Media Summit to honor Oswego broadcasting pioneer

Doc O'DonnellThe Louis A. Borrelli Jr. Media Summit will be renamed in memory of Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell, professor emeritus of communication studies, who will also be honored at a memorial service following the Oct. 17 summit.

“Doc” O’Donnell passed away Aug. 28. The memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in Sheldon Hall on the Oswego campus.

Borrelli, a 1977 alumnus of Oswego, founded the summit through a leadership gift in 2005. This summer, a significant gift to Oswego made by 1976 graduate Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show, including a matching gift from NBC, provided the funding to rename the summit in honor of O’Donnell’s legacy. Roker’s gift supports the annual media summit, as well as the student television studio in the new Campus Center.

O’Donnell came to SUNY Oswego in 1962 to set up a television studio to support instruction. Soon after, he began teaching courses in television production and became the founding chair of the communication studies department. A recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, he was a role model who had a profound impact upon the lives of his students, Roker and Borrelli among them.

“I’m proud to support the media summit in Doc’s name and the television studio in the new Campus Center, so future students can have the advantages I did,” said Roker.

Roker recalls being able to get hands-on experience at the campus television station as a freshman, while his friends at private schools didn’t get to touch production equipment until later on in their college years.

“Doc O’Donnell gave me not only the knowledge, but the confidence I needed to make it in the competitive world of media and communications,” said Borrelli. “Thanks to Al’s generous gift, we have a wonderful way to recognize Doc’s career of 26 years at Oswego and his influence on so many of us.”

Those wishing to contribute to the fund endowing the media summit in O’Donnell’s memory may send donations to the Oswego College Foundation, Inc., 219 Sheldon Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126, or online at

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(Posted: Oct 03, 2007)