Happy 150th, Oswego!

Happy 150th, Oswego!

Oswego’s Sesquicentennial is a yearlong birthday bash.

The college kicked it off with Torchlight and Commencement in May, followed by Reunion Weekend in June. The fall will see a special Founder’s Day campus celebration in October.

Enjoy this mini-scrapbook of your alma mater’s birthday celebrations.

At Home in the Founder’s House

At Home in the Founder's House

Alumni everywhere recognize Shady Shore as one of the most beautiful, historic buildings on campus.

When Oswego founder Edward Austin Sheldon built Shady Shore in 1857, he meant it to be a family home. For President Deborah F. Stanley and her family, it has been just that for the past 13 years.

150 Things We Love About Oswego

150 Things We Love About Oswego

Snowfalls and sunsets, beanies and books (or is it Buck’s?), the Founder and Fallbrook … These are just a few of the things we love about Oswego. To celebrate the college’s Sesquicentennial, we asked you, our readers, to send in the things you remember most fondly about your alma mater. The list includes current faves and long-gone treasures. But one thing remains certain — Our alumni love Oswego!

‘Gorilla’ Marketing: Bocko helps change the way we view the world

‘Gorilla’  Marketing: Bocko helps change the way we view the world

If you are one of the 100 million Americans with smart phones, chances are you are holding the work of a fellow Oswego alumnus.

Peter Bocko ’75, chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies, a business within Corning Inc., driving new glass opportunities, has spent his career developing and bringing to market glass used in cutting-edge high-tech devices like these. His latest project is Corning Gorilla Glass, a super-tough, ultra-thin product used in some of the hottest electronic devices on the planet.

Projecting Success: Drive-In Owner is the Reel Deal

Projecting Success: Drive-In Owner is the Reel Deal

Some people work a second job and call it moonlighting. John Nagelschmidt ’66 means it literally.

Since 1961 — summers as a SUNY Oswego student, and on the side throughout a 30-year career as a teacher — Nagelschmidt has been screening stars while working under the stars at the Midway Drive-In. In 1987, he bought the outdoor theatre, halfway between Oswego and Fulton, on Route 48 in Minetto. This year marks his 50th anniversary at Midway.

Changing Minds, Changing Lives

Changing Minds, Changing Lives

Yvonne Spicer ’84, M ’85 loves changing minds.

So when skeptical teachers walk away from her institutes inspired, it inspires her. That’s how she knows her mission to elevate high technology in American classrooms is headed in the right direction.

Meet the Village People

Meet the Village People

SUNY Oswego officially has its own band of Village people on campus.

The Village, Oswego’s highly anticipated townhouse-style complex for students, opened this semester to the immense excitement of its first 348 residents.

The Village houses students in four- and six-person townhouses in a complex just south of Glimmerglass Lagoon. Featuring
a full kitchen, furnished living room and
laundry unit in each house and a large commons building for leisure and studying, the Village townhouse complex boasts a plethora of luxuries not available in typical residence halls.

“Having a dishwasher and all the
amenities of a fully furnished house
really makes living here great,” Colleen Cesna ’12 said. “We have our own rooms and a commons area that is practically
private to just us in the Village.”

“The brand new facilities are really
the best part,” Katherine Grzesik ’11 said. “The houses are so nice and so different than living in the residence halls.”

The close proximity to other students has also been a hit among Village residents. When asked about the best part of living in the complex, Leslie Look ’12 said “the neighbors. They are all so great and fun.”

Kimberly Allen ’10 agreed. “It’s just nice to have the company around,” she said.

Many students have also come to love the off-campus feel that the Village provides, while still being within walking distance to classes and other campus

“It’s nice that we are still so close
to campus and yet the Village still has
a regular house feeling to it,” Jason
Johnson ’12 said.

“I felt that living off campus would be like living at home,” Chris McPherson ’12 said. “Living in the Village is a mixture. I have the freedom of living on my own
without having to worry about things like rent and utilities.”

Calling the Village another component in the college’s focus on learner centeredness, Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said, “The Village provides
an environment that allows students
to take learning deep within them,
build a family around their learning
experience, and gain more from the experience.”

Residence Life and Housing Director Rick Kolenda said the completion of the Village is a reflection of the collective
efforts from a variety of different groups, including architects, construction crews, administrative planning and student focus groups. The final product is something of which the entire college should be proud,
he said.

“You have the flagship student building project in the state of New York, if not the Northeast,” Edward McGraw of Ashley McGraw Architects said during the Village dedication Sept. 17.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Joseph Grant said the decade-long journey included visiting other colleges and “reviewing architectural designs from all over the country,” but what separates the Village from the rest of the pack is not just its modern feel and state-of-the-art amenities, but the unparalleled passion and commitment brought to the project by students and administrators alike.

“The Village is more than the sum of all those parts,” he said. “This special place we call the Village is a residential community without equal anywhere in higher education.”

The $42 million complex was funded through the SUNY Capital Plan, mostly through bonds issued by the State Dormitory Authority, said Tom Simmonds ’84,
M ’88, associate vice president for facilities.

Simmonds echoed Kolenda’s praise for the diverse groups that helped make the Village a reality. “I’m proud of the end result,” he said. “But I’m also equally as proud of all of the people who helped make this happen.”

Although blue-and-white siding adorns each Tudor-style townhouse, the Village’s biggest achievement could be in how green it is. The complex was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, gold standards, meaning it was built using strategies aimed at saving energy, conserving water and limiting
carbon emissions.

“There are various elements of design that will make this a sustainable building well into the future,” Facilities and Design Project Coordinator Allen Bradberry said. “Being very energy efficient, the design
is such that it will have minimal impact to the environment and [have] longevity to the materials chosen for construction.” With SUNY Oswego continuing a campus-wide trend toward becoming a more sustainable campus, making the complex an environmentally friendly area was quite the
accomplishment, said Bradberry.

The implementation of LEED standards will help students make a more positive impact on not only the Oswego campus, but the entire environment, Stanley said.

“It will help students understand how they will live in and interact with the world and make the world a better place, one person at a time,” Stanley said.

With the renovation of Piez, Wilber and Park halls now under way, and planning for a facelift of the Hewitt Quad set to unfold after that, Student Association President Steven DiMarzo ’11 said the Village is the latest in a long line of projects to modernize facilities across campus. “The completion of the Village is proof of how Oswego can, undoubtedly, expand and adapt to the future.”

For those students who call the Village home, that ability to transcend helped turn what was merely a bold idea 10 years ago into a modern, dynamic reality. l

“You have the flagship student building project in the state of New York, if not the Northeast.”

Oswego Goes to War

Oswego Goes to War

They’ve been called “The Greatest Generation.” When duty called, they put their lives on hold to defend freedom across the world. They are the wartime classes and they are a very special part of Oswego’s history.

When they entered in the fall of 1941, the Class of 1945 numbered 100 strong — the largest freshman class in the history of the Normal School. They spent a carefree autumn settling into local rooming houses, working hard in class, enjoying dances and flirting with members of the opposite sex.

Then came Dec. 7, 1941, and their world turned upside down.

“Everything changed when we came out of the movie theatre Dec. 7,” said
Denham Griffin ’47. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

“First thing we asked was, ‘Where is Pearl Harbor?’” Denham said with a chuckle. “We didn’t have Mrs. [Isabel Kingsbury 1907] Hart’s geography course yet.”

They would learn where Pearl Harbor was all too quickly, and over the course of the next four years many more names as well: Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima.

By the time 1945 rolled around most of the men were still in uniform. The graduating class was less than half of its original number, and mostly female. Only 41 would march across the stage in Sheldon Hall, rebuilt from a devastating fire in January 1941. The men would return as veterans, however, and go on to graduate in 1947, 1948 and 1949. Even today, reunions include members of classes from 1940 to 1949, many married to each other.

Calm before the storm

All that turmoil was just a blip on the
horizon as the Class of 1945 got off the train or bus to begin their undergraduate adventure.

“The railroad came into Oswego at that point and it was a nice day,” said
Denham Griffin. “The nice taxi cab
driver said he had a good room for us, so my buddy and I said, ‘We’ll look at it.’”

At that time most students lived
in private homes, three or four to a
room. Thanks to that cabbie’s advice, Denham and his friend the late Tom Richardson ’46 (who would become president of New Jersey’s Montclair State University) landed the jackpot — single rooms for $3 a week. “We were very pleased,” he added. Even after $3 a week for a supper meal at Herbie’s Diner, that left them plenty of money for books . . . and courting the girls.

Sylvia Norton Griffin ’47 lived during freshman year in Dubuque’s house, along with seven other girls, and worked to pay for her room and board. Later she would live in the Chetney house. “They had 20 girls, but only one bathroom. The tub was in a separate room,” she recalled.

Liz Grieve Leal ’45 lived in Shady Shore with President Ralph and Mrs. Alice Swetman. She did odd chores around the house for her room and board. “I was a ‘handy helper’ . . . I got Dr. Swetman’s breakfast and made Mrs. Swetman’s coffee and took it up to her. She liked to stay in bed and practice bridge hands.”

After finding a place to live, the frosh had to go through orientation. “One of the upperclassmen would write you a letter before school opened and he was your big brother and he explained what to expect,” said Ernie Leal ’47.

At that time freshmen orientation was a little different than today’s version.

“They used to hit you with paddles,” said Ernie, referring to the playful tradition. “And you had to wear an Oswego beanie and you had to sing all four stanzas of ‘O Blue are Ontario’s Waters.’”

In Uniform

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Oswego students began enlisting in the armed forces. Throughout the war, they would leave, some never to return.

“A number from our class were killed, and there was no one to help us with that,” remembered Norma Sutherland Church ’45. “Three men I dated were part of that.”

Others spent years in the service,
returning to Oswego when discharged. Bill Gallik ’47 was in the original class of “60-Day Wonders.” He received his commission at Notre Dame University. “They decided we weren’t so wonderful — they gave us two more months.” He would serve on Chichi Jima and Guam. “I was on board a ship for 10 months before I
became commanding officer.”

Ernie Leal had to wait a bit. “A lot of fellows enlisted right after Pearl Harbor, but I was 18 and you had to be 21, and my parents wouldn’t let me.” He would enter the reserves for a six-month stint in the fall of 1942 and be shipped
right out.

Davis Parker ’47 signed up in 1943 and was trained as a weatherman. He spent two years in New Guinea before finishing his schooling. After he returned he would move to the Rochester area, where he met and married his wife of nearly 61 years, Jane.

President Ralph W. Swetman and other professors wrote frequent letters to student-servicemen abroad. Dave Parker remembers the librarian Mary Hennessey writing to him. One letter from Swetman, dated Aug. 15, 1945, filled the guys in on the annual summer session at Shady Shore: “We had a wonderful evening at the traditional weiner roast last night. The swimming was perfect, the hot dogs were still hot dogs (with the inevitable indigestion), but the community singing which followed was really good — with the best in barber shop harmonies.”

Swetman concluded, “Even as this
letter is being written, the thrilling news
of the Russian entry into the war, the atomic bomb and the Japanese peace
feelers, is coming over the radio. It will
not be long now. When you fellows all get back, this college will hum as never before.”

Those boys who were lucky enough to survive the war did come back. Many would live in Splinter Village, where “the wind really whistled through the buildings, but we hunkered down and persevered as we had learned to do in WWII,” writes former professor William S. Reynolds ’49,
a student-veteran who worked as a carpenter to help maintain the complex. Many of the vets would wed their college sweethearts and are still married more than six decades later.

History-making Class

The Class of 1945 was entering Normal School at the tail end of the Great Depression. Parker remembers that times were tough economically. “Everybody was in the same boat,” he said. “Nobody had much money, but we made out OK.”

“We were content to go to the Oswego Theatre,”said Denham Griffin. “Thirty-three cents in the balcony and 44 cents
in the orchestra.

“We always sat in the balcony — 10 cents was a lot, at a nickel for a cup of coffee,” he said. “You had one suitcase; one or two people had a radio — that
was rich.”

“Every dorm had one phone —
because the boys called for dates,” added Sylvia. “There were only three or four cars on campus, and they mostly belonged
to handicapped guys. The girls didn’t
drive generally.”

The Class of 1945 would make Oswego State history as well, as the college changed from a normal school to a state teacher’s college in their freshman year. They had
a special way to express their joy.

“When we started there was a big
sign in front of the two buildings —
it read State Normal School,” said
Denham. “In the spring, when the State Legislature gave a degree to the elementary education girls, we ripped down the sign, carried it through town and threw it in
the river.” Parker added, “Wish we had
it back!”

Norma Church remembered the sign-tossing incident as well. “We made
a circle and sang the alma mater,” she
said. “A policeman tried to get us to
disperse because we didn’t have a permit for a parade.”

The campus was honored by a visit from Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The late Betty Burden ’45 and the late M. Carol McLaughlin ’45 were among those to
formally greet the First Lady on the
steps of Old Main (now Sheldon Hall). “I remember they had a few of us who were president of our groups shake hands and talk with her,” remembered Betty Reid Gallik ’45, who was president of the Women’s Athletic Association.

“I kept looking at her; she had this great big diamond pinky ring,” remembered Liz Leal. “She wasn’t a very good-looking lady but that big diamond just caught your eye. At that stage [of life] you were interested in that kind of thing.”

Mrs. Roosevelt was instrumental
in bringing the Jewish refugees to Fort Ontario, the only place that housed World War II refugees on American soil.

“We had some of the refugees in our classes,” remembered Norma. She and her roommate had two over for supper and the guests reciprocated by inviting the girls to a special concert at the fort.

While there were only two buildings on campus — Old Main and the IA Building (now Sheldon and Park halls) — the wartime classes were taught by faculty whose names grace most of the buildings on our present-day campus. Residence halls are named for Jimmy Moreland and
Isabel Hart, and students today attend classes in buildings bearing the names of Marian Mahar and Gordon Wilber. Max Ziel’s name adorns the gym.

The wartime classes: They had seen history, made history and will always be a big part of the history of SUNY Oswego.