Although the magazine comes out in August, I am writing this column in June, right after Reunion Weekend. More than 800 alumni returned to campus for four days packed with good food, great friends and memories galore. The days are long — I’d be fibbing if I said my feet didn’t hurt! But what we — your alumni staff — take away from that weekend is a renewal and re-energizing of our passion for our profession.
Those of you who read my column know that my best daily “thinking time” is on my 6 a.m. walks with our rescue dog, Bo. So my inspiration for this issue’s column came on one of my recent walks. Volunteering has been such an important and satisfying part of my life over the years — civic organizations, the PTA, church, my alma mater, our local Humane Society to name just a few. So what better theme than to talk about the myriad of volunteer opportunities we offer for Oswego alumni.
For more than 14 years, I walked the halls of the U.S. Capitol as the eyes and ears of the Watertown Daily Times, until the Northern New York newspaper became the latest to close its Washington bureau March 31. But my roots in journalism reach into the halls of SUNY Oswego, where I spent four years as a reporter and editor at The Oswegonian.
When any of us look back, our life is really a series of transitions. Like me, some of your big life transitions may have included going away to college, getting married, having kids, losing a parent, becoming an empty-nester… as well as the transitions throughout our professional careers.
There is no talking for some time. We sit, the sound of John moving around, the buzzing of a space heater in the background.
When I was in third grade, I started a newspaper at our elementary school, writing and editing and getting someone in the office to run it off on mimeo (photo-copying was still rare!). I drew cartoons featuring two little elephants (who talked, of course!) and drew them, not only in the newspaper but on every chalkboard I could, sometimes getting into more than a bit of trouble. I wrote plays about holidays and historical figures and recruited classmates to act in them. In short, from the age of about 10, I knew I would be a writer, a storyteller. So when Peggy La Tulip Focarino ’77, America’s first female commissioner of patents, told me that in fifth grade, she had asked her parents for a telescope, I knew just what she meant.
Throughout our 150-year history, a hallmark of an Oswego education has always been an emphasis on learning by doing. As I travel around the country, alumni from every era share stories of Oswego professors who involved them as equals in important research and creative projects. The pages of this magazine are brimming with examples, like Peggy La Tulip Focarino ’77, whose love of physics was nurtured in Oswego’s labs and now inspires her as she leads the U. S. Patent Office. RIT Chemistry Professor Todd Pagano ’96 has become a national advocate for involving undergraduates in scientific inquiry and has personally opened the doors to meaningful research for hundreds of deaf students. Debra Schutt ’77 takes skills she learned alongside Jon Vermilye ’66 and Ken Stone ’68 in Waterman Theatre to adorn the sets of HBO productions.
net·work / [net-wurk]
verb (used without object):
to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.
We invite you to join Oswego’s “Get Work Network!” With our ever-growing database of 75,000-plus alumni, your Owego alumni network is a powerful tool for expanding your cache of career contacts. The more alumni who register in our exclusive social network, OsweGoConnect, the more Oswegonians you can connect for job openings, career advice, mentoring and more. So I encourage you to log in and register today if you haven’t already! See the inside front cover of this magazine to learn how to join .
Likewise, our LinkedIn group (linkd.in/oswegoalumni) and our Facebook page (facebook.com/oswegoalumni) provide daily networking opportunities for Oswego grads. We invite you to take part in the frequent and lively discussions that take place. Volunteer to mentor a current student (or a recent grad) through our ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) program — you can critique resumes, offer career advice, provide job shadow experiences, connect
them to internships in your company or link one of Oswego’s new co-ops to your business (see p. 3). The extent of your involvement is totally up to you!
Assisting our current students or helping our new grads launch their careers is one of the most valuable ways you can reach back and give a hand up to an Oswego student or alum.
Even though you can stay connected to Oswego through our many social and career networks and on the Web, we like to meet our Oswego alumni the old fashioned way — in person! We hope that you come back and see us soon in person to check out all of the amazing improvements to campus. The Science, Engineering and Innovation Corridor is rising before our eyes. Sheldon Hall, our “Old Main,” is undergoing extensive exterior renovations to take us into our next 150 years.
And even King Alumni Hall, your alumni “home” when you return to campus is a welcoming place to stop by, peruse yearbooks and alumni memorabilia and share your favorite Oswego memories — we enjoy hearing them all!
So return for Reunion Weekend June 8-10, 2012, come back to cheer on a Lakers team or visit for a theatre production or Artswego performance. We look forward to seeing you soon. And don’t forget to sign up for OsweGoConnect today!
If the statue of Edward Austin Sheldon could suddenly come to life, the picture-perfect day of September 30, 2005, may have been a good time. If the joy of the day somehow brought the college’s founder back and he took a stroll from his chair, many details would have astounded him. The buildings, and the whole scope of the campus, would have far exceeded the place he knew.
It was my first issue as editor of Oswego alumni magazine. Excited to be starting a new adventure, I had scheduled a meeting with my boss to discuss the story list at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001. You’ll never read those stories. Because as soon as we heard about the first plane flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and turned on the TV in King Alumni Hall to see the second plane crash into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., we threw that list away and started on a magazine about Oswego alumni and the 9/11 attacks. We called our feature “New American Heroes,” and over the weeks we would work on it, we came to know what courage, fortitude and heroism really meant. We would learn the names of the lost, too — a dozen souls who walked the same campus pathways as we did, sat in the same classrooms and called Oswego their alma mater, before being cut down by terrorists’ hate. In this issue, we revisit many of those we covered in that magazine, and also hear from current students and faculty reflecting on the tragedy. It may be a cliché, but everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I just feel honored that I was in King Alumni Hall to be able to tell the story — with pride — of Oswego’s alumni heroes.
Revisit the Fall/Winter 2001 issue at oswego.edu/magazine.