Official GCC Tartan Continues Fashion Program Distinction and Anniversary Celebration, Board Hears

New Products Created and New Business Opportunities Abound

Batavia, New York — Genesee Community College trustees recently learned that the students and alumni of the Fashion Design and Business program are once again covering new territory. By developing a unique plaid design, they are reinforcing the College’s brand and amplifying the ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration and providing students with new design challenges and business opportunities.

Under the leadership of Professor Donna Ehrhart, whose has taught computer, business, marketing and now Fashion Design courses at GCC for 28 years, establishing the College’s unique plaid pattern began with a design competition back in 2014 that was open to all GCC students and alumni. Michael Moultrup, GCC class of 1999 and 2011 with degrees in both Human Services and Digital Arts, submitted the winning entry. From there, Professor Ehrhart submitted the new GCC pattern, with its very specific thread count and branded GCC colors, to be officially registered as a Scottish Tartan and also officially trademarked.   

After these major accomplishments, fashion design students and Professor Ehrhart got busy with new product developments. To date, the official GCC plaid is now on silk scarves, neck and bow ties, as well as tube socks and t-shirts. In addition, a limited number of vests are being produced, a formal display case was developed in the Alfred C. O’Connell Library, a new website is in development and followers are encouraged to add hashtag #GCCplaid to their Twitter account.

“We are one of the very few community colleges in the nation to have our own plaid design, now officially registered in Scotland, designed by alumni and project managed by our students,” Professor Ehrhart told the College Trustees. “The whole project not only reinforces the College’s ‘beyond expectations’ brand, but also adds another great dimension to our Anniversary celebration.”   

In other business last Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:

  • Heard Michelle Abdella, GCC’s associate professor of Math and Science, report on her one-year sabbatical taken 2015-2016 to study Common Core State Standards related to mathematics. As a volunteer for 10 - 20 hours per week at John Kennedy and Jackson Elementary Schools, Professor Abdella gained both the teacher’s and student’s perspectives. She noted that while some students continue to struggle, they appeared to have an increased ability to verbally explain problem solving and were being taught multiple problem solving techniques. The opportunity to understand Common Core will better enable Abdella to structure meaningful Student Learning Outcomes for her own students, many who have the goal of becoming teachers themselves.


  • Heard two reports from William Emm, GCC’s executive vice president for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness:  
    • Not only are both construction projects, the Student Success Center and the Richard C. Call Arena,lji on schedule for substantial completion in June and occupancy in July 2017, but there have been no reports of any accidents, injuries or incidents of safety being compromised. The dual project encompasses a combined new space of over 52,000 square feet and is valued at approximately $25 million.
    • The College’s critical accreditation process, a “herculean” effort that occurs every 10 years, is ramping up smoothly. The October 12-13, 2016 visit of Dr. Peter L. Mora, GCC’s assigned liaison from Middle States Commission on Higher Education, went very well. Dr. Mora commented that the College was well prepared for the three-day Middle States team visit to GCC on April 3-5, 2017.        
  • Reaffirmed minor updates to several Board policies concerning the display of posters and flyers (#6002); admission of students with potential learning problems (#4014); political activities on campus (#6004); tobacco-free policy (#6005) and environmental impact (#6006) as part of the Board’s ongoing review of policies.
  • Approved the deactivation of two certificate programs, Deaf Studies and Office Assistant, and also the Administrative Assistant, AAS program. Dr. Kathleen Schiefen, provost/executive vice president for Academic Affairs explained that students currently in enrolled in the programs will be able to complete the degrees or certificates, but new students will be encouraged to explore other related academic opportunities such as the new Marketing and Social Media concentration within the Business Administration program. All three deactivated programs can continue to be assessed for possible reinstatement within three years.   
  • Heard Trustees Benjamin Bonarigo, Donna Ferry, Laurie Miller, and chair Laura Bohm report on their attendance at the ACCT (Association of Community College Trustees) Conference in Las Vegas and the NYCCT (New York Community College Trustee) Conference held in Cooperstown, New York. Trustee Ferry noted the national American Community College Trustee conference was held at the same time and location as the Summit for Safeguarding College Campus offering an excellent opportunity to discuss and share resources on this growing concern.
  • Heard a report about GCC’s Student Government Association from Jenna Curcio of Rochester, New York. Curico is new student trustee serving a one year term on the all-volunteer, ten-member Board of Trustees which governs Genesee Community College. The other nine members are: Laura J. Bohm, chair; Donna M. Ferry, vice chair; Peter R. Call, secretary; Benjamin J. Bonarigo, Sr. Esq.; Robert L. Boyce; Maureen T. Marshall; Laurie J. Miller; Diane D. Torcello and Jacalyn F. Whiting.  

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Editor’s Note: For a photograph of three GCC professors presenting the GCC Tartan to the Board of Trustees on Nov. 14, 2016 please go to:


Left to right, in each photo are professors: Rick Dudkowski, Donna Ehrhart and Tracy Ford.