Alumni at SUNY Fredonia

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A visit to Mason Hall

Wildy and Franz
Three years after his 50th Class Reunion celebration on campus, Dr. Franz Roehmann, '58, visited Fredonia again from Golden, CO. Above left, he is perusing the Sigurd Rascher Collection with School of Music Saxophone Professor Wildy Zumwalt. The two are looking at a  Contrabass Saxophone in E-flat that was made by Evette & Schaeffer in Paris in 1900.  Franz received the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award in 1988. He is a retired college music professor and still directs and writes music for tthe Concert Jazz Orchestra in Golden. 


Karl Holz, '73; President of Disney Cruise & Vacations

Karl Holz, '73In his Commencement address to the SUNY Fredonia Class of 2011 on May 14,  1973 graduate Karl Holz reflected on his time at Fredonia, his years with Disney in a variety of positions, and shared a few personal stories, including lessons he learned along the way which have proved invaluable. He noted, “Hindsight is 20-20, and it’s clear to me today that college is a time when we learn about ourselves, our relationships, the real world and so much more,” adding that Fredonia was also where he met his wife, Wendy.

In addition to quoting wordsmith Walt Disney, Holz noted that, “as a leader, you have to inspire people in all the right ways,” with encouragement, trust, and by “walking in their shoes” and “challenging them and holding them to high expectations."  Holz left the graduates with “three nuggets of wisdom” including: “always conduct yourself with integrity,” “use common sense in everything you do,” and “stay optimistic.” Read Commencement News Release>>

Allan Dennis, '70

Allen Dennis, '70Allan Dennis, '70, is the Founder and Director of the Midwest Young Artists youth orchestra program in Chicago, Illinois. Allan was the keynote speaker at the May 6, 2011 School of Music Awards Convocation.  He has spent the past quarter century motivating, rehearsing and teaching young people and is also the Music Director of the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra. 

Joe Gransden, former FJE director

Joe GransdenThe SUNY Fredonia School of Music welcomed back jazz trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden, a former SUNY Fredonia student, on Sunday, March, 27 to perform with Fredonia's own jazz bands, including the Monday Night Big Band (Bruce Johnstone, director) and The Carousel Strings, led by Bruce Johnstone and pianist Jonathan Mann. Gransden has played with many of the world’s most famous musicians including Aretha Franklin, The Moody Blues, The Temptations, Barry White, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and others.

Gino Morrow, artist and entrepreneur

Gino Morrow, '94Gino Morrow, '94, was honored on campus March 9 at the annual EDP Awards Ceremony. The 4 p.m. event, held in the Horizon Room, is open to all.  On March 8, he gave a question-and-answer session at to students, entitled, "Old School to New School -- Revising Survival Techniques for a New World." As creative director of GLMCreative, Morrow manages a four-member staff in a full-service design agency based in Kansas City, Kan., that specializes in brand development and creative execution.


Helen Tinch Williams, music educator

Helen Tinch WilliamsHelen Tinch Williams, now-retired elementary music teacher and mother of Vanessa and Chris Williams — two of the nation’s most successful entertainers — was honored by the Hillman Memorial Music Association and SUNY Fredonia at the 2010 Hillman Opera. In King Concert Hall prior to the performance of "Les Contes d'Hoffmann," President Dennis Hefner gave her the Jessie Hillman Award for Excellence, the latest in a lifetime of distinctions for her and her family that have often defied obstacles and distinguished them from the pack.   Read the article>>


Lt. Col. (ret) Philip Smith, hospital administrator

Philip "Chip" Smith Retired as a Lt. Col. from the U.S. Army, 1985 history graduate Philip "Chip" Smith returned to Fredonia in November 2010 to be the guest speaker at the campus's annual Veteran's Day Ceremony. The former ROTC Department Chairperson at Syracuse University,  Col. Smith is currently the director of Organizational Development at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, where he leads a team of 2,800 employees. In addition to his Fredonia degree, he holds a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. Read the news release>>

John Tiranno, American tenor

John Tiranno

1999 School of Music graduate and American tenor John Tiranno returned to Fredonia to sing in the November 2010 Hillman Opera production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann. He has sung versatile roles throughout the United States and in Canada with performances spanning the Baroque, Classical, Verismo, and Contemporary genres. The New York Times has called his singing “ardent and mellifluous." His website>>

Dana Abendschein, Ph.D., molecular cell biologist

Dr. Dana AbendscheinDana Abendschein, biology graduate of 1974, now teaches and does research at the Washington University School of Medicine. He returned to Fredonia in October 2010 for Homecoming and gave the weekly biology seminar in Jewett 101. His talk dealt with the work done in his lab in developing therapeutics derived from naturally occurring animal or plant proteins. Read the news article>>

Who's Been Back 2009 - 2010


John Baust, '65
John Baust, Ph.D., 
(Biology, 1965)
Commencement speaker 2010
Wendy Corsi Staub
Wendy Corsi Staub
(English, 1986);
On campus:
Spring 2010

Kevin Sylvester
1995);  On campus: Fall 2009
Jeff DuBois
Jeffrey DuBois, Ph.D.,
(Biology, 1969).
On campus:
Spring 2010


 David Smith of National Fuel Gas

David Smith 
(Political Science, 1974), 
CEO of National Fuel Gas.  On Campus: Fall 2009


 Bill Finn

Bill Finn (Business, 1983); On campus: 
Spring 2010

Ron Song Destro, '76
Ron Song Destro (Theatre Arts, 1976). On campus: Fall 2010.


David Musial
Technology, 1984).
On campus: Fall 2009


Audrey Pitts
Audrey Pitts
(Sociology, 1982);
On campus: Spring 2010


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