Analyzing sharp-force trauma, studying ceramic artifacts disinterred after centuries, disclosing the trace elements in soils—SUNY Oswego forensic anthropologist Kathleen Blake can think of many uses for portable X-ray equipment purchased with a National Park Service grant.
The new instrument will enable faculty and student researchers to study samples in detail without liquefying, pulverizing or otherwise destroying them. “This device is widely used in archeological and museum studies,” Blake said.
Douglas Pippin, an assistant professor of anthropology and an archeologist, received the $49,500 grant with colleagues Paul Tomascak of the earth sciences faculty and Blake.
The device came with a pump to create a vacuum, a small on-board computer for work in the field, a tripod and other attachments. It uses X-ray fluorescence to analyze the elements and their proportions in a sample.
The researchers won the grant in conjunction with work the anthropology department is doing cataloging 160,000 Native American and other artifacts from archeological sites around the state. SUNY Oswego earlier received two grants totaling $1.5 million for work under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Blake, a visiting assistant professor, is on the research team for the NAGPRA project.
“This will be so helpful to student projects, too,” she said. “For example, what happens after burial of a deer’s leg? What can it tell us about the amount of copper laid down by the blade that cut the bone? What kind of blade was it?”
—Jeff Rea ’71
By definition, an endowment is when a donor makes a gift with the understanding that the college will never spend the original gift, just a portion of the investment earnings. The gift exists in perpetuity — that is, forever — and benefits all generations of SUNY Oswego students and the college’s programs.
Most often, we think of an endowment as the pot of money behind a scholarship. When a generous alumnus gives a $25,000 gift to Oswego (often with a multi-year pledge) with the intention to endow a scholarship, the funds are invested. Once they generate sufficient income (usually after a
year), a potential $1,000 scholarship can be awarded each year to a student meeting the donor’s criteria. The donor can designate whether the scholarship goes to a student with a certain
major, from a specific hometown or military background, or one who has overcome hardship or faces financial need.
An endowment could also create an excellence fund for an academic department, sports team or extracurricular program. The dean or director can use a portion of the accumulated earnings to bring speakers to campus, help students attend conferences and career-exploration field trips, or buy needed equipment.
One donor’s gift has allowed the establishment of a student-run Investment Club, which invests a portion of the endowed fund established by Gordon A. Lenz ’58 so students can learn about financial markets and gain real world investment management experience. The Public Justice Excellence Fund, established by David Cutler ’74, helps students attend an annual scholarly conference and travel to corrections facilities to explore career opportunities in the public justice field. An endowed chair, like the Marcia Belmar Willock ’50 Chair in Finance, provides funds to assist with paying the salary of a professor — usually a scholar of some renown — to teach in a particular area or department. These are but a few examples of the power of philanthropy.
The Oswego College Foundation has nearly 175 endowed funds providing more than $500,000 in scholarship and program support back to Oswego’s students. Annually, more than 200 students benefit from just the direct awards provided by donor-endowed scholarship funds. These are in addition to the scholarship benefits provided by the campus.
The Oswego College Foundation Board of Directors and its Investment Committee are charged with managing these endowment dollars to ensure that desired payouts are available each year and that they grow to match inflation.
Their diligent stewardship means the funds will always fulfill the donors’ wishes, benefiting generations of Oswego students and giving future donors the confidence to invest in Oswego’s mission.
Focusing on students and their needs as a way of paying tribute to her family perfectly fits Linda Panarites Sweeting’s sensibilities regarding philanthropy. A 1975 graduate, she has been making gifts to SUNY Oswego’s annual fund and volunteering as a reunion gift organizer over the years, but always “hoped to do more.”
When she consulted with her husband and her brother about honoring departed family members through an endowed scholarship, they were of one mind in creating a fund that would provide financial assistance to one entering student each year. That student would come to SUNY Oswego from Spencerport or Hilton, alternately, and would personify the values of the Panarites and Sweeting families.
Sweeting spent her career in the alumni and development office at SUNY Brockport, where she saw the “difference a gift could make in the lives of the student and the donor.” She says she always wanted to make a gift to Oswego that went beyond supporting the annual fund, and she was inspired in philanthropy by coworkers, especially Brockport faculty member emeritus Frances Moroney Whited ’44.
“I valued my time at Oswego and the education I received as a student,” Sweeting says. “Now, I completely admire and trust the people in the Office of Development, and I really like the direction Oswego is going in terms of academics.”
Sweeting says her father’s people came to America from Greece, and even though they all valued education, only one of the siblings had the resources to complete a college degree. The Panarites-Sweeting Family Scholarship will ensure that the selected student will have access to higher education without incurring crippling debt.
“When we talked to professionals at Oswego, we said we didn’t want to put a lot of restrictions on the choice of the recipient,” Sweeting says. “But when we met Bianca, the first recipient, and her family, we felt as if she had been hand picked for us.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M ’97
Lou Borrelli ’77 is a cable television pioneer, media executive and steadfast supporter of SUNY Oswego. He continued his support this year with a gift of $25,000 to the Student Media Excellence Fund.
Giving to student organizations is important to Oswego, as it provides funding that cannot always be provided by the Student Association.
“I have been directing my annual giving the past several years to ‘Excellence Funds’ to provide support for WNYO and WTOP to supplement their SA budget,” Borrelli says. “My gifts over the years have provided equipment, travel expenses and fees for conferences and award competitions.”
These organizations, although mostly funded by SA, benefit greatly from philanthropic support by alumni. Excellence funds can be supported by anyone who wishes to designate their annual gifts to student organizations, and new excellence funds can always be established.
“Excellence Funds are a good way to get involved,” Borrelli says.
Borrelli supports student organizations as the founder of the Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, which provides networking opportunities for students in media fields and attracts communication professionals from all over the country.
After the launch of the Summit, he established the Student Media Excellence Fund, as he saw the need to further provide for WNYO and WTOP. The majority of his most recent gift funded “a multichannel digital replay system used during Laker Hockey games,” which put WTOP on par with sports networks like ESPN and NESN.
Borrelli is also a member of the Oswego College Foundation Board and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts Advisory Board, and he was Reunion Giving Chair for his 35th Reunion cluster this year. He encourages other alumni to give back to Oswego and show their support for students.
“A little support goes a long way to help current students and student organizations,” he says.
—Kaitlin Provost ’12
Howard Olinsky ’81, a disability attorney and managing partner of Olinsky Disability, has given a gift of $50,000 to SUNY Oswego. Two-thirds of his gift will go
to the School of Communication, Media and the Arts Dean’s Fund, and one-third to where the need is greatest.
Olinsky serves on the first SCMA Advisory Board, and is a loyal supporter of SUNY Oswego. He says supporting his alma mater is an important part of his philanthropy plan, to give back to “the schools and universities that have helped me become successful.”
“Successful” is no exaggeration – Olinsky manages 16 full-time attorneys and 22 contracted attorneys at his firm, which is the largest filer of Social Security Disability federal court cases in the nation. He has offices in Syracuse and Orlando.
Olinsky got his start in Oswego, opening up his law firm on West First Street. The firm’s name still adorns the front of the Old Marine Midland Bank Building, where his office was for more than 15 years. He says the firm moved to Syracuse in order to expand, but Olinsky never lost his love for Oswego or the desire to give back to the college.
“I plan on being an active participant,” he says. Giving back is “a way of bringing additional money into the individual schools without having to raise tuition,” and he believes this is crucial to Oswego’s success.
His goal for this gift is to help students who graduate with a communication degree become more marketable. He and Dean Fritz Messere ’71 M ’76 are working on a plan to create a PR program that can help students get experience with all aspects of advertising and media.
“It’s a big goal,” he says, “but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
—Kaitlin Provost ’12
Oswego’s Leadership Giving society, The President’s Circle, has been reconfigured to reflect new giving levels as of July 1, 2013. The revision is in response to changing economic times and inflation. A $500 gift would be the equivalent of $1,070 today to make the same impact it did when these giving levels were established nearly 30 years ago.
We continue to recognize members of The President’s Circle as those who are among the most dedicated supporters of Oswego; therefore, the starting level in that designation will be $1,000. A newly established Green and Gold Club will acknowledge donors who make gifts of $250 through $999.
Donors wishing to continue to give at their previous designated levels can arrange for installment giving.
For information on joining Oswego’s philanthropic leaders, call 315-312-3003 or visit alumni.oswego.edu/presidentscircle
New levels of giving in The President’s Circle are:
THE PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE:
$25,000 + Medallion Society
$10,000 – $24,999 Torchbearer Society
$5,000 – $9,999 Ambassador Society
$2,500 – $4,999 Ontarian Society
$1,861 – $2,499 1861 Founder’s Society
$1,000 – $1,860 Pillar Society
GREEN AND GOLD CLUB:
$500 – $999 Gold member
$250 – $499 Green member
Planned giving makes it possible for SUNY Oswego alumni and friends to reach beyond the present and touch the future. Jack James ’62 sees it as a means of ensuring that his alma mater remains an effective institution of higher education for many generations to come.
James has agreed to chair the Sheldon Legacy Society Steering Committee and to work with other members to revitalize that group, which honors those who include Oswego in their estate plans. He says he accepted the leadership position because he has faith in the students of today and in those of the future. The Legacy Society affirms some of the values founder Edward Austin Sheldon held dear: careful planning, generous giving, and faithful stewardship.
The Society is comprised of people who are committed to spreading the message about the benefits of planned giving. James says Oswego’s students will benefit as more people understand that a legacy gift enables them to give beyond what they might be able to give at the present and as more people are aware of the variety of plans and the benefits of each plan.
A retired Marine Corps Colonel and former faculty member at National–Louis University, James has long supported Oswego through giving and volunteering. Leading by example, he has bequeathed a significant portion of his estate to Oswego, and he established a charitable gift annuity in honor of the 50th reunion of his class.
With ongoing gifts, James supports a scholarship for non-traditional learners, provides a fund dedicated to equipment and facilities improvement, and maintains a student program fund for the School of Education.
James invites those interested in information about the Sheldon Legacy Society and planned giving to call the Office of University Development at 315-312-3003.
“Planned giving is the ultimate commitment to Oswego and its students,” James says. “It’s a way to ensure that the legacy of learning extends into the future by enabling current students to complete their educations for the benefit of future generations. In this way, the Sheldon legacy, personal philanthropy and a donor’s family legacy are linked.”
—Linda Loomis ’90, M ’97
More than 150 Oswego upperclassmen networked with more than 35 alumni professionals at the annual New York City Career Connections event Jan. 10 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.
Citigroup’s Marcia Thompson-Young ’81 delivered a keynote speech at the networking event, which followed a series of alumni-hosted day visits around the city.
Doreen Mochrie ’85, seated at left, hosted an afternoon session at Perry Capital for students interested in finance. Marcia Belmar Willock ’50 Professor of Finance Mary Tone Rodgers is seated at right.
New York City Career Connections is a career networking program of the Oswego Alumni Association and receives support from The Fund for Oswego.
Oswego public justice students are exploring career opportunities, attending conferences, and meeting mentors thanks to the generosity of David Cutler ’74, the founder and executive director of the Arapaho Community Treatment Center, a residential community corrections facility in Englewood, Colo.
Cutler augmented his Public Justice Excellence Fund with an additional gift of $170,000, bringing the total of the fund to $420,000. He is motivated to help Oswego students because of his love for his alma mater, which he feels provided a great education that helped him build his successful career. “We need good leaders in corrections and law enforcement. It’s a really challenging time right now in the field,” said Cutler, who noted that the field was “shrinking,” due to a drop in crime rates and smaller budgets.
He feels motivated to support Oswego because of his own experiences. “Oswego changed my life — that’s why I really wanted to contribute back to Oswego State,” he said. “I had a great time up there and learned so much.”
Using the Cutler fund money, the public justice faculty sends eight students each year to the Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State, where they attend presentations and seminars and take advantage of opportunities to enhance their career searches.
“Our students make an excellent impression on faculty members of other colleges and they wish they could take their students to the conference,” said Public Justice Professor Diane Brand. “But they don’t have the blessing of Mr. Cutler to provide them with that opportunity.”
In addition, Cutler’s gift funds field trips for 40 students each year to maximum security Auburn and medium security Butler correctional facilities. As a result of one-on-one interaction with the inmates and corrections officers, some students are inspired to take courses toward a career in corrections and others have gone on to graduate school in counseling to work with inmates and those with substance abuse issues.
“It was very different than the textbook or reality TV shows,” said Gaston Owen ’13, a public justice major and forensic science minor who went on the prison field trip during his first semester at Oswego. “It helps you tweak your career options and think of things you might never have thought of before.” He serves as a peer adviser for other public justice majors and is an active member of the Public Justice Club, which brings speakers to campus and sponsors trips like one this spring to Washington, D.C.
Mike Muller ’13 went to the CJEANYS conference in October, in addition to attending the prison field trips. The public justice major and forensic science minor says hearing presentations by an ex-state trooper and professors from other colleges helped him refine his future goals.
“It was great to have a real-world experience. You can read every day in a book but it’s nothing like this,” he said. “We got to sit down with people who do it every day and hear their experiences.” In addition to his participation in peer advisement and the Public Justice Club, Muller serves as a teaching assistant. At press time, he was awaiting results of a physical that would allow him to accept a job with his hometown police force in Port Jervis right after graduation.
Oswego has been a family tradition for Barbara Brown McCormack ’44, going back to the turn of the last century. That’s why she has been a loyal supporter of The Fund for Oswego for more than 30 years and is a member of the 1861 Society of The President’s Circle.
“I loved Oswego when I went there, and think very highly of it.”
The love comes naturally. McCormack’s father, Leon N. Brown, went to the Campus School as a child in the early 1900s. Her mother, Helen Picken Brown ’18 took the train from Yonkers to enroll at Oswego Normal School.
McCormack herself attended the Campus School, literally following in her father’s footsteps as she walked from the family home several blocks away on West Mohawk Street. “In the winter snow, we sure were glad to see that pergola,” she said with a laugh.
McCormack met her first husband, John Murphy ’49, when both were undergraduates at Oswego. After his death, she married the late Robert “Rod” McCormack.
Her life is full of memories of the college, especially as a young bride working as a library assistant under legendary librarian Helen Hagger.
Even now, she loves to attend plays and musical performances on campus.
She supports Oswego with unrestricted gifts, giving to where the need is greatest, because of her high esteem for the college.
“I admire the school – they’ve done a wonderful job. It has a great reputation. Even people from afar know of Oswego. I know because I’ve lived afar,” said McCormack, who spent many years living in Montana and New Jersey.
Thanks to her loyal support and generosity, students today can benefit from the same great education McCormack enjoyed . . . and come to love Oswego as much as she does.