COOKING IS A BIG DEAL TO MAUREEN O’DONNELL SANCHEZ ’87. She sells luxury ingredients to Chicagoland restaurants, she blogs about her family’s kitchen adventures and Feb. 24, she competed in front of a national television audience on Food Network’s “Chopped.”
“Chopped” tests chefs’ skill, speed and ingenuity. Each week, four chefs compete before a panel of expert judges and turn baskets of mystery ingredients into a three-course meal.
“It was an incredible experience to be in front of all those cameras and be in an unfamiliar kitchen with unfamiliar ingredients and cooking in front of celebrity chefs,” said Sanchez, who gained appreciation of great food starting with paella dinners at the home of Professor Emeritus Pedro Diez Del Rio as a child.
Sanchez was a familiar face on campus and in the community as a student, working at Penfield Library and tending bar at Old City Hall.
A Spanish major at Oswego, Sanchez started out in customer service at a Cambridge software developer and she continued in different capacities for different companies as she found herself on the move from Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Raleigh, before finding a career that truly fits her tastes. Today Sanchez sells delicacies like truffles and caviar to high-end restaurants in Chicago and beyond.
At home in Oswego, Ill., she and her husband, Gene, are devotees of scratch cooking, focusing on using often self-grown, unprocessed ingredients to create healthy gourmet meals for their three children.
Sanchez’s TV aspirations went well beyond her love of cooking. Although she didn’t become the “Chopped” Champion, “It was a great opportunity to get press for my sister,” said Sanchez, who has become an advocate for missing persons during a decades-long search for her sister, Judith Erin O’Donnell. Last seen in November 1980, Judy has influenced Sanchez to pursue her passions. “Judy has provided the lens. The rest of the noise and distractions fall off and you can focus on what’s important once you find it.”
—Shane M. Liebler
Oswego has been designated a military-friendly college in Military Advanced Education’s 2013 guide.
The publication, which helps inform education service officers, transition officers and the service members they counsel, named SUNY Oswego to its annual list in the 2013 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities, noting that schools on the list “go out of their way to implement military-friendly policies in support of our men and women in uniform.”
“. . .We have highly skilled, highly motivated young men and women coming into the workforce. They are a tremendous asset for us, for the whole country, and we need to nurture what we have there.”
— Lt. Col. Mike Waters ’70
“I think the designation shows the extent the campus goes to, to provide a welcoming environment (for current service members and those transitioning to civilian life) and to give them the specific support they need,” said Benjamin Parker, academic planning coordinator for SUNY Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning.Oswego’s services to veterans include counselors, weekly college representative at Fort Drum, acceptance at full value of credits earned for military schooling and training, increased opportunities for faculty and staff to learn the challenges facing returning service members, relationships with community institutions that routinely assist veterans and flexibility in academic options, such as the college’s all-online Master of Business Administration degree.The college has a cross-campus, interoffice committee working to further improve veterans’ services and dedicated space in 206F Culkin Hall for the Veteran’s Services Office.
Vets helping vets
Oswego alumni veterans are part of the network for those just entering college life. Lt. Col. Mike Waters ’70 USAF (Ret.) who spent more than 34 years in the military, part time and full time, has extended a helping hand to fellow veterans because of the help he encountered returning from the Vietnam War.When his unit was about to be called back just six months after he enrolled at Oswego in 1967, he found that professors were willing to make accommodations for his absence and the college helped by retaining his job as an RA, which was crucial to funding his studies.Waters has funded a scholarship for military veterans, especially combat vets, who are in need of financial help.In addition, he recently started a new fund, to provide non-interest loans for veterans with short-term financial needs. “Veterans come here on the G.I. Bill, but they may not get their money until several weeks into the semester,” he says. The fund Waters established will help to bridge that gap.“With the military downsizing … we have highly skilled, highly motivated young men and women coming into the workforce,” Waters notes. “They are a tremendous asset for us, for the whole country, and we need to nurture what we have there.”Recognition of alumni service in the military is a goal for Col. Jack James ’62, USMC (Ret.). James instituted a salute to veterans at Reunion 2012, and sponsored pins to recognize alumni military service by branch.All veterans are urged to contact the Alumni Relations Office at King Alumni Hall or call 315-312-2258 to enter their military service as part of the alumni record.
Howard Gordon ’74, M ’78, executive assistant to Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, received the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education 2012 Award for Distinguished Service at the organization’s annual conference this past March in Los Angeles.
New York City-based start-up NimbleTV has named cable and broadband industry veteran Lou Borrelli Jr. ’77 as its new chief marketing officer.
Alumnus-led Soundview Paper Co. recently acquired Marcal Paper Mill.
John Barker ’96 has been named dean of undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts University.
Oswego’s New mayor has witnessed the city through the decades as a native son, college student and professional. Now Tom Gillen ’72 is eager to help move it into a new age.
Tom Walpole ’79 has been named senior vice president, global manufacturing excellence, and president, Novelis Asia.