On Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., Genesee Community College will recognize its graduates during its 54th Commencement Ceremony at the Richard C. Call Arena. Honoring this group of deserving achievers, will be keynote speaker, Daniel Ireland, GCC Alumnus and President of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, NY.
"I am honored to have been invited to speak at GCC's 2022 Commencement,' Mr. Ireland said. "The perseverance of GCC students who have completed their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic is very inspiring. I cannot think of a greater privilege to speak to them on this momentous occasion, and, interestingly, this commencement is exactly 30 years from when I humbly crossed the stage for my GCC graduation with my Nursing Degree."
Dan completed his Associate Degree in Nursing from Genesee Community College in 1992, a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from SUNY Brockport in 1994 and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997. He is also a member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2006 and recipient of Buffalo First's 40 Under 40 award in 2007. In January 2013, he became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the nation's leading professional society for healthcare leaders. Dan was also named to 2018's roster of Health Care Champions, by Buffalo Business First, signifying his high levels of accomplishments within the field in Western New York. Dan continues his commitment to lifelong learning as he is enrolled in the Doctorate of Healthcare Administration program at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Entering his 32nd year at United Memorial, Mr. Ireland spent much of his clinical career in emergency medicine, clinical informatics, quality, and clinical leadership roles. In 2010, Dan was promoted to Vice President of Operations/Chief Operating Officer. As Vice President of Operations, he was responsible for oversight and project management of the surgical and front entry construction project, a major Maternity unit renovation, and the revitalization of the Jerome Center Diagnostics facility. In November 2013, he was promoted to President, leading United Memorial through its merger with Rochester Regional Health in 2015 and through its response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will be offering its third annual Teen Academy July 18 – July 22, 2022, at a new venue, Genesee Community College.
“We are excited to be partnering with Genesee Community College. The campus provides us the opportunity to introduce Teen Academy participants to the college’s criminal justice facilities, which include a 9-1-1 dispatch console simulator and a firearms simulator. The Teen Academy is a one-week, structured program which consists of instructional classes designed to provide high-school-aged students within our community an introduction to law enforcement training and gain an understanding of law enforcement’s role in their community. It is our hope that teens will build confidence while learning good decision-making and leadership skills,” stated Sheriff Sheron.
Academy instructors are experienced deputy sheriffs who will discuss the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Participants will also:
visit the County Jail, 911 Emergency Services Dispatch Center, and Sheriff’s Office
observe displays of the Emergency Response Team (ERT), Hostage Negotiation, SCUBA Team, K-9 Unit and Evidence Recovery
be provided insight into motor vehicle accident reconstruction
participate in daily physical fitness runs, defensive tactics, and team-building exercises
participate in a classroom setting and learn about the NYS Penal Laws and Vehicle & Traffic Laws
participate in mock traffic stops and DWI procedures
Qualified candidates will be selected for an interview screening process if they meet the following requirements:
must be entering grades 10-12 in the fall
must be in good academic standing with little to no disciplinary issues
must be able to participate in physical fitness activities
must have a positive attitude
must have their parent’s permission
There is no charge to attend the academy. Application deadline is May 13, 2022.
For more information or to obtain an application, check out our Facebook page or contact Deputy Rich Schildwaster at (585) 344-7725.
Top photo: Submitted photo. Photos below, file photos from 2018
"Climate Change and Sustainability" was the topic of today's Wolcott J. Humphrey Symposium on Leadership and Community Life in the Call Arena at GCC.
Peter Boyd, a lecturer at the Yale School of the Environment and Founder and CEO of Time4Good, was the keynote speaker. He outlined the scope and nature of the climate crisis as well as discussed options for slowing global warming.
His talk was followed by a panel discussion with William D. Carleton, general manager of solar operations and maintenance, Suzanne Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards, Dan O'Connell, general manager at Plug Power, and Curt A. Gooch, dairy environmental system solutions expert at Land O'Lakes.
The Digital Art program at Genesee Community College is proud to share this year's juried student exhibit with the entire community at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery on the Batavia Campus. The exhibit, prepared entirely by GCC students, is titled Illusion and will be on display from April 21 to May 12, 2022.
This exhibition will feature digital prints on paper and fabric, projections and media displays created by the digital art students. A juried exhibition artwork is selected through a competitive process. Images and information for the artwork are submitted and will be selected by a juror. Mary Jo Whitman, education director for the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!), served as juror for the 2022 Digital Art Student Exhibit. It is a high honor for the students to have their work chosen for display and accolades will be presented.
Whitman holds an MA in Critical Museum Studies from the University of Buffalo, a BA in Sculpture with a minor in Art History from SUNY Brockport and is a GCC alum with an AAS in Fine Arts. "I'm thrilled and honored to be jurying the 2022 Digital Art Student Exhibit." Whitman said, "Over the past several years, I have witnessed so much talent coming from the students at GCC and this year is no exception. With so many impressive submissions, jurying the exhibit was by no means an easy task. The Digital Art and Photography students should be very proud of themselves for their outstanding work this year."
The entire community is invited to attend the Opening Reception in the Gallery lobby on Thursday, April 21, 2022, from 12:30 - 2 p.m. The public is also invited to attend an Awards Reception that evening, from 5 - 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served at both receptions.
The Roz Steiner Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information on all upcoming events at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery visit https://www.genesee.edu/home/campus-life/arts/gallery/.
Genesee Community College has officially opened enrollment into its newest offering- the Solar Electric Technician Certificate for the Fall 2022 semester. Requiring a total of just 15 credit hours, this program is designed to be completed in as little as one semester. In addition, students can apply those credits toward a concentration within an Associate in Applied Science degree in Individualized Studies.
Careers in renewable energy in the form of solar electric (photovoltaic) grid systems are expanding rapidly throughout New York State both residentially and commercially. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for solar technology workers is projected to increase 50% over the next ten years which translates into roughly 6,000 new workers.
"Solar Tech skills have never been more relevant and more needed," said Director of Mathematics and Engineering Science, Christopher Kemp. "Solar projects from residential homes to major commercial solar farms are going up across the world and in our own back yards. The Solar Tech program is unique in that it can springboard directly into high-paying entry-level installer jobs, higher-level and specialized training, national accreditations, and four-year programs in renewable energy and the sciences. It can also enhance the current marketable skills of current practicing electricians, and educate individuals on the versatility and utility of solar technology. Starting out in solar is easy to do, and the opportunities are almost unlimited."
Upon graduation, GCC students are positioned to enter high-demand and lucrative solar-related employment opportunities, including residential and commercial solar panel installer, solar sales, solar electric maintenance, and recreational vehicle solar package installer.
For 50 years, the Genesee Society of Model Engineers has hosted a twice-annual model train show in Batavia and after a hiatus for COVID, the train show returned to the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC for the organization's 100th event.
This spring the Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life will return to Genesee Community College. The Symposium honors the memory of Wolcott (Jay) Humphrey, a highly-respected business and community leader who passed away in 2001. Jay dedicated time, resources, and energetic leadership to the college and the GLOW Region. He saw himself as a change agent and encouraged friends and colleagues to develop leadership and change management skills. The Symposium is facilitated by the Genesee Community College Foundation.
As in the past, this year’s Symposium will feature a distinguished speaker and panelists with the purpose of creating an energetic and informative dialogue that will greatly benefit the civic, business, and professional community. Participants will be able to take real-life ideas and techniques back to their organizations and community.
To date, there have been eight Symposiums. Speakers have included Jim Boeheim, B. Thomas Golisano, Honorable William Hudnut III, Dr. Donna Fernandes, Paul Speranza, Fred Grandy, Jerry Greenfield, and most recently Jack Uldrich. This year the focus will be on Climate Change and Sustainability. We are pleased to announce Peter Boyd as the keynote speaker. Peter is a Lecturer at the Yale School of the Environment, a Lecturer in the Practice of Management and a Resident Fellow at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. He is passionate about system change to a “Net -Zero” world: from writing and speaking to directly helping groups that are accelerating the transition. Peter’s accomplishments are numerous and his expertise and experience will drive a great experience for participants.
In addition to Peter Boyd, the Symposium will feature a panel of experts in various areas impacted and associated with Climate Change and Sustainability. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Panelists include William Carleton, General Manager, Solar O&M, Clearway Energy; Andrew March, CEO, Plug Power; Suzanne Hunt, Co-Owner of Hunt Country Vineyards and Curt Gooch, Dairy Science Expert, Land O’Lakes.
Participants will not only have the opportunity to hear the comments of Mr. Boyd and our panelists but will take part in facilitated table talks to further the discussion on Climate Change and Sustainability. The Foundation is focusing on GLOW Region business leaders, Genesee County Economic Development Center, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Orleans Niagara School District Leaders and students. We are encouraging businesses to send a leadership team.
In addition, participants will have the opportunity to learn about GCC’s new Solar Electric Technician Certificate. Renewable energy in the form of solar electric (photovoltaic) grid systems are expanding rapidly throughout New York State both residential and commercially. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for photovoltaic energy workers is projected to increase 50% or require 6,000 new workers over the next ten years. GCC’s new technical training lab is outfitted with state-of-art tools and equipment to provide students hands-on, practical training with individualized attention for the novice learner to the experienced mechanic. GCC provides a safe, convenient, and welcoming environment with campus amenities such as athletic facilities, library, food service, and student academic support services.
The Symposium will be presented on April 21 with a timeline of 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM. The Symposium will be held in the Richard C. Call Arena. Lunch will be provided. The cost will be $20.00 per participant. Student tickets are free. The event will be live-streamed with access available to registered participants.
We expect that this will be a meaningful event that will challenge our thinking and leadership and help to shape a positive and productive future for our area.
Article submitted by Chelsea Green, Genesee County Youth Bureau.
The Genesee County Youth Conference Coalition sponsored the 32nd Annual Youth Conference at Genesee Community College on March 15, 2022.
This conference is offered on an annual basis to local seventh- and eighth-grade students in Genesee and Orleans County in an effort to address pertinent social issues of interest to youngsters of middle-school age. There were approximately 175 seventh- and eighth-grade students in attendance.
This year’s theme of the conference was “We Are Stronger Together.”
The inspiring speaker, Earl Ameen made the trip up from Texas to speak with our students. Earl’s message inspired youth to believe in themselves, embrace love, and to become more kind and compassionate while respecting everyone.
A variety of human service organizations in Genesee County contributed to the event by organizing a workshop for students to attend that day. Workshops were tailored to be interesting, engaging, and hands-on while being taught valuable lessons. Some of these workshop topics were: healthy eating habits, building functional relationships, Geocaching, learning about disabilities, teambuilding, and internet safety. Dance, Yoga, and WERQ were popular workshops attended as well!
Members of the Youth Conference Committee are extremely grateful to the workshop presenters who volunteered their time to educate our area's seventh and eighth-graders. We are also grateful to the following businesses/organizations that provided discounts or donations for the conference…Genesee Community College, Genesee and Orleans County Stop DWI Programs, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee County, and Subway.
The Genesee County Youth Conference Committee is comprised of representatives from the following agencies: Genesee-Orleans County Youth Bureau, Genesee Community College, Genesee County Job Development, YMCA, Community Action, and Reality Check/Roswell.
For more information on this year’s Genesee County Youth Conference or to find out how you can participate in the next event, call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960.
After a long 2-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the 13th GLOW Region Tech Wars will finally commence! The event will be held Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus. The annual Tech Wars brings middle and high school students from all 24 of the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming (GLOW) region's school districts together in teams to work collaboratively to demonstrate their technical expertise through innovative, mind-expanding competitions.
Each year, with a forward vision and new developments in technology, Tech Wars introduces new events. 2022 is no different. This year's competitors (students) have chosen from close to 30 available competitions to showcase - and put to the test - some basic and some extremely intricate and innovative technology. Regardless of the event, all of the students enjoy the opportunity to see their hard work come to fruition. Tech Wars event details, rules, and competition descriptions are available at techwarsgccny.org.
Tech Wars 2022 events bring back some favorites such as Battlebot Soccer; the Regatta; Bridge; CO2 Cars; Logo Design; Sculpture; Onsite CAD Drawing and Reverse Engineering CAD; Skimmer Cars; Sumo Bots; Tractor Pull and Trebuchet; and will introduce the all-new, Lumber Labyrinth.
In addition to Lumber Labyrinth, Tech Wars 2022 also introduces Skimmer Cars and Technical Drawing for the middle schoolers as well as other legacy events such as Catapult; Paper Airplane; Rube Goldberg; and Sculpture. Back by popular demand for all participants is the Mystery Event which allows students to use their creativity and skills in an on-demand, timed situation.
For the second year, Tech Wars also features STEAM Jam @ Tech Wars, an event held simultaneously for 3rd to 5th grade students from GLOW region schools. Over 100 students will participate in various team-building and mind-stimulating activities that foster skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM). As an educational precursor to a future in technology, STEAM Jam participants will have the opportunity to observe the fun and exciting Tech Wars 2022 competitions.
Educational support for Tech Wars and STEAM Jam comes from the dedication, state-of-the-art facilities, and quality instruction in the GLOW region schools. Teachers share ideas and explore new technology and developments through both a Regional STEAM Teachers' cohort and a Regional Tech Teachers' Cohort.
Focused on local economic development, the newly established Regional Tech Teachers' Cohort collaboratively cultivates relationships between the schools and local professionals to provide information sessions, field trips, school-to-work opportunities, and more to enhance student learning experiences. Through these experiences and relationships, students begin to form goals and a vision for their own futures.
The efforts of programs like Tech Wars, STEAM Jam and the Cohorts are already making a difference with many thanks to community support. Tech Wars 2022 has been continually supported and presented with a record number of sponsors. Gold Sponsors: GCEDC/Glow with Your Hands, Liberty Pumps, Northeast Industrial Tech Inc., Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, Graham Corporation, Amada Tool America Inc., and I.B.E.W. Local Union 86 . Silver and Bronze Sponsors: LandPro Equipment, Oxbo International, Takeform, L&M Specialty Fabricating LLC, DWB Enterprises, and the Varysburg Lions Club.
"The support of local businesses and organizations in this region is second to none," Ann Valento, ACE program specialist said. "Without these organizations and other generous local donors, Tech Wars would not be possible. Our local sponsors also serve as volunteers, judges, and spend their valuable time talking with students and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, the businesses that participate in these events get an exclusive opportunity to meet and network with the future workforce in our community."
Tech Wars is also proudly sponsored and hosted by Genesee Community College and its ACE (Accelerated College Enrollment) program. The ACE team and the entire GCC community work diligently to provide a safe and appropriately-equipped environment to showcase the students' technological skills and creativity.
Tech Wars is among several dynamic programs giving students the opportunity to learn hands-on, often in business settings and with industry professionals. The ACE Program's Career Pathways is committed to helping students explore career options and make a smooth transition from high school to further education and/or a career.
For more information about the Career Pathways programs, please contact Ann Valento, Genesee Community College Career Pathways Specialist at 585-3430055 ext. 6316 or [email protected].
Six successful leaders will provide an active discussion on "Climate Change and Sustainability" at the 2022 Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life on April 21, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. at the Richard C. Call Arena on the Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus.
The opening presentation by keynote, Peter Boyd, CEO & Founder of Time4Good and Resident Fellow at Yale Center for Business and Development, will be followed by a panel moderated by Dr. Benjamin Houlton, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. A luncheon will be provided with the opportunity for groups to network afterward.
Speakers are distinguished in their areas of expertise and innovation to the challenges of climate change.
Dr. Benjamin Z. Houlton is the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Cornell University professor in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and of Global Development. An accomplished international scientist, his research interests include global ecosystem processes, climate change solutions, and agricultural sustainability. As founding co-chair of the California Collaborative for Climate Change solutions, Ben works with researchers from key research institutions to accelerate the translation of research findings into practical climate solutions. He also directs more than 100 acres of farmland carbon sequestration projects to improve crop yields and create new financial markets for farmers and ranchers. Ben has published his research in leading scientific journals including Nature, Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As part of his mission to connect scientific discovery with the public, he is also a frequent guest on regional and national news programs.
Andrew J. Marsh joined Plug Power as president and CEO in April 2008. Under his leadership, Plug Power has been a leading innovator in the alternative energy field, helping create an entirely new hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) market in the material handling space as the world moves towards electrification in mobility applications. This new market has proven to be one of the first successful endeavors to commercialize HFC technology. Today, the firm's fuel cell solutions, including its GenKey suite and ProGen engine line, are leveraged by global marketplace leaders such as Amazon, Walmart and Carrefour to power industrial electric vehicles.
William D. Carleton is general manager, Solar Operations and Maintenance at Clearway Energy Group based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Will is responsible for overseeing the safe and reliable operations of 15 utility-, 275 commercial-, and industrial-scale solar assets across the United States totaling over 1500 megawatts of generation capacity. Under his leadership, Clearway has rapidly become one of the top solar owners/operators in the country. This has been accomplished through a dedication to the people who work for him and ensuring that not only are they able to handle all technical issues that arise but are also good stewards of the communities in which they operate.
Suzanne Hunt is co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards, her family's seventh-generation farm and 40-year-old winery in the Finger Lakes. She is also policy director for Generate Capital which finances, builds, owns, and operates sustainable infrastructure projects in North America, South America, and Europe. From 2007 to 2021 Suzanne was a cleantech and climate policy consultant solving problems in energy, agriculture, and transportation. Her firm Hunt Green LLC's clients included a wide variety of private equity firms, government agencies, startups, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits. At the winery, Suzanne has spearheaded a multitude of sustainability and climate resilience efforts - including energy efficiency, geothermal heating/cooling, solar PV, micro-wind, soil health, carbon sequestration, sustainable building materials, waste reduction, wildlife habitat, and advocacy. In 2021 Suzanne and her parents were recognized by Wine Business Monthly as some of the top leaders who shape the way the wine industry operates.
Curt A. Gooch is a Dairy Environmental System Solutions Expert at Land O'Lakes and a Cornell Senior Extension Associate Emeritus. Curt found his passion for animal agriculture early in life and has been fortunate to work professionally for over 30 years serving the US dairy industry. His unique combination of on-farm experience, professional preparation, technical experience, and industry leadership on environmental sustainability has resulted in positive impacts at the farm, milk shed, state, regional and national levels. He works extensively across the US and abroad, contributing towards dairy environmental, economic, and social sustainability with the goal of having dairy products on sustainable food plates. Curt is a technical and practical expert in the cradle to farm gate dairy environmental systems encompassing dairy facilities and management, cow comfort and well-being, manure handling, advanced manure treatment for energy recovery (anaerobic digestion) and nutrient recovery, environmental impact reduction and assessment, farmstead greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions quantification, mitigation, and off-farm offsets. He serves on the Innovation Center for US Dairy Environmental Stewardship Committee and the National Milk Producers Environmental Issues Committee. Curt earned a Master of Science degree in biological resources engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering, both from the University of Maryland College Park, and became a licensed professional engineer in 1996. Curt utilizes his farm upbringing to approach work from a systems solution's perspective based on identified end goals. He thrives when working with others committed to common outcomes and targeted impacts.
Peter Boyd teaches and coaches a wide variety of students, executives, and teams on 'Connected Leadership' and the opportunities arising from leading the transition to sustainability. In addition to his lecturer positions at Yale and consulting work with Time4Good; he serves on the Expert Peer Review Group for the UN's 'Race To Zero' campaign and is on the Senior Advisory Council for the Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets. Locally, he is Chair of Sustainable Westport in his hometown. He has worked on, led, and advised, high-growth organizations on leadership, strategy, time maximization, team alignment, and entrepreneurial opportunity. His private-sector experience started with McKinsey & Co then spanned over ten jobs in twelve years at the Virgin Group, including CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa. In non-profit and government, he was Launch Director and COO of Sir Richard Branson's Carbon War Room; served as Chair of The Energy Efficiency Deployment Office for the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change; and led The B Team's 'Net-Zero by 2050' initiative focused on business encouragement for an ambitious Paris Agreement at COP21.
The Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life is named in honor of Mr. Humphrey who died unexpectedly in 2001. As president of the former Pavilion State Bank and an active member of numerous civic organizations, Mr. Humphrey frequently spoke about the need for a forum where community and business leaders could hear and learn the world's best ideas about leadership. The first symposium was held in 2003 and featured Syracuse University Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim who spoke about leadership and perseverance.
The GCC Cougars entered the postseason ranked #4 in the nation and kept their championship hopes alive with a 95-74 victory over the North County Community College Saints.
The Saints, based in Saranac, made a game of it in the first half but the Cougars pulled away in the second to secure the victory.
In the first half, GCC was 0-11 on three-point tries while Saints hit 43 percent of their three-pointers.
At the end of the first half, the score was Cougars 44, Saints 42.
GCC is 20-4 on the season.
As the second half began the Cougars found their game and slowly walked away from the Saints by hitting their shots, controlling the ball and pace of the game. The Cougars led by 20 with 10 minutes left in the game and easily maintained that lead for the duration.
The Cougars will play again at home on Saturday at 2 or 3 pm to a team to be determined. Admittance to the game is free.
Anthony Grey was the high scorer for the Cougars with 16 points from off the bench and starter Jalen Willis had 15.
On November 20, 2021 at the Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis, GCC Admissions Recruitment Specialist Dan Konopski accepted the Stan Musial Award on behalf of Buffalo Bills fans for their charitable donations to Blessings in a Backpack, a Louisville-based charity that helps feed elementary school students across the country.
While watching the Baltimore-Buffalo AFC playoff game last January from his home in Tonawanda, Konopski, a life-long Bills fan, looked on as Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson exited the game with a head injury late in the third quarter. While Jackson's exit helped Buffalo advance to the AFC Championship, it didn't sit well Konopski. After some research, he discovered that Jackson was affiliated with Blessings in a Backpack and decided to make a donation. He posted the receipt on social media, encouraging others to do the same. Bills fans took notice and a few days later, 18,450 individual donations were made in Jackson's honor and more than $550,000 was raised.
"An individual doing whatever they can to make a difference will always mean something. An army of united and inspired people doing whatever they can do to make a difference means everything. It's a good cause, it was a good game and he's a great player. It just made sense to me at the time. I never imagined it getting to this level but I guess that's just the Bills Mafia way," said Konopski.
Named for Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, the Musial Awards honor the year's greatest moments of sportsmanship. The show is presented by Maryville University and produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan Musial's legacy alive, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society - and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. The event has occurred in St. Louis since 2005. Other 2021 Musial award recipients included Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Bryce Harper and LSU Gymnastics.
The Musial Awards will air on CBS on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. EST
Genesee Community College has officially opened enrollment into its newest offering- the Solar Electric Technician Certificate for the Spring 2022 semester. Requiring a total of just 15 credit hours, this program is designed to be completed in as little as one semester. In addition, students can continue study as a concentration within an Associate in Applied Science degree in Individualized Studies.
On Friday, January 7, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. GCC will host an Open House of the new state-of-the-art Technical Training/Solar Lab in room E119 of the Stuart Steiner Theatre building. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with instructors, tour the lab, and enjoy coffee and refreshments. The new lab will fully prepare Solar Electric Technician students to meet the huge demand for workers in the photovoltaic field.
"Genesee Community College is thrilled to enter a new era of diversifying our educational offerings to include applied technologies. The new technology training lab will serve the solar industry and other workforce development programs such as facilities maintenance and electric motor control technicians. These additional educational opportunities will meet the needs of our regional employers, improve access to training that leads directly to employment and ensure a sustainable workforce for our future." said Dr. Kate Schiefen, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Upon graduation, GCC students are positioned to enter high-demand and lucrative solar-related employment opportunities, including residential and commercial solar panel installer, solar sales, solar electric maintenance and recreational vehicle solar package installer.
The snow has started to show up, that means, it is time to Put on the Ritz! Tickets are on sale now at www.gccfoundationinc.org/encore for the Genesee Community College Foundation's 2021 Encore celebration! This pop back to the roaring twenties will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2021, in the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC in Batavia.
With the help of presenting sponsor, Tompkins Financial Corporation, Encore co-chairs John and Cathy Witkowski have prepared a fun and festive throwback to the roaring twenties full of great food by the Mansard Inn and music by "Nik and the Nice Guys."
"The entire Encore committee is very grateful for the generosity of our sponsors this year," said Jennifer Wakefield director of Development and Alumni Affairs. "Their commitment to this event shows the value they place on student scholarships, and the future of our communities. This year in addition to great folks at Tompkins Financial, we are pleased to be working with Five Star Bank as the Speakeasy Lounge Sponsor, Oliver's Candies as the Cotton Club Confections Dessert Station Sponsor, CPL as the Charleston Dance Floor Sponsor, and ESL Federal Credit Union who is the Doll Face Photo Booth Sponsor."
Tickets include dinner, drinks, dancing and all the fun:
6 p.m. Cocktail hour with gourmet hors d'oeuvres, themed signature drinks and stylish jazz holiday music by "The DSP Jazz Trio"
7 p.m. Gourmet Buffet Stations
8 p.m. "Nik and the Nice Guys" take the night away with live music on the house dance floor.
GCC is also offering opportunities to sponsor the Encore event. These sponsorships are critically important to the scholarships GCC provides its students and are available at several levels this year: the High Roller Table - $1,500; the Rolls Royce Gild - $1,000; Studebaker Society - $600 and the Roadster Circle - $300. Each of these levels includes tickets (ten, six, four and two respectively) for the event. Of course, individual Platinum Patron Tickets are also available for $100 per person.
As the 75th anniversary of Genesee Symphony Orchestra quickly approaches, the planning of its concert this weekend has been anything but rushed.
In fact, Conductor Shade Zajac has been thinking about the event for the last few years.
“I’ve been so looking forward to this particular season for so long, not for any personal reason. I just want the orchestra to be celebrated, for people to know that this incredible thing exists,” Zajac said during an interview with the Batavian. “I am not the same guy I was when we started … and the orchestra is not the same. GSO will always be part of my history and part of my family.”
The 75th celebration concert titled Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre, 1 College Rd., Batavia.
Years in the making ...
Zajac, whose first season was in 2016, has been mulling the 2021 musical season “for a lot of years now,” he said. He had discussed it with Co-President Roxie Choate and had several ideas amidst a pandemic that had canceled many public events.
“It was touch and go whether or not we would actually be having a season,” he said.
Once venues began opening up, Zajac and staff plunged ahead with mapping out an agenda of nostalgic and meaningful pieces. History has been the focus of the orchestra’s return to the stage, exactly 75 years to the date it first debuted as Batavia Civic Orchestra.
A letter in Richmond Memorial Library’s archives demonstrates just how delicate GSO’s formation really was. Zajac stumbled upon it, he said, while scouring the vast relics for concert ideas. It was fairly early on after the orchestra’s 1947 founding, and it was an ominous musing about whether it was worth it to carry on.
“Do you want the Civic Orchestra to continue? If so, will you work for it?” the letter began. “It will be a sad loss to the community to end the orchestra. It seems better, though, to end it quickly than to drag on to a slow death.”
Written by then-President Virginia Trietly, the letter ended with a hopeful encouragement to “muster up enthusiasm — lasting enthusiasm” that would allow the group to survive longer than 11 years. It’s safe to say that community members rallied to carry on and endure the next several decades.
“And here we are 75 seasons later. Yeah, through this horrible pandemic where many orchestras haven't been able to do a thing, and we've been fortunate enough to continue to make music. That's a really incredible thing,” Zajac said. “And it's a testament to the musicians, of course, to all the people that have worked on the board of directors and also to this community that continues to support us through tough times, and through great times. Without all of these components … we wouldn't be having this conversation.”
As for the music, a concert lineup is chock full of classical compositions, a guest performance, and a piece of freshly crafted work. Mikhail Glinka’s “Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla” is not unfamiliar to orchestras, as it has been performed “many, many, many times” by GSO and others, Zajac said.
“Because it's just a complete fireworks spectacular showcase for the orchestra,” he said. “It’s breakneck fast, and then it gets even faster at the end. It’s a statement to start a program with that piece.”
“Prelude to Act III, Dance of the Apprentices, Final Prelude and Intermezzo,” from Cavalleria, was featured in the very first orchestra performance. Zajac discovered the musical score in library archives labeled with the group's original name. Considered a “classical repertoire,” the prelude is “just gorgeous,” he said.
“I really wanted to do something different, something from the very early season … the librarian gave me the score. And the coolest thing is, stamped on the cover is the Batavia Civic Orchestra, which is, of course, the name before,” he said. “So that is a cool find. And that's a really great piece.”
Then and Now ...
Guest soloist Mia Fasanello will also become part of the orchestra’s history by performing a concerto 75 years after her own grandfather, Sebastian Fasanello, played one during the first concert. No stranger to the GSO, Fasanello won its Young Artist competition for her oboe performance and was a featured soloist with the group for “Concerto for Oboe and Strings” in 2017. Currently studying with the Juilliard School, Fasanello’s talent prickled the judges’ ears from the very first tuning note.
“Oboe is a really tricky instrument to play. And for such a young person to have such a mature sound, it was a no-brainer that she had to be the winner,” Zajac said. “So it's really great for us to have her come and perform, and to work with us in this collaboration. And it just plays into the whole idea that this is a generational thing.”
From the past of a musician’s grandfather, the concert also includes the present with a “world premiere” of Nancy Pettersen Strelau’s original piece, “A Simple Beautiful Idea.”
Zajac wanted someone connected to the orchestra to compose a piece for the celebration but wasn’t initially sure who that should be. He chose Strelau for her role as his teacher, mentor, and sounding board throughout his education at Nazareth College School of Music. She even nudged him into applying for the conductor position when it became vacant in 2015.
“I owe so much to her, she’s an incredible human being; she’s always been there,” he said. “It’s a really beautiful piece … the idea of back when they first wanted this orchestra, how daunting it must have been. It’s a very special piece to me.”
A majestic and lively “Hungarian Rhapsodies no. 2” ends the lineup with a melody often heard during popular cartoons Tom and Jerry, and Bugs Bunny. Don’t be surprised if your mind conjures up a sneaky little rodent wreaking havoc during portions of the song, Zajac said.
The program includes proclamations from state Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Genesee County Legislator Rochelle Stein; and a display that highlights “certain aspects of our history,” said GSO librarian and second chair clarinet Joanne Tumminello. A GSO calendar will be available for purchase to support the orchestra and provide a cherished collection of photos across the decades, she said.
A member since 1995, Tumminello has been in charge of gathering and preserving tidbits of time in the form of news articles, photos, videos and other materials. This year has brought with it a sense of celebration to the wide assortment of members young and old and from all walks of life, she said.
“It’s definitely brought excitement to the orchestra,” Tumminello said. “It has brought us together.”
Shirts with the new GSO logo — selected from entries of a prior logo contest — have been made for members to wear during rehearsal, she said, noting that the 75th will be removed for next season and beyond. That’s a sign that “we can endure anything,” she said.
“The community has a love of history and enjoys supporting us, and that tells us to keep going,” she said.
Zajac emphasized that although he may be the “face” of the orchestra, it takes the whole body of musicians, board of directors and community support to make a concert, and this celebration, happen. One musician in particular has become part of the 27-year-old conductor’s future: his wife Nicole. Before they were married, she filled in as a pinch-hitter for a vacant French horn seat. The late Bob Knipe, heavily active in the GSO and local music scene, had also “invited her to come and play” in the group. She eventually became a permanent member of GSO.
“I was in the thick of my first season with GSO and knew I needed a sub for Horn. And she turned me down, and we kind of kept talking,” he Zajac said. “And then as that particular concert approached, we needed an extra horn player last minute. So she stepped up, played, and then they kept inviting her back.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors and free to students with a student identification card, and may be purchased at Holland Land Office Museum, YNGodess or online at www.geneseesymphony.com.
Photos: File photos from previous seasons' rehearsals. All photos by Howard Owens. Top photo, S. Shade Zajac in 2019. Videos below from 2019.
The Genesee Community College Foundation is excited to announce tickets are now on sale for the 2021 Encore celebration taking place on Saturday, December 4, 2021, in the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC's Batavia Campus. Tickets are on sale now at www.gccfoundationinc.org/encore
Since its inception, Encore has provided an opportunity for the local community to raise funds for student scholarships. In 2020, the Foundation awarded over $120,000 in scholarships. As the world and economic factors change, the need for scholarships grows - and so does Encore!
Under the direction of co-chairs John and Cathy Witkowski and with the help of presenting sponsor, Tompkins Financial Corporation, the GCC Foundation is Putting on the Ritz for one and all! Tickets include dinner, drinks, dancing, and a holiday concert by "Nik and the Nice Guys" on Saturday, December 4, 2021, from 6 - 10 p.m.
"GCC has seen tremendous growth over the years and part of the success is the generosity of the alumni and communities that surround the college," John Witkowski said. "It's an honor for Cathy and me to co-chair Encore - Putting on the Ritz! It's an event that supports our students and pays dividends for future success for not only the GLOW region but also globally."
"After putting three kids through school, John and I realize the fundamental importance of education and what it means to the future of our communities and families. Hosting this event is an opportunity for us to help many more students achieve their dreams for the future. There is nothing better than to support such a meaningful cause and have a great time while doing so," said Cathy Witkowski. "We are excited to bring back the positive side of the Roaring Twenties! We want everyone to join us for Putting on the Ritz on December 4, 2021!!"
John Witkowski has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Bankers Association of New York State (IBANYS) since 2014. IBANYS is the only trade association solely representing local, independent community banks in New York. He is a Director of the New York Business Development Corporation; ICBA Securities; the Genesee Community College Foundation and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association.
Mr. Witkowski has extensive experience in the New York banking industry. He was President & CEO of Wyoming County Bank, and Regional President/EVP of Retail Banking at Five Star Bank where he oversaw small business development, mortgage operations, investment and fee-based services, and the retail branch network. Earlier in his career with Fleet and Bank of America, he developed strategic initiatives such as remote relationship management for small business customers. He also was President of JW Consulting Group, advising banks, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Witkowski earned a degree in Economics from Columbia University in New York City. As a student-athlete and quarterback of the football team, he was the winner of the 1982 Asa A. Bushnell Cup for leadership, competitive spirit, contribution to the team, and accomplishments on the field. He holds 12 passing records, six total offense marks, and five Ivy League records. After graduating and before beginning his banking career, he was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1984 National Football League draft and played several seasons in the NFL and the World League of American Football.
Tompkins Financial Corporation will be the presenting sponsor for the fabulous Putting on the Ritz evening and has donated generously to this year's student scholarships.
"At Tompkins, local is at the heart of who we are, which is why we value the direct impact GCC has on our local community," said David S. Boyce, Tompkins Insurance President & CEO. "Thank you to GCC for its role in educating our future leaders and leading us to a better tomorrow."
Each year, GCC offers opportunities to sponsor the Encore event. These sponsorships are critically important to the scholarships GCC provides its students and are available at several levels this year: the High Roller Table - $1,500; the Rolls Royce Gild - $1,000; Studebaker Society - $600; and the Roadster Circle - $300. Each of these levels includes tickets (ten, six, four and 2 respectively) for the event. Of course, individual Platinum Patron Tickets are also available for $100 per person.
Genesee Community College has officially announced the first event in this year's Historical Horizons series! On Monday, October 18, 2021 at 7 p.m. at GCC Associate Professor of History, Derek D. Maxfield will present on his book "Hellmira: The Union's Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp- Elmira NY" which explores this notorious time period in the history of Elmira, NY.
When Genesee Community College’s Fine and Performing Arts Director first met Samara Brown, a theater student from the Bronx, she noted something different.
“She was very talented and quirky, and she didn’t know what to do with it,” Maryanne Arena said of that meeting in 2007. “I called her the sponge. She always wanted to learn, she wanted to do something with her life.”
Brown can check off that box. She’s been a featured singer on season 21 of The Voice Blind Auditions. Watched by millions of viewers, the show puts vocal hopefuls on the spot to perform with hopes of getting selected by a seasoned mentor.
Brown had wanted artist John Legend to choose her because “he’s probably my biggest inspiration,” she said during an interview Tuesday. Needless to say, she put in a lot of time rehearsing her song “over and over and over” for the audition. (When he turned around) “I was kind of frozen. I think I blacked out a little,” the 32-year-old said.
During her time at GCC, Brown was diligent about her craft, Arena said. She asked a lot of questions about the what and why of the art and requested solo coaching time. A “very shy” and rather modest performer, Brown absorbed every ounce of the experience and never wanted it to end, Arena said.
“I would have to say, ‘ok, it’s time to go.’ She worked really hard, she never thought she was great,” Arena said. “She never walked around like she was the star. I recognized her talent, but I wanted it to become part of her confidence.”
When Brown’s episode of The Voice aired on Sept. 27, Arena and her family were in their seats at home watching it unfold. Arena felt certain that John Legend would pick Brown and be able to lend his pop and jazz background.
Then it happened. After her impressive rendition of “Sweet Thing,” Brown’s work paid off. She was chosen by John Legend and Ariana Grande. Pause for that electric moment when Brown said “I pick John.” Arena has told her students that if, at the end of the year, their taxes list entertainer as an occupation, that’s success. And, for sure, most people don’t make it to this point, she said.
“We were all jumping around in my house,” Arena said. “We were really excited. It didn’t surprise me; I expected great things from her.”
The student and teacher have stayed in touch over the years. Ever since they met, Brown’s “quirkiness” spoke to Arena about the young woman’s gifts.
“We connected right away. She was alone because she lived in the Bronx and didn’t go home. She kind of became a second daughter to me; she spent Thanksgivings on the farm," Arena said. “I keep saying it, but I’m so proud of her.”
In August, Brown posted to social media "I auditioned for The Voice!" Since then, staff and faculty at Batavia-based GCC had been longing to see her performance, which is now available online. Her audition left judges John Legend and Ariana Grande fighting over who would get to be her coach this season.
Brown earned a Theatre Arts degree from GCC in 2009 with several musical roles under her belt, including a flying Peter Pan in Peter Pan-The Musical, as the Village Doctor in The Incredible Jungle Journey of Fenda Maria, Lady in Blue in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, a performance that was awarded "Excellence in Acting to the Ladies of Color for their Ensemble Work" and received the highest honor, "Best Long Play of 2009.”
A GCC Alumni Spotlight Story quoted Brown’s take on what she reaped from her two years at GCC.
"In my career specifically, you need two things; technique and talent, I think the technique is definitely what GCC gave me," she said.
Brown lives in Bushwick, a thriving art, restaurant, and bar community on the edge of Brooklyn. She has been busy performing live music at clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, cover bands at weddings, and working on her own original music. Yet, all of that face time with audiences didn’t quite prepare her for stepping on stage for her blind audition.
“The nerves were there, it was a lot of pressure,” she said. “Once I was on stage, the jitters were definitely there.”
Confidentiality agreements prevented her from talking about anything specifically show-related. She did acknowledge the “long journey” she has been on to become a professional singer. This latest feat has given her a well-deserved nod.
“It is the fruition of what I’ve been doing,” she said.
Each week, the singers with the lowest number of votes are sent home, until only one artist remains. The Voice winner will receive a recording contract and a cash prize. The NBC show is expected to air on both Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times.