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Cortland in the news

Cortland in the news


Did you know that an Olympic medal resides on the SUNY Cortland campus?

It was won by the late George Breen ’56, who passed away at age 84 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Breen, a Buffalo native, was eulogized in The Buffalo News. Competing for the first time for the SUNY Cortland swimming and diving team starting as a 17-year-old freshman, Breen became one of the top American swimmers of his era.

He swam for Team USA at the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics, winning one silver and one bronze medal in Melbourne, Australia in 1956 and a bronze medal at the 1960 games in Rome, Italy. Breen established six world records during his career and later coached the men’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania from 1966 to 1982.

George Breen bronze medal
Breen's bronze medal on display in Park Center. Above left, Breen shakes hands with New York Gov. Averell Harriman.

Breen’s bronze medal from 1960 is on display in the Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame Room. Learn more at

In other news:

  • Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor and chair of the Political Science Department, spoke with the Associated Press on how the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook, Connecticut school shooting are suing the maker of the gun used in the attack. He also addressed the topic with PBS “News Hour” and
  • Andrea Dávalos, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences Department, is co-author of a study on white-tailed deer management approaches that was covered on com.
  • Senior running back Zach Tripodi was quoted on NBC Sport’s College Football Talk blog following Saturday’s game against Ithaca College at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
  • This year’s Cortaca Jug game received a preview story in The New York Times as it set an attendance record for a Division III football game. The official attendance was announced as 45,161.
  • The Cortland Voice featured a number of alumnae with connections to previous Cortaca Jug games, including Jayla Greene ’15, Amanda Poirier ’09 and Lauren Grillo Grefe ’11.
  • Dean Williams ’87, a French and Spanish teacher at Homer Junior High School, was featured in the Cortland Standard for his efforts to connect to his Norwegian heritage. Williams, who learned about his ties to Norway through a DNA test, has been learning the language and connecting with cousins overseas.
  • Richard Puffer ’68 was featured on for his decision to enlist in the U.S. Marines during his junior year at Cortland in 1967. Professor emeritus of communication at Coker University in Hartsville, S.C., Puffer retired from teaching in 2016.