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Shining student leader leaves behind colorful imprint

Maggie Oliver and President Dennis L. Hefner at SUNY Fredonia
As Senior Class President, Maggie Oliver, a May graduate, organized the Senior Class Gift  of the stained glass windows adorning University Commons, shown here behind her and President Dennis L. Hefner. She leaves a legacy of involvement on campus, which included being Editor in Chief of The Leader.
Maggie Oliver, Editor in Chief

Four years ago Maggie Oliver walked onto campus for the first time, having no idea what to expect. In an instant, she was drawn to Fredonia, and after touring the radio station and seeing its extensive archives, it was a done deal.

The media enthusiast began as a Communication/Audio-Radio major but soon realized that she disliked hearing and editing her own voice. She was also intrigued by media and film. She immediately added TV/ Digital Film as a second major. Oliver, a documentary fanatic, is fascinated with the idea of taking a creative route in this film genre.

As a freshman, she wasted no time in becoming actively involved with campus media organizations. By her senior year, she rose to editor-in-chief of The Leader, Fredonia’s student-run newspaper, where she spent countless evenings putting together each weekly issue.

She contributed to the paper’s continuing evolution by overseeing its website re-launch, adding more lifestyle features and renovating the overall presentation. This year, when she was not leading the newspaper staff, Oliver was leading her senior class, as president. Her motive for becoming President of the Class of 2012 was to arouse change. In previous years, she believed there had not been enough senior class events, and Oliver wanted to ensure that her fellow classmates got the senior year they deserved. “I just wanted to make sure that the Class of 2012 didn’t have that reputation of not doing a lot of events.”

The Class of 2012 donated two beautiful stained glass windows that were installed in the Cranston Marché lobby this spring. It is the first class in years to pay off its gift in full before Commencement. “Maggie Oliver is, by far, one of the best class presidents with whom I have worked with,” said Patricia Feraldi, ’77, director of Alumni Affairs. “She is a true and dedicated leader.”

Oliver also followed through on her first love, getting involved with Fredonia Radio Systems. Last year she hosted a late-night blues segment and produced, “High Noon Friday,” a weekly afternoon show which she infused with a variety of student guests, upcoming events and riddles.

She was also vice president of the Sound Services student group, where she helped book performers and produce live concerts and other events. She was involved with Fredonia’s TV station (WNYF) and the SUNY Model European Union and its press corps, and sought learning opportunities off campus as well, including two internships in Dublin, Ireland. She also served as a marketing intern with Textivia, a tenant of the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator in Dunkirk.

The notoriety of this student ambassador over the years led to her induction into the Alma Mater Society in 2011. She was also one of the select few nominated for this year’s Lanford Presidential Prize, given annually to the senior who exhibited balanced achievement and exemplifies SUNY Fredonia’s ideals during their Fredonia career.

Oliver credits her college experience with making her well rounded. “It’s been a really good opportunity to do what I want, learn as much as I can about the real world, and make myself more employable.”

Her ambitious and enthusiastic personality landed her many titles on campus. “I think my motivation stems back to my upbringing; my family has instilled a very strong work ethic in me since I was very young,” Oliver said.

She names communication professors Elmer Ploetz, Mark Kiyak and Nefin Dinc as a few individuals who have not only fed her with encouraging advice, but also inspired her to push beyond what she has accomplished so far.

“Maggie is a tireless worker with a great sense of humor,” said Kiyak, a film production professor. “One of the things that make her special is her ability to think outside the box while conveying her ideas in a conventional, pragmatic way.”

“I think I’ve become a better speaker, and somewhat more mature,” Oliver added. “I can assess what kind of life I want to have.” Immediately after graduation, she traveled and then moved to New York City, known for its documentary scene, where she hopes to begin her career. If it goes anywhere near as well as her undergraduate career, we’ll probably be hearing her name again soon.

posted @ Friday, August 24, 2012 3:34 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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