Honoring Our 2018 Alumni Faces

The 2018 Alumni Faces honorees on stage in the Recital Hall are (left to right) Jim Campagna, ’79, Nancy Pasquale, ’90, Mark Re, ’85, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Jeremy Thompson, ’09 and Jerome Thompson, 2006-2009. Honoree David Bamonte, ’81 was unable to attend the event.

The 2018 Alumni Faces ceremony was filled with emotion. One by one the honorees walked on stage, received their awards and expressed heartfelt gratitude for those who helped them achieve success. They thanked their spouses, their families and faculty members at OCC who played critical roles in their development. You can watch the entire event here.

This year’s celebration was held in the Recital Hall on the night of October 3. It included six distinguished former students who were recognized for their professional achievements and contributions to the college and the community. The honorees included:

David Bamonte, ’81

  • High School: North Syracuse
  • Major at OCC: Music
  • Profession: Educator and Trumpet Player
  • David has traveled the world playing the trumpet with acclaimed conductors such as Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. Today he is a member of the Oregon Symphony and a professor at Portland State University. Unfortunately Bamonte was unable to attend the ceremony.

 

The 2018 Alumni Faces etchings are on display in the main hallway of the Academic II building.

Jim Campagna, ’79

  • High School: North Syracuse
  • Major at OCC: Radio & Television
  • Profession: Television News Director
  • Jim is News Director at WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Throughout much of his career he shared his expertise with the next generation of professionals, serving as an adjunct professor in OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major from 2001 to 2015. Today he continues to serve as a member of the EMC Advisory Board.

 

Nancy Pasquale, ’90

  • High School: The Convent School
  • Major at OCC: Humanities
  • Profession: Educator and Advocate
  • Nancy was a founding member of the college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges. She taught English at Fayetteville-Manlius and Solvay High Schools until she retired in 2015. Today she serves a co-chair of the OCC Advantage fundraising initiative.

 

Mark Re, ’85

  • High School: Bishop Ludden
  • Major at OCC: Business Administration
  • Profession: Real Estate Regional Manager
  • Mark is Vice President and Regional Manager of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. He has been a steadfast supporter of OCC, serving on the Foundation Board since 2004. He is co-chair of the OCC Advantage Fundraising initiative.

 

Jeremy Thompson, ’09

  • High School: LaFayette
  • Major at OCC: General Studies
  • Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player
  • Jeremy was an All-American lacrosse player at Lafayette High School, OCC and Syracuse University. He was also a two-time New York State Champion and a National Champion with the Lazers. He and his brother Jerome are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse.

 

Jerome Thompson, 2006-2009

  • High School: LaFayette
  • Major at OCC: General Studies
  • Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player
  • Jerome and his brother Jeremy are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse. Jerome helped lead the Lazers Men’s Lacrosse team to National Championships in 2007 and 2009. Both he and his brother Jeremy continuously give back to the Native American community and are icons and role models for their work.

 

Earlier in the day several of the Alumni Faces honorees spent time on campus, speaking with students about their time at OCC and answering their questions. You can view a slideshow of them on campus below.

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2018 Class of Alumni Faces

The latest Alumni Faces honorees are recognized on the first floor of the Academic II building.

Six distinguished former Onondaga Community College students have been named 2018 “Alumni Faces” honorees for their professional achievements and contributions to the college and the community. They will be honored for their accomplishments during an induction ceremony Wednesday, October 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. Their likenesses will be added to the Alumni Faces display in the Academic II building.

The 2018 class of Alumni Faces is:

David Bamonte, ’81
High School: North Syracuse
Major at OCC: Music
Profession: Educator and Trumpet Player

David has traveled the world playing the trumpet with acclaimed conductors such as Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. Today he is a member of the Oregon Symphony and a professor at Portland State University.

 

Jim Campagna, ’79
High School: North Syracuse
Major at OCC: Radio & Television
Profession: Television News Director

Jim is News Director at WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Throughout much of his career he shared his expertise with the next generation of professionals, serving as an adjunct professor in OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major from 2001 to 2015. Today he continues to serve as a member of the EMC Advisory Board.

 

Nancy Pasquale, ’90
High School: The Convent School
Major at OCC: Humanities
Profession: Educator and Advocate

Nancy was a founding member of the college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges. She taught English at Fayetteville-Manlius and Solvay High Schools until she retired in 2015. Today she serves a co-chair of the OCC Advantage fundraising initiative.

 

Mark Re, ’85
High School: Bishop Ludden
Major at OCC: Business Administration
Profession: Real Estate Regional Manager

Mark is Vice President and Regional Manager of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. He has been a steadfast supporter of OCC, serving on the Foundation Board since 2004. He is co-chair of the OCC Advantage Fundraising initiative.

 

Jeremy Thompson, ’09
High School: LaFayette
Major at OCC: General Studies
Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player

Jeremy was an All-American lacrosse player at Lafayette High School, OCC and Syracuse University. He was also a two-time New York State Champion and a National Champion with the Lazers. He and his brother Jerome are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse.

 

Jerome Thompson, 2006-2009
High School: LaFayette
Major at OCC: General Studies
Profession: Professional Lacrosse Player

Jerome and his brother Jeremy are the face of Nike’s line of Lacrosse gear and part owners of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse. Jerome helped lead the Lazers Men’s Lacrosse team to National Championships in 2007 and 2009. Both he and his brother Jeremy continuously give back to the Native American community and are revered as icons and role models for their work.

 

Congratulations to our Alumni Faces Class of 2018! You can see a complete list of all of our Alumni Faces honorees here.

Bill Bonnell, ’83

  • Major at OCC: Radio & TV (now Electronic Media Communications)
  • High School: North Syracuse, Class of 1981

Bill is an Emmy Award winning television sports producer with ESPN who has coordinated coverage of Olympic games, Super Bowls and several other high-profile sports events. He built the foundation for his success at OCC. “Going to OCC was a great experience. The classes were small. It was very intimate and personal.” Bill’s wife, mother and one of his brothers also graduated from OCC. “I loved my time there. OCC has been a big part of my life and always will be.”

Please take a moment, visit our Alumni web site and tell us how OCC impacted your life.

Alumni Faces – Class of 2016

2016 Alumni Faces honorees (left to right): Dr. Thomas Zengeya, Kathy Rowe, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Jeff Cleland and Michael Meath.
2016 Alumni Faces honorees (left to right): Dr. Thomas Zengeya, Kathy Rowe, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Corporal Jeff Cleland and Michael Meath.

OCC honored its 2016 class of Alumni Faces October 26 in the Recital Hall of the Academic II building. Four distinguished graduates were recognized for their professional achievements and contributions to the College and the community.

cropped-cleland-etchingCorporal Jeff Cleland, ‘13

  • Major at OCC: Liberal Arts & Sciences – General Studies
  • Profession: Public Policy and Veterans Affairs
  • High School: West Genesee, Class of 2005

Jeff Cleland was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corp. He worked as an Infantry Machine Gunner while serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After retiring from active duty Cleland began a career of public service at Clear Path for Veterans and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Today he is leading research and policy efforts for the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, TX.

cropped-meath-etchingMichael F. Meath, ‘87

  • Major at OCC: Fire Protection Technology
  • Profession: Strategic Communications Consultant
  • High School: Bishop Grimes, Class of 1975

Michael Meath has helped hundreds of businesses throughout the nation deal with crisis communications. When unexpected events occur Meath is called in to provide strategic insight and practical, down-to-earth business sense. Meath also shares his wisdom with college students by teaching public relations, business ethics and crisis communications at McMaster University and Syracuse University.

 

cropped-rowe-etchingKathy Rowe, ‘80

  • Major @ OCC: Radio & Television
  • Profession: Radio Personality
  • High School: North Syracuse, Class of 1977

Kathy Rowe was an on-air personality at radio station Y94 (WYYY-FM) for more than 30 years. She started working there in 1982 and was Y94’s morning show host for more than a decade. During her distinguished career Rowe also worked at Syracuse radio stations WAQX-FM and WOLF-AM.  Rowe is married to Syracuse Jazz Fest founder and executive producer Frank Malfitano, ’67 who is also one of OCC’s Alumni Faces.

 

cropped-zengeya-etchingDr. Thomas T. Zengeya, ‘02

  • Major: Mathematics & Science
  • Profession: Research Scientist

Thomas Zengeya is a native of Zimbabwe who came to the United States in 2001 to study science. He earned degrees from four SUNY schools including OCC, ESF, Oswego and Binghamton. Zengeya is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. He has several awards, publications and presentations to his credit.

The honorees etchings, which are pictured next to each of their stories, were placed in the Alumni Faces exhibit in the first floor hallway of the Academic II building.

The ceremony was highlighted by outstanding musical performances by faculty in the College’s signature Music department. Dr. David Rudari, D.M.A. sang both the National Anthem and OCC’s Alma Mater. Dr. Rudari also teamed up with Professor of Piano Dr. Kevin Moore on “The Impossible Dream” from Man of LaMancha.

The Alumni Faces ceremony was part of a day-long celebration across campus. Each of the honorees had the opportunity to speak with students whose academic interests align with the honoree’s career achievements. Cleland spent time with student veterans, Meath met with Business Club and Honor students and Zengeya shared his thoughts with math, science and international students. Each of the honorees was also invited to lunch with College President Dr. Casey Crabill.

You can view a slideshow highlighting the day’s events below. Congratulations to our 2016 Class of Alumni Faces!

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Alumni Face Honoree – Kathy Rowe

Kathy Rowe (center) with the later Richie Havens (left) and husband and previous Alumni Face Honoree Frank Malfitano '67
Kathy Rowe (center) with the late Richie Havens (left) and husband and 2006 Alumni Face Honoree Frank Malfitano ’67

Onondaga Community College annually recognizes distinguished graduates by naming them ”Alumni Faces” for their accomplishments and  contributions to the community. The 2016 class will be honored during a ceremony October 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall which is located in the Academic II building. One of the graduates we will honor that night is Kathy Rowe

Kathy Rowe was part of Central New Yorkers morning routine. Get your breakfast, make your coffee get your kids ready for school with Kathy’s pleasant voice and radio station Y94 on in the background. She graced local air waves for nearly four decades on radio stations Y94, 95X and WOLF. She was a natural in radio but when she came to OCC from what was then known as North Syracuse High School she wasn’t sure what her calling would be. “I knew I had an interest in media but I wasn’t sure what format I wanted to pursue since I didn’t have experience in any mediums. I was looking to explore and find what the right fit was.”

The faculty in the Radio & TV major were exactly what Rowe needed to learn and grow. “The professors always had their door open for questions and conversation. We had unlimited use of the studio facilities and could work on our craft anytime.” Rowe remembers one project in particular that consisted of telling a story through sound effects. It cemented her love of audio and the world of radio.

kathy_rowe16-270x30022222In her second year on campus Rowe was hired by radio station WOLF to work as a news anchor, reporter and producer. She eventually became the overnight disc jockey. “The fact I was able to land a job in the radio profession in just my second year of school without any formal training prior to that is a testament to the faculty and their commitment to student success,” Rowe said. During her time at WOLF she was also in charge of hosting a weekend public affairs show which turned out to be an eye-opening experience for her. “I saw a community interest component that would become just as important to me and how I wanted to incorporate that into my work.” Her love of promoting community events inspired her to become a champion for events and groups which had not previously had a voice in the community.

Rowe’s emergence as a leader in the community set an example for all, especially for women in the media. “Looking back on it, I take great pride in having my own show. It was unusual for a woman at the time. If it inspired other women to pursue radio, the profession is better for it.”

The role of radio has changed since Rowe’s first job in the early 80s. She views the medium as the first social media and believes it still has a vital role to play. “There’s a companion piece to radio that is unique. It creates a very personal connection with the listener. I believe it will remain a viable offering in the years ahead.”

As Rowe reflects on being named an Alumni Faces honoree she is thankful for the foundation she built on campus. “Students and faculty within Radio & TV were a big family. We looked out for one another and nurtured the idea of creativity since everyone understood the business is constantly changing.”

After earning her degree and achieving success Rowe never forgot her roots. She was always available to visit classes, host interns and serve as an ambassador for the College in the community. “I love OCC. It remains one of the best choices of my life. They transformed a kid with some potential into someone who could not only contribute right away to the profession, but taught her the importance of creativity so she could thrive.”

2016 Alumni Faces Honorees

The Alumni Faces display in the Academic II building.
The Alumni Faces display in the Academic II building.

Four distinguished graduates have been named 2016 “Alumni Faces” honorees for their professional achievements and contributions to the College and the community. Jeff Cleland, Michael Meath, Kathy Rowe and Dr. Thomas Zengeya will be honored for their accomplishments during an induction ceremony Wednesday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall which is located in the Academic II building.

Let’s meet the 2016 Alumni Faces!

Jeff Cleland, 2016 Alumni FaceJeff Cleland, ‘13

  • Major: Liberal Arts & Sciences – General Studies
  • Profession: Public Policy and Veterans Affairs
  • West Genesee, Class of 2005

Jeff Cleland was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corp. He worked as an Infantry Machine Gunner while serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After retiring from active duty Cleland began a career of public service at Clear Path for Veterans and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Today he is leading research and policy efforts for the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, TX.

 

Michael Meath, 2016 Alumni FaceMichael F. Meath, ‘87

  • Major: Fire Protection Technology
  • Profession: Strategic Communications Consultant
  • High School: Bishop Grimes, Class of 1975

Michael Meath has helped hundreds of businesses throughout the nation deal with crisis communications. When unexpected events occur Meath is called in to provide strategic insight and practical, down-to-earth business sense. Meath also shares his wisdom with college students by teaching public relations, business ethics and crisis communications at McMaster University and Syracuse University.

 

Kathy Rowe, 2016 Alumni FaceKathy Rowe, ‘80

  • Major: Radio & Television
  • Profession: Radio Personality
  • High School: North Syracuse, Class of 1977

Kathy Rowe was an on-air personality at radio station Y94 (WYYY-FM) for more than 30 years. She started working there in 1982 and was Y94’s morning show host for more than a decade. During her distinguished career Rowe also worked at Syracuse radio stations WAQX-FM and WOLF-AM.  Rowe is married to Syracuse Jazz Fest founder and executive producer Frank Malfitano, ’67 who is also one of OCC’s Alumni Faces.

 

Thomas Zengeya Wall of Fame photoDr. Thomas T. Zengeya, ‘02

  • Major: Mathematics & Science
  • Profession: Research Scientist

Thomas Zengeya is a native of Zimbabwe who came to the United States in 2001 to study science. He earned degrees from four SUNY schools including OCC, ESF, Oswego and Binghamton. Zengeya is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. He has several awards, publications and presentations to his credit.

Congratulations to our 2016 Alumni Faces honorees!

Producing Excellence – Bill Bonnell, ’83

It was the fall of 1981 and Bill Bonnell was driving to the OCC campus for his first day of college classes. He didn’t have music blaring with the windows down. He wasn’t carpooling with any fellow graduates of North Syracuse High School. Bonnell was driving to campus with his mother, Janice Bonnell, whom he had made a deal with. “She was working as a nurse at Course-Irving Hospital but was a few credits short of getting her degree. I convinced her to come back to school with me and finish her work. How many kids go to college with their mom?”

Bonnell’s mother has been a central figure in his life. He lost his father to cancer when he was a freshman in high school. Bonnell’s three older siblings were out of the house by then, so it was just him and his mother. “She had to be my mom and my dad. She was always very supportive of me in every endeavor. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her never ending support.”

Bonnell while working for NBC at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Bonnell while working for NBC at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

 

Where Bonnell is today is at the top of the television sports producing profession. He’s coordinated coverage of practically every major sporting event you can think of. If you’ve watched Super Bowls, Olympic Games, professional tennis tournaments, pro football or college football, you’ve seen his work. Bonnell has won more than a dozen Emmy Awards throughout his career – a career that started when he was in high school and blossomed while he was a student at OCC.

Bonnell often uses the word “serendipitous” when describing his career journey. Every opportunity has introduced him to people who have led him to future opportunities. It started as a student at North Syracuse High School where a severe ankle injury sidelined him from playing basketball. He dreamed of becoming a sportscaster, so he decided to contribute by being the public address announcer for home games.

Bonnell (center) with his Saturday Night Football team of Chris Fowler (left) and Kirk Herbstreit (right).
Bonnell (center) with his Saturday Night Football team of Chris Fowler (left) and Kirk Herbstreit (right).

Back in those days, Syracuse public broadcasting station WCNY televised live high school sports events. One night they showed up at North Syracuse for a basketball game with their big production truck and a large crew of workers. “To see that truck and all of those people come into your school was a big deal.” Bonnell introduced himself to the person in charge, told him he wanted to work in the industry and a career was launched. He started working behind-the-scenes on statewide broadcasts of Syracuse University football, Empire State Games, wrestling, lacrosse, basketball and more. “They really took me under their wing. For a kid like me it was unprecedented to get that kind of experience.”

Bonnell loved working behind the scenes on what is known as the production side of a telecast. “I learned very early in my career doing graphics (the words and pre-produced pictures you see on your screen) was the ground level of production. I worked hard to learn graphics.”

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In July of 1981, a month before Bonnell would start taking classes at OCC, he went to the Carrier Dome where ABC was televising the National Sports Festival, a multi-sport competition created by the United States Olympic Committee to showcase Olympic sports in Olympic off-years. Bonnell introduced himself to people working for ABC. Two months later, he was working on ABC’s Monday Night Football.

When Bonnell started taking classes at OCC he was going non-stop. There were classes during the week, Syracuse football broadcasts on Saturdays and on Sundays he was flying to wherever the Monday Night Football game was. “The people in the Radio & TV major were very understanding and great to work with. I loved my professors, Vinny Spadafora, Cathy Hawkins, Tony Vadala, who was very new at that time, and all of those people. They knew the importance of me getting experience. I still had to do all of the work but they helped me juggle all of these things at the same time.”

Bonnell worked for legendary sports producer Roone Arledge (above) during the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Bonnell worked for legendary sports producer Roone Arledge (above) during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Bonnell earned his degree in 1983. “Going to OCC was a great experience. The classes were small. It was very intimate and personal. It felt like family.” He transferred to Syracuse University and continued his busy work schedule outside of class. In the summer of 1984 he would get the biggest break of his career. ABC hired him full time to work at the Summer Olympics. Bonnell spent a couple of months preparing in New York City, then flew to Los Angeles for the games. He was the graphics production assistant for ABC’s prime time shows, working under legendary sports producer Roone Arledge. Bonnell’s experience was so positive he considered not returning to Syracuse University.

Former colleague Bob Iger (above) convinced Bonnell to stay in school and pursue his degree. Today Iger is in charge of the Walt Disney Company.
Former colleague Bob Iger (above) convinced Bonnell to stay in college and pursue his degree. Today Iger is in charge of the Walt Disney Company.

While working in Los Angeles he found himself having life discussions with a co-worker named Bob Iger. “Bob told me ‘You’ve got to go back. You’ve got to finish. Get your degree. ABC Sports will always be here.’ Based on what I considered to be his fatherly advice I went back and finished.” It was good advice from a successful businessman. Today Iger is well-known in his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company.

Bonnell graduated from Syracuse University in the summer of 1985. As he was finishing his last class, he was hired by CBS Sports to work on their National Football League coverage that fall. The list of sports events he’s covered and people he’s worked with since the 1984 Summer Olympic Games are as impressive as any you will find in the broadcasting industry:

  • CBS Sports broadcast associate assigned to the Chicago Bears during their 1985 Super Bowl season.
  • Joined ABC Sports in 1987 where he worked in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary as assistant to the producer. It was the final Olympic Games produced by Arledge.
  • Went to ESPN in 1989 to work on its Sunday Night Football telecasts.
  • Moved to NBC Sports in 1990 where another legendary producer, Dick Ebersol, hired him to work on the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Ebersol would become his mentor and they would work side-by-side for 10 years. During that time Bonnell worked on Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Notre Dame football and major tennis tournaments.
  • In 2002 he was hired at ESPN as a coordinating producer, where he works today. For the last 10 years he has been in charge of the Saturday night prime time college football games broadcast on ABC. He’s also overseen Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments and high-profile ESPN events including the NFL Draft, the College Baseball World Series and the ESPY Awards. Bonnell has produced the last 10 college football Rose Bowl games and the last seven national championship games. You can see him discuss pre-event coverage plans for January’s title game between Ohio State and Oregon here.
Katherine (left) and William (center) spend some quality time with their dad.
Katherine (left) and William (center) spend some quality time with their dad.

As Bonnell’s career has flourished so too has his personal life. During one of his trips home to Syracuse to visit his mother in the late 1980s, he dropped in on her at Crouse-Irving Hospital. “I saw this lady who worked with my mother running around and asked my mom, ‘Who is that?’ She said, ‘That’s Mary Beth Dennis.’ I tried for months to get her to go on a date with me and she kept saying no.” Dennis eventually gave in and they spent their first date enjoying dinner at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles. “When I got home that night my mother said, ‘You have dots all over your face!’” Bonnell had chicken pox and two weeks later his new girlfriend would too. Despite the virus their relationship survived. They married in 1990. Today they have two children: 14-year-old William and 12-year-old Katherine.

Bonnell at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Bonnell at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

While the children enjoy some down time in the summer, Bonnell’s is filled with work. In July he produced ESPN’s ESPY Award Red Carpet Show. Ten days later he was producing the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles. He loves coordinating coverage for sizable events. The one he dreams of working on the most has nothing to do with sports. “I’d love to produce the Academy Awards someday. I love big events. I love entertainment. I’ve worked on Olympics, Super Bowl’s, national championship games. The Academy Awards would be a tremendous accomplishment.”

Accomplishments are what Bonnell and his family are all about. His mother earned her Nursing degree from OCC in 1982. His wife is also an OCC grad. Mary Beth earned her Math & Science degree in 1985. Even one of Bonnell’s brothers, Robert, has a diploma from OCC. He graduated in 1977 with a degree in Business Administration. “I really love OCC and the experiences I had there. I know the Electronic Media Communications Department is in great hands with Tony Vadala’s leadership. OCC has been a big part of my life and always will be.”