Wegmans School of Pharmacy Partnership

The Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College.

Onondaga Community College and St. John Fisher College have teamed up to create a unique program which will provide students a direct pathway to a doctoral degree. The Pharmacy Early Assurance Program will offer two qualified OCC students each year guaranteed acceptance into Fisher’s Wegmans School of Pharmacy.

Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the School of Pharmacy offers a Doctor of Pharmacy program, and in partnership with Fisher’s School of Business also delivers a Pharm.D./MBA joint degree program.

Since its opening in 2006, the School has graduated more than 550 students, who consistently outperform national averages on statewide licensure exams. In June 2016, students taking the New York State Part III Exam enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate; the only school in the state to do so. Additionally, the 69 Fisher students who took the 2015 North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination for the first time earned a 97.10 percent pass rate, exceeding the national average of 92.64 percent.

In addition to classroom and laboratory learning, 30 percent of the School’s curriculum includes experiential education components. Students participate in clinical rotations in a variety of health care settings in the Rochester area, and also have the opportunity to engage in medical missions and service trips to Montana, El Salvador, and India, among other places.

Fisher currently offers the Pharmacy Early Assurance Program to a select group of incoming freshmen who enter Fisher directly from high school, guaranteeing admission to the program after a minimum of two years of pre-pharmacy course work, provided they meet program requirements. The new agreement with community colleges extends that offer to students interested in transferring to the College. About 12 to 15 percent of students enrolling in the School come from community colleges with no prior enrollments at four-year institutions.

Jerome Ntakirutimana meets London Ladd

Employee Celebration 071 (1000px)

Two worlds collided when London Ladd met Jerome Ntakirutimana.

Ntakirutimana is the OCC student who gave Dr. Casey Crabill a drawing of Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama that now adorns the walls of the President’s Suite. Ntakirutimana is an aspiring artist with an incredible passion for his work. Ladd is a 1995 graduate and an Alumni Faces honoree. He’s a nationally known illustrator whose latest work can be found in “Waiting for Pumpsie”.

Ladd and Ntakirutimana met on a beautiful and sunny afternoon in Ferrante Hall. The purpose: for Ladd to mentor Ntakirutimana on growing as an artist. The famous illustrator took time out of his busy schedule because he’s been in Ntakirutimana’s shoes and knows how hard it can be to find your way as an artist.

The two shared a bond immediately, talking about professors and projects they both did in OCC’s Art program.  Ladd pushed Ntakirutimana to think not only about ways to improve his artwork but also market himself marketable to potential employers. They chatted about things to explore to make it so every day Ntakirutimana could wake up and do what he loved. After a long and enjoyable session, the two parted ways having learned a little bit about themselves and each other.

Celebrating Our Employees

OCC is proud to celebrate the dedicated employees that serve the college, our students and the community. Employees were celebrated for their service at the Employee Appreciation Ceremony and BBQ this week.

Employees were celebrated of their years of service, contribution to major college initiatives like Achieving the Dream and Middle States, personal achievements, newly tenured status and more. The college also took time to honor all of the employees who retired in the past year and thank them for their many years of service.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Philip Andon-McLane
  • Gabriele Antoni-Dorman
  • Diane Campbell
  • Carole Ciciarelli
  • Daniel Cleveland
  • Barbara Dennehy
  • James DiCosimo
  • Sheila Fenn
  • Daniel Fox
  • Philip Frame
  • Janice Hardy
  • Deborah Haylor-McDowell
  • Cheri Henderson
  • MaryAnn Hess
  • Karl Klein
  • Diane Knowlton
  • Jean Loftus
  • Viola Marcy
  • Rosemarie Martens
  • Pamela Martin-Louer
  • Linda McSherry
  • Valerie Melburg, Ph.D
  • Donald A. Miller
  • Andrea Moreno.
  • David W. Murphy
  • Jillann Neely
  • Rhonda Parvese
  • Edward Regan
  • Kathleen Tracy
  • Laurie Updegrove
  • Marie Zoanetti

40 Years of Service

  • David Abrams, D.M.A.

35 Years of Service

  • James F. Carey
  • Jane E. Stam

30 Years of Service

  • Christopher W. Besanson

20 Years of Service

  • Martin R. Fenner
  • Jennifer L. Jocz
  • Mary Beth M. Kelly
  • Annette Krisak
  • Joan A. Powers
  • Shirley A. Vogt
  • Rachel Williams

15 Years of Service

  • Stephanie M. Aldrich
  • Maria I. Bendura
  • Kelly M. Cotto
  • Randall E. Frech
  • Gail Jones
  • Amy K. Mech
  • Mary Jude Plunkett
  • Wendy P. Ruck
  • Darleen L. Snyder
  • Jill M. Steiner
  • Linh T. Twiss
  • Larry M. Weiskirch, Ph.D.
  • Syreeta A. Williams
  • Meredith A. Wolanske

10 Years of Service

  • Meredith L. Cantor-Feller
  • Joseph M. DelVecchio
  • Shawn C. Emmons
  • Douglas E. Hagrman, Ph.D.
  • Kenneth V. Iandolo
  • Mattie R. Jones
  • James R. Kelly
  • Marta A. Loomis
  • Julie C. March

5 Years of Service

  • Kevin L. Ashiono
  • Richard D. Blankenship
  • Daneen M. Brooks
  • Sandra W. Dobrzynski
  • Ryan A. Gustin
  • Kevin W. Kline
  • Brian M. Kotlarz
  • Peter A. Losurdo
  • Michael J. Ludwig
  • Dolores A. Massaro
  • Irene M. McIntyre
  • Edward J. Regan
  • Wanda I. Rivera
  • Thomas E. Rush
  • Anthony M. Smith
  • Dennis M. Thoryk
  • Melvin G. Troutman
  • Anne M. Tuttle, Ph.D.
  • Andrew J. Volski
  • Shawn G. Wiemann, Ph.D.
  • Michael J. Wood
  • Melanie S. Woodward

The ceremony was followed by a BBQ thanking employees for all their hard work.

35 Years of Jazz Fest

Syracuse’s 35th annual Jazz Fest is right around the corner. OCC is proud to be hosting this historic Syracuse festival. To commemorate the rich history of this festival, the Ann Felton Gallery at OCC is displaying memorabilia until June 15th, 2017.

The exhibit includes a mix of never before seen content including t-shirts, caps, pins, mugs, posters, CDs and much more. Also on display is the work of prominent local artists.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Anne Felton Center will be open from 12-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday for all the jazz lovers who would like to see this rich history. For more information on the exhibit visit our website.

Syracuse’s 35th Jazz Fest will be held at OCC on from June 8th – 10th. For more information on this year’s Jazz Fest visit their website.

10-Time National Champions

The Lazers celebrate their tenth national title after defeating Howard (MD) 15-14.

The Onondaga Community College Men’s Lacrosse team has won its 10th NJCAA National Championship. The Lazers defeated the Howard (MD) Dragons 15-14 on the OCC campus. “We’ve been waiting for this game all year,” said OCC Head Coach Chuck Wilbur. “It’s the perfect ending, playing a one goal game and winning it. What a perfect way to end it after what happened last year.”

Last year the Lazers lost the national championship on their home field, falling to Genesee Community College 13-12 in the title game. Last season’s defeat coupled with this year’s victory moves the 2017 championship to the top of the list of Wilbur’s ten titles. “This is my favorite one yet because of what we went through right here in front of everybody watching us get upset on our own field and then having to come back and think about it all year. This is probably the sweetest one. The other nine teams will probably be upset for me saying that but it is.”

Following the game Wilbur was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year. OCC Goalie Riley Smith earned Best Defensive Player honors. Attackman Russ Oakes was named Best Offensive Player. Lazers named to the All-Tournament team included midfielder Larson Sundown, Defenseman Austin Robinson, and defenseman Zach Pinney.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Class of 2017!

Onondaga Community College held its 54th commencement Saturday, May 13 in the SRC Arena and Events Center. College President Dr. Casey Crabill presided over the ceremony at which 1,300 students were eligible to receive their degrees.

Henry Humiston

The student speaker was Henry Humiston. The 46-year-old Humiston earned degrees in both Nuclear Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. He told attendees how he was diagnosed with ADHD at age 12, quit school, earned his GED and became a professional drywall finisher. A back injury led him to rethink his career options. At his mother’s urging he enrolled in OCC and started taking classes in the summer of 2012. During the 2016-17 academic year Humiston served as an officer in the Student Association. In April he was named the top student in the College’s Nuclear Technology major. He has accepted a job offer from Exelon and will begin working at Nine Mile Point in June. Upon conclusion of his speech Humiston received a standing ovation. You can read the speech in its entirety at the bottom of this story.

Commencement Grand Marshal was Pamela Martin-Louer, retiring Professor of Psychology and Chair of General Studies.

Honorary degrees were awarded to:

  • Daniel J. Cummings, co-anchor of “The Morning News” on WSYR TV, Newschannel 9.
  • Peter G. King, Partner-in-Charge at King & King Architects.
  • Sharon F. Owens, CEO of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc.
  • Kathleen A. Rapp, public servant for 25 years with both the Town of Salina and Onondaga County.

Below is student speaker Henry Humiston’s commencement address.

“Good morning, Dr. Crabill, Dr. Willis, Faculty, Members of the Board of Trustees, Honored Guests, Elected Officials, and my fellow graduates for allowing me to represent the student body as their speaker at the 54th Commencement. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be standing up here delivering the commencement address along with receiving two associates degrees, I’m sure we would have shared a great laugh together. But here I am with the support of family, faculty, and friends.

Our journeys began before we came to OCC. For me, I grew up in Liverpool, and I was diagnosed at the age of 12 with ADHD. Problems in school grew out of my disability, and I ended up not completing high school; however, when I heard about a new program at BOCES, I jumped at the chance to get my GED in three months. I was 18 years old.

I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, so for the next 20 years, I worked as a professional drywall finisher. Then, in 2011, a back injury left me unemployed, partially bedridden, and living with my parents — at the age of 41.

My mother started talking to me about going back to school and my first reaction was to reject that notion because it would mean two years without a paycheck, but when I returned to work I reinjured my back. I had to stop.  It turned out that my mother was right, just like mom usually is.

I decided to pursue a two-year math/science degree, and in the summer of 2012 I went to the Public Library to learn the fundamentals of using a computer. Then, I went to OCC and took some placement tests, only to find that I had 7th grade math skills. As many of you will understand from similar experience, I worked my way all the way up from Math Diagnostics through Calculus 1.

I worked hard to get to this point. I spent quite a few hours in both the math lab and the Content Tutoring Center. I had to learn everything that I missed in high school. I owe many thanks to the people in the math department, particularly Professor Stratton (now Dean) and Professor Tyszka.  It was Professor Tyszka who approached me about a relatively new program that the college was offering known as the Nuclear Technology Program. Then, on the advice of Professor Everett, I decided to pursue a dual major of electrical engineering and nuclear engineering technology, which has taken me an extra year to graduate.

In my last three years at OCC, I have enjoyed a lot of success, but I have had to overcome quite a few obstacles in trying to balance personal and academic responsibilities. As everyone graduating today probably knows, we would not be here without having made sacrifices, and without the support and sacrifice of our families and friends who gave us time, and sometimes more resources, to help us succeed. Today, our sacrifices are being rewarded. The OCC faculty and community have opened many doors for us.

Graduation is not the end of the journey. We’re not “done.” Considering our diverse, ever-changing world, we face circumstances that pose significant challenges. What do we want our legacy to be? At OCC we now say, “No Space for Hate,” meaning we must respect everyone’s journey. All of us have different journeys and different stories to tell that we can be proud of, but we need to move forward and build the future on the foundation of our experience. My future is beginning next month when I will start working as an Instrumentation & Control Technician at Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Station.

I am so proud to be with you in this place, at this moment. This is the first time I’ve ever walked a stage for graduation in my life and for that I would like to thank God. I would also like to thank my parents and my children. I thank you very much for letting me share my story. Let’s embrace our own stories on this day of success! Let us go from here to share with the world what we’ve learned and gained. Congratulations, best wishes, and happy journeys to all of you.”

Phi Theta Kappa honor society members pose for a photo prior to commencement.

Faculty Fellows Bring Service-Learning Into The Classroom

OCC students work with students from The Big Picture School as part of the new Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship Program.

OCC deepened its institutional commitment to incorporating service learning into coursework during the 2016-17 academic year. A President’s Incentive Grant helped the college create the new Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship Program. The support provided fellows with resources, professional development training and a mentor. The inaugural class of Service-Learning Faculty Fellows included Richard Blankenship and Fairlie Firari of English/Reading/Communication along with Lisa Dodge of Human Services.

Students in Professor Blankenship’s Intermediate Composition (ENG 211) class partnered with The Big Picture School (Lafayette Central School District) in Lafayette. OCC students worked with 9th graders, reading each other’s papers and providing peer-to-peer face-to-face reviews. Students also participated in a common read and discussed their different perceptions. “Writing to a real audience rather than a teacher made a big difference,” said Blankenship. “OCC students communicated and connected with Big Picture students. They had conversations and learned more than the material in the course. Students went above the expectations and learned from each other.”

Faculty Fellows Richard Blankenship (left) and Fairlie Firari (right).

Professor Firari’s Intercultural Communications (COM 282) course provided students with the opportunity to do research in various locations throughout Syracuse. Students interacted with refugees and immigrants, in the process learning what they went through to get here. “Every student that participated said it was eye-opening,” said Firari. “When faced with people from other countries, cultures and languages they really did have some preconceived ideas. Shedding those was important as was interacting, getting involved and understanding who is in the community.” Each group was required to do a presentation on their research project.

Students in Professor Dodge’s Social Work and People with Disabilities (HUM 269) class also spent time in the community. One of her student’s, Caleb Beman found the work had a profound impact on him.

“I constantly am in discussion with my coworkers, professors, fellow students, and peers about the types of discrimination that people with disabilities still live with and as I grow older I’m going to do my part to become more involved in local, state, and potentially even national politics,” said Beman. He was awarded Service-Learning Civic Engagement Recognition for his outstanding work.

The Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship program will continue in the fall with four more programs.

  • Professor Ben Miller, Advocacy & Opposition (COM 204), students will identify a community issue and develop an advocacy campaign on campus.
  • Professor Mary Dooley, Geriatric and Palliative Care (NUR 298), will fully engage students on a personal level to get to know this population and their needs.
  • Professor Tim Haskell, Freshman Composition (ENG 103), will partner with Literacy CNY to have students work with adult literacy learners in Syracuse.
  • Professors Malkiel Choseed and Donna Stuccio, English and Criminal Justice classes, will partner with inmates at the Jamesville Penitentiary to provide Shakespeare/Play Writing classes. Students will serve as classmates and peer mentors.

OCC’s Service Learning committee is co-chaired by Electronic Media Communications Professor Linda Herbert and Maria Malagisi, Assistant Director of Service-Learning.

“Serving Students” on our Podcast

Our latest edition of podcast “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College” is focused on the services we provide our students.


We’ll introduce you to Marcus Watts, Director of our Educational Opportunity Program. His staff works hard every day to help improve the academic performance of Central New York’s historically underserved students.


You’ll also meet Natalia Montilla, a 2015 graduate of Nottingham High School. She came to OCC as a very intelligent but very shy student. Her involvement with numerous support organizations here helped her blossom into a top student and vocal leader on campus. Later this month she will help lead a team of students to NASA in Houston as part of a nationwide competition.

Enjoy the latest edition of Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College!


Jazz Fest 35 is Coming to OCC

2017 SJF Poster

Jazz Fest 35 is coming to OCC from June 8th to June 10th. OCC is proud to be hosting the three-day long festival created and organized by OCC Alum Frank Malfitano ’67.

The festival will kick off on June 8th at 6 p.m. in Storer Auditorium with Central New York jazz legend Peter Mack & the Macket. It’s followed by two nights of jazz performances from artists like UAD Kings of the Fall, the Mavericks, the Ramsey Lewis Electric Quintet, Asleep at the Wheel, Todd Rundgren, Rebirth Brass Band and more. The skies will light up on Friday night with a fireworks display at 9 p.m.

For a full schedule of events visit the Jazz Fest Website.

Get excited for the historic 35th year, by visiting the Jazz Fest 35 Memorabilia Exhibit. The exhibit will go on display this Monday, May 15th at 12 p.m. at the Ann Felton Multicultural Center in Ferrante Hall at OCC. Memorabilia will be displayed until June 15th. Visit the Jazz Fest Website for more details.

We’re proud to be hosting Jazz Fest again and hope you’ll be able to join us for the 35th celebration!

Thank You Dad

Zia Jackson pictured with her father, Jay Jackson.

This weekend Zia Jackson will become the first member of her family to graduate from college when she receives her degree in Hospitality Management. She says her dad deserves as much credit as she does. “Saturday will be a very emotional day for both of us. My dad has been a big part of this. We have been through a lot together.”

Jerry “Jay” Jackson came from a broken home. When he was a small boy his father left, leaving his mother to raise four sons and a daughter. They grew up poor, living on a steady diet of buttered noodles for weeks at a time.

When Zia was two-years-old her parents split up. Her father raised her. They’ve been inseparable. “We’re both geeks,” she said. “We’ll watch Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings marathons on TV together.”

Zia attended Henninger High School. As she approached graduation day in 2015, going to college was a regular topic of conversation. “He didn’t go to college and he wanted to make sure I did.” After a long day at work he would research information on college-related scholarships, degree programs and internships. His dedication to his daughter’s success motivated her to become a successful student. “Everything I do related to college is for him. He’s worked so hard for me.”

Zia has also worked hard for herself. Besides taking classes full-time she also works 30 hours a week at Panera in Marshall’s Plaza on Erie Boulevard. With her father’s help she’s exploring transfer opportunities. This fall she plans to enroll at either SUNY Delhi or Empire College.