Walk of Honor Bricks
Walk of Honor bricks

Walk of Honor

The stories behind the bricks

The College’s Walk of Honor, which made its debut in 2017, is a series of engraved bricks that pay tribute to the numerous memories and accomplishments of alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and many others with connections to SUNY New Paltz.

Located on campus, the bricks encircle the modern sculpture “Large Hybrid,” created by renowned African-American sculptor Richard Hunt and given to New Paltz by The Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in 2002.

Inspiration for the Walk of Honor came from alumni Bruce Orenstein ’68 (Secondary Education) and Sandi L. (Schwartz) Orenstein ’67 (Education). Since its creation, the Walk of Honor has had more than 535 bricks installed. Each tells its own story of campus connections and lifelong memories.

Explore the Walk of Honor and the individual stories behind the bricks using the interactive feature below.

Click on an area within the Walk of Honor to learn more about the bricks.
The Zucca sisters' brick


Brick donated by alumna and her sister, a former New Paltz student

Donna and Diana Zucca

In this photo, sisters Donna Zucca ’63 and Dianna Zucca search for their brick at the Walk of Honor Ribbon cutting ceremony held on Oct. 14, 2017, during Alumni Reunion weekend. Both are members of the Tower Society and have established an endowed scholarship. Learn more about the Tower Society in the College’s Report on Generosity (link).

The Orenstein's brick


Brick donated by Sandi L. (Schwartz) Orenstein ’67 (Education) and Bruce Orenstein ’68

Bruce and Sandi OrensteinInspiration for the Walk of Honor came from alumnus and Vice President of Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services Bruce Orenstein ’68 (Secondary Education) who, along with the help of his wife Sandi L. (Schwartz) Orenstein’67 (Education), felt compelled to make an impact as his 50th reunion approached.

Sandi Orenstein
We put our brick next to very close friends who went to college with us and it's so nice to see everyone's name there."
Sandi L. Orenstein '67 (Education)
[Sandi L. Orenstein speaking]
I am very happy to be here at the ceremony. And we have, not only our bricks, but we put our brick next to very close friends who went to college with us and it's so nice to see everyone's name there. Hopefully this will continue with the raising of more money for scholarships and that more people will contribute by buying bricks.

This Walk of Honor helps to inspire future generations of alumni,” said Bruce. “It’s important to create a legacy to honor all that New Paltz gave to us. Giving away scholarships is part of that legacy, but this is one way to do more."

Robin Cohen-LaValle's brick


Brick donated by Robin Cohen-La Valle ’77 ’82g and Russ La Valle ’69

Every year, SUNY New Paltz presents Heritage Awards during Alumni Reunion to recognize dedicated alumni and faculty. Alumna Robin Cohen-La Valle ’77 (Psychology) ’82g (Psychology) was honored at the 2017 Alumni Reunion with has worked at SUNY New Paltz for more than 30 years. Her current role as Dean of Students enables her to support student success through the upholding of community standards. She is a past recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Service, serves on the Title IX Working Group and Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is a member of the Executive Board of the Alumni Council.

Robin Cohen-LaValle
For me, my brick reflects my pride of being forever orange and blue. It commemorates my undergraduate and graduate years and having the privilege of serving students who come to New Paltz."
Robin Cohen-LaValle '77 '82g (Psychology)
[Robin Cohen-LaValle speaking]
When my friends Bruce and Sandy Orenstein initiated the idea of the Walk of Honor bricks, I became very excited. For me, my brick reflects my pride of being forever orange and blue. it commemorates my undergraduate and graduate years and having the privelage of serving students who come to New Paltz. The bricks are grounding and tangible touchstone. When you connect to the earth this way, you can leave a legacy behind and pass the torch for generations of students to come.

Brick donated by Renee Padmore-Baccus ’91 (Black Studies; Psychology) and  Dion Baccus ’92 (Business)

Walk of Honor Ribbon Cutting

Renée Padmore-Baccus ’91 (Black Studies; Psychology) was inspired by her friend Shona Bailey both in life, as fellow New Paltz students who shared a desire to give back to their community, and after her death, when the memory of Bailey’s friendship inspired Padmore-Baccus to live a life of service.

"The story behind this brick involves passion, effervescence and love," said Padmore-Baccus. "My dear friend Shona was all of these things, and more."

An aspiring actress and Girl Scout leader, Bailey tragically lost her life at age 21 in 1991 at her home in Harlem.

 “We donated a brick because we wanted to make sure that the memory of what we had when we were here is still here long after we're gone,” said Padmore-Baccus. “That includes making sure all of the people that we loved are represented on this campus, forever.”

I wanted to make sure that the memory of what I had when I was here is still here long after I'm gone"
Renée Padmore-Baccus '91
[Renée Padmore-Baccus speaking]
I donated a brick because I wanted to make sure that the memory of what I had when I was here long after I'm gone is still here. That Shona Bailey and all of the people that we loved are represented on the campus forever.

Bailey joined the Girl Scouts as a Brownie at age 5, and it became an important part of her life. She was remembered for cherishing the organization’s values, particularly the pledge in the Girl Scout Law to "protect and improve the world around me."

According to Padmore-Baccus, Bailey was always thinking about others outside of herself. This idea resonated and eventually led Padmore-Baccus to open a not-for-profit to help disadvantaged youth navigate the world of higher education, where she created a scholarship in Bailey’s name. 

“The birth of our relationship started when we were in school and it blossomed when she died,” said Padmore-Baccus. “When Shona left this world, I wanted to honor the relationship we had and the service we were committed to doing.”

Brick donated by Lauren Michelle (Guido) Lawlor ’07, Michelle Melissa Guido ’10, Richard Guido ’15 and Andrea Jeanne Guido ’17

The Guido Family

Richard Guido ’15 (Business) first saw the advertisement for the Walk of Honor brick campaign in the alumni newsletter, Connect, just as his youngest sister was graduating from the College. One of four siblings to attend SUNY New Paltz, he knew it was an opportunity to leave a bit of their family legacy behind.

“As a family, we thought it would be a great idea to surprise our parents with the gift at our sister’s graduation,” said Guido. “She was the final of four kids to graduate from New Paltz and we thought it would be awesome to thank our parents for this opportunity they provided for us.”

"As a family, we thought it would be a great idea to surprise our parents.”
Richard Guido '15 (Business)

According to Guido, after his oldest sister enrolled at New Paltz, everyone followed in her footsteps, citing location and proximity to home—Guido and his sisters are from nearby Ulster Park—as a top priority.

“Our family is very close and it meant a lot to our parents that we did not go to school too far away from home,” he said. “They like to have everyone at the house as much as possible, and New Paltz allowed us to receive our education while still staying a tight-knit group. This family legacy is now something that we can hopefully show our own children someday.”

Brick donated by Robert Thorn ’66 ’70g (Art Education) and Jane (Hauz) Thorn ’68 (Art Education)

The Thorns wedding photo
The Thorns Today

Robert and Jane Thorn met at SUNY New Paltz 50 years ago. They chose to donate a brick to celebrate their lives together and the relationships they built through their involvement in Greek life at the College, connections they still cherish. 

“Bob and I both wanted the brick to commemorate a most wonderful time in our lives,” said Jane. “Our wedding anniversary coincides with my 50th college reunion in 2018 and we remember our days at New Paltz as the beginning of a beautiful life.”

Robert Thorn
New Paltz holds great memories for both of us."
Robert Thorn '66 '70g
[Robert Thorn speaking] I've had a great tenure with the school. I spent 9 years here. My wife was also a graduate of New Paltz. So, new Paltz has great memories for both of us. That's probably one of the reasons why I bought a brick.

As students, Bob was an active member of the Delphic Fraternity and Jane was involved with the Arethusa Sorority. Both have maintained relationships with their fellow “sisters and brothers,” and often reconnect with them at the College’s Reunion celebration each fall. Bob and one of his former fraternity brothers even share a grandson, after their own children met by chance at work in Boston and eventually married and started a family.

“As grandpas we sit on the couch during holiday festivities and we reminisce about New Paltz,” said Bob. “It never gets old talking about the College and when we were there, who we knew and who we still know.”

Now, both retired art teachers, the Thorns make an effort to remember the people that helped shape their lives and careers.

“Really, the College has been very good to us,” said Bob. “It gave us the tools to be successful in our professions and that was a constant driver in our lives, decisions and overall happiness.”

How to Donate a Brick

A brick can be engraved for a $150 minimum donation to the Foundation. Donations go to the Fund for New Paltz, which is used to finance programs and activities for students. Bricks have been dedicated in honor of friends; in memory of family members; and in tributes to professors and coaches, fraternities and sororities, raising $118,382 so far. 

To make a donation, please visit the Foundation website.

Featured stories from this issue