Lifetime Network

Red Dragons are everywhere. A network between alumni, students and faculty can enhance careers, support causes and enlighten students. Attracting high-achieving alumni back to campus for speaking events and Executive-in-Residence programs can lead to meaningful interactions between these key groups. Cortland’s Career Services offers students opportunities to connect with knowledgeable staff as well as alumni and other potential employers. Your support also benefits the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House, which provides the perfect venue for life-changing conversations.

Goal: $5 million

Ways You Can Help

  • Consider endowing an alumni speaker series — $25,000.
  • Name a space at the Lynne Parks '68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House.

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Candy Altman-Bergantino ’77

Candy Altman sharing her knowledge in a classroom

SUNY Cortland faculty are among the best when it comes to delivering courses and lectures that speak to the passions and interests of today’s students. 

Sometimes, however, it helps to have an expert in their field sharing stories.

That’s exactly what happened when Candy Altman-Bergantino ’77 returned to campus in April 2019 to share insights from her four-decade career in media, including a long stint as the vice president of news at Hearst Television, where she shaped political coverage of its 34 affiliates around the country.

Altman-Bergantino visited classes to give presentations and take questions from Communication and Media Studies students, bringing them inside the newsroom for her recollections of covering major events including 9/11 and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Her career, in a sense, was launched at SUNY Cortland when she walked into the campus radio station as a freshman. She served as WSUC-FM’s first news director in a time when the College’s radio station was a vibrant and important part of the local news community. 

She encouraged today’s students to make the most of all of the opportunities they have to make their mark on campus. 

“My one piece of advice would be to take advantage of all of that. Take advantage of the fact that your class sizes are relatively small. You have professors who really know what they’re talking about and really care about what happens to you.”

John Rizzo ’18 and Mario DiCerbo ’97

John Rizzo at the Doing Business

Despite graduating 21 years apart, Mario DiCerbo ’97 and John Rizzo ’18 had something in common when they walked across the stage at Commencement.

Neither one was exactly sure what they wanted to do after graduation.

Together, and through the Doing Business in NYC program created by the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association and the Career Services Office, they are hoping that fewer Red Dragons face the same dilemma in the future.

DiCerbo, a senior vice president and market executive for commercial banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City, got involved with Doing Business in NYC when it started in 2015. He hosts current Cortland students at his Manhattan office during spring break, speaking about his own career path and helping the next generation focus on their own dreams and goals.

Rizzo attended Doing Business in NYC before he graduated and found a mentor in DiCerbo. He started in Merrill Lynch’s Financial Advisor Development Program on Long Island shortly after graduation.

That wasn’t the end of Rizzo’s involvement in Doing Business in NYC. He returned to join DiCerbo his 2019 event, sharing his story and inspiring a new wave of SUNY Cortland students to link up with other Red Dragons as they launch their careers.