Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees this evening voted unanimously to posthumously award an honorary Genesee Associate’s Degree to Anthony T. Zambito, one of the founders of Genesee Community College and the longest-serving trustee in the College’s history. The award will be presented during the College’s 40th commencement ceremony May 18, 2008.
Mr. Zambito was active in the Citizen’s Coalition to establish Genesee Community College in the mid-1960s. After voters approved the creation of the College in 1965, Mr. Zambito was named a founding trustee. He served until 2001, when ill health forced his retirement. Mr. Zambito died in 2005.
“This is a very special year in the history of Genesee Community College,” Board Chair Marcia Noonan said. “We will graduate our 40th class. It is especially fitting that during this ceremony we recognize a man who made a big difference in the life of this College.”
During his 35-year tenure on the Board, Mr. Zambito served as Chair of the Board of Trustees and led every board committee. He became a leading proponent of the community college movement on both the state and national level, and was active for many years in the New York Community College Trustees Association and the national Association of Boards of Community Colleges.
Mr. Zambito was a well-known figure around the Batavia Campus. He came to virtually every major college event, and frequently traveled with college athletic teams to competitions in distant communities.
The Board vote came at the recommendation of an Honorary Degree subcommittee comprised of trustees Diane Torcello, Maureen Marshall, and Mrs. Noonan.
Charles N. Zambito, Anthony Zambito’s son, and the Genesee County Legislature’s liaison to the College Board of Trustees, was in the audience when Mrs. Noonan announced the subcommittee’s recommendation.
In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:
• Approved a listing of updated position titles, as required annually by the State University of New York.
• Heard Trustee Anne M. Garlock report that Experience Genesee, held February 28 at the Batavia Campus, was a success. About 210 community residents participated in special mini-seminars on subjects of popular interest that evening. “I heard very favorable comments from those who participated,” Mrs. Garlock told trustees. “Speaking on behalf of the Board, I am very grateful for the participation of faculty, staff, and students in this event.”
• Watched a live demonstration of Second Life by Language Lab Coordinator Tara Donohue, Director of Academic Computing Mary Jane Heider, and Distance Learning Technical Assistant Judith Littlejohn. Second Life is an online “virtual world” increasingly used for educational purposes. Students, who can represent themselves as “avatars” can enter the online world and engage in a variety of learning activities. Design students, for example, can create a variety of products in Second Life much more cost-effectively than they can in a classroom or lab setting, Ms. Heider told trustees. Ms. Donohue described how her French students can enter the Second Life environment and converse with people from France online. “To really learn a language, you need to be immersed in the language and the culture,” she said. “Giving students the opportunity to have real spoken conversations in Second Life with native French speakers has tremendous immersive value for our students.
• Heard President Stuart Steiner report that Spring 2008 enrollment is running ahead of Spring 2007 enrollment. Full-time enrollment and campus center enrollment are up, and overall head count is running about 3% ahead of last year. Final Spring figures will be available next month.
• Heard Dr. Steiner report that the Governor’s proposed budget reflects a decrease in state aid and funding for high-need community college programs. The decreases would result in a loss of about $254,000 in state support for Genesee, Dr. Steiner said.