Genesee Community College: Top Ten 2007 Stories

The year 2007 was a milestone year for Genesee Community College. From celebrating 40 years as a leading provider of higher education in Western New York to expanding facilities to reach even more students, Genesee has had a year to remember. The following events were some of the most memorable news stories from Genesee in 2007.

1. First Honorary Associate Degrees Conferred – Genesee Community College conferred its first ever Honorary Associate degrees during its 40th Anniversary Convocation ceremony on May 3, 2007. The three honorees were Dr. Alfred C. O’Connell, William W. Stuart, and Neil T. Burns, all of whom were instrumental in the College’s early years. O’Connell was Genesee’s founding president, Stuart was a long-serving member of the Genesee County Board of Supervisors who provided critical support in the College’s early years, and Burns was a dynamic community leader who was appointed to be one of the founding trustees of the College. (Nominations for Genesee Honorary Associate degrees to be awarded in 2008 are currently being accepted and can be accessed at the following Internet address: Associate degree nomination form.rtf

2. Transfer of land to GCEDC to establish Medical Technology Park – The transfer of 33.9 acres from the Batavia Campus to the Genesee County Economic Development Center to develop a Med Tech Park on the south side of R. Stephen Hawley Drive promises to be a significant economic boost to the region. The new state-of-the-art business park is expected to create new jobs in highly skilled positions in biotechnology including new industries such as telemedicine, cryopreservation, cell differentiation, DNA isolation, and prosthetics. Genesee Community College also introduced the new Biotechnology, A.S. degree to help prepare the regional workforce for these new jobs.

3. The New Facilities Master Plan - approved by the Board of Trustees recommended an expansion to the College’s arts center including a new gallery space, as well as reconstruction and relocation of the athletic fields, a possible field house, and mechanical upgrades.

4. Batavia Area Jaycee Reunion with First Annual Cruise the College - A special reception for area Jaycees recognized their efforts in the mid-1960’s to establish a community college. The recognition ceremony was timed with a “Cruising the College” event where classic cars, motorcycles, and trucks were on display at Genesee Community College’s Batavia campus on July 28, 2007. The dual event was part of the College’s ongoing 40th anniversary celebration and featured food, music and a special Jaycee tent. The second annual Cruise the College event is already scheduled for Saturday, July 26, 2008.

5. First Ever Alumni Hall of Fame Induction - Genesee Community College inducted its first ever Alumni Hall of Fame on August 8, 2007 featuring honorees: Joseph Bell (Class of 1979), Vice President of Global Process and Product Integrity at Moog, Inc; Monica Dawson (Class of 1972), co-owner of Shepard, Maxwell and Hale Insurance Agency; Jerry Reinhart (Class of 1971), founder of Access Rentals; Paula Savage (Class of 1976), Director of Tourism for the Greater Rochester Visitors Association; Lori Stupp (Class of 1989), Regional Director of United Way; and Peggy Weissend (Class of 1999), Registered Nurse/Community Health Nurse with the Genesee County Health Department. Nominations are currently being sought for the 2008 Alumni Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

6. College Village Expansion – College Village, the student housing complex adjacent to Genesee’s Batavia Campus, was expanded and now accommodates approximately 380 students. The expansion project consisted of two new 10,500 square foot, two-story residential buildings with 32 apartment suites, a new “commons” building featuring offices and a residents’ gathering space, as well as renovation of the first floor of the existing “B” Building that converted the old office space into new apartment suits.

7. Medina Campus Center Established – Genesee Community College opened a new campus center on Maple Ridge Road in Medina, NY in October 2007. The new Center houses classrooms, a technology lab, and a unique multi-disciplinary science lab. Twenty-two courses were offered at the Center this past semester and the Center has become a focal point for a variety of services for students and the entire community.

8. Fulbright Specialist Visits Genesee - In an effort to expand the understanding and appreciation of Islamic societies and culture, Genesee Community College hosted a Fulbright Visiting Specialist from a Muslim country during the fall 2007 semester. Dr. Sharifah Hayaati Syed Ismail al-Qudsy, a native of Malaysia, arrived on campus on October 25 and visited classes and conducted lectures to students, faculty and staff within the college community. She also engaged in numerous other exchanges with the general public throughout the region during her two-week visit.

9. Convocation - Convocation is a formal academic ceremony marking a special event or milestone in the life of a college or university. The College’s former presidents and retired faculty and staff members were honored guests at the 40th Anniversary event. Dr. Risa Palm, State University of New York Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, delivered the convocation address recognizing the College’s unique history as one of the few academic institutions established through a voter referendum. After the successful referendum in November 1965, the College was officially founded in 1966, and the first students arrived at Genesee in temporary quarters on West Main Street Road in Batavia in September 1967.

10. SUNY Chancellor Commencement Address – More than 1,000 guests heard John R. Ryan, retried U. S. Navy Vice Admiral and Chancellor of the State University of New York give the College’s 39th Commencement address on May 21, 2007. The highly decorated vice admiral with a long distinguished naval and academic career had already given notice that he planned to leave his SUNY position on May 31st— making his remarks to Genesee’s Class of 2007 among his final speaking engagements as the SUNY Chancellor.