This issue is our love song to Oswego on her 150th birthday. Of course, we know there are far more than 150 things to love about the college Edward Austin Sheldon founded a century and a half ago.
In fact, there are probably as many answers to the question “What do YOU love about Oswego?” as there are living alumni — a number that just topped 75,000.
Sometimes I struggle with what to write about in this column. On my 6:00am walk with our “rescue” dog, Bo, it hit me! What do I love about Oswego? The answer is longer than this space allows, so I’ll try to recap a few of the things that I love about Oswego.
I was hired 27 years ago (along with my colleague, Lisa Potter!) in a part-time position as advisor to a student group in the Alumni Office. Those “kids” I worked with are now going on 50 years old — I’m not sure how that happened! I also never imagined when I took that part-time job, that it would become my life’s work and passion and prove fulfilling in a way that many people only dream of. As I say time and again, it is truly a labor of love to work in the Alumni Office and with Oswego alumni.
Five years ago I visited for a few days in the summer. It was a very strange experience. I wandered over the campus in search of my youth. Everywhere I looked, most of it was the same as I remembered. But all my friends were long gone. Only the memories still fresh. Everywhere I looked, ghosts materialized. Events materialized. I drank it in as only an older middle-aged man can. Here had taken place the best years of my life. I grew up here. My mind roared here. Some of the best friendships I have ever known were initiated and cultivated here. Some remain today.
But reality and time intruded. The snack bar at the union did not have vanilla Cokes. Nunzi’s, the Warehouse, Buckland’s … all gone. The town looked a little depressed and worn. A number of buildings gone.
Given the innovative, forward-looking college that we are, it is rare that we pause to look back and take stock of our achievements. Right now, we have so many irons in the fire: We’re awaiting state approval of a bachelor's degree program in electrical and computer engineering and a combined five-year bachelor’s/MBA program in broadcasting, among other new programs. Our new science facilities are coming together between Snygg and Piez halls, and we’re looking forward to the important work our students and faculty will do there in science, technology and engineering. We’re drilling bore holes in a geothermal field to help heat and cool the new structure, putting us out front in applying green building technology.
We’re giving undergraduates unforgettable research experiences in our new Global Laboratory programs in Brazil and Taiwan and forging partnerships with other universities around the world.
But the occasion of our Sesquicentennial anniversary — many of you got a taste of the yearlong celebration at Reunion in June — reminds us that Oswego has long been an innovative, exciting school, achieving much of significance — not the least of which was providing you, our cherished alumni, the educational foundation on which to build your life.
We have been an important provider of public higher education in this region for 150 years and, early on, acquired an international reputation for educational innovation. I hope you will follow our anniversary celebration as it unfolds through next spring — in this issue of the magazine, in a documentary video series on the college’s history and at a Founder’s Day campus celebration in October. The roots of our vigorous educational enterprise are indeed deep, and they nourish our efforts to ensure that our college is even stronger in the future.
Deborah F. Stanley
While I write this, the snow is still on the ground here, but the sun is out and we’re busy finalizing the plans for our special Sesquicentennial Reunion Celebration 2011, scheduled for June 10-12. A record-breaking crowd of alumni and friends is expected to return to campus to reconnect with the college and with friends to celebrate 150 years of Oswego’s rich history of education, service and making a difference.
Oswego may be celebrating its 150th birthday this year, but ever since Edward Austin Sheldon pioneered new teaching methods, we try to stay on the cutting edge of things. And the same is true for your Oswego alumni magazine. So in this issue, we are proud to announce two innovations. On page 48, read about our new,
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, located in the central Brooks Range of northern Alaska, is one of the last places in North America that is still untrammeled by modern civilization.
It features countless jagged mountains that soar anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 feet high, numerous wild and scenic rivers, and more than seven million acres of federally designated wilderness.