News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


SUNY Oneonta

Mark Davies Appointed As SUNY-O Dean

Council Member Davies

Appointed As SUNY Dean


ONEONTA – Common Council member Dr. Mark R. Davies, Second Ward, has been appointed Dean of the School of Education, Human Ecology and Sports Studies at SUNY Oneonta.

A former Hartwick College professor of education, Davies will oversee all academic programs in dietetics, elementary and adolescence education, exercise science, family and consumer sciences, fashion and textiles, food service and restaurant administration, human development and family studies, human ecology and sport management. He begins his appointment on July 1.

Puzzlin’ Time Away How To Keep Alumni Engaged In Shutdown? That’s A Puzzler

Puzzlin’ Time Away

How To Keep Alumni Engaged

In Shutdown? That’s A Puzzler

SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Engagement Office devised a jigsaw puzzle to keep alumni thinking about their alma mater in time of coronavirus.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Since April, Laura Lincoln, director of SUNY Oneonta’s Office of Alumni Engagement, found she was getting a lot of calls from alumni with a puzzling question.

“People kept calling us and asking us if we had a jigsaw puzzle,” she said. “It’s amazing how many requests we’ve had, but it makes sense – everyone’s looking for a way to stay busy at home.”

SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Engagement staff that helped
develop the jigsaw puzzle includes, clockwise from upper
left, Jonah Roberts, graphic design and social media specialist; Laura Lincoln, director; Danielle Tonner, associate director; Office Assistant Jennifer Oates; Red Dragon Mascot; Michelle Hansen, coordinator, affinity programs and reunion; Adrienne Martini, writer; Administrative
Assistant Stacy Robinson, and Abigail Hurley, coordinator of recent alumni and student programs.

She reached out to Tracy Dolan, Red Dragon Outfitters’ business manager, and found that, although they didn’t have a puzzle for sale, the two departments could partner to create one.

“Even working remotely, we were able to work together,” Lincoln said. “That’s what’s so amazing to me.”

With graphic designer Jonah Roberts, the two began planning what the puzzle would look like. “We were looking for photos that would instill nostalgia and pride for our alumni, but would also give them a sense of what the campus looks like today, especially since they can’t come see it,” she said.

“We had a lot of photos to choose from.”

The photos also had to be easy to take apart and put back together again. “We wanted the puzzle to be challenging, but not so difficult that it couldn’t be accomplished.

They selected four photos – the campus quad, Red Dragon Drive, the Hunt Union pond and the Welcome Center. “The Welcome Center is the newest building, and many of our alumni haven’t seen it,” she said. “People keep asking, ‘What’s that building?’ And with the Hunt Union, everyone has memories of those goldfish. It’s iconic.”

Those four photos were put together by the graphic design team, which sent it to Maryland Screen Printers in Baltimore, which turned it into the 18- by 24-inch, 500-piece jigsaw puzzle.

“It’s amazing that it only took two weeks to produce,” Lincoln said.

On May 5, SUNY Oneonta sent an email to all alumni announcing that pre-orders were available, and within two hours, 20 people had ordered one.

The initial pre-order was 100, but that was quickly exceeded, and 250 more were ordered. The puzzles will be mailed to customers by the end of May.

The puzzle is just one piece of an effort to keep alumni engaged with the campus while the campus is closed under COVID-19 quarantine, Lincoln said.

“We’re implementing a lot of virtual programs to keep our alumni engaged while we’re all at home,” she said. “We want to keep them connected to the school so that they continue to have pride in SUNY Oneonta.”

Other activities include the Red Dragon (virtual) Marathon, which challenges alumni to run or walk 26.2 miles between May 1 and July 4, uploading weekly results to the school’s website and submitting race-bib photos on entering the final stretch.

Also featured is a virtual reception for the 1889 Society, the college’s top donors, featuring a live Zoom conversation with President Barbara Jean Morris and members of the campus community to honor the college’s most generous donors. (Oneonta Normal School, a teachers’ college, was founded in 1889.)

“We’ve been getting a lot of comments about the puzzle,” she said. “People are really proud of the campus.”

HERZIG: Protect Us From Returning Students


Protect Us From

Returning Students

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt of Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s letter, sent to Governor Cuomo this week, expressing concern about college students’ return to the City of the Hills.

Mayor Herzig

Thank you for your effective leadership during these dangerous and unpredictable times.

The City of Oneonta is proud to be the home of two fine colleges – SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. The 7,000 plus students who live and study with us are a vital part of our community culture and economy.

Our ability, along with those of all of New York’s college communities, to effectively recover from COVID-19 is dependent upon the re-opening of our college campuses and the return of their students.

Re-opening our college campuses, however, will require an aggressive program of testing for all students attending our residential colleges.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the City of Oneonta have consistently represented no more than 15 percent of all such cases in Otsego County despite Oneonta being the county’s clear center of population density.

This can only be attributed to the diligent way in which the people of this City have responded to the need to isolate.

The return of 7,000 college students, without a program of mandated testing, to a community with
very little immunity, places too many lives at risk – a risk supported by the recently released
Cornell University study ranking Otsego County as the third most vulnerable to an outbreak in
New York State.

…Having adequate testing materials available for returning students of both our public and private colleges must be a priority – along with effective protocols for testing and isolation.

August may feel like the distant future right now; however, one thing we have learned from this pandemic is that it is never too early to act, Our host communities look forward to working in partnership with your administration, SUNY, and our local college administrators in implementing a safe and full COVID-19 recovery.


Billboard: Music-Business Program At SUNY-O Tops

Billboard: Music-Business

Program At SUNY-O Tops

Watch for this week’s cover of Billboard at your local newsstand, It includes plaudits to SUNY Oneonta.

ONEONTA – For a second year in a row, SUNY Oneonta’s program has been named to Billboard’s “Top Music Business Schools” in the U.S.

In the current issue, SUNY Oneonta joins 27 other colleges and universities that have been listed in what is considered one of the most reputable sources of music industry news.

“We’re delighted,” said Nancy Tarr, adjunct lecturer. “Students work together as artists, producers, promoters and artist managers doing real work to create and market their product. This really sets our program apart.”


2nd Employee

Has Covid-19,

SUNY Reports

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta received confirmation this morning that another employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the college announced a few minutes ago.

This is the college’s second confirmed case. On April 13, the college reported its first case.

The affected employee is not at work, has not been in their office since April 7 and will be quarantined until April 27.


Local Ecology With Biology Professor


ECO PRESENTATION – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Digital presentation ‘Slogs Through Bogs’ with SUNY Oneonta biology professor Dr. Donna Vogler who completed a survey of the habitat of the Cranberry Bog of the Greenwood Conservancy, the focus of this talk. Join Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society to learn about the ecology of our local wetland at

SUNY Confirms First COVID-19 Case

SUNY Confirms

1st COVID-19 Case

ONEONTA – A SUNY Oneonta employee has tested positive for COVID-19 in the school’s first confirmed case, SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris has announced.

According to a press release from the college, the affected employee is not at work and has been quarantined on campus since April 6, except when the individual was transported off campus to be tested for COVID-19.

If Need Arises, State Considering SUNY Oneonta As Possible Hospital

If Need Arises, State Considering

SUNY Oneonta As Possible Hospital

COOPERTOWN – While is hasn’t come to that, county board Chair David Bliss said today that SUNY Oneonta could be converted to a coronavirus hospital if necessary.

Responding to a question from county Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Morris/Butternuts/Pittsfield, Bliss said that’s “part of the reason SUNY dorms were cleared and sanitized – in preparation for potential need for more space.

“It’s under consideration already; that’s been discussed,” said the Republican, who represents Cooperstown, Middlefield and Cherry Valley.

SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Westbury are already being prepared for use as hospitals, under a directive issued by Governor Cuomo.  SUNY has 67 campuses.

SUNY Oneonta Will Host 2020 Graduation In August

SUNY Oneonta Will Host

2020 Graduation In August

President Says: Let’s Celebrate Achievement!

ONEONTA – More than 1,000 seniors will return to SUNY Oneonta in this summer to receive their degrees at a belated commencement ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29.

Three ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. in the Alumni Field House.

“Especially now, against a backdrop of adversity and change, it is vital to remember and celebrate all that we are achieving,” said President Barbara Jean Morris. “I look forward to welcoming members of the Class of 2020 back to campus and congratulating each of them in person this summer.”

SUNY Postpones Commencement Until Fall


SUNY Postpones 2020

Graduation Until Fall

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta has announced that the 2020 commencement, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 9, has been postponed until fall.

“We know this is absolutely heartbreaking for our seniors,” said President Barbara Jean Morris. “Unfortunately, there is just no way to safely move forward with commencement, our largest gathering of the year.”

Classes will resume online Monday, March 23, and the college has developed a staggered move-out process that will limit the number of people entering the residence halls at any one time, in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations.

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