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photo collage of van den Berg Hall, the clock tower, Dean Hadi Salavitabar, and undergraduate student Jumpei Onozuka

The School of Business is pleased to announce the 2012 Hall of Fame inductees. The inductees will be: Thomas Struzzieri as Business Person of the Year; Francoise Dunefsky for Dean's Award of Excellence; Richard Torres as Alumnus of the Year, and Fiona Lee as Student Leader of the Year.

Business Person of the Year

Thomas Struzzieri
Presentation & Acceptance of Award

In 1977, Thomas G. Struzzieri founded what was to become the largest equine show jumping production company in the world. Known for its innovative leadership, HITS, Inc. organizes, staffs and manages 37 weeks of horse shows with more than 50 Grand Prix events per year throughout the United States.

Through Mr. Struzzieri's leadership, HITS has introduced three of the most important advances in the sport of show jumping, starting with the Marshall & Sterling League, a national grass roots league which began in 1991 and now encompasses more than 1,700 events annually with thousands of members competing for qualified spots in an annual national championship. In 2010, he created and produced the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, the largest purse for an equine show jumping event in the world and in 2011 he added the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. In addition, in 2011, Mr. Struzzieri established the HITS Triathlon Series with events consisting of five different distances at each of twelve venues across the country.

Since relocating HITS headquarters to Saugerties, Mr. Struzzieri has been tireless in promoting and improving the community in which he lives and works. His most recent venture is the redevelopment of the former Cantine Paper Mill property into Diamond Mills, a 30-room, boutique hotel, 400-seat banquet facility and 150-seat restaurant.

Mr. Struzzieri has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of HITS since its inception. He has served on the Board of Directors of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) as well as its Competition Management Committee. He also served as chairman of USEF Zone 2. He has been a member of the Ulster County Community College Board of Trustees and has served on the Ulster County Development Corporation and the United Way of Ulster County Board of Directors. In addition, he has been a member of the Business and Community Leaders Advisory Committee and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

In recognition of his dedication and support, Mr. Struzzieri has been honored by a number of charitable and business organizations. He received the Business Person of the Year Award and HITS received the Business of the Year Award from the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and Ulster County Development Corporation at the 2005 Business Recognition Awards.

Dean's Award of Excellence

Françoise Dunefsky
Presentation & Acceptance of Award

Françoise Dunefsky has been the President and CEO of Gateway Community Industries (GCI), Inc. since February 2004. GCI, Inc. provides services to individuals with mental, developmental, physical, and other disabilities in both Ulster and Dutchess counties. It accomplishes its mission through vocational, therapeutic, residential, and business services in a community setting.

Prior to coming to GCI, Inc., Ms. Dunefsky had a thirty-year career in hospital based healthcare ranging from staff nurse to Vice President overseeing acute care and mental health services. She has taught Administration and Leadership, and Healthcare Finance at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at the State University of New York at New Paltz and Mount Saint Mary College.

She studied Nursing at the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium (her native country), has an associate degree from SUNY Ulster, a BSN from the University of the State of New York, RED, and holds a Master’s Degree with distinction from Pace University. She holds Nurse Executive Advanced Board Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

She has multiple professional publications and presentations to her credit including chapters on Quality Care in Nursing textbooks, and the 38th Commencement Address at SUNY Ulster in 2002.

She is active in community organizations including the UCFCU, the New Paltz School of Business Advisory Council; serves as Board Chair of NYS Rehabilitation Association, Treasurer of the NYS Industries for the Disabled, and as a Trustee for Vassar Brothers Medical Center and was appointed Trustee for SUNY Ulster in August of 2011. Additionally she is a past president of the YWCA of Ulster County Board of Directors, has served as loaned executive for the United Way of Ulster County and as member of The Kingston Hospital Foundation and the Port Ewen Library Board.

Alumnus of the Year

Richard Torres '88
Presentation & Acceptance of Award

Richard Torres retired from the IRS in December 2011 after almost 35 years of service. As the Senior Stakeholder Liaison at the IRS, he was instrumental in outreaching the Latino and minority business community to educate them in their rights and obligations under the Federal Tax law. His assistance and guidance aided others with federal tax issues impacting small businesses. Mr. Torres was the IRS liaison for the Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, NY Business Development Corporation, financial and educational institutions, and the payroll and tax practitioner community in Upstate New York.

In addition, he scheduled and organized tax seminars and tax institutes on federal tax law topics for the payroll and tax practitioner community. This was achieved by partnering with several colleges in Upstate New York, including New Paltz, where the educational institution provided continuing professional educational credits to tax practitioners attending these events.

Mr. Torres was born and raised in Puerto Rico where he started his federal civilian career with the US Army in 1977. In 1978, he transferred to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Puerto Rico and in 1979 he moved to the NYC HUD office. He began to work for the IRS in Albany in 1980. He was an IRS certified tax law instructor and certified bilingual translator. In 1988 he graduated from New Paltz with a Bachelor of Science.

Mr. Torres is a community minded person. He organizes a golf tournament every year to benefit the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life. As the IRS disaster coordinator in Upstate New York, he spent time at the disaster recovery centers in Kingston, Schoharie, Cobleskill, Prattsville,Windham and Amsterdam.

He is an honorary member of the Dutchess Regional Chamber of Commerce and an Advisory Board Member of the NYS Small Business Development Center's (SBDC) Organization of Latino Entrepreneurs. He received the following awards: Foundation for Accounting Education Distinguished Faculty Award; IRS Albany District EEO Employee of the Year; Albany Federal Executive Association Presidential Award of Honor (he received this award twice); Hispanic Internal Revenue Service (H.I.R.E.) Regional V.P. Service Award; and the NYS SBDC Federal Enforcement & Compliance Good Guy Award.

Student Leader of the Year

Fiona Lee '12
Presentation & Acceptance of Award

Fiona Lee is a marketing major who plans to graduate in May 2012. While at New Paltz, she has led the efforts of the American Marketing Association (AMA), Dean’s Student Advisory Board (DSAB) and Jam Asia.

Ms. Lee joined the AMA in Fall 2008 and is currently serving as president. Most notably, she has assisted with the coordination of the Business Day Conference, development of the annual report, organization of speakers, and attendance at professional development conferences. In her role, she works with students in conjunction with members of the business community including the New Paltz and Ulster County Chambers of Commerce.

Her efforts resulted in the New Paltz AMA receiving various awards at their international competition in New Orleans, including the Silver Chapter award (top 8 chapters in the country) in 2010-2011. Ms. Lee assembled and led the team to compete in the Nintendo case competition in 2010-2011, earning honorable mention, and the Pearson Publishing case competition in 2011-2012.

Ms. Lee is also the president of DSAB. She works with the board to brainstorm solutions for student concerns and encourages students to attend activities that provide hands on experiences. She created and maintains the School’s Facebook page to help promote events and get students involved with the School.

From Fall 2010-Fall 2011, Ms. Lee was the president of Jam Asia. She was instrumental in securing a business sponsorship, the first ever for Jam Asia, for a performance show which highlights the culture and talents of the students. She also developed a marketing plan which raised money for the Red Cross to help those in Japan impacted by the earthquake and tsunami.

In addition to her involvement in student associations, Ms. Lee developed a promotional plan to assist the School with educating business students about the AACSB accreditation process. She was one of the student ambassadors for the School, where she visited business classes to talk about accreditation. She also works as a campus representative for Microsoft and ASUS.

Ms. Lee is interested in working in the advertising or marketing research field.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Corporate Sponsors
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation
FALA Technologies Inc.
M&T Bank
Mediacom Communications
Ulster Savings Bank

Business Sponsors
Timely Signs of Kingston, Inc.

Company Sponsors
Alfandre Architecture, PC
Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty
Empire State Bank
Everton Henriques '78, '83g & Jeannie Irvine '78
HITS, Inc.
Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
TD Bank
Viking Industries