Cutler’s Public Justice Excellence Fund Reaches Quarter Million

Sylvia Chestnut ’11 developed a passion for family court law when she served an internship with the Greene County Family Court. The public justice major and African American studies minor hopes to go to law school and have a career in family law.

Junho Oh wants to work with an international corporation when he returns to his native Korea after attending law school in the States.

Cutler with studentsDavid Cutler ’74, front row, right, established the Public Justice Excellence Fund, which is now endowed at a quarter million dollars. He is joined by students and faculty from the public justice department, including his nephew, Zachary DiGiulio ’13, front row, left; and back row from left, Junho Oh, Visiting Assistant Professor Diane Brand, Sylvia Chestnut ’11, Associate Professor and Chairperson of Public Justice Margaret Ryniker and Patrick Vinette ’11.

Patrick Vinette ’11 came by his love of public justice through his genes. His grandfather was a Supreme Court judge, his mother the secretary for a judge, and a couple of uncles are in law enforcement.

These are just three of the many students who have had their career choices in public justice confirmed thanks to a grant from David Cutler ’74. Cutler recently gave an additional $50,000, bringing his gifts to the Public Justice Excellence Fund to a total of $250,000 endowment. The fund covers speakers, student travel to conferences and trips for public justice majors to explore career choices, among other benefits.

Every semester Cutler funds subsidize Career Services Office-sponsored tours of the Butler Correctional Facility and Auburn maximum-security prison.

And every year for the last three, faculty members have used Excellence Fund money to take students to the annual conference of the Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State.

“They get to hear other professionals in the criminal justice field,” Public Justice Chairperson Margaret Ryniker said. “For some students, it has opened up the idea of graduate school. For the first time, they see it is an attainable goal.”

“Everybody has a TV image” of the public justice system, said Cutler, whose gifts to Oswego created and support the endowed excellence fund. By funding visits to the prisons, he aims to correct erroneous views of the correctional system, and open up new career ideas for students.

The tours help students look beyond the negative image of inmates and see them as people, says Cutler, who runs Arapahoe Community Treatment Center, a community correction program near Denver, Colo. The 130-bed facility serves as a halfway house between prison and the community for inmates after release.

Cutler says his field “needs qualified people and leaders.” Corrections is a changing, growing field, he says, becoming more technological and providing better tools to law enforcement personnel.

Cutler’s aim is to give Oswego students the experiences they need to get ahead in this fast-paced field.

He is motivated to help Oswego students because of his own great education at Oswego, an education he feels helped him to where he is today.

“I did love this college, I did love the time I spent here,” he said on a visit to campus last fall.

Oswego is a family affair, too. Cutler’s sister Veronica Cutler ’77 and brother Malvin Cutler ’82 both attended. Now his nephew, Zachary DiGiulio ’13, a public justice major who also wants to work in corrections, is continuing the family legacy.

David Cutler is happy to see his nephew, and so many other Oswego students, exploring a career in corrections.

Through his generous gifts to Oswego, he hopes to contribute to the growth of the field by his support of that next generation of law enforcement and corrections personnel.

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