Bulletin News

SUNY honors Cortland staff members


Three SUNY Cortland staff members were honored with 2020-21 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in recognition of consistently superior achievement in professional and classified service.

The honorees are:

  • Mark DePaull, SUNY Cortland’s chief of University Police, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. He has carried out his responsibilities with service and care that far exceeds what is considered part of his basic obligations.
  • Michelle LoGerfo, assistant director of web and digital marketing, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Her work for 14 years has excelled both within and far beyond her position in the university’s Marketing Office.
  • Edith Pennell, an administrative assistant 2 in the Division of Finance and Management, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Pennell offers capable, dedicated and kind professionalism that positively impacts the campus community well beyond her specific job title, office and division.

Mark DePaull

DePaull’s colleagues describe him as a true professional who seeks to understand. He is a good listener, strong leader, operations expert and is responsive to any concerns or discussions, said his supervisor, Greg Sharer, vice president for student affairs.

Mark DePaull

Many people may not know the level of skill and experience it takes to successfully serve and protect the campus because DePaull accomplishes the extremely important functions smoothly and seamlessly, his colleagues noted.

DePaull, who joined Cortland’s University Police Department in 1990 as a police officer and rose to the position of chief in 2017, models his ideal for law enforcement professionals as “guardians of the community,” involving effective prevention of harm and appropriate and adequate response.

He excels in emergency preparedness and has developed policies and training protocols to address possibilities from campus violence to mental health critical incidents to responding to a global pandemic.

Within his department, he has developed a comprehensive department succession plan, a mental health crisis response program, and officer wellness initiatives. Across campus, he serves on committees dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion and ensuring safety, including the Workplace Violence Committee, Bias-Related Incident Response Committee, Title IX Committee, and the Teacher Education Candidate Review Committee.

DePaull twice successfully led the UPD through the rigorous New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Accreditation Program, writing 115 new policies to meet the state’s 110 accreditation standards. Now he presents to his SUNY counterparts on how to do likewise.

“The more I got to know DePaull, the more I appreciated his insight and professionalism,” said Frank Lawrence, former interim New York State University Police commissioner, noting DePaull coached SUNY Cobleskill through its accreditation process.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, DePaull ran his department while he took the lead in managing quarantine and isolation housing and co-chaired the Incident Management Team. He also served students in temporary quarantine and isolation directly.

DePaull has worked to bring a training program to all 29 SUNY University Police Departments on areas including ethics, use of force, legal updates, de-escalation and community policing.

He was presented with the Division of Criminal Justice Services John Kimball O’Neil Accreditation Achievement Award in 2011 and 2016, in recognition of his outstanding work with the UPD accreditation process. He also has been honored with the University Police Department Excellence in Professional Police Service Award.

He earned an A.A.S. in applied police science from Erie Community College and completed the School of Police Staff and Command Certificate from Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety.

DePaull is the 32nd employee honored by SUNY for excellence in professional service.     

Michelle LoGerfo

LoGerfo has played a leadership role on the campus Marketing Committee, which in 2019 oversaw the creation and adoption of new graphic logos and marks.

Michelle LoGerfo

“Her artistic vision and knowledge of cutting-edge digital and web-based technology ensures that SUNY Cortland’s website is accessible and useful to a wide range of audiences, including prospective and current students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. 

A skilled illustrator, LoGerfo refined the new dragon illustrations to make them more appealing. To showcase them and the university’s other new graphics, she built the Marketing/Communications Toolkit, which provided useful resources for the campus community while strengthening the SUNY Cortland brand identity.

As chair of the Digital Advertising Subcommittee, she takes a lead role in creating and deploying Google display ads that quickly retarget visitors to various academic program websites. LoGerfo led the creation of Cortland’s tremendously successful Spotify ads, which reached 66,948 people.

She was one of the early promoters and created a SUNY-wide model of equitable and inclusive websites. Her article on web accessibility appeared in Social Advocacy and Systems Change Journal

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, her quickly constructed websites, channels and guides have evolved into longer standing resources. LoGerfo additionally joined an ad hoc Student Engagement group that developed outreach messaging and programming to keep students motivated and engaged as they dealt with the stresses of the pandemic.

She swiftly designed a new anti-racism resource page for students, faculty and staff in response to the concurrent nationwide protests for racial justice.

LoGerfo also took a lead role in supporting the May 2020 virtual commencement celebration by creating animations and a GIPHY channel for use in social media exchanges that received more than 268,000 views.

Earlier this year, she joined the Anti-Racism Taskforce and took the lead in developing a brand-new, campus-wide 21-day Anti-Racism Challenge and Facebook page. LoGerfo contributed to the Beloved Community Narratives Project that has highlighted stories of diversity at SUNY Cortland. She is a key participant in the Sophia’s Garden initiative, which connects college students with school-age children to explore the relationships among philosophical issues and literacy.

LoGerfo’s excellence in web development has been recognized with both SUNY Council for University Advancement 2015 Best of Category and 2011 Judge’s Citation awards.

She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University in 1996 and her Master of Science in Information Design and Technology from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 2014.

She is the 33rd employee to be honored by SUNY for excellence in professional service.

Edith Pennell

Pennell, who joined Cortland in 2006, “counters chaos with organization, delay with timeliness, carelessness with professionalism and confusion with wisdom,” summarized Jeffrey Denmon, director of student and college financial services.

Edith Pennell

Jody Maroney, director of budget and business operations, described Pennell as “extremely professional and absolutely reliable.”

Pennell consistently goes above and beyond in her responsibilities, Maroney noted.

“She makes sound decisions and handles sensitive information confidentially,” Maroney said. “When issues arise, she listens to understand what the needs are and then helps find solutions. She thrives on planning events and perfecting every detail to make it enjoyable for all.”

Pennell, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, currently serves as the administrative assistant to the vice president for finance and management while the role is being handled on an interim basis by Mark Prus, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Pennell helped Prus shift smoothly between his current dual academic and administrative roles and is the consummate professional: organized, knowledgeable and detail oriented.

“Edie makes sure that I am where I’m supposed to be, have the materials I need, and know what I am supposed to know at all times,” Prus said.

“She is always pleasant and upbeat, even when things don’t go well,” Prus said. “I have witnessed firsthand the respect that everyone in her division has for her.”

Carol Van Der Karr, associate provost for academic affairs, praised Pennell’s verbal and written communication skills.

“She understands that not everyone is familiar with the vernacular and jargon of finance and management and makes sure that those outside of the division have a clear understanding of the purpose of meetings, meaning of memos, etc.”

On Dec. 14, SUNY Cortland presented Pennell with the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service, created in 2002 to annually recognize one SUNY Cortland full-time classified service employee nominated by colleagues.

Pennell is the 12th recipient of the SUNY honor for classified service.