Alumni couple boosts public justice program

imageAn alumni husband and wife who have helped turn people’s lives around in the state of Colorado have returned to their roots to help students in SUNY Oswego’s public justice program.

David Cutler, who graduated from Oswego in 1974, and Catherine Lovell, a 1976 graduate, donated $100,000 through their ACTC Foundation to create an “excellence fund” for the public justice department.

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Arapahoe Community Treatment Center, a community corrections facility for adult male felony offenders that Cutler founded more than two decades ago.

“Excellence funds such as this provide a margin of excellence for our academic programs that is extremely important to us,” SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said. “David and Catherine’s generosity will have a direct impact on our students and faculty in public justice, and we are honored that their alma mater is the first recipient of a grant from their new foundation.”

Lovell is president of the foundation. “When thinking of the gift, Oswego was in the forefront for it,” she said.

Cutler concurred. “We both thought Oswego changed our lives for the better,” he said.

Though there was no public justice major when Cutler graduated from Oswego, the program reflects his life’s work. After working in a community corrections facility with a federal contract, in 1982 he opened the Arapahoe Community Treatment Center, which treats criminals under a state contract. He is president and executive director.

“This gift has the potential to be the catalyst for some important new initiatives in the public justice department,” said Oswego’s Dean of Arts and Sciences Sara Varhus. “It might be used to support undergraduate projects or special internships students might not be able to afford or collaborative projects between students and faculty.”

Cutler majored in social sciences at Oswego. “I wanted to work with people my whole career, and that’s what I did,” he said. “I believed that if we had enough time and money, we could change everything. We change people; we save people’s lives. I really believe that.”

The belief in his possibilities started at Oswego’s lakeside campus. “I left Oswego with a feeling of confidence that I would succeed in life,” he said.

Lovell, a psychology major, took a different career path, working in the insurance field—claims, underwriting and systems analysis. Now she devotes her time to the couple’s business interests.

The couple ended up in Colorado after Cutler and three Oswego college buddies set out for a Western road trip. They flipped a coin to see where to stay, and Denver won. Lovell joined Cutler there in 1978. The two recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

But they remain close to their Oswego roots, returning every summer to visit Cutler’s family in Syracuse and travel in the area. Now the couple has another reason for returning: to see the good their gift is doing in the lives of Oswego students.

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(Posted: Aug 25, 2004)