Genesee's 2009 Commencement Speaker Announced

Genesee Community College Professor Ruth E. Andes, one of the most distinguished faculty members in the State University of New York, will serve as 2009 commencement speaker, President Stuart Steiner announced to the Board of Trustees this evening. Commencement is scheduled for May 17 at 1:00 PM in the Batavia Campus Gymnasium.

Dr. Andes, Professor of Sociology and a member of Genesee's faculty since 1970, will retire in June. Not only is she the most-honored SUNY award recipient at Genesee Community College, she is also believed to have received more SUNY-wide academic honors than any faculty member in the entire 64-college State University of New York. She was the first-ever recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Genesee (1973) and the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2004). In 2006, the State University of New York conferred the rare title of "Distinguished Professor" on Dr. Andes. At that time, she was one of only three community college professors in the SUNY system to have received that honor.

Dr. Andes is also well-known for her service to the College. Over the years, she has assumed administrative duties in addition to her teaching responsibilities. She currently serves as Assistant Dean of Assessment and Special Projects, and was instrumental in launching instructional and administrative assessment initiatives at Genesee. She has served as chair of the last three Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation self-studies.

This will be the first time in the College's history that a member of the faculty has addressed graduates during the commencement ceremony. "We are fortunate to have many extraordinary faculty members here at Genesee Community College," Dr. Steiner said. "Many students regard Ruth Andes as the finest teacher they have ever known. I have no doubt that her commencement address will be memorable, and that our graduates will be inspired by her comments."

Dr. Andes has taught a variety of sociology and human services courses at Genesee for almost forty years. A resident of Elba, she has been involved in many community activities.

Faculty emeriti and trustees emeriti will be invited to participate in the 2009 commencement ceremony.

In other business that evening, the Board of Trustees:
  • Congratulated members of the Men's and Women's Swimming Teams, who competed in the national NJCAA championship at Erie Community College. Trustees also congratulated coach Scott Hunsinger on his ten years of service as swim coach.
  • Approved the granting of 585 degrees and certificates next month, subject to students' satisfactorily completing their academic requirements. Nine students will receive the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree; 269 students will receive the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree; 267 students will receive the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree; and 40 students will receive certificates.
  • Heard Dr. Virginia Taylor, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services, report that 1,730 individuals applied for admission to Genesee for the spring 2009 semester, up 12.8% from the 1,534 students who applied for admission during the spring, 2008 semester. Of the 1,730 applicants, 1,005 applied for admission as full-time students and 486 of these applicants (48.4%) actually enrolled. Seven hundred twenty-five individuals applied for admission as part-time students, and 465 (64.1%) actually enrolled. Overall spring enrollment of 5,716 was 7.8% higher than last year's spring enrollment of 5,304, President Stuart Steiner said. Although the enrollment increase is due to a combination of factors, it reflects Genesee's reputation for excellence, Dr. Steiner said.
  • Heard Dr. Steiner report that Joan E. Zummo, Associate Professor of Biology, will retire at the end of the current academic year. Professor Zummo has been a member of Genesee's faculty since 1988.
  • Heard Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin Hamilton report that the site survey work for this summer's athletic fields upgrade project has been completed. Mr. Hamilton also reported that plans for the new lighted soccer/lacrosse field, to be located west of the Batavia Campus parking lot, are complete. Other summer projects include replacement of the current bleachers in the Zambito Gymnasium to meet code requirements; installation of energy-efficient lighting in the gym and dehumidification technology in the pool area; and repairs and upgrades to the locker rooms. Mr. Hamilton said that he anticipates that space will be available for the College's nursing program in the new Med Tech Park on Hawley Drive in October, and that plans for the new Lima Campus Center are progressing well.
  • Heard Student Trustee Steven Schutt report that "Books for Troops," an initiative of College Village resident Thomas Maniace, has produced almost 4,000 paperback books for shipment to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program was organized by Mr. Maniace, who serves as a resident assistant at College Village, as a student service project. Mr. Maniace and other students set up collection points across the Batavia Campus, and invited students, faculty, and staff members to donate previously-read paperback books at the collection points. Because the books are being given to U.S. troops, students were able to obtain a discount shipping rate, Mr. Schutt told trustees.
  • Heard Director of Institutional Research Carol Marriott report that 2,219 students have transferred into Genesee Community College from other colleges and universities since the 2003-2004 academic year, or an average of 370 students a year. Fifty-one percent of those students transferred from a baccalaureate college. This means that about 3% of Genesee's enrollment in a typical fall semester is made up of students who previously attended a four-year college. This "reverse transfer" trend is a growing phenomenon in community colleges, Ms. Marriott told trustees. Many students transfer to community colleges because of academic difficulty or poor "fit" at a four-year baccalaureate college, she said. Others transfer because tuition is lower. Still others transfer for academic reasons: "In some cases, students start somewhere else and realize they're not ready to make educational or career choices, so they move to a community college where they can explore diffe! rent academic fields," she said. "The opposite is also true. Some students decide they want to enter the job market quickly, so they transfer to Genesee or another community college to acquire job and career skills fast."