THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 10, Issue 19–March 21, 2016
How was Spring Break?
I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break and a great first week back. What did I do? Glad you asked. I went on two trips—the first to Albany for Mascot Madness on Monday and Tuesday, and the second to San Francisco to visit with alumni and to attend the ACE conference from Friday to last Tuesday. You can read about both below. In between and thereafter, there were a lot of meetings, as usual.
Roody Wins Round Two!
As you should all know by now SUNY is having a competition to choose the best SUNY mascot, and as we all know, the only possible choice is our own Roody. Thus far, Roody has done very well, winning Round 1 and Round 2. We need you to vote for him in Round 3, where as of this writing, he’s losing 51% to 49% to SUNY Farmingdale’s Ram-bo. Needless to say, we can’t have that. Vote for Roody—you can do it from each of your email addresses, and you can vote every 12 hours. Get out there already, and put Roody over the top so he can continue his quest to be president of the United States. To vote for Roody, click here:
To see Roody’s campaign video (done during Round 2), just look below.
Congratulations to Morgan Elliot and Greg Kie for their great work on the video and to Travis Smith, Matt Mulkin and Lorette Murray and everyone else at SUNY Canton for working on social media to put Roody over the top.
News of the first round of Chancellor’s Awards has just come in. The first award given is for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, and our own Mr. Fred Saburro was one of the winners! Mr. Saburro has taught math at SUNY Canton for nearly 12 years, as well as tutoring in the Math and Science Lab. Recently, he secured a Campus Enhancement Award from the SUNY Canton Foundation to help fund more peer tutors, and has won two awards from our Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Saburro on his wonderful achievement!
Trip to Albany—Mascot Madness!
On Monday, Lenore Vanderzee (our Executive Director for University Relations) and I flew down to Albany for some meetings with folks at SUNY, to meet some of our legislators, and for Mascot Madness. We flew down from Massena on Cape Air, which flies little planes that seat nine. Normally we fly out of Ogdensburg, but the mid-day flight was sold out so we had to travel a few miles further to go from Massena. When we landed in Albany we found out why—Professor Phil LaMarche (Dept. of Humanities), his wife Carol (coach of our Women’s Volleyball team) and their two adorable children had just flown down from Ogdensburg, on their way to Boston!
We picked up the rental car (a Toyota Sienna—very nice) and drove down to SUNY central to see Carlos Medina (Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—now that’s a long title!). We had a very positive discussion about the college’s diversity efforts and some new initiatives we might do in the future. I’ll be reporting on these as they develop. After the meeting, we all went to dinner at one of my favorite Pakistani-Indian restaurants in Albany—Lazeez, on Central Avenue. The food was excellent as always, and I was well stuffed afterwards.
Tuesday, it was Mascot Madness day at the Legislative Office Building (LOB). Mascots from some 16 SUNY campuses were there, visiting various legislators, posing for pictures with everyone walking by, and generally having a good time. Roody, of course, was the hit of the show.
Ably assisted by his “wrangler” Michael Barrios, Roody was everywhere, meeting people and making friends. If you’ve never been to the LOB, the elevators are rather slow and there’s always a crowd of people on them. Roody would lean against one side outside the elevator door, and when the elevator arrived and the doors opened, the crowd inside were greeted by the sight of a giant kangaroo. The reactions were priceless—most people laughed, lots took pictures, and a few kept a straight face and pretended not to even notice!
The one bad thing on the trip is that early in the afternoon, while going down one of the big formal staircases at the LOB, I must have mis-stepped and over I went. Fortunately, I was only two steps from the bottom, though I still hit the ground hard, landing on my hands and knees. Several people rushed over to help me up, afraid that I had broken some bones, but I only had a few bruises—nothing too serious. I did limp around for the next few days, and went to see the chiropractor to make sure everything was OK.
Anyway, while there, we took pictures of Roody with our local assemblywoman Addie Russell and our senator Patty Richie as well as many others, many of whom tweeted the pictures or put them on Facebook.
Roody and Assemblywoman Addie Russell
Roody and Senator Patty Ritchie
It was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed themselves. Then it was time to drop Roody and Michael off at the hotel (they were leaving the next day), return the car to the airport, and fly home. We took the 6:15 PM flight back to Massena and were back in Canton by 8:00.
Off to California
The week ended with a trip to California to attend the American Council on Education (ACE) conference in San Francisco, as well as to see some of our alumni and friends of the college in the area. I left Canton at 4:15 AM (!), driving down to Watertown to get my flight. The first flight was from Watertown to Philadelphia, then a two-hour layover, and then from Philadelphia to Charlotte, NC, where I was scheduled to have a three-hour layover. Due to high winds and heavy rain in San Francisco, the flight out of Charlotte was further delayed, and I wound up leaving three hours late. The plane finally took off after 7:00 PM eastern time, and arrived in San Francisco at about 10:00 PM pacific time, thereby making the overall trip a breathtaking 21 hours! I think I’ve flown to Tokyo from Boston in less time than that!
I was met at the airport by our own Geoffrey VanderWoude (from the Advancement Office), who was late getting in on his flight to San Francisco from Denver. At least he didn’t have to wait too long at the airport for me, given our similar flight delays. By the time I got to the hotel, I was exhausted and went right to sleep.
Saturday was set aside for alumni visits. We had a lunch meeting with Edward Suden (’60), who is a retired patent attorney who worked for IBM for many years. The meeting was in Napa, in the heart of the wine country. So what did we all do after lunch? We went to a wine tasting, of course.
It had been raining lightly all morning, and as we drove back to San Francisco, the rain got much harder, so much so that we had to pull off the road for a while. The rain continued all the time until Monday afternoon. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, hoping for some nice views of the bay, but between the rain and the mist, you couldn’t see anything. As we drove down to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, the weather improved a bit and it was only a light rain when we got there. We had a dinner meeting with Geoffrey Co (’89) who is a photography specialist at Keebles & Shuchat Photography—a great place with a huge variety of very high end photographic equipment.
From there, we drove a few miles to meet up with Mark Dzwonczyk and his wife Meri-Beth for desert. Mark, as some of you will recall, is the CEO of Nicholville Telephone Company, and was a speaker a few weeks back at our Excellence in Leadership series. We met at a local church where a choral concert was being given by both the Air Force Academy Glee Club (which was great) and a local high school glee club that the Dzwonczyk’s son was singing in (also great).
After a short detour to check out the Stanford University campus (wow!), we drove back to San Francisco, getting there at about 11 PM.
The ACE conference began on Sunday, with sessions for presidents on “Presidential Leadership and the Return of the Scholar Athlete” and “The Alchemy of College Leadership”, the latter about how to convert the college’s mission into real learning for students. Afternoon sessions covered “Leading when the Ground Shifts”, about what some colleges have had to do when state appropriations were cut, and a “Federal Relations Update for Presidents and Chancellors”, telling what ACE thinks is going to happen regarding some important pieces of federal legislation affecting higher education. Geoffrey and I then drove to Vacaville to meet Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sweda (’76), a Senior I/T Architect and Engagement Solution Architect for IBM for dinner.
Monday was spent entirely at the ACE conference, attending several of the concurrent sessions. One of the nice things about attending national conferences is that you get to see a lot of old friends. I saw several presidents and provosts I knew back in Georgia, including my own previous president (at Southern Polytechnic), Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, who is now president of Humboldt State University in California. It was great to see her again and discuss old and future times for a few minutes. Several of the other SUNY presidents were there too, and it was nice to see them way out west instead of in Albany like I usually do. The biggest surprise was running into Dr. Patricia Sendall, a business professor from my first college (Merrimack College), someone I haven’t seen for many years except on Facebook.
On Tuesday, I had to take a taxi at 4:30 AM to get to the airport in time for my 7:00 AM flight to Chicago. After a two-hour layover (good, so I had enough time to get breakfast), I took a flight to Philadelphia. Another two-hour layover gave me enough time to get an early dinner, which was followed by the flight to Watertown, arriving at about 10 PM. It was raining lightly on my drive back to Canton, but the traffic was very light, and I finally got home at 11:45 PM.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s contest dealt with newspaper comic strips. Our fastest winner was Greg Kie, followed by Julie Cruickshank and my sister, Drorit. Your prizes await in my office, on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall—just come by and get them. Here are the correct answers:
- Sarcastic cat who’s always fighting with Odie. Garfield.
- Her maiden name was “Boopadoop”, and her husband Dagwood loves big sandwiches. Blondie.
- He always longed for the little red-haired girl, but never could talk to her. Charlie Brown (Peanuts).
- Strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger. Calvin and Hobbes.
- Police strip about a detective with a wrist radio (now it’s a wrist computer), the movie starred Warren Beatty. Dick Tracy.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This week’s challenge is about Disney movies. The first five winners win a CD, DVD, or whatever else I come up with from the vast Szafran repository of duplicates or good stuff I want to get rid of. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- She’s helped by the seven dwarves.
- Movie about a flying elephant.
- Movie co-starring Tinkerbell that also has a crocodile in it that swallowed a clock.
- Set in France, Belle ultimately falls for a rather unusual suitor.
- Movie starring a native-American princess.