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September 22, 2022 - 12:24pm

Oakfield-Alabama inducting three new members into its Hall of Fame

posted by Press Release in oakfield-alabama, news.

Press release:

The OACS Alumni Hall of Fame Committee will be honoring the Class of 2022 during an Alumni Hall of Fame weekend on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in the OACS High school Cafeteria.  The 2022 OA HOF Inductees are:

  • Daniel Gilbert - Class of ‘87
  • Dr. Cory Merkel - Class of ‘05
  • Gary Nanni - Class of ‘73

On Saturday, October 15, 2022 there will be a community dinner and ceremony (held in the OACS High School Cafeteria) to induct our newest members.  Doors will open at 5:30pm.  The event will begin at 6:00pm.

Tickets are on sale through Oct. 1 and are available at the following:

  • Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School (7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield  NY 14125)
  • Oakfield-Alabama Middle and High School (7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield  NY 14125)
  • Oakfield Family Pharmacy (40 Main Street, Oakfield NY 14125)
  • By contacting committee member Liz Conway at: [email protected]
  • By mailing a check (made payable to “Dollars for Scholars”) to:
    OA Hall of Fame, PO Box 35, Oakfield NY 14125
    Note: Please be sure to add “HOF Tickets” in the memo line of your check and include   your email address so confirmation of your order can be sent. 

Ticket Prices:  $30 for Adults (ages 11 and up), $15 for Children (ages 4-10) and no charge for ages 3 and under.

The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements; providing incentive for current and future students.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, October 15, 2022!

Daniel Gilbert ‘87:
Dan was a leader, coach, and teacher, on the playing fields, in the classroom, and in the community.

Joining the faculty of his alma mater in 1998, he preached "confidence, not cockiness" in making the Hornets a dynastic force on the baseball diamond.  His teams won 12 Genesee Region League baseball titles, and Section V championships in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2009.  In each of those sectional title years, he was also honored as Section V Coach of the Year.

When Hornet softball needed a coach in 2011, Dan stepped up and led that team to a sectional title, and was honored as Genesee Region Coach of the Year.

Dan amassed a 284-58 record coaching baseball, softball, JV and varsity football, and modified basketball.

At Oakfield, he taught health and physical education, creating and shaping the district's Adaptive PE program for students with special needs.

In the community he coached Little League baseball and youth football.

Dan's memory lives on in his players, students, wife, and children, and in Dan Gilbert Field, the OACS baseball diamond.

Dr. Cory Merkel – Class of ‘05:
Cory is an internationally-recognized figure in brain-inspired computing research.

After earning his PhD in Microsystems Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology where he also earned his Master's and Bachelor's, Cory spent three years at the Air Force Research Lab before joining the RIT faculty in a research and teaching position.

His RIT research lab focuses on "brain applications" - Artificial Intelligence security, improved accessibility for "smart assistants" like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, etc. for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals; and designing integrated circuits that replicate the functionality and behavior of the human brain.  Cory chairs the Computer Engineering department's Social and Awards committee, which recognizes promising students for their above-and-beyond academic excellence and teaching and other support for the department.  He also teaches courses in the areas of digital integrated circuit design and brain-inspired computing.

He has been involved in a number of outreach programs such as the Project Fibonacci STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) conference, which engages students from middle school through college, in intensive workshops to foster and cultivate interest in STEAM disciplines.

At the time of his induction, Cory held three US patents, published over 50 peer-reviewed research articles, and advised dozens of students on their MS or PhD research.

Cory met his future wife while he was at OACS; they married in 2012.  In his spare time he continues his passion for percussion - he has been in musical groups since he was 12 - and sports, including rank achievement in kung fu and karate.

Gary Nanni – Class of ‘73:
Gary started his working career mowing and doing grounds at Carl Petronio Construction in Albion, where his father worked.  By the time of his retirement, he was president of Allied Builders, the $35 million company Petronio had grown into, with Gary playing a major role in its successes and expansion.

The capping project of his career was the $21 million Richard C. Call Athletic Facility and Student Success Center at Genesee Community College.  The firm's accomplishments, even just in Western NY, are too numerous to cite, but include the tennis courts and other renovations at OACS, the Oakfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, several projects for US Gypsum; plus Western Region Off-Track Betting Casino and Thurman Thomas Sports Bar in Batavia, Roberts Wesleyan's Life Fitness Center, RIT's Imaging Science Center, and at least 14 school districts in Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, and Monroe Counties.

Under Gary's leadership, in 2002 Allied was ranked #2 in the Rochester Business Alliance/Democrat and Chronicle list of fastest growing companies, and Buffalo Business First's list of Top Ten Private Companies.

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