To look at Christopher Lora ’09, a 10-year veteran high school teacher and coach in New York City as well as a budding business professional, it’s hard to believe he led an underprivileged childhood.
Yet such was the case, and Lora will share his story and ideas on how a college career at SUNY Cortland could launch students from similar economic backgrounds to career heights on Friday, Dec. 10, during the university’s eighth annual Celebration of Men.
Organized by the student organization Men of Value and Excellence (M.O.V.E.), the former physical education major will deliver the keynote address during the event from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Corey Union Function Room.
Hosted to recognize SUNY Cortland men for their involvement on campus, academic success, community service and athletic leadership, the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
The current campus public safety policy requires everyone to wear a mask indoors, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
“MOVE strives to empower and develop our members to become positive contributors in the community and their personal and professional lives,” said Nia Vega, event organizer and co-president of M.O.V.E. with Jaden Buckingham. Vega is a junior sociology major from New York City. Buckingham is a junior business economics major from Syracuse, N.Y.
“We create programs and activities that will benefit the school and the student body by improving the image, leadership qualities, professional development and communication skills of our members,” Vega said.
That evening, awards will be presented to nominees from among the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have demonstrated those positive qualities.
Lora currently teaches physical education in New York City’s A. Phillips Randolph High School and coaches team sports.
“I feel passionate about the power of sports in uplifting my community and feel proud to serve the area where I grew up in Washington Heights,” Lora said.
As a youth he was accepted at SUNY Cortland through the university’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and used its academic support services to excel in his chosen academic major.
In his free time at school, Lora served as the public relations officer on M.O.V.E.’s board from 2006 to 2009. He also was active in the Black Student Union, Women of Color and La Familia Latina. He played on the club basketball team. Lora also took part in the growing campus tradition of the annual Kente Ceremony, in which graduating seniors don a woven, multicolored stole made to honor an ancient tradition of scholarship in Africa.
After he left SUNY Cortland with his Bachelor of Science in Education, Lora attained two master’s degrees in the education field. He has worked in the New York City public school system for the first 10 years of his career.
“My commitment stems from a desire to teach more than ‘love for the game,’” he said. “I coach youth through life’s growing pains on and off the court.”
Most importantly, Lora serves as a role model for students who want to pursue higher education, build generational wealth and achieve their personal life goals. He demonstrates this through his delicate balance of teaching and a commitment to his entrepreneurial endeavors.
As a five-year entertainment company business owner and newly minted real estate investor, Lora expects to make a full transition in spring 2022 to building business opportunities with the intention of positively impacting a larger audience.
“I feel honored to return to campus in this capacity and look forward to connecting with attendees,” Lora said.
Additionally, members of the campus community are welcome to attend the weekly M.O.V.E. meetings at 5 p.m. on Mondays during the academic semester in the Corey Union Voice Office just off the main lobby.