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Statement 2015

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Published in Spring and Fall by the Office of Marketing and Communications, The Statement is mailed to alumni, parents, grad students, and friends. Articles may be reprinted without permission. Subscribe>>


Class Notes Fall 2015

 We appreciate receiving your news!

Class of '65

Please send us Class Notes at

or via regular mail to the
Alumni House, 286 Central Ave.,
Fredonia, NY 14063.

Dear Alumni and Friends - A letter from President Horvath

We hope you enjoy this issue of The Statement, from the cover story about alumnus Chris Mirabelli (’77) to the articles about current students and faculty. In May, nearly 1,400 new Fredonia graduates celebrated earning their degrees, and we hope they will aspire to have careers like those of Dr. Mirabelli or James Douglas, who spoke at Commencement about his decades of work at the Smithsonian Institution.

Blue Devils' Athletics Fall '15 Preview

Upcoming fall athletics events and teams.

Blue Devils' Athletics Spring Review

Fredonia intercollegiate athletics wrap up of the Spring 2015 season.

Fall 2015



The Magazine for Fredonia Alumni and Friends

Vol. 44, No. 1; Fall 2015


Mirabelli, ’77, makes a daily difference on today’s — and tomorrow’s — scientists

Not a day goes by that Fredonia doesn’t benefit from Christopher Mirabelli.

In fact, he’s positively impacted its students and faculty every day for the last six years. That’s when this member of the Class of 1977 stepped forward to fund a much-needed Syngene imager for the biology department. The gel documentation system, which was state-of-the-art when the $20,000 tool was purchased in 2009, allows faculty and students to photograph DNA and protein samples.

“It’s used by almost every faculty member in the department and figures prominently in no fewer than five different laboratory courses,” attests Biology Assistant Professor Scott Ferguson. “It’s used on a daily basis by our students and faculty to meet a variety of learning and research goals. Without Chris’ generosity, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Relationships vs. Championships

John Crawford is one of the best coaches Fredonia has ever seen. After serving as Head Swim Coach from 1980-88, he returned as Diving Coach in 2003 to immediate success. Since then, his divers have won 28 SUNYAC titles and 11 All-American honors, including Kelly Sponholz’s NCAA Division III Championship in 2009. In 2015, four divers went to the NCAA Championships — the most in program history.

Service over Suntans: Students choose Habitat for Humanity alternative spring break program to broaden their education.

Many college students choose to flee their still-chilly campuses in March and flock to Florida’s beaches and other warmer regions for a well-deserved respite from academia. It’s called Spring Break.

This year, a small contingent of Fredonia students went south at the tail end of an especially brutal winter, but they eyed a different destination and were motivated by a far greater goal.

Executive-in-Residence program brings real-world expertise to students


Kenny Koblitz (left) and Thomas Dujenski (right)

The School of Business recruited two top-tier professionals to its Executive-in-Residence program.


Kenny Koblitz, a retired vice president of sales in industrial cleaning products, will deliver specialized sales management training to students enrolled in the BUAD 446 Senior Seminar this fall. Thomas Dujenski, in the spring term, guided select students in the ECON 450 Senior Seminar, taught by Economics Professor Amar K. Parai, in studying impacts of new financial regulations on regional community banks and financial institutions.

Expanding their Horizons: Fredonians go beyond the classroom to help Central American children

It is often said that travel is the only expense that makes you richer. For the past 10 years, many Fredonia students and faculty have found truth in this adage. Students from various undergraduate and graduate degree programs have had the opportunity to travel to the eastern coast of Central America and visit the beautiful country of Belize to teach math and literacy to Belizean school children.

The two-week stay throughout J-term significantly changes students’ outlook on life, exposing them to situations they aren’t familiar with on a daily basis. The trip allows volunteers to establish new relationships, make life-lasting memories, and above all, help a developing country move forward.

This past January, 27 students representing a variety of majors across campus joined three College of Education professors and a VISTA volunteer on the educational journey.

College of Education expands student support

Buoyed by the success of its Committee of Friends alumni scholarship program, the College of Education is writing a new fundraising chapter to benefit students who have chosen Fredonia to prepare them to become the best teachers possible.

More than $50,000 raised by the Committee of Friends since its formation in 2012 has been allocated to specifically fund much-needed scholarships for students. This unique program pools individual gifts from multiple donors so that individual, $2,000 scholarships can be awarded to a variety of deserving students.

Biology’s Wigdahl-Perry receives SUNY research grant

Biology faculty member Courtney Wigdahl-Perry is the principal investigator for a project receiving a grant funded by the SUNY 4E Network of Excellence, supporting campus research collaborations in Energy, the Environment, Education and Economics.

Dr. Wigdahl-Perry’s project is one of eight collaborative projects involving 14 SUNY campuses advancing research in waste water treatment, air quality, smart grid solutions, and conservation efforts, among others. Her research group, including Co-principal Investigators David Richardson of SUNY New Paltz and Devin Castendyk of SUNY Oneonta, received its grant to apply high-resolution sensors to monitor water quality issues in lakes across New York State as part of a SUNY Lakes Ecological Observatory Network.

Iovannone, ’04, encourages students to explore ‘Scholar-Activism’

IovannoneAt the 2015 Fredonia Women’s Student Union annual Paper Plate awards ceremony, its faculty advisor received a very special recognition: The Janet Mock award. An author and transgender activist who has contributed to the greater social commentary regarding transgender issues, Mock represents the creator of a support system that challenges others to grow into activists and advocates for social justice.

Dr. Jeffry Iovannone exemplifies all of these qualities.

Dr. Iovannone, visiting professor and coordinator of Fredonia’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program, takes pride in something that not every professor likes to admit: he learns from his students.

Dr. Melvin Unger appointed as Fredonia’s School of Music Director

Dr. Unger

Dr. Melvin Unger became Fredonia’s School of Music Director on July 1.

Dr. Unger previously served as director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. He has been part of Baldwin Wallace’s highly regarded Conservatory of Music since 1998. Throughout this span he has led the Bach Institute, whose mission is to preserve and enhance the university’s distinctive and internationally recognized tradition of cultivating the music of J. S. Bach, and to provide students with exemplary models of musicological research and scholarly resources needed for their academic development.

A Well-earned Ovation: Boelter ends 12-year run as School of Music Director

“Karl likes big ideas.” That’s what Ralph Blasting, dean of Fredonia’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, says about Dr. Karl Boelter, who stepped down as director of the School of Music in June and will join its teaching faculty this fall.

Elegant Violence: An in-depth look at Fredonia’s Blackhorse Women’s Rugby Team

Established in 1996, Fredonia’s Blackhorse Women’s Rugby Club is comprised of diverse young women from a variety of majors and grade levels. Whether they joined Blackhorse to learn a new sport, make new friends, or just release the daily stresses of college, these “ruggers” have all stayed because of the love and passion they’ve developed for the game, their teammates, and the excuse to get down and dirty.

Graphic Designer Brendan Prince, ’11, ‘sports’ impressive career start at NBC

If you watched Sunday Night football last season — or were among the record 114.4 million people glued to Super Bowl XLIX in February — Brendan Prince had a “hand” in your experience.

As a graphic designer at NBC Sports, the 2011 Fredonia graduate saw some of the hand-lettering art work he created for Sunday Night Football broadcasts translated into on-air graphics that were seen throughout the regular season, the playoffs, and ultimately, the 2015 Super Bowl — the most-watched television program ever.

Blue Devils ‘cap-off’ best year ever on ‘cap-and-gown’ day

Fredonia Women’s Lacrosse team, spring 2015

Rarely, if ever, does a Fredonia president report a sports score while wearing academic regalia, but that was exactly what Dr. Virginia Horvath did at 2015’s Commencement — and with good reason.

Her surprise announcement during the May 16 afternoon ceremony that the women’s lacrosse team defeated Washington & Lee in the third round of the NCAA Division III (D-III) Tournament was quickly met by cheers and applause from the audience of thousands that filled Steele Hall Fieldhouse.

50 years later, an alumna reflects on her role in campus’ 1960s Civil Rights movement

Selma solidarity march

A small but resolute group of students in 1965 didn’t let the 950 miles that separate Fredonia from Selma, Ala., prevent them from enlisting the campus — and surrounding community, for that matter — in the escalating push for civil rights for black Americans a half-century ago.

These five Fredonians — all female — initiated their own grassroots campaign days after the nation was shocked by the beatings, dealt by Alabama state troopers, of unarmed marchers on their way to the state capital to advocate for voting rights. Newspaper front pages and evening newscasts documented the event, which became known as “Bloody Sunday,” through riveting images.


Commencement 2015

Commencement photos from the Spring 2015 ceremony.

Fall Events and Performances

Events and performances scheduled for the Fall of 2015 at Fredonia.

Homecoming 2015 Schedule, Oct. 23 – 25

Homecoming Logo 
Join us for Homecoming 2015 on October 23-25.

Homecoming ’15 Highlights

Homecoming ’15, slated for Oct. 23-25, promises to be the best one yet! It marks the 40th anniversary of our School of Business.

New York Alumni Reunion Tour - Sept. 13 - 17, 2015

 Join us for a reunion this September in NY state.

Alumni and Campus Events Calendar Fall 2015

Please check as details are confirmed.

Professional Accolades

 Recent awards and professional achievements by Fredonia faculty and staff.

Shades of Ireland

 Experience the Magic of the Emerald Isle with the Fredonia Alumni Association and AAA Member Choice Vacations from July 23 to Aug. 1, 2016! 

2016 Alumni Directory Updates

The Fredonia Alumni Association is working with Harris Direct to collect accurate information about Fredonia graduates to be published in a directory that will be available for purchase.

CAREER CORNER: Looking for a Job? There’s an App for That

There are a variety of job search apps available for mobile devices. Here are a few free mobile apps.

Spring 2015 Wrap-Up

Spring 2015 semester campus highlights

Freedonia Marxonia slated for Oct. 1-2

Freedonia Marxonia, which celebrates the link between the village of Fredonia and the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film, “Duck Soup,” is slated for Oct. 1-2, 2015

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