Office of Public Affairs
(315) 312-2265
May 1, 2002
OSWEGO -- Two SUNY Oswego alumni who were involved in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center will emcee the college's annual Torchlight Ceremony May 17.
New York City firefighter Bob Bacon, a 1995 graduate, and police officer Brendan Chamberlain, a 1991 graduate, will represent all alumni firefighters and police officers when they speak at the 7 p.m. dinner and emcee the ceremony in Sheldon Park at 9 p.m.
Torchlight is part of the college's traditional Commencement Eve program, sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association. It offers graduates' families a chance to share a celebratory dinner, salute the class of 2002 and experience a longstanding Oswego tradition.
This year's event will include a salute to all Oswego alumni who were part of the Sept. 11 disaster: the heroes, rescue workers and victims. There will be a special tribute to alumni killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, including Scott D. Bart (1995), Michelle "Shelly" Bratton (2000), Richard Caproni (1989), New York firefighter Michael Cawley (1991), Michael Collins (1984), Michael Hannan (1989), Michael O'Brien (1981), James E. Potorti (1972), Leo Roberts (1979), Melissa R. Vincent (1994) and James Woods (1997).
Bacon was in rescue mode, on the 26th floor of World Trade Center Tower One, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when he felt a rumble that would turn out to be the collapse of Tower Two.
His group headed to the lobby, then joined his lieutenant in returning to find a missing firefighter. "We started heading back down, and I was basically on the third floor when all hell broke loose in the stairwell," Bacon recalled. "The stairwell turned into a tornado, the wind and debris came up. It was like being in a sandstorm."
Chamberlain, who serves with the 23rd precinct in Spanish Harlem, was part of a team at Ground Zero helping escort people to and from the site. Eventually he got connected with one of the supply coordinators for those working through the rubble. Later, he helped provide security at the temporary hub site where top officials gathered to make decisions and hold press conferences.
His work on both efforts helped Chamberlain cope with the Sept. 11 disaster. "I'm contributing to the recovery of New York and that feels pretty good," he told Oswego alumni magazine at the time.
Commencement Eve activities will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception at The Forum in Hewitt Union and dinner in the ballroom at 7 p.m. Graduating seniors attending the dinner with at least one family member or friend can purchase their ticket for $5, thanks to a grant from Auxiliary Services. At 8:30 p.m., StateSingers and Solid State will lead the Senior Sing.
Members of the class of 2002 who will help conduct the Torchlight Ceremony at 9 p.m. will be student master and mistress of ceremonies Adam Perper and Jessica Bartle, torchbearer Adzele Kitissou and speaker Joseph Storch.
Reservations are required for the dinner and can be made by calling the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at 312-2258 or reserving online at All activities except the dinner will be free and open to faculty, staff, seniors, their friends and their families.
Alumni and members of the faculty and staff who wish to participate in the Torchlight Ceremony as members of the inner circle may call 312-2258 to volunteer.
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