Board of Trustees Recognize Longtime GCC Volunteer With Honorary Degree

Batavia, New York — The College’s Board of Trustees voted on Monday, March 13, 2017 to confer an honorary Genesee Community College degree on longtime GCC Foundation board member Norbert J. Fuest at the commencement ceremonies May 21, 2017.


This esteemed honor reflects Mr. Fuest’s extraordinary commitment to Genesee Community College over many years, said Trustee Laurie J. Miller, chair of the Honorary Degree Selection Committee.


Mr. Fuest has served as a member of the Genesee Community College Foundation Board for almost a quarter-century. He is a former president of the Foundation, and has served as a member or chair of almost all Foundation committees through the years. He currently serves as president of Genesee Community College Foundation Housing Services, the not-for-profit Foundation affiliate corporation that manages College Village and other projects.


Beyond Mr. Fuest’s formal service on the Foundation Board, he has been a tireless and enthusiastic advocate for the College, Mrs. Miller said. He has been an active leader in Foundation fundraising campaigns, encouraged students to attend the College, promoted the College’s workforce training programs to area business leaders and advocated for the College with public officials.


He served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Search Committee (2010-2011), was a recipient of the Alpha Medal of Service (2014) and was a recipient of the Benefactor Vision for Tomorrow Award of the New York State Community College Trustees Association.


The Wyoming County resident is a retired Morton Salt human resources executive, and currently provides human resources and safety consultation to area business organizations. He has served many other organizations and causes as a volunteer, including numerous years of service on the Attica School District Board of Education, Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency, Wyoming County United Way, Wyoming County Business Education Council, Family Life, Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services, New York State Workforce Investment Board and Genesee Association of Personnel Administrators.


“Norb Fuest has been totally committed to Genesee Community College for many, many years, and I can think of no finer candidate for an honorary degree than Norb,” Mrs. Miller told her colleagues.


In other business on March 13, the Board of Trustees:

  • Accepted, with gratitude, a donation of equipment from Dr. Reed Stevens of Elliott Small Animal Hospital of Buffalo to be used in the College’s Veterinary Technology program. The equipment includes a hematology analyzer, chemistry analyzer and vet lab station. The donation is valued at $8,400.


  • Heard Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin P. Hamilton report that the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee had met earlier that evening to review the College’s second quarter financial reports. Revenue and expenses are on target with forecasts, Hamilton said.


  • Heard Board Chair Laura J. Bohm report that she attended SUNY Day in Albany March 1, and that she and representatives of other community colleges across the state voiced their hope to legislative leaders that they will keep the needs of the state’s community colleges in mind as they prepare New York State’s 2017-2018 budget, due for adoption by April 1. The community colleges have asked the State Legislature to maintain state support of the colleges at least at the current level in the coming year. Mrs. Bohm said that she and other community college leaders met with Senate Higher Education Committee Kenneth P. LaValle and Assembly Higher Education Chair Deborah J.  Glick. “They were definitely aware of our presence,” Mrs. Bohm told trustees.


  • Heard President James M. Sunser report that the State Legislature is considering legislation that would give newly-created regional community college councils the authority to review and approve academic programs. The legislation erodes local control, and adds another layer of bureaucratic approvals to any already-lengthy academic review process, Dr. Sunser said. “How does someone from Ontario County know best what programs we need in the GLOW region?” he said. “And why would we in the GLOW region know best what Ontario County needs?  Where is the value in this added layer?”  Dr. Sunser reminded trustees that proposed new academic programs are currently scrutinized by faculty, usually in consultation with external business and education leaders; reviewed by other colleges and universities in the region; reviewed and approved by SUNY; and then reviewed and approved by the New York State Education Department.


  • Heard Dr. Sunser report that Adrian Milroy and Cheryl Brady-Thompson have recently joined the GCC staff. Mr. Milroy, of Albion, will serve as Financial Operations Specialist in the College’s Business Office. He holds B.A. and B.S. degrees from SUNY Brockport, and is a CPA. He formerly worked at Freed Maxick CPAs. Ms. Brady-Thompson, of Medina, will serve as a caseworker in the College’s Liberty Partnership program. She holds a degree from Alfred College of Technology, and is pursuing an additional degree at the University at Buffalo.  She was a former family service case manager at Pathstone.


  • Heard William T. Emm, Executive Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, report that construction of the Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena are on time and on budget.  Recent Student Success Center highlights include completion of 90% of drywall, external brick work, window installation and construction of interior staircases. Richard C. Call Arena construction highlights include completion of interior concrete work, installation of studs and sheet rock, and near-completion of the instructional and coaching wing. Mr. Emm said that electrical, lighting and more flooring work will be completed in the next few weeks in both structures. The College expects substantial completion of both buildings in June, he said. He also announced that the NJCAA regional soccer tournament will be held here this fall, attracting numerous visitors to the Batavia Campus and wider community.


  • Heard Mr. Emm also report that the College is ready for its once-every-ten-year accreditation visit the first week of April. The visit is a requirement of the College’s accreditation, and is overseen by a Middle States Commission on Higher Education team of highly experienced college leaders drawn from across the mid-Atlantic region. More than 50 members of GCC’s faculty and staff have worked over the last 18 months to complete an exhaustive self-study covering every facet of the College’s academic programs and operations. The result has been compiled into the College’s internal self-study document previously submitted to the Middle States Commission. Mr. Emm displayed the self-study on the Board Room screen. This high-tech web-based document consists of seven self-study chapters and numerous hyperlinked appendices and reports – totaling 995 pages. Board Chair Laura Bohm and other trustees called the high-tech document “tremendous,” “amazing” and a “remarkable reflection of the College.”  President James Sunser, who is a member of the Board of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and who has served on about 20 Middle States accreditation teams, said that self-study reports typically reference paper documents found in file cabinets on college campuses. He said the Genesee self-study sets a “new standard” in quality for other colleges and universities. “I have never seen anything like this. Bill Emm, Tim Tomczak (self-study co-chairs) and the faculty and staff members who coordinated this effort deserve congratulations.”


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