Onondaga Community College’s “Believe In Better” fundraising campaign received a generous boost recently from King+King Architects. New York State’s oldest architectural firm presented the OCC Foundation with a $10,000 check. The donation will be used to provide a quality, affordable education to students.
“Having been a part of the OCC Foundation Board for many years, I am humbled by the work the college is doing,” said Peter King, Partner, King+King Architects and Honorary Co-Chair of the Believe in Better fundraising campaign. “Students, many of whom come from challenged backgrounds, are getting a chance at a better future through education. We believe that this investment will help improve the Central New York economy.”
“King+King Architects, as a business leader, is proud to make this investment in OCC and our community,” said Kirk Narbaugh, CEO and Managing Partner, King+King Architects. “This is an investment we truly believe will foster the growth and development of a talented workforce for all of Central New York and beyond.”
“We’re honored to have King+King Architects as one of our partners in education. Their support of our students is invaluable both in their generosity to our Believe In Better campaign and the amazing work they’ve done with buildings on our campus. Onondaga Community College is a better place because of King+King Architects,” said Lisa Moore, Vice President, Development and Executive Director, Onondaga Community College Foundation.
Proceeds from the Summer Celebration friendraiser will benefit the OCC Advantage College Readiness and Scholarship program. Students who meet attendance and grade point average (GPA) requirements, complete community service and graduate will be eligible to attend OCC tuition-free. The GPA requirement is 2.0 which is the letter grade equivalent of a “C.” Once enrolled at OCC students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must meet minimum GPA requirements and perform community service.
Rebecca Chapman remembers the moment when she and other members of OCC’s Business Club paused and thought about where they were, high atop One World Trade Center enjoying the view of New York City below. “One of us said, ‘I can see myself doing this. I can see myself living here. I can see myself working here.’ A lot of us had the realization we could see ourselves doing this one day. It was the most amazing experience. We all learned so much from it.”
What Chapman and five fellow members of OCC’s Business Club experienced was a three night stay in New York City and the opportunity to get an up-close look at a career in finance. “We had the chance to be a professional in New York City for three days,” said fellow student JW Simmons who is also Student Director on the OCC Foundation’s Finance Board. “It was a raw education about the markets and whatever kind of interests you had in the business world, a real-life experience to live in the city, be dressed in business attire and have lunch with people from Goldman Sachs.”
The primary reason students went to New York City was to observe the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. (Global Asset Management Education) Forum, a student-run financial conference featuring industry experts. OCC students listened in on panel discussions about various topics within the financial industry including current trends and career opportunities. “We learned a lot about the finance industry, how to put yourself out there and a lot of life lessons. It was really amazing,” said Chapman.
Students were also invited into the penthouse apartment of OCC alumnus and attorney Bradley Silverbush, ’75. He fed the students, entertained them on his baby grand piano and talked careers with them. “He was like the Dos Equis guy, the world’s most interesting man. He was extremely intelligent, very creative in his thought, extremely well-spoken and gave great advice,” said Simmons. “I always say it’s not where you start, it’s where you end. Knowing he came from here is proof you can literally do whatever you want,” added Chapman.
The six Business Club students who attended only had to pay for their train tickets to and from New York City. All other expenses were covered by a generous donor through OCC’s Foundation. The donor was Alexander P. Henn, Managing Partner at Cypress Financial Consultants, LLC which is part of AXA in downtown Syracuse. “It’s always good to give students some exposure to industries and the post education world so that they can see what a career in a certain industry may look like,” said Henn. “We feel the student experience needs to go beyond the classroom and when an opportunity for students to attend an event like this in NYC comes about it is a special opportunity for them.”
The students wish to thank Henn, OCC Foundation Director Lisa Moore and Professor Kristen Costello who is Faculty Adviser for the Business Club. The experience was one student’s say they will remember and be inspired by for a long time.
The OCC Advantage program welcomed Jordan-Elbridge’s class of 2022 during a signing ceremony January 28 at the high school. All freshman students at Jordan-Elbridge who meet attendance and grade point average (GPA) requirements, complete community service and graduate will be eligible to attend OCC tuition free. The GPA requirement is 2.0 which is the letter grade equivalent of a “C.”
Once enrolled at OCC students will have two years to complete work toward an associate degree or certificate, preparing them for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. During their time on campus students must meet minimum grade point average requirements and perform community service.
All 95 students who are presently freshman at Jordan-Elbridge High School are eligible for the OCC Advantage program. As members of the class of 2022 they will be college-ready and able to attend OCC tuition-free should they choose to do so.
“This is the continuation of a very strong partnership we’ve long enjoyed with the Jordan-Elbridge School District,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. “All of us are very proud to stand beside you in this work that helps to ensure a bright future for your school and your entire community.”
“Over the last few years we’ve had some tremendous things occur,” said Jordan-Elbridge Superintendent Jim Froio. “I remember when we received the news that we were the recipients of the 3-year-old pre-school grant. I went skipping down the hall yelling, ‘We got the grant! We got the grant!’ I thought that might be the pinnacle of my educational career but I think this even trumps that at the other end of the spectrum. I really see and I hope all of you see what a tremendous opportunity is being laid at your feet.”
Jordan-Elbridge joins the East Syracuse Minoa, Onondaga Central and Solvay school districts as participants in the OCC Advantage program.
Three years ago Dave Cook began a picture taking expedition. The 1970 Corcoran High School graduate decided he wanted to photograph every place he had ever lived for more than six months. He was taking pictures on the south side of Syracuse when he drove up the hill and walked in unannounced to the office of the OCC Foundation which raises money for students scholarships, programs and projects. “I decided it was time to give back. I made it through as an average or better than average student. I felt it was important to help students like I was.”
Cook’s visit timed perfectly with the creation of OCC Advantage, a unique college-readiness and scholarship program which gives high school students in specific districts the opportunity to attend OCC tuition free should they meet attendance and grade point average requirements and also complete community service. “I call it the ‘Dave Cook solid C, barely B scholarship.’ It’s for those students who don’t qualify for the scholarships the ‘A’ students get but are making the effort and have potential.”
Cook saw himself in those types of students and decided to donate $25,000 to the OCC Advantage program. It was his way of paying it forward and thanking the College for what it had done for him. “OCC was not a fallback college for me. It was the most frugal way for me to get a four-year degree.”
Cook attended OCC from 1970 to 1972 when it was still located in Midtown Plaza. He transferred to SUNY Potsdam where he earned a degree in Political Science. Cook would go on to manage Social Security Administration offices in Syracuse, Rochester, Corning, Plattsburgh, Ithaca, Schenectady and Geneva for 30 years until he retired.
Throughout his professional career volunteering was a big part of who Cook was. “One of my first bosses told me ‘you’re going to join the Rotary.’ That’s when it all started.’” Cook was on so many boards he received the national award for Volunteer of the Year. Today he’s still a member of the Rotary where he will play Santa Claus on the Santa Train. He’s also a member of the Sons and Daughters of Italy and refers to himself as ‘the only bagpiping Scotsman member.’
Cook is happy to keep helping whether the benefactors are civic minded organizations or students at his alma mater. “Everyone can afford to be the nice guy, give back and help the next generation. What kids are paying for an education today is absolutely insane. OCC was my plan to get an education without taking out loans. I graduated from college without any debt.”
Onondaga Community College has kicked off a fundraising campaign titled “Believe In Better.” The campaign asks not only for your financial support but also the belief in people’s ability to achieve a better life and the belief in the power of education to create a better community.
It’s not a campaign about big numbers or padding endowments. Our goal is to make a real difference in the community by helping real people get the support they need to complete their education and reach their full potential.
Dennis J. Hebert will serve the OCC Foundation’s Board of Directors as Chair during the 2018-2019 academic year. Hebert is a 1967 alumnus of Onondaga Community College. He is a financial planner with Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC in Liverpool NY.
Joining Hebert on the leadership team for the 2018-2019 year are:
Alicia S. Calagiovanni, Esq., Vice Chair – Ms. Calagiovanni is a partner in the law firm Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC.
Alexander P. Henn, Treasurer – Mr. Henn is the Vice President for the Northeast Region with AXA Advisors, LLC.
Nancy A. Bottar, Secretary – Ms. Bottar is a Registered Nurse and a community leader.
The OCC Foundation is proud to welcome seven new members to its Board of Directors:
Rickey T. Brown – Mr. Brown is Executive Director for the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance.
Terry Hopkins – Ms. Hopkins is the Community Relations Manager at C&S Companies.
Jeff Knauss – Mr. Knauss is the Co-Founder of the Digital Hyve, a digital marketing agency.
Jonathan Parry – Mr. Parry is the Director of Genius NY, the world’s largest business accelerator for unmanned systems.
Ronald Belle, AAMS – Mr. Belle is the Chief Experience Officer at AmeriCU Federal Credit Union.
Alan Marzullo – Mr. Marzullo is the Business Manager of IBEW Local 43.
Two OCC Board Members have been granted Emeritus Director status:
James F. Holland, Executive Vice President for Administration at SRC, Inc. – Holland is an immediate past president of the OCC Foundation.
Orrin B. “Mac” MacMurray, P.E., former Chairman and CEO of C&S Engineers – MacMurray served on the Foundation board for several years.
Since its founding in 1980, the OCC Foundation has helped thousands of students realize their potential through higher education. The Foundation administers more than 150 scholarships and provides more than $800,000 in aid each year. In addition to scholarship support, the Foundation raises funds for programs and projects that enrich the Onondaga experience and open new opportunities for the campus community.
At OCC, we believe that no student should be forced to make a decision between buying food and paying for college. That’s why we have a Food Link on our campus to support students who need the extra assistance.
The Food Link is made possible by many generous sponsors and donors. Now among them is the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors (GSAR) who just made a $7,500 commitment to the Food Link for the next three years. “We’re seeing more demand for our Food Link this year then we have last year, ” said Mariel Anderson, Director of the Community Care Hub. “It’s what makes donations like this so important and appreciated.”
In addition to the donation to support the Food Link, the GSAR also will be hosting a clothing drive with our Career Services office in the coming months.
OCC staff and community partners from Bank of America, SUNY Cortland, Hillside and Onpoint for College gathered on August 6th to celebrate the achievements of the students in the Summer Bridge Program at OCC. The Summer Bridge Program is an opportunity for incoming students that are part of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at OCC to get a jump start on their college experience. OCC and it’s community partners are proud to celebrate the success of these 30+ students as they transition into college life.
Bank of America gave OCC staff and students another reason to celebrate too. A generous donation of $10,000 was presented by Molly Mulvihill Vice President of Syracuse/Utica Market Manager at Bank of America and Irina Podmolska, Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch. Their donation will ensure the summer bridge program continues into the future.
Thank you Bank of America for supporting our next generation of student’s college success!
Latavius Murray, a running back with the Minnesota Vikings, came back to his hometown last week to support a fundraiser for the OCC Advantage program. OCC Advantage helps students from East Syracuse Minoa, Solvay and Onondaga Central (Murray’s Alma Mater) earn a tuition-free scholarship to OCC provided they meet certain requirements. Proceeds from the June 26th fundraiser at Beak & Skiff will go towards the scholarship fund.
The priceless moments, though, was seeing the looks on the faces of Murray’s fans when they got to meet their role model and hometown hero. Check out some of the highlights below.
Thank you Latavius Murray, for graciously spending your Tuesday evening with us – signing autographs, drawing raffle prizes, and talking with everyone who attended. A special thanks goes out to Rob Price and Tim Mumford from Onondaga Central Schools for helping coordinate Murray’s visit.
When you support Onondaga Community College, you are making a statement that you believe in the importance of quality affordable education for everyone. You are creating new opportunities and new beginnings for students and our greater community.