Olympic Gold Medalist Abby Wambach to Address 2005 Genesee Community College Grads

U. S. gold medalist Abby A. Wambach will address Genesee Community College's Class of 2005 during commencement ceremonies this year, Vice President for Student Services George W. Walker reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening. Ms. Wambach, a Rochester-area native who led the U. S. Women's Soccer Team to a stunning 2-1 overtime victory against Brazil last year, has gained a reputation as one of the most forceful offensive women's players in the nation.

Genesee's 37th annual graduation ceremony is scheduled for May 22, at 1:00 p.m. in the Batavia Campus gymnasium. About 700 students are expected to graduate this year.

Over the last several years, Abby Wambach - and her stellar performance - has become almost legendary. She was the leading scorer in the 2003 Women's World Cup with three goals, and helped win the game against Norway. She entered the 2004 Athens Olympic Games with 14 goals in 16 games. She was named U. S. Soccer's Female Player of the Year in 2003. That same year she won a WUSA Founder's Club Championship with the Washington Freedom, and MVP honors in the Founder's Cup Final.

Ms. Wambach began playing soccer at the age of four. She was a four-year varsity starter for Our Lady of Mercy High School's basketball team, scoring 142 goals and earning All-Greater Rochester honors twice. After graduating from Mercy, she attended the University of Florida, where she majored in Leisure Service Management. During her senior year in Florida she scored 31 goals, helping the team enter the NCAA Final Four. She grew up in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford, and is the youngest of seven children.

Abby Wambach epitomizes determination and spirit, Dr. Walker told the Board of Trustees. "This is a woman who loves the game of soccer, and whose enthusiasm rubs off on everyone around her," he said. "I hope she will inspire our students to search out vocations and pastimes they love, find great enthusiasm in their own lives, and work hard to reach their own goals."In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

•Approved a three-year renewal of the College's contract with the Genesee Community College Educational Support Personnel Association (GCCESPA), which represents the College's civil service staff. The contract can be extended to four years upon approval of the College and the GCCESPA. The contract, for the first time, will include provisions for permanent health insurance contributions from new employees and contributions from all present employees. This will coincide with provisions of the faculty contract signed last year. The contract was approved last month by members of the GCCESPA, and must now be approved by the Genesee County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee and the full Genesee County Legislature.

•Heard Vice Chair Marcia Noonan report that the College and the Genesee-Wyoming YMCA announced the formation of a task force March 21 to study the possibility of locating a YMCA sports center on the Batavia Campus. The six-member task force will help the YMCA and College determine whether community demand for a sports center exists, and how such a center would be financed and built.

•Heard President Stuart Steiner report that Jessica Hibbard has been appointed Technical Specialist for Retention and Enrollment Management. She has served as a Campus Center Associate at the Lakeville Campus Center since 2002. She holds an A.A.S. degree from Genesee Community College and a B.A. degree from SUNY at Albany.

•Heard Dr. Steiner report that Susan Drexel is joining the Lakeville Campus Center staff as a Campus Center Associate. She has served the College as a part-time Campus Center Associate since July 2004. Ms. Drexel holds a B.A. degree from SUNY College at Geneseo and a M.A. degree from Kent State University.

•Heard Dr. George W. Walker, Vice President for Student Services, report that 1,712 prospective full-time students have applied for admission to Genesee for the Fall 2005 semester as of April 1, almost 16% higher than the 1,451 individuals who had applied for admission a year ago. "While the numbers look excellent, they do not tell us much at this time," Dr. Walker said. "They reflect the fact that a growing number of students are applying online, and probably used the early Easter break to do so. Additionally, online applications tend to come in much earlier than paper-based applications." Early fall trends should become apparent in May and June, Dr. Walker explained.