for Red Dragon teams in field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. The university’s football team punctuated the most successful season in program history with its first-ever national championship and the 26th team title overall for the Athletics Department.

  • Honorary degree announcement: The president revealed that Ernest Logan ’73, former president of the labor union representing America’s public school administrators, will receive an honorary degree from the State University of New York at Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 11, in recognition of his distinguished career in public service and education.

In his outlook for the year ahead, Bitterbaum encouraged faculty and staff members to be aware of current topics in higher education such as generative artificial intelligence in the classroom and recent First Amendment case studies. He also discussed the mental health concerns that many students face, including potential warning signs, recommendations and suggestions for course syllabi. 

A panel session followed the president’s talk, featuring insight from six current SUNY Cortland faculty members about why they teach and lessons learned in the classroom. Faculty speakers included Bryanne Bellovary, assistant professor of kinesiology; Odalis Patricia Hidalgo, assistant professor of modern languages; Qwynne Lackey, assistant professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies; Lin Lin, professor of childhood/early childhood education; Keith Newvine, assistant professor of literacy; and Anisha Saxena, assistant professor of history.

Bitterbaum concluded his remarks with a short exercise suggesting that people often remember the professors and staff members who provide inspiration and support.

“Our students are at a crossroads in their lives when they get here,” the president said. “We want them to grow intellectually, emotionally, socially and even spiritually. And it is our faculty and staff members who make such a difference. You create a positive ripple effect that has no ending.”

National education leader to receive honorary degree

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Ernie Logan ’73, former president of the labor union representing America’s public school administrators, will receive an honorary degree from the State University of New York during SUNY Cortland’s 2024 Commencement.

Logan, president emeritus of the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), is being recognized for an influential career of public service, educational excellence and goal-directed dedication that exemplifies the values of SUNY Cortland.

“One of the many reasons SUNY Cortland stands out as a national leader in teacher education has to do with successful alumni like Ernie Logan,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “His impressive career as an educator and labor leader improved the school experiences of countless students, teachers and administrators, especially those in New York City.”

Logan was born in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, the 11th of 13 children. His father, an engineer, died when Logan was 8. But the elder Logan had imbued in his son the importance of a college degree, and his mother stressed the importance of education for her children despite the hardships they faced.

After graduating from SUNY Cortland, he earned a master’s degree in education from Baruch College and began his education career teaching English in the New York City School system. Logan was a leader among school administrators and became active in New York City’s Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union representing education administrators in the nation’s largest public school district.

In that role he successfully negotiated substantial salary increases and health care stability as well as school reforms, instituting a rating system for principals based on school performance and leadership competencies. Logan was a leading advocate for New York City’s Pre-K for All program. For decades, he worked closely with city, state and federal officials to build bridges and secure legislation that enabled school administrators to excel in their roles.

In 2018, he was elected president of the American Federation of School Administrators. As a national representative of school administrators, professionals and supervisors, he became a vice president of AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, and currently sits on its executive council.

Logan has received numerous awards from education organizations and is a board member for New Visions for Public Schools and the New York Research Alliance. He and his wife, Beatrice, created the Ernest A. Logan ’73 Scholarship at SUNY Cortland, providing tuition assistance for public school students from New York City. He also serves as co-chair of the Development Committee for the Cortland College Foundation board of directors.

Last year, Logan was the keynote speaker at SUNY Cortland’s inaugural Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, a new annual event honoring the university’s first Black graduate.

President Bitterbaum will present Logan with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 11.

“Ernie has kept Cortland close to his heart for many years,” Bitterbaum said. “His life’s work is something for all of our graduates to strive toward.”

Fitzpatrick named national D3 football coach of the year

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SUNY Cortland football head coach Curt Fitzpatrick has been named the 2023 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coach of the Year after guiding the Red Dragons to their first-ever national title. The award was presented on Jan. 9 at the AFCA's annual convention in Nashville, Tenn. 

It is Fitzpatrick's second major national coaching honor of the season – he was chosen as the National Coach of the Year in December. 

Under Fitzpatrick, Cortland finished with a 14-1 record to set a school single-record for victories. The Red Dragons were 9-1 in the regular season, including a 6-0 mark to win their third straight Empire 8 title. 

In the NCAA Division III tournament, Cortland entered ranked 11th nationally in the Top 25 and 13th by the AFCA. The Red Dragons opened with a 23-17 win at Endicott and a 25-24 home victory over Grove City. Cortland then won at Alma College in Michigan, 58-41, in the national quarterfinals to earn the first national semifinal appearance in school history. The Red Dragons won at Randolph-Macon, 49-14, to earn a trip to the finals, and Cortland completed its storybook run to the national crown with a 38-37 victory over top-ranked and 2022 national champion North Central in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, snapping the Cardinals' 29-game winning streak. 

Cortland set school records this fall with 46.2 points and 509.2 total yards of offense per game. The Red Dragons scored 35 or more points in 13 of their 15 games. 

Fitzpatrick was hired at Cortland in February 2020 after serving seven seasons as head coach at Morrisville. Due to COVID-19, Fitzpatrick did not coach his first game with the Red Dragons until the fall of 2021. In three seasons on the field, he has led Cortland to a combined 34-4 record and three NCAA appearances. He and his assistants have been named the Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year in each of his three seasons at the Red Dragon helm.

Sport management course celebrates global teamwork

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Exams and term papers serve as the final assignments for most college classes.

But for some students in one SUNY Cortland sport management course, their culminating experience took them more than 4,000 miles across the globe to Lithuania to meet classmates from other countries and learn about sport in a different culture.

“Cross-Cultural Perspectives Abroad in Sport Management” was offered through the SUNY Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Global Network, which connects students and faculty members in different countries for projects, discussions and, in some cases, study abroad experiences.

Cortland students worked throughout the fall semester with classmates at Lithuanian Sport University and JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland, learning from professors at all three institutions. For most of the semester, coursework took place in an online capacity through video chats and lectures, including synchronous classes on Mondays.


The highlight, of course, for Cortland students was a nine-day trip to Lithuania in northeastern Europe from Nov. 24 to Dec. 2.

“Students work hand in hand throughout the entire semester,” said Tara Mahoney, an associate professor of sport management at SUNY Cortland who has led past COIL experiences in Finland and the Netherlands. “Then once we get there, we hit the ground running.”

The international itinerary included morning lectures, facility tours, activities and social events, and a capstone case study competition, which relies on collaborative group work between students from the three countries. Eleven SUNY Cortland students made the trip, along with 15 Finnish students. Seventeen students at Lithuanian Sport University, the host institution, also enrolled.

Among their highlights, Cortland students visited the country’s Olympic Training Center in Druskininkai. They learned from the nation’s director of aquatic sports, which include swimming, diving and water polo. They also attended a Lithuanian Basketball League game featuring Žalgiris, the fan-favorite team of Kaunas, where Lithuanian Sport University is located.


“It’s a big basketball country, so it was exciting to have that fan-oriented experience,” Mahoney said.

One of the trip’s major goals is to observe similarities and differences in sport across cultures. Mahoney said that many Cortland students noted differences in sport facilities abroad — specifically appreciating the quality of SUNY Cortland’s own buildings and resources.

She said the trip’s payoff is easily seen when international classmates meet in person for the first time, after working together online for several months. 

“What I love, every single time, is just seeing the students interact,” Mahoney said. “They’ve obviously met in a virtual capacity. But then when they get together, they have this special bond that comes with traveling abroad and experiencing a new culture together.”

Exhibit turns observations into art

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“Eye Witness,” a fine art exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculpture by four award-winning Central New York women, opens at SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Fine Arts Gallery on Monday, Jan. 22.

The artists — Minna Resnick, Carla Stetson, Lin Price and Susan Weisand — selected works to display that integrate expressive strokes in oil paint, delicate precariously natured forms, structured compositions and vivid narratives.

Carla Stetson's graphite drawing “As Eve said to the Serpent.” The top image is Lin Price's oil painting “Road Show.”

“Eye Witness” will remain on view through Thursday, March 28, in the gallery, located in the Dowd Fine Arts Center on the corner of Prospect Terrace and Graham Avenue in Cortland.

An opening reception with the artists will be held in the gallery from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25. Refreshments will be served. The exhibition is free and open to the public, as are the opening reception and all exhibition-related events.

The concept for “Eye Witness” was based on a quote from the late Romare Bearden, an American artist, author and songwriter: “I think the artist has to be something like a whale, swimming with their mouth open, absorbing everything until they have what they really need.”

Susan Weisand's Collagraph acrylic ink drawing “Release.”

Each of the four artists have done just that, filtering and funneling their observations of the natural world and contemporary society, politics and family concerns to shape a unique point of view.

“Each work represents a dynamic narrative derived from the accumulated beliefs and experiences of the artist expressing a visual perception of the present intending to invoke the viewer to append personal anecdotal connections,” the artists said in a joint exhibition statement.

“What we see and understand is not only shaped by the eye but by accumulated beliefs and experiences,” the artists noted. “In this show, we pay witness to varying ideas all the while rooted in the visual perception of the here and now, ideas such as: ‘What is our place in nature?’ ‘How does the history of gender and societal norms play into today’s reality?’ Viewers continue this process, adding their own layers of meaning and enriching the stories we tell.”

Scott Oldfield ’06, a SUNY Cortland Art and Art History Department lecturer in drawing and interim Dowd Gallery director, noted, “Through their specialized media, each artist invokes a sense of place and contemplation communicated through subjectively unique experience and reference, appropriated images, or imaginative spaces.”

“Eye Witness” events will include:

  • Artist talk. Carla Stetson will share her personal experiences as an artist from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1.
  • Artist talk. Lin Price will discuss her personal experiences as an artist from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15.
  • Guest Speaker. Nancy Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier curator of American and European art emerita at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum, will discuss the topic of “They Came, They Created, They Conquered. A brief history of women artists in America” from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22.
  • Artist talk. Minna Resnick will share her personal experiences as an artist from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 29.
  • Artist workshop. Bryan Thomas will give a hands-on demonstration of vinyl cutting from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21.

Visit the Dowd Gallery website or follow social media using the #dowdgallery hashtag for detailed information about yet-to-be-scheduled artists, speakers and events.

Minna Resnick's mixed media drawing “Friends Forever.”

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with hours extended on Thursday until 7 p.m. Visit the Dowd Gallery website for details about exhibiting artists, upcoming events or gallery availability. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact Scott Oldfield ’06 at 607-753-4216.

“Eye Witness” is supported by the Art and Art History Department.

Toxic flatworms fuel student research project 

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Worms are commonly dismissed as beneath us — literally. But Elizabeth DuBois, a junior biology major at SUNY Cortland, knows these oft-ignored creatures have potential to be underground sensations of the science world. 

For DuBois’ honors thesis research project, that means unlocking the secrets of a bacteria found on Bipalium kewense and Bipalium adventitium, toxic varieties of flatworms (planarians). She wants to learn whether those bacteria make a neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin that’s produced by the hammer-headed worms and marine animals like pufferfish. 

“I’m motivated by an interest in learning new things about science,” DuBois said. “Sometimes it can definitely be frustrating. You have things that won’t go right, or you were expecting a different outcome. But the thing about that is that when you weren’t expecting an outcome, you learn something new. I’m really interested in my project now and it’s fun.”  

Once the toxin is better understood, DuBois expects it could be used to improve a range of medical treatments, including pain relievers, and create new ways to treat the effects of tetrodotoxin exposure itself. 

Christa Chatfield, a professor in the Biological Sciences Department, is the primary advisor and mentor for DuBois’ research, and provides her with lab space and materials. She said the microbes being studied are almost a “complete unknown,’” which makes the test results even more exciting as they come in. 

Elizabeth DuBois' research on flatworms examines how the animals are able to make a dangerous neurotoxin.

“Her work is progressing nicely,” said Chatfield, who noted she and DuBois would soon have data on the identity of bacteria she has isolated from the skin of two planarian worms she sampled this semester. “She isolated around a dozen unique species, and we are identifying them using genetic sequencing. She has been able to get a lot of success in the PCR (polymerase chain reactions) needed for the sequencing, which can be challenging with samples of unknown species identity.” 

Peter Ducey, a distinguished teaching professor in the university’s Biological Sciences Department, who has contributed to planarian research for decades and been used as an expert on national television, noted that tetrodotoxin has been studied for decades due to its impact on humans and other animals. But how it’s created by organisms has somehow remained a mystery. 

The project is fascinating in that it’s addressing questions whose answers can have implications for many areas of biology, ranging from the biosynthesis of medically important neurotoxins to the evolution of ecologically significant invasive species,” Ducey said. 

As part of her project, DuBois takes samples of planarian skin provided by Ducey and cultures them. Then she gets DNA samples from the resulting bacteria before finally identifying the bacterial species.  

Once complete, DuBois’ research will be a valuable building block toward both future studies and, she says, for her future career plans. 

“I want to study microbiology and immunology in grad school, or molecular biology. Hopefully, I’ll get my Ph.D. and then, in the long run, I think I’ll probably become a professor and run a lab of my own.” 

DuBois’ research will continue in the spring semester with support from a national grant she earned from the Beta Beta Beta (Tribeta) Biology Honors society, along with SUNY Cortland’s new Biology Alumni-Supported Undergraduate Research (ASUR) grant and Student Progress in Undergraduate Research (SPUR) grant.  

Bipalium adventitium, a broadhead planarian that's a focus of DuBois' research, lives across the Northern United States, including Cortland.

The financial support has helped fund needed research equipment, including an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) kit that DuBois says is specific to her experiments and vital for accurate analysis. 

As to the question of how a person becomes intrigued by the largely unseen invertebrates in the first place, DuBois credits class time with flatworm fan Ducey. He in turn has enjoyed seeing the growth of a new scientist. 

I have been very impressed with how Elizabeth combines her creativity and her scientific reasoning and training to everything she does,” Ducey said. “I’m eager to see how she will make real contributions in science with her unique perspectives and investigative skill sets.” 

Prestigious scholarship sends student to Australia

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SUNY Cortland senior Ashton Patalidis recently took another step toward his goal of becoming a diplomat by studying abroad in Australia, courtesy of a prestigious $5,000 scholarship managed by the U.S. Department of State.

“Personally, I was looking for growth, a good life experience,” said Patalidis, a sociology and criminology major who graduates next spring. “Education can only take you so far, and I enjoy dealing with challenges that arise.”

He was one of two SUNY Cortland winners of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship this year. Senior biomedical sciences Frank Denteh studied in India this past summer after earning the same scholarship.

There have been 16 SUNY Cortland Gilman scholars since the program was created in 2000 to help prepare college students to thrive in the global economy and to expand the number of Americans studying and interning abroad.

Ashton Patalidis observes an emu in a Sunshine Coast wildlife refuge, where he also got close to a kangaroo.

Patalidis spent the last semester as an international exchange student at the Sunshine Coast Campus of Griffith University in Australia, an institution with which SUNY Cortland has a longstanding exchange agreement.

“Since starting higher education in college, I’ve wanted to study abroad,” he said. “This opens the opportunity for a lot of networking with the other Gilman Scholars. Plus, the program is part of the U.S. Department of State, and I want to do diplomatic work when I’m older. It’s great that this will open some doors in the future.”

A lifelong U.S. citizen, Patalidis had an unusual childhood.

“I did most of my schooling in the U.S. Virgin Islands; that’s where I was born and raised,” said Patalidis, whose family moved to Huntington, N.Y., when he was 17.

Born on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Patalidis enjoyed traveling with his family to an impressive array of U.S. and international locales including Puerto Rico, St. Kitt’s, St. Thomas, St. John, Tortuga, the Maldives, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, France and England.

Upon enrolling at SUNY Cortland, the Cold Spring Harbor Jr. Sr. High School graduate’s appetite was whetted for a much more adventurous international travel experience.

Working closely with the university’s International Programs staff, he completed the application for the Gilman Scholarship and lined up his Fall 2023 semester at Griffith University.

Following the country’s different academic calendar, he left the U.S. on July 1 and returned to the U.S. on Nov. 2.

Patalidis took electives that he felt weren’t offered at home: Aboriginal Politics; Death, Grief and Culture; and a course combining business and history called Engaging Australia in the Asia Pacific. For his criminology major, he took Punishment, Justice and Reform.

“In the U.S., I had learned about different criminal justice systems, and it was very interesting to know more about Australia’s,” Patalidis said.

“I learned just how broken and backwards the U.S. prison system was compared to the rest of the world,” he said. “It could be so much better and help so many more people with their lives, if it could change to be more rehabilitative.

Ashton Patalidis, fourth from left, relaxes in a Griffith University fire escape room with exchange classmates from the U.S. and Japan.

“For example, we have drug courts here in the U.S., and so does Australia,” Patalidis said. “But Australia’s drugs courts are more hands-on with rehabilitative programs built within the criminal justice system and on the outside with community service programs supporting the individuals who struggle with addiction. Rehabilitation, if constructed right, can be much cheaper and more effective compared to our current system, where you simply get locked up for an extensive amount of time.”

Outside the classroom, Patalidis explored the country’s vast and exotic outdoors, including Spring Brook National Park and Waterfalls. He and some 30 classmates tried skydiving.

“I love nature, hiking, and that was the best, just exploring there,” said Patalidis, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) badly two months before the trip, but boarded the jet to Australia anyway.

“My doctor said I couldn’t do too much hiking there,” he said. But that didn’t stop him. “This was a one-time opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up.”

While there, Patalidis observed a rare and protected species of glowworm. Once, he and his friends almost got left overnight atop a mountain while waiting in vain for a taxi. They finally flagged a ride from another park visitor.

“A fun and scary experience,” he said.

Back home, he is recovering from the delayed knee surgery, but has no regrets.

“I noticed how everyone’s so nice and friendly there,” Patalidis said. “In their society they care more about each other and making a living for everyone, unlike the U.S. where it’s like a free-for-all.

Australia's natural beauty captivated Ashton Patalidis.

“It helped me grow as a person, have confidence in myself.”

Patalidis’ travel also was supported by two SUNY Cortland scholarships, the Willi A. Uschald Scholarship for study abroad and an Overseas Academic Program Scholarship. The Uschald Scholarship is an endowed award named in honor of the late professor emeritus of foreign languages and director emeritus of International Programs.

Patalidis also benefitted from an Exchange Award for Griffith University, commonly offered to SUNY Cortland students through a partnership with that university, which saved him close to $7,000 In trip expenses.

“Exchange awards can be a great opportunity for a very affordable experience abroad,” said Kayla DeCoste, assistant director of study abroad at SUNY Cortland.

SUNY Cortland has exchange program partnerships with several other universities abroad, DeCoste said.

Student advocate wins plum Albany internship

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SUNY Cortland sophomore Kaylee Evans will spend her spring semester working in Albany to influence state lawmakers after being selected for a highly competitive internship with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the largest student-directed nonpartisan nonprofit in the state.

Until the end of New York’s legislative session in late May, the political science major from Baldwinsville, N.Y., will serve as one of only five Donald K. Ross Future Leaders Program interns.

“There has not been a Cortland student chosen for this internship in at least five years, perhaps much longer,” said Marissa Pappas, project coordinator for NYPIRG at SUNY Cortland, about the prestigious and competitive internship opportunity.


Kaylee Evans staffs an information table in front of Corey Union. Above, she attends a Climate March in New York City, which drew 75,000 people. 

Evans will research, track and promote legislation in such diverse areas of public policy as consumer protection, public campaign finance, higher education, health care and environmental preservation. She’ll network with student leaders and organize policy briefings with legislators. She also will gain an intimate understanding of legislative processes and practical experience in public speaking, writing and working with the media.

“During my internship in Albany this spring, I hope to gain a better understanding of the complexities and nuances of governing and policymaking in New York state and to make substantial and measurable progress toward policy change and improvement in NYPIRG’s issue areas,” Evans said.

Recently re-named the Ross Future Leaders Program after the organization’s founder, NYPIRG’s more than 20-year-old internship program will enable Evans to thoroughly study a particular public policy issue by pairing her with an experienced public policy mentor.

“I also hope to secure lasting connections with the NYPIRG team in Albany and my fellow interns as I embark on this new chapter of my career,” she said.

Evans, who plans to graduate early — in Fall 2025 — is among the youngest students accepted into the Albany program, Pappas said. She stands out for becoming politically active in her teens and for completing several internships before her junior year.

“Her participation in government and activism did not start with NYPIRG,” Pappas said. “However, joining her chapter of NYPIRG at SUNY Cortland has exponentially expanded her access to activism opportunities in Cortland and all over New York state.”

Evans, who aspires to become a New York state senator or assemblyperson, was influenced early by her mother Tiffany Evans, a single parent who divorced when Evans was 10 and her sister was an infant.

“Since then, she’s stopped renting, bought her own house and got her own job that she loves," Evans said of her mother. "I’m really proud of her for being able to put her life together the way that she wants it after that happened. Because that was a really hard time for all of us. She had a new baby and was between post-partum depression and the divorce. She reminds me to keep going.”

As a high school senior, Evans served as the student representative on the Baldwinsville School District’s board of education.

“At the meetings, there were people protesting about vaccines, about books,” Evans said. “It was cool to be able to have those people come speak and be able to talk back. That is what really kickstarted my interest in activism.”

Soon, Evans was helping her boyfriend’s father, Wayne Davison, run successfully for the school board.

The summer before senior year, Evans helped organize a new club in Baldwinsville’s Baker High School, Acceptance Coalition, which offered students a safe space to talk about sensitive issues and hold an annual Pride Walk.

In March 2022, in her first year at SUNY Cortland, she participated in the Somos El Futuro Model Senate in Albany, a project founded at the request of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force as a collaborative effort of the City University of New York (CUNY), the Edward T. Rogowsky CUNY Internship Program, and SUNY. She debated the Equal Rights Act with students statewide and met state legislators face to face for the first time at the Somos Gala.

“That was probably my favorite trip since I’ve come to campus,” Evans said. “We were assigned different districts of New York state and then we had to represent a district. We were assigned the opposite political belief of what we had and had to argue that belief. We also debated the Equal Rights Act and then voted on it. And it did pass.”

That year, she also took part in NYPIRG’s voter registration drive.

Kaylee Evans gazes over the New York State Senate Chamber.

“Honestly, it’s a really interesting thing because it’s nonpartisan,” Evans said. “You get asked questions until you can become confident that you know the answers.”

Under her leadership, the drive registered 777 students to vote this fall. This coming major election year, Evans hopes to exceed that success by registering 1,000 new voters.

Evans serves as a Cortland NYPIRG chapter member, traveling to Albany and New York City for events such as Higher Education Action Day and the March to End Fossil Fuels. In April 2023, she was elected by the student body to serve on the Cortland chapter’s board of directors.

“At a time where many students feel as though positive social change is impossible, NYPIRG students like Kaylee work to empower young people,” Pappas said.

“I intend to stick with NYPIRG as long as possible,” Evans said. “I’ll apply for a paid canvasser position for the summer. Then next fall, I’ll intern on campus for credit. Eventually, I could become a project coordinator on a public or private campus.”

Most recently, Evans served as an intern with Mayor Hal McCabe of Homer, N.Y. She also assisted the Cannabis Association of New York, working with specialists from around the state to understand state cannabis policy and the obstacles currently affecting New York’s fledgling cannabis industry.

“I love New York state, and when deciding what you want to do in school, especially when starting a political career, this is a great place to be,” Evans said. “There are a lot of activist opportunities that people don’t get in other parts of the country.”

Spring wellness series begins Jan. 23

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SUNY Cortland will host the Spring 2024 Conley Wellness Wednesday Series featuring speakers, presentations and other programs intended to help students adjust to college life and maintain healthy habits.

Sponsored by the Health Promotion Office, the series will take place each Wednesday in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, unless otherwise noted. The events are free and open to the public.

In keeping with a university priority of well-being, each semester SUNY Cortland offers weekly encouragement to the campus and community to pursue a lifetime of good health.

A Spring 2024 Wellness Wednesday poster listing all the events can be found at the Conley Wellness Wednesday webpage.

Events include:

On Jan. 24, yoga instructor Danielle Regan will offer Intro to Yoga from 5 to 6 p.m. and again from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Student Life Center Mind Body Room. This class is open to everyone and combines physical postures, breathwork and mindfulness to create a complete system of exercise for the mind, body and soul. Please wear loose and comfortable clothing to move in. Yoga mats are provided and the class is free. Attendance is first come, first served and is open to the first 40 participants who show up for class. Yoga mats will be raffled off at the end of each session.

Learn what meditation is, why it is helpful, myths surrounding it and experience a variety of meditations on Jan. 31. Emily Quinlan, assistant director of care and outreach services and certified meditation teacher and Lauren Scagnelli, health educator will lead this class from 6 to 6:45 in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Participants will leave with resources to assist their meditation practice. Meditation pillows will be raffled off at the end.                                                                  

On Feb. 7, stop by the Student Life Center lobby between 1 and 3 p.m. for “Microaggressions 101,” explained by representatives from the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office and peer educators from Health Promotion. There will be opportunities to enter to win a gift basket.

Aromatherapy is using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. On Feb. 14 Crystal Meyers, LMT, and health promotion and wellness peer educators will be in Neubig Hall lobby from 1 to 3 p.m. to present samples of essential oils. Free samples are provided.

A national speaker from Active Minds will present “Loud in the House of Myself” on Feb. 21. Join us from 7 to 8 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge as Stacy Pershall relates her personal journey from her early childhood, punctuated by severe bullying from her classmates to her struggles with depression and eating disorders in college. Get ready to connect, learn and leave here with a deep understanding and a feeling of community — let's build a community that supports each other.

On Feb. 28, “The Rites and Wrongs of Passage” about hazing will be presented by Jamison Keller, a national speaker from CampusSpeak. The talk will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Corey Union Function Room. Hazing is an often misunderstood and overlooked issue that takes root on our campuses and in our organizations, sometimes without us realizing it. This program is designed to open up dialogue about how a hazing culture begins and changes over time. We will discuss the short and long-term impact a hazing culture has on us morally, physically, psychologically, and legally. Finally, we will develop a plan of action that will include creating prestigious rites of passage that will uphold a strong anti-hazing culture within our organizations.

“Safe Spring Break” tables will be set up on March 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Student Life Center lobby. Free items will be handed out.

Guest speaker Nan Pasquarello, director of career services, will present “Career Well-Being” on our podcast to be released on Soundcloud on March 20. We discuss what career well-being is, how to figure out what career is right for you, how to best prepare and more.

On March 27, meet Cortland Auxiliary Services dietician and health promotion and wellness peer educators at “Challenge Diet Culture” information tables. Stop by Neubig Hall lobby between 1 and 3 p.m. to learn what diet culture is and ways to challenge it. Snacks will be provided.

Make a s’more while learning about consent at “S’more Consent” on April 3. Health promotion and wellness peer educators and members of the It’s On Us Action Team will be on hand from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Neubig Hall lobby.

“Men and Mental Health” is the topic to be discussed by a panel of speakers from 6 to 6:45 on April 10 in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Our panel of speakers will share their experiences as men and discuss their mental health.

On April 17, Marissa Whitaker, prevention educator, will present “Cannabis and Coping” from 6 to 6:45 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Learn about common reasons why people use cannabis to cope, why it’s important to have other coping strategies and other ways that students can find relief, aside from cannabis.

“Grow Your Own Vegetable Plant” when you stop by Corey Union steps on April 24 between 1 and 3 p.m. Learn about the benefits of growing vegetable plants and how to care for them. Participants will plant one and take a free vegetable plant when they leave.

For more information or accommodation to attend an event, contact Lauren Scagnelli, health educator, in Corey Union, Room 202, or at 607-753-2066.

SUNY Cortland supports CROP Hunger Walk

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The 29th annual Cortland area CROP Hunger Walk was held Sunday, Oct. 22, and raised $12,516. Participants walked either one- or three-miles routes around downtown Cortland and there was commendable SUNY Cortland student and staff participation.  

A total of 236 walkers registered and 75 percent of them were SUNY Cortland students or staff.

Funds continue to come in, largely from the local churches. This is the 18th year that SUNY Cortland was a major factor in the success of the walk.

As always, 25 percent of the funds raised will return to the local community to support food pantries and feeding programs including the SUNY Cortland Cupboard.

There are several Golden Sneaker plaques awarded each year to the SUNY Cortland organizations that raise the most funds. The cost of the plaques is underwritten by the James M. Clark Center for Global Engagement.  

The overall winner, and winner of the Athletic Team plaque is once again the women's softball team, which raised $2,474.

The Greek community plaque is awarded to repeat winner Delta Phi Epsilon which raised $1,772. The campus club/organization that raised the most was AED 315 Cortland Students, raising $355.

CROP Hunger Walks are sponsored by Church World Service and have been held all over the world since 1969. The walks raise approximately $20 million each year. History lecturer and local CROP walk coordinator is Jim Miller and Jeanine Rose, The Learning Center, is the town coordinator.

CROP-softball-2.jpgWomen’s softball team raised $2,474.

Delta Phi Epsilon raised $1,772.


AED 315 Cortland Students raised $355.

Rotchford selected as FootballScoop Division III Coordinator of the Year

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SUNY Cortland football offensive coordinator Patrick Rotchford has been honored as the 2023 FootballScoop Division III Coordinator of the Year. 
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards, presented by AstroTurf, are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Luke Butts of Lake Forest, Michael McGuire of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Matthew Popino of Endicott, Zach Riepma of Alma, and Rotchford) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner. 
Cortland set school records this fall with 46.2 points and 509.2 total yards of offense per game. The Red Dragons scored 35 or more points in 13 of their 15 games. Cortland finished the season with a 14-1 record and won its first-ever NCAA Division III national title. 
Rotchford was named Cortland's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in June 2020. In the fall of 2021, Rotchford helped the Red Dragons set a school single-season record with 41.4 points per game. In the fall of 2022, Cortland set school marks with 45.1 points and 499.6 total offensive yards per game. 
Rotchford spent six seasons from 2014-19 as an assistant coach at Morrisville State under current Cortland head coach Curt Fitzpatrick. A native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., Rotchford is a 2007 graduate of St. John Fisher. During his four-year career as an offensive lineman with the Cardinals he helped the program post a combined 38-10 record, win two Empire 8 titles and make four postseason appearances. The Cardinals went 12-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals in his senior year in 2006. 
Created in 1999, is the premier source for coaching job information and has long been the most widely viewed website by coaches, athletic directors, strength & conditioning coaches, operations and equipment staff across America. 

Brignall, Martens earn SUNY and SUNYAC fall academic awards

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Cortland senior men's cross country runner Hunter Brignall (Seneca Falls/Mynderse Academy) and junior women's volleyball libero Mikenzie Martens (Carthage) have been honored as both State University of New York (SUNY) and State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Fall Scholar Athletes of the Year in their respective sports for the 2023 season. 
Brignall is a physical education major with a 3.74 overall GPA at the conclusion of the fall semester. He earned SUNYAC Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year honors and placed fourth at the NCAA regionals to earn All-Niagara Region recognition. Brignall was the top SUNYAC finisher at the NCAA Division III Championships with a 108th-place showing. He also finished fourth at the SUNYAC Championships to earn first-team all-league honors and a spot in the SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame, and he won the title out of 278 runners at the Rowan University Border Battle during the regular season. 
Martens is a physical education major who completed the fall semester with a 3.99 overall GPA. She earned honorable mention All-America honors and first-team All-Region 3 recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and she was chosen as the SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year as well as to the all-conference first team. Martens earned spots on both the SUNYAC and NCAA Regional all-tournament teams. Earlier this month, Martens was named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Division III National Academic All-America third team - the first Cortland women's volleyball player to earn an Academic All-America award. She finished the season with 502 digs (5.1 per set) and a .970 serve reception percentage and helped Cortland win its third straight SUNYAC title. 
The SUNYAC Scholar Athlete Award winners are selected from each of the SUNYAC's sponsored sports. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.30, be a starter or significant reserve on his or her team and have an academic class standing of sophomore or higher. 
The SUNY Scholar Athlete Awards recognized student athletes from SUNY colleges and universities sponsoring intercollegiate athletics at the four-year and two-year levels who were nominated and voted upon by representatives of their respective institutions. Nominating information includes cumulative grade point average, current and career statistics, and athletic and academic honors. 
More than 14,000 student-athletes compete at SUNY institutions representing 53 different colleges and universities at the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division III/USCAA and NJCAA levels and are eligible for the awards. The 19 Division III institutions in the SUNY system are: Alfred State, Brockport, Buffalo State, Canton, Cobleskill, Cortland, Delhi, Farmingdale, Fredonia, Geneseo, Maritime, Morrisville, New Paltz, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Oswego, Plattsburgh, Potsdam and SUNY Poly. SUNY-ESF, a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), participates in the program with the 19 NCAA Division III members for a total of 20 colleges and universities. 
The SUNY Scholar Athlete Awards, which originated in the fall of 2022, recognized outstanding academic and athletic success in 29 different sports and are presented three times a year to coincide with the specific sports contested in the fall, winter and spring seasons. The Scholar Athletes of the Year in each sport will then be nominated for an overall Scholar Athlete of the Year for men's sports and women's sports in each category that will be announced in mid-July. Because sport sponsorship varies among institutions, a minimum sponsorship formula has been developed for award selections. At least three (3) institutions must sponsor the sport in the Division I category, while at least five (5) institutions must sponsor the sport in the SUNY Division III/USCAA and SUNY NJCAA categories. For sports that do not meet the minimum threshold to be a viable award, an At-Large Category has been developed for each level and each season.

Martens Named to CSC Women’s Volleyball Academic All-America Third Team

News-story-photo-mik.jpg 01/23/2024
Cortland junior libero Mikenzie Martens (Carthage) has been honored as a national third team Division III Women's Volleyball Academic All-American for the 2023 season by the College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA). 
Martens is a junior physical education major with a 4.0 overall GPA entering the 2023 fall semester. An honorable mention All-American and the SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year, Martens led Cortland with 502 digs (5.1 per set) and a .970 serve reception percentage. 
Cortland finished the season with a 26-4 record. For the third straight year the Red Dragons won the SUNYAC regular-season title with a 9-0 record, won the SUNYAC tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament to tie for 17th place nationally. 
Cortland student-athletes have now earned 42 Academic All-America honors, including 22 since 2011. Martens is the first Cortland women's volleyball player to be chosen as an Academic All-American. 

Auxiliary Services announces program grant application deadline

SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services (CAS) is now accepting Program Grant applications for the 2024-25 academic year.

Applications are submitted online and must be received by midnight on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Applicants are asked to read the grant guidelines carefully before applying.

Each year the CAS Board of Directors allocates funds to support grants for a wide range of purposes and projects that enhance the life of the SUNY Cortland community.

Although SCAS is willing to consider a wide range of ideas, it seeks to avoid duplicating other funding sources or funding projects more properly supported by state funds. Therefore, applicants should first seek funding from primary funding sources.

SCAS grant funds may not be used for salaries, honoraria, travel normally funded by the university’s budget or scholarships for SUNY Cortland faculty, staff or students. Funds may not be used to purchase computers, related hardware or software. All purchases will be processed in accordance to SCAS’s financial and related GAAP policies. 

In general, program grant funds may not be used exclusively for food for SUNY Cortland students, faculty or staff. Funding for food may be considered if the food is deemed integral to the success of the program or event. All food shall be provided by CAS. Other grant guidelines are described in the application package and online.

For more information or assistance, contact Judy Standish by email or at 607-753-4325.

Four Musical Giants Day honors contributions of Anderson, Forcucci

The City of Cortland Common Council recently declared Sunday, Jan. 7, as Four Musical Giants Day and hosted a concert in-memoriam of four individuals who enriched the lives of countless people through their teaching, inspiration, leadership and musical performance. They included Donna K. Anderson, professor emerita of music, who worked at SUNY Cortland more than 30 years, and Samuel L. Forcucci, who retired after 34 years as professor and chairman of the music department, along with Barbara Pauldine and Donna Yacavone.

The proclamation described each person’s work and career including the following:

Samuel L. Forcucci lived a life in service to his country and community; his musical influence spanning 34 years as a music instructor at SUNY Cortland, 31 years as music director at St. Anthony’s and 21 years as director of the Old Timer’s Band.

Donna K. Anderson was an endearing member of the SUNY Cortland music faculty for 30 years, and shared her gifts as a pianist with the community, students and colleagues among whom she was greatly admired.

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Lauren deLaubell

Lauren deLaubell, Memorial Library, contributed to a resource list published in early December by the Association of College and Research Libraries' Choice blog, Toward Inclusive Excellence (TIE). The resource list is titled “Resources for Understanding the Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Xiaoping “Ping” Fan

Xiaoping “Ping” Fan, Physical Education Department, will be honored at the 2024 International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP) Convention with the AIESEP Early Career Scholar Award. Ping will deliver three presentations at the convention, set for May 13 to 17 at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.

Dominick Fantacone

Dominick Fantacone, Research and Sponsored Programs Office, presented a poster at the Association for Science Teacher Education 2024 International Conference held Jan. 10 to 13 in New Orleans, La. Fantacone’s poster was titled “CRE: Are they in our programs? Two Case Studies” and was included in a structured poster session titled “How is our ASTE Community Working to Address Equity.”

Lin Lin

Lin Lin, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, had a chapter titled “Navigating historical currents: Reflections of a Chinese-born global educator” published in a book, The Power of Oral History Narratives: Lived Experiences of International Global Scholars and Global Artists in their Native Country and After their Immigration to the United States. The book was edited by Toni Kirkwood-Tucker and Frans Doppen and published by Information Age Publishing.  

Also, Lin was a leading presenter at the International Assembly of the 103rd National Council for the Social Studies held Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 in Nashville, Tenn.

Rhiannon Maton

Rhiannon Maton, Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, had a public press article on the recent Rutgers University faculty strike published in Spectre Journal. The article is titled “Lessons from the Rutgers Strike: Lessons Six Months Later.” 

     Maton also was interviewed on the History of Education Quarterly podcast. On the podcast, she discusses recent co-authored research on a radical and experimental alternative school in Philadelphia in the 1970s. The original published article on which this podcast is based is titled, “Opposing Innovations: Race and Reform in the West Philadelphia Community Free School, 1969-1978.” 

Kristine Newhall

Kristine Newhall, Kinesiology Department, was a source for the Wondery podcast Sports Explains the World. She provided information about Title IX, women’s sports and the legal and cultural issues surrounding competitive cheer used in Episodes 19 and 20. 

Jeffrey Radloff and Dominick Fantacone

Jeffrey Radloff, Childhood and Early Childhood Education Department, and Dominick Fantacone, Research and Sponsored Programs Office, had their article, “Exploring Secondary Master STEM Teachers’ Tensions with Transitioning to Emergency Remote Teaching,” published in January in Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

John Suarez

John Suarez, Institute for Civic Engagement, conducted a full-day Civic and Community Engagement event at SUNY Broome on Monday, Jan. 22. The 36 participants included faculty, staff and administrators. Through a variety of activities, they applied civic engagement principles and active listening skills and they discussed the value of civic engagement in learning and in student recruitment. On Wednesday, Feb. 14, Suarez will conduct a follow-up workshop in which participants will collaborate with community partners to design service-learning-based syllabi for courses in the 2024-25 academic year.

Alex Vizgaitis

Alex Vizgaitis, Psychology Department, recently had an article titled “Identity Pathology and Mentalization Deficits: An Attempt to Support Clinical Theory with Data” published in Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.  

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In Memoriam

Carmen Vincent Minella, director of instructional resources emeritus, died on Sunday, 17, 2023.

Ralph Eugene Nacci, vice president for finance and management emeritus, died on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Robert (Bob) Silberman, professor emeritus of chemistry, died on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

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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