Those of you who read my column know that my best daily “thinking time” is on my 6 a.m. walks with our rescue dog, Bo. So my inspiration for this issue’s column came on one of my recent walks. Volunteering has been such an important and satisfying part of my life over the years — civic organizations, the PTA, church, my alma mater, our local Humane Society to name just a few. So what better theme than to talk about the myriad of volunteer opportunities we offer for Oswego alumni.
For more than 14 years, I walked the halls of the U.S. Capitol as the eyes and ears of the Watertown Daily Times, until the Northern New York newspaper became the latest to close its Washington bureau March 31. But my roots in journalism reach into the halls of SUNY Oswego, where I spent four years as a reporter and editor at The Oswegonian.
When I was in third grade, I started a newspaper at our elementary school, writing and editing and getting someone in the office to run it off on mimeo (photo-copying was still rare!). I drew cartoons featuring two little elephants (who talked, of course!) and drew them, not only in the newspaper but on every chalkboard I could, sometimes getting into more than a bit of trouble. I wrote plays about holidays and historical figures and recruited classmates to act in them. In short, from the age of about 10, I knew I would be a writer, a storyteller. So when Peggy La Tulip Focarino ’77, America’s first female commissioner of patents, told me that in fifth grade, she had asked her parents for a telescope, I knew just what she meant.
Throughout our 150-year history, a hallmark of an Oswego education has always been an emphasis on learning by doing. As I travel around the country, alumni from every era share stories of Oswego professors who involved them as equals in important research and creative projects. The pages of this magazine are brimming with examples, like Peggy La Tulip Focarino ’77, whose love of physics was nurtured in Oswego’s labs and now inspires her as she leads the U. S. Patent Office. RIT Chemistry Professor Todd Pagano ’96 has become a national advocate for involving undergraduates in scientific inquiry and has personally opened the doors to meaningful research for hundreds of deaf students. Debra Schutt ’77 takes skills she learned alongside Jon Vermilye ’66 and Ken Stone ’68 in Waterman Theatre to adorn the sets of HBO productions.
net·work / [net-wurk] verb (used without object): to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position. We invite you to join Oswego’s “Get Work Network!” With our ever-growing database of 75,000-plus alumni, your Owego alumni network is a powerful tool for expanding your cache
If the statue of Edward Austin Sheldon could suddenly come to life, the picture-perfect day of September 30, 2005, may have been a good time. If the joy of the day somehow brought the college’s founder back and he took a stroll from his chair, many details would have astounded him. The buildings, and the