Matbelle (Coburn) Gregory (Art Education) was chosen as artist of the month for October 2017 at the Moriah Chamber of Commerce in Port Henry, N.Y. She has been painting for over 50 years. She was an art teacher from 1961 to 1996, when she retired. She started at Mineville High School and then moved to Moriah Central School.
Janus Adams (Theatre Arts) delivered a talk on campus in October 2017 as part of our Distinguished Speaker Series and repeated the talk in February 2018. Her address, titled “Know When to Leave the Plantation,” described her experiences as a New Paltz student of color during the tumultuous 1960s. SUNY New Paltz will recognize her distinguished life and career with an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree at the Saturday Undergraduate Commencement in May.
Fran (Passamonte) Donaldson (Elementary Education K-6: Psychology) ’69g (Elementary Education) and her husband recently moved to the Miller’s Grant retirement community in Ellicott City, Md. She worked for 32 years, most of them as an elementary principal in the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. She retired in 2006, then taught for six years at Towson University in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program
Gloria (Neita) Gifford (Theatre Arts) was honored with two NAACP Theatre Awards nominations for best director of a musical, 99-seat theater, for Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and for an original musical, “Down on Your Knees and Up to the Moon,” written by Gloria Gifford, Danny Siegel and Lucy Walsh. She also received five nominations and won for Outstanding Director of a Musical, “Down on Your Knees and Up to the Moon—Jamaica Moon Productions” in the 2017 Valley Theatre Awards.
Richard Ott (Secondary Education: Social Studies) exhibited his photographs in “Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction of Camera and Vision at 1/250 of a Second,” a show that opened in November 2017 at the Columbia Heights Public Library, Columbia Heights, Minn.
Paul John Solomon (Speech/Hearing Language Disorders) writes: “This past summer several members of Phi Eta Sigma fraternity got together for a mini-reunion, organized by brother Wally Cook ’69 (Psychology). A great time was had by all, and we are busily planning to make this a regular event.” If you would like to be contacted about the next one, you can contact Paul care of the New Paltz Office of Alumni Relations.
Leslie P. Wulff (English) published “Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer” in July 2017. The book is available at Barnes and Noble, Target, Amazon, at local bookstores and as an e-book.
Dave Rappaport (Economics) reports that on Oct. 21, 2017, his latest exhibit, “Changing the Face of Courage,” opened at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. This exhibit, which comprises 30 monochrome watercolors, represents a visual recognition of recent women members of the U.S. military and is part of a 20-year anniversary celebration at the Women’s Memorial. The exhibit will be on display at WIMSA through September 2018 and can be viewed online at womensmemorial.org.
Richard Morgan (Secondary Education: Physics) ’73g (Business Administration) ’80cas has turned his life-long love of writing poetry into five collections, each book with watercolors by his wife, Pat Morgan. His latest is “Sea Glass Windows.” Richard and Pat live on the Jersey Shore where he teaches others to express themselves through their own personal poetry.
Marc Beauregard (Art History) has illustrated a children’s book, titled “A Runtamuffin Tale.” Details can be viewed at runtavision.com. Enjoy this book with your grandchildren.
Tom Stanley (Art Education) reports that, after graduating from New Paltz, armed with a New York State Art Education (K-12) diploma, he taught art on Long Island for four years. In 1984, he was offered a job to teach art in Japan for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. He never looked back. He taught at the US Army Base called Camp Zama for nine years and then moved on to teach art at a prestigious international school in Tokyo. In June 2019, he will retire, and spend the rest of his life “with a great wife,” he wrote, body board as he is close to the surf, and will do clay jewelry and continue with sales of his art. He wrote: “Visit Japan! It’s a fabulous place.”
Peter Berkrot (Theatre Arts) has spent 25 years teaching acting and doing television, theater, film and voice work. In 2007 he started recording audiobooks for the Library of Congress and moved into the professional/commercial market in 2009. Since then he has recorded 350 books and over 200 children’s books. He has been awarded 10 Earphones Awards from AudioFile Magazine and an Audie, and now teaches audiobook acting, career workshops and one-on-ones.
Christine Cuttler (Accounting) received the 2017 Adriance Honors award from the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library. She has been a member of the Friends Board for 18 years and has served as the treasurer for the past 16 years. She is a CPA with 20 years of experience at D’Arcangelo, a CPA/Financial Consulting firm in Poughkeepsie. She also worked for the Internal Revenue Service and Arthur Andersen in Washington, D.C. She sits on the Board of the Frank A. Fusco and Nelly Goletti Fusco Foundation and is very active at St. John’s Lutheran Church, serving as Congregation Council president and treasurer.
Jenn Dean’s (Theatre Arts) essay “The Keepers of the Ghost Bird,” about her encounter with one of the rarest seabirds in the world, has been published by Massachusetts Review’s Working Titles series as an Amazon e-book. The essay will also be anthologized in "Trailhead: Literature for the Backcountry" (LimeHawk Press). It was a 2016 finalist in the New Millennium Writings Literary Awards. An interview with Jenn appears at massreview.org/node/881.
Luba Havraniak (General Business) recently finished placing artwork on the walls at the Reynolda Gallery in Winston-Salem, N.C. The show ran from Jan. 1 through March 3, 2018. Everything from collages to photography is in the exhibit.
Camille Jacobs (Communication Media) will co-chair the 2018 A Dream Deferred conference in Houston, Texas. The conference focuses on the state of college readiness for African-American students and provides a forum for sharing best practices, key data, and research to drive measurable actions to ensure access to opportunity. Jacobs also co-chaired the 2017 conference and had the opportunity to present the Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence Award to lifelong educator and humanitarian, Dr. Jonnetta B. Cole.
Laura Libricz (German) recently published the second book in a series of historical novels set in the Franconia region of southern Germany outside Nuremberg. “The Soldier’s Return,” published by the local Blue Heron Book Works, takes place during the Thirty Years War, which tore through Central Europe from 1618 to 1648. Libricz returned to Bethlehem, Pa., to sign books at Moravian Book Shop in December and spoke to English and German classes at Liberty High School, where she graduated more than 30 years ago.
Elliott Robinson (Marketing) J.D., M.Div, launched the non-profit Creative Tension to examine individuals and movements that utilized the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s concept of “creative tension” to combat systems of violence and oppression. The nonprofit’s Creative Tension Podcast gives a voice to people and periods of struggle forgotten by history, by blending archival audio footage from Jim Crow survivors, with commentary from top experts in race and culture. The Creative Tension Podcast fills in the gaps, highlighting little-known facts, activists and movements occurring from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. For more on Creative Tension, visit createtension.org.
Robyn Williams (Black Studies) has been promoted to assistant vice president of regional branch management for Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Williams has more than 20 years of banking and leadership experience, most recently serving as the credit union’s Hollowbrook branch manager in Wappingers Falls since 2013.
Chris McTiernan (Marketing) is now the head of education brand marketing at Google.
Samantha Jones (Theatre Arts) co-starred in the premier of “Bull” on CBS. She is currently the director of Hudson Valley Improv and has volunteered her time and talents to speak with SUNY New Paltz theater classes about “the biz” after college.
John Wai (Accounting) has accepted an additional role as national technical leader at his current firm The Siegfried Group, and is now a member of their national technical leadership team.
Craig McGuire (Journalism) published “Brooklyn’s Most Wanted: Ranking the Top 100 Criminals, Crooks and Creeps from the County of the Kings,” which parades an impressive perp walk of the borough’s most notorious, ranking them meticulously from bad to worst. The author’s proprietary Notorious Brooklyn Index analyzes criminal activity, socioeconomic type, notoriety, relation to Brooklyn and more for a final score that’s far from conjecture though it will undoubtedly spark debate. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Since graduating New Paltz, as well as the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, McGuire has covered many subjects as a New York City-based writer and digital communications expert, from reporting a Coney Island beat and reviewing Manhattan nightlife to writing about world history, Wall Street finance and Silicon Alley technology. This is his second book (also see “Beyond the Ides: Why March is the Unluckiest Month of All,” published in 2015).
Joan Cusack-McGuirk (Nursing) was appointed president and chief executive officer of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, N.Y., in 2016 and still holds the position. She has been a longtime resident of the Cornwall community and has more than 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry, serving more than 20 years at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. She was instrumental in finalizing the partnership between SLCH and the Montefiore Health System (Montefiore).
Pauline (Greenberg) Neves (Journalism) was promoted to vice president of philanthropy for HopeHealth in Massachusetts. She has been with HopeHealth since 2004, serving as director of philanthropy for the last five years. She also serves as president of the board of the Philanthropy Partners of the Cape & Islands.
Tarkan Ceng (Elementary Education K-6 Sociology) has been appointed principal of Lenape Elementary School in New Paltz, N.Y.
Alexander Marrero (Music) was selected as one of 11 musicians in the United States to be on the Cultural Diversity Committee for the American Musicological Society. Eight of the members of the committee have earned a Ph.D. in Music History, while two of them are doctoral candidates.
Michael Teich (Computer Engineering), '07g (Electrical Engineering) has been named a partner at Harness, Dickey and Pierce, one of the oldest and largest patent boutique law firms in the nation.
Kristin (Joseph) Fusaro (Adolescence Education: Social Studies; History) and her husband Chris welcomed their third child this past summer. Wyatt William arrived on July 12 and joins big brother Owen and big sister Cadence. Kristin has been employed as a social studies teacher for the Bellmore-Merrick school district (Long Island, N.Y.) since graduating in 2006.
James Jacobsen (Black Studies) received his graduate degree from New York University. He is currently the senior UX/UI designer, overseeing creative direction, at Ziff Davis’s NYC office. He has been at Ziff Davis for the past five years, working with many notable companies including PCMagazine, Geek.com, IGN and Mashable. He also works as a contracted designer, which has given him the opportunity to work with individuals, companies and nonprofits, including Allison+Partners, Damon John (of Shark Tank), Big Brothers Big Sisters and Read Ahead. James also co-founded The Blotshop Collective, which curates art shows across the NYC area and brings artists together for one-day pop-up shows. James’s past and future work can be seen at jamesljacobsen.com. In September 2018, James will wed his fiancée, Joy Trinidad, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Tom Brown (Electrical Engineering), Luke Buschmann (Computer Engineering), Genevieve Kane ’10 (Electrical Engineering), Stephanie Genesee ’11 (Electrical Engineering) and Royal Agha ’15 (Electrical Engineering) returned to SUNY New Paltz in December 2017 to serve as judges for the Engineering Senior Design Expo.
Jordan Simons (Elementary Education) ’09g (Special Education), an instructional lead in the New York City Department of Education and current doctoral student (Executive Leadership) at Fordham University, married Emilie Chinchilla at the Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx, N.Y.
Mary Zawacki (History; French) climbed Iroquois Peak, adding her name to the list of Adirondack 46ers, an elite club whose members have climbed all 46 of the Adirondack Mountains measuring at least 4,000 feet high.
Aracelis Jones (Accounting), CPA, joins the New York Metro Market as a manager. Jones is driven to contribute untraditional, bold thoughts to provide solutions that help clients. She comes to the firm from Deloitte, where she began her career after earning a Master of Science in accountancy from Baruch College and a Bachelor of Science in finance and accounting from SUNY New Paltz.
Irene Berner (Finance) received the 2017 Alumna of the Year Award from the School of Business Hall of Fame. She is a Certified Financial Planner and principal of Berner Financial Services in New Paltz, offering financial planning and wealth management. Irene is passionate about, and committed to, educating women to empower them to take control of their financial lives.
Lauren Brois (Childhood Education 1-6), who founded the Recycling Club at SUNY New Paltz, is now the residential director of Energize New York. She has been recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), named to their EE 30 Under 30 List for her work using education to help protect the environment.
Jason Farina (History) ’16g (Humanistic/Multicultural Education) graduated with his Masters in Professional Studies (MPS) from SUNY New Paltz in May 2016. He is completing his second year teaching English at RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was just promoted to senior educator.
John Heitzman (Finance) has joined the Bank of Greene County, as a financial adviser with the bank’s investment services team.
Marissa Kactioglu (International Relations) and Maxwell Fuerderer (Political Science) were engaged in New Paltz on Sept. 30, 2017.
Ashley Tolbert (Management), U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class, graduated from basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.
Caitlynn Barrett (Theatre Arts) joined the Everyday Inferno Theatre Company team as set designer for “Glassheart,” which played a limited run at the Access Theater in NYC in October 2017.
Rachel Pierson (Sociology) has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will train as an education volunteer in Namibia. She will live and work in a community to teach English to students at local primary and secondary schools.
Mary Ryan (Business) is serving as a volunteer during the 2017-18 program year in Portland, Ore., with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest (JVC Northwest), while Kasey Kramer (Psychology and Philosophy) is serving in Baltimore, Md., with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). Volunteers with both organizations, in their year of service, “address society’s most challenging social issues—from hunger and homelessness to mental health and domestic violence—while living among fellow volunteers committed to the values of simple living, community, spirituality, and social justice.” After their volunteer year, they will join a network of over 15,000 JVC alumni working across the fields of medicine, law, social service, and government.