ONEONTA – With two standing ovations, a few tears shed and the unveiling of her official portrait, retired college president Dr. Nancy Kleniewski said goodbye to SUNY Oneonta during a reception held this evening at the college.
“After working for 37 years, it’s going to be a little weird,” she said. “I looked at my July calendar and for the first time, there’s nothing on it.”
Kleniewski teared up as she talked about the 10 years she spent at the college. “This is a day of mixed emotion,” she said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done together and how we’ve made this campus better and more welcoming. And I’m sad to be leaving. The people here really care about the students.”
At the conclusion of this morning’s first commencement ceremony at SUNY Oneonta, Patrick Brown, left, applauds as Professor Craig Bielert, at podium, presents college President Nancy Kleiniewski with a large bouquet of flowers from her staff and colleagues in gratitude for her decade of service. Inset at right, commencement speaker Charles Bogosta, who received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from his alma mater, urges the class of 2018: “Put yourselves out there and take chances. Do that and you will realize nothing is impossible.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)Save
ONEONTA – A grocery store. A high line, an elevated walking trail overlooking murals and mosaics. More sports in Neahwa Park.
These were some of the ideas presented in the Foothills atrium at tonight’s Public Engagement Meeting, sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Local Planning Committee.
“We’d love to see more artistic spaces with murals,” said Carol Mandigo, the local muralist. “We’re thinking an elevated walkway down to Market Street – like the High Line in New York City – where people could look over murals on the walls of Foothills.”
ONEONTA – Dr. Nancy Kleniewski choked back tears as she described Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author, TV host and transgender rights activist, as a role model.
“With your social media presence, #GirlsLikeUs, you’ve done so much to help transwomen,” said the SUNY Oneonta president. “It’s very emotional. You may have had your legends, but you’re the legend now.”
Mock, author of this year’s Common Read, “Redefining Realness,” was on hand to deliver the annual Mills Distinguished Lecture in a question-and-answer format with Kleniewski. “I really appreciate you all dealing with having to read my book,” she said. “Thank you all for coming out.”
ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta president Nancy Kleniewski announced at 7 p.m. that a suspect in Saturday’s YikYak threat has been taken into custody.
“While the investigation will continue, UPD is confident that the message, which was reported to mention shooting tomorrow, does not present a threat,” Kleniewski said. “The last several hours have been tense on our campus, at Hartwick College, in the City of Oneonta, and in the homes of students’ parents near and far. I appreciate the patience within these communities as law enforcement officials diligently focused on bringing closure to this situation.”
This arrest comes as the result of a joint investigation of the UPD with the Oneonta Police Department and State Police.
At Dr. Carey Brush’s memorial service on Friday, Dec. 12, the truth finally came out: “His jokes were terrible,” said Dr. Vince Foti. “But because we were all below him, we laughed. Puns were his favorite.”
It has been almost a year since Dr. Brush, 93, who wrote “In Honor and Good Faith” (1965), the first history of SUNY Oneonta, died on Dec. 29, 2013, in Vancouver, Wash., where he and his wife Tinker lived. His wife declined to post an obituary, so many of his friends didn’t know he had passed.
“After six months, we realized there wouldn’t be a service here,” said Foti. “So we put one together.”
Dr. Brush was professor and acting chair of Social Sciences. He was named the first director of Liberal Studies in 1963, and vice president for Academic Affairs in 1970. He was acting president during the 1987-88 academic year, between the administrations of Clifford Craven and Alan Donovan.
“I never had an opportunity to meet him, but I feel like I knew him,” said President Nancy Kleniewski, the first speaker at the memorial service. “Before I arrived, I read every word of his books, and it helped me to understand the importance of this college.”
“He is best remembered for overseeing the transition from a teacher’s college to a liberal arts institution,” said Foti. “He took great pride in developing the liberal arts program, and each new major was like a member of his family.”
“I often asked myself what it was that made him so special,” said Dr. Ernest Goodman, emeritus professor of political science. “It was that he had a mixture of reserve and warm responsiveness.”
The service was originally slated to take place in the Alden Room of the Milne Library, where his portrait hangs and where much of his research was done, but due to finals, it was moved to the Craven Lounge. “You can’t think of Cliff Craven without thinking of Carey,” said Frank O’Mara, emeritus professor of communications. “It’s appropriate to have it here.”
“I thought I heard his footsteps earlier,” said Dr. William Simons, professor of history. “It’s final exams, and he used to walk to halls during exam week.”
His friends and colleagues also spoke with affection about his slow softball pitches and his seriousness at the poker table.
“I considered Carey a friend, but there were two places he had no friends – the softball field and the poker table,” said Foti. “He was the manager, coach and pitcher, but he pitched so slow you could count the stitches on the ball!”
But it was Lief Hartmark, retired vice president for finance and administration, who recounted a notorious pun. Hartmark bought a house in Fly Creek from a Dr. Dyer, who Brush also knew. “It was on a creek, so the house itself looked like it was on a little island. Carey asked about it, and then said, ‘Well, I guess you’re living in Dyer Straits!’”
A plaque will be installed beneath Brush’s portrait in the library. Dr. David Brenner, emeritus associate vice president of academic affairs, said the idea was to be positive and reflective. “Take a moment to think about him and what he did for this university.”
ONEONTA — Friends and colleagues of SUNY Oneonta’s historian Dr. Carey Brush, who wrote a definitive history of the local campus, where he once served as interim president, gathered in the Craven Lounge of Morris Hall to pay tribute to their friend, fellow professor and mentor.
“All of us have a few stories to tell,” said Dr. Vince Foti, the emeritus dean of Behavioral and Applied Sciences. “I’m sure he would have appreciated all the feelings that are in this room at this moment.
Dr. Brush, 93, died Dec. 29, 2013 in Vancouver, Wash., where he and his wife Tinker lived. He had served as Professor and Acting Chair of Social Science, as well as the first Director of Liberal Studies in 1963, Vice President for Academic Affairs 1970, and as Acting President during the 1987-1988 academic year. He was the author of “In Honor and Good Faith: A History of the State University College at Oneonta” and the sequel, “In Honor and Good Faith: Completing the First Century 1965-1900.”
ONEONTA – “This isn’t your grandparent’s college, or even your parents,” said Dr. David Brenner, the retired associate director of academic affairs at SUNY Oneonta.
But one thing has remained across generations — the college’s commitment to values.
Brenner was on hand to discuss these values and the history of the college at a luncheon celebrating “Red Day,” the 125th anniversary of SUNY Oneonta’s founding as a Normal School on Sept. 4, 1889. “I see the possibilities full of promise,” said principal James A. Milne at the dedication. “Today we dedicate, tomorrow we change possibility into reality.”
Milne was president until 1898, when Percy Bugbee was appointed. In one of his final speeches, Milne told the gathered faculty, “Institutions are greater than men. This institution is greater than any man or set of men.”