ABOVE, ALEX PARSONS ’15, second from right, a technology education major, works with Oswego Middle School eighth-graders Nov. 30 on an activity requiring coordination and teamwork.
At right, he is joined by technology education major Rachel Edic ’16, second from left. The exercise was part of a campus visit of Mentor-Scholar Program participants and their families — more than 150 in all — featuring interactive presentations and dinner. Scott Ball ’09, M ’11, assistant coordinator of the Mentor-Scholar Program, said members of the Oswego Technology Educators Association as well as Penfield librarians organized the presentations. The program partners SUNY Oswego undergraduates with Oswego Middle School students in an effort to create enthusiasm for academics and an increase in high school graduation rates.
AS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER FOR PYRAMID Management Group, one of the largest and most innovative real estate developers in the Northeast, Robert Utter ’93 possesses a precise and comprehensive understanding of the factors that lead to success and fulfillment, whether for an individual, a company, or a country. He sees SUNY Oswego as poised to make a fundamental difference in the future of its graduates, as well as for the nation and the world, and that’s why he has made a leadership gift to Oswego.
“What makes this country great is the opportunity available to all of us,” says Utter, a steadfast supporter of The Fund for Oswego who invites his fellow alumni to follow his example in providing the financial support that will make that opportunity possible. “But now more than ever, in retaining our status in the international market, we have to stay competitive. We have to help motivate and support the entrepreneurial spirit in our talented and highly skilled young people.”
That all starts with a great education, Utter affirms, like the one he gained as an accounting major in Oswego’s School of Business and continued to build on as a young professional. “We all need to ensure that kind of quality education continues to grow and flourish,” says Utter, pointing to the valuable opportunities for practical application along with the diversity and professionalism of the faculty as highlights of his Oswego education. “With today’s economic pressures, and the escalating costs of private education, the value of a public education is more compelling than ever. Let’s do what we can to make it the best that we can.”
THEY MET WHILE WAITING IN LINE AT THE DEAN’S OFFICE IN SHELDON HALL and fell in love at Oswego. Now, decades after that meeting and after 50 years of marriage, Ed ’62 and Janet Albreght Heinrich ’63 have made a special Reunion gift that will endow a scholarship fund for education majors.
“I started talking to Janet and cut the line,” Ed said. They dated a few times, but no real sparks until senior year when Ed asked Janet to iron a white shirt for him. He was desperate for help, so Janet ironed that shirt and the couple warmed to their new love.
Ed was president of the Class of 1962 and of Delta Kappa Kappa, and worked as a bus driver for the athletic teams. Janet was a member of Alpha Sigma Chi and the Catalina Club. Both went on to become teachers, and Ed spent 14 years in administration.
Along with Col. Jack James ’62 USMC (Ret.), Ed co-chaired the Class of 1962 Reunion giving committee. The 50th Anniversary Class of 1962 won the 2012 Reunion Participation Cup for a record-setting percentage of donors, with 147 donors or 48.5 percent of the class chipping in to raise $37,620.23.
Ed and Janet made a special Reunion gift to endow a scholarship for elementary education or technology education majors. Because Ed attended Oswego on the G. I. Bill, they would like the recipient to be a veteran.
“It is essential that we get the best into the classroom,” they said. The generous support of Ed and Janet Heinrich means that generations of the very best students will have the opportunity to become the best teachers of tomorrow.
To make a gift in honor of your special Reunion, contact the Oswego College Foundation in 215 Sheldon Hall or call 315-312-3003.
STUDENTS DURING LAST SUMMER’S HOLLYWOOD POV had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of Janice Simcoe ’83, who was happy to share her unique
point of view from her exciting role with one of the world’s best-known brands.
As the account director for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, Simcoe handles marketing and promotion of the entertainment giant’s parks and resorts.
Simcoe works with the internal creative team to create an experience that is appealing and exciting for everyone. “I spend half the day in the office, and half the day in the park.”
“There is an effect that people get in our parks that they don’t get anywhere else,” said Simcoe, “It’s exciting to see how people react.”
While she was at Oswego, Simcoe was very interested in both business management and advertising. “I love the strategic side of the business, but I also love being close to the creative.”
A broadcasting major, Simcoe originally aspired to break into a career in production. She landed her first job as an administrative assistant at a small-time ad agency, eventually becoming manager of advertising administration at Fisher-Price in Buffalo.
Since then Simcoe has worked out of each of Disney’s three major resorts over the past 13 years, including a stint in Paris. She said her experience in Oswego’s London exchange program gave her confidence she could be comfortable spending three years overseas.
Her time at Oswego powered her career in many other ways as well.
“Oswego gave you the opportunity to try so many things,” Simcoe said. “The experience is very hands-on.
“You can try things and decide what you want to pursue,” she said.
“I would never have predicted where I was going from Oswego,” said Simcoe. “I wanted [Hollywood POV students] to see what happened to someone who was in their shoes.”
Hollywood POV allows students to get inside access to the entertainment industry. The highly competitive 3-week summer course concludes with 10 days of field experience in Hollywood, an opportunity for students to network and gain insight into show business.
Last year 18 students had the opportunity to visit entertainment icons such as Nickelodeon Animation Studios, The Academy of TV Arts & Sciences, Warner Brothers Studios and more.
Since the program’s inception in 2005, students of all majors have been provided with visits to “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Scrubs,” FX network and dozens of other household name productions.
Simcoe advised the visiting students to “Try different things to see what works and what you love,” emphasizing how careers often start in the most unusual places. “Just start somewhere and be enthusiastic,” Simcoe said. “Be a positive force.”
—Tyler J. Edic ’13 and
Shane M. Liebler
Andrew Miano ’95, Hollywood producer, likens his role to that of facilitator, since he helps enable the director’s vision to become a reality. But you could say his job description is more like “wizard” — he helps create the movie magic.
It’s not as easy — or quick — as waving a wand, though. A partner with Paul and Chris Weitz in their production company Depth of Field since 1999, Miano explains that it can take years for a movie to evolve from an idea, book or script to its premiere on the silver screen. Case in point: “Being Flynn,” which the company optioned before Miano’s son was born and was released when the boy was 8½ last year.
Last month’s premiere of Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, took four years from start to finish.
And some projects die on the vine, lacking either funding, the right cast or some other factor to make it to release.
But those that do end up in the theaters make it all worthwhile.
Miano has produced such critically acclaimed hits as Tom Ford’s A Single Man, one of the American Film Institute’s 2009 Movies of the Year. The movie premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where star Colin Firth won the Best Actor award, followed quickly by the BAFTA Award and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations. Julianne Moore received Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performance.
Miano’s other movies as producer include Peter Sollett’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings; and Paul Weitz’s American Dreamz and Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. He was executive producer on Paul Weitz’s In Good Company and Little Fockers; and on Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, which grossed nearly $400 million worldwide.
“We gear toward adult comedies or dramas with a touch of comedy because that’s real life,” Miano explains. And which movie is his favorite? “They’re all like my children,” he says with a laugh. “I love them because you spend so much time with them.”
Miano came to Oswego as a business major, but after only a few weeks, he knew it was not for him. He had liked acting in high school, so he became a theatre major and minored in writing.
In those two departments he would find a home, and mentors who would change the course of his life.
Brad Korbesmeyer and Leigh Wilson of creative writing, and theatre’s Mark Cole ’73, Kitty Macey, Ron Medici, Jon Vermilye ’66 and the late Rosemary Nesbitt, whom he called “less an influence but an inspiration,” all affected his life.
It was a remark by Korbesmeyer that set his career in motion. “You should be an agent, you like to talk so much,” Korbesmeyer told him. So Miano interned at the Willam Morris Agency in Chicago and enjoyed it so much he decided to pursue a career as an agent.
Korbesmeyer laughed when told that story. He remembers it differently.
“I remember talking about how Andy had so many interests and was good at all of them. It was like, ‘How do you put all of them together?’
“He was involved in the music department, one of the choral groups, was a DJ and in a band — I remember going to see him playing in a band at a bar with a kilt on! He was taking creative writing courses, acting in musicals and has this great, engaging personality.”
Korbesmeyer added, “I see it as a perfect fit that he is a producer … but he does talk a lot!”
The agency job took Miano to Hollywood, where he faced the realization that what he really wanted to do was make movies. He joined up with the Weitz brothers and his first movie with them was In Good Company. “I’m very proud of it,” Miano said. “It was fun to make and successful. People still talk about it. ”
When people hear what Miano does for a living, they always ask him if he hobnobs with the stars. “People have this impression that being a producer is a glamorous job,” he says. “The truth is it’s 10 percent glamour and 90 percent hard work…that 10 percent is a great deal of fun, but the 90 percent is why I do it!”
He has flown all over the world producing movies and has worked with Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson, among many others.
Still, the globe-hopping producer was thrilled to come back to Oswego and share his insights with students. An Alumni-in-Residence Program participant, he returned to campus in fall 2011, and told students, “Believe in your ability that you can do anything you want to do.”
Despite social media that keeps people all connected via Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, Miano says, “At end of the day what I do is still so much about communication and relationships.”
And, one would still argue – magic.
You might say Miles B. Borden ’50 is on the right track. Some 63 years after setting Oswego State records for speed, Miles is still putting on miles.
As a member of the Laker track team, Miles crossed the finish line in the record-breaking mile-long relay race at Cortland State in May 1949. The invitational track meet brought together college track teams from Hamilton College, Hartwick, Brockport, Rochester, Cortland and Oswego.
Miles continues to run five days a week with his wife, Leona. Miles and Leona have been cross-country skiing for about 40 years and often head north instead of south for the winter. When he’s not on the road, track or trails, Miles enjoys studying local history with middle school and high school students.
Miles has written five local history books, his latest being The History of Kings Park.
He was president of the Kings Park Fire Department for six years and chaired the committee which established the department’s ambulance squad. Miles has since retired after serving as a volunteer trustee of the Smithsonian Library Board of Trustees for 20 years.
At Oswego, Miles was the student body president for the 1949-50 academic year and a member of Beta Tau Epsilon.
GARY FULLER ’64 LIKES TO say that geography is the glue that ties the world (and several academic disciplines) together. He should know – he wrote the book on it!
The Trivia Lover’s Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found is derived from an Oswego legacy of geography. In fact, Oswego itself is featured in the last chapter.
After graduating from Oswego, Gary went on to earn his doctorate in geography from Penn State. He retired after 34 years as professor of geography and population studies at the University of Hawaii, where he taught more than 10,000 undergraduates and supervised 13 doctoral dissertations and 44 master’s theses. (His first doctoral candidate, Larry Travers, became a faculty member at Oswego).
He was senior class president in 1964, and in 1994, Gary was awarded the Anniversary Class Award of Merit from the Oswego Alumni Association.
Gary’s wife, Barbara Bruton Fuller ’64, retired from the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility school, after almost 30 years, where she was a teacher and then the teacher-in-charge. They have lived in Hawaii since 1970.
“The education, history and geography courses I took at Oswego were the impetus for my life as an educator and now as an author,” wrote Gary, who names as his influences Oswego geography legends Judy Johnsrud and the late Professor Emeritus Girgis Ghobrial.
In retirement, Gary lectures on cruise ships all over the world, talking about world affairs, tying in geography, history and the cultures of the places the tours visit, as well as the current events occurring there.
“Oswego certainly formed the basis for the lives in education — writing and disseminating information— that we’ve led and now lead,” Gary wrote.
“Our lives were definitely shaped by our four years at Oswego. They have been very fruitful and hopefully, have impacted many of the students we’ve taught, as well as our own four children, in positive ways.”
MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW FOR RETURN TO OZ IV, Oswego’s reunion for alumni of color, coming Sept. 27 to 29.
A special dinner and ball, a concert by the Gospel Choir, a picnic at Fallbrook await you at the end of the “Yellow Brick Road” to Oswego.
Visit alumni.oswego.edu/returntooz for more information. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunyoswegoreturntooz to post photos, give shout-outs or share songs you would like to hear throughout the weekend.
Don’t miss out! “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Oz” this September.