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Class Notes Fall 2013


John Aceti, ’58, (elem ed.) wrote a book, The Ambassadors of the Texas Hill Country, published by www.friesenpress. com/bookstore. John and his wife, Carol, reside in Kerrville, Texas.


Vincent DeCosta, ’60, (elem. ed.) celebrated 60 years of marriage with his wife Annette (Conti) DeCosta, ’66 (elem. ed.). They have five children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Eli Silberman, ’61, (speech and hearing hand.) has written the book, E Train to Masada, which is available on Amazon. Most of it takes place in the year 1968, “when the world was falling apart,” and portrays life at a large advertising agency in New York City.

Anthony Riccobono, ’62, (music ed.) is keeping busy playing gigs, volunteering at a senior center and enjoying his 51st year with his wife, Heidi. He is also a 50-year member of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and the National Association for Music Education.

Carol (Timblin) English, ’68, (music ed.) retired after 30 years at the Wichita Falls (Texas) Independent School District, and is the regional consultant to assist low-performing schools improve academic performance.

Carolyn (Adams) Salminen, ’68, (elem. ed.) retired from teaching first grade in June 2005.

Deborah (Grant) Rodrigues, ’69, (biology) taught Earth Science and ultimately Environmental Science (including Advanced Placement) until her retirement 11 years ago. She is now an activist for environmental causes. On Sept. 17 to 19, a group of 1960s Fredonia grads from throughout the country are reuniting in Fredonia. Deborah hopes to get other ’60s-era people interested in attending.


Dr. Robert J. Gamble, ’71, (elem. ed.) has been approved by the New York State Education Department to serve on the board of directors at the Community Charter School in Buffalo, N.Y.

Onaje Allan Gumbs, ’71, (music ed.) presented a concert, “Onaje Allan Gumbs & New Vintage.” It was a multigenerational, multi-genre presentation of straightahead jazz, contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip hop, utilizing musicians, vocalists, spoken word and dance held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Café to a capacity crowd of enthusiastic listeners. Onaje looks forward to presenting the concert at other venues in the country and would love to bring this presentation to SUNY Fredonia as well.

Carol McPeak-McDonald, ’71, (elem. ed.) retired from Forestville Central School after 39 years of teaching. She was honored at the January Forestville board of education meeting. She had been involved in “Make A Difference Day” at Forestville for the past 21 years and helped raise over $62,000 for charity.

Brian L. Merritt, ’71, (math/sec. ed.) retired from Eaton Cooper Crouse- Hinds in January after 36-plus years as a Senior Software Engineer. Brian is looking forward to European travel and spending time with his grandchilldren. Amos Goodwine, ’72, (theatre prod. and design) was honored as the SUNY Fredonia Educational Development Program’s 2013 Distinguished Alumnus.

Gary Peters, ’74, ’80, (elem. ed.) and his son painted the giant Lucille Ball mural (along with four others) that was unveiled by the Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown in October 2012. Jeffrey Peterson, ’74, (math) opened a bed and breakfast in Fredonia, The Edwards Waterhouse Inn at 71 Central Ave., with partner, Maggie Bryan-Peterson.

Gary Schmalfeldt, ’74, (biology/sec. ed.) migrated to Australia in 1976, got married and is still living in Sydney. He taught for three years at Blakehurst High School and mathematics for 33 years at Woolooware High School. His younger son is also a mathematics teacher and they shared a grade nine class last year. He coached the Woolooware High open basketball team for 25 years, winning eight state titles during that time. He also coached the Sydney East Regional Basketball team for 16 years, and several New South Wales state teams. He turned 60 in 2012 and retired from teaching in 2011. He would love to hear from old friends at

David Smith, ’74, (pol. sci.) has moved from the role of CEO of National Fuel Gas Company to Executive Chairman of the Board.

Linda (Becker) Wilkerson, ’74, ’76 (elem. ed.) has retired after more than 36 years in elementary education. For the past 17 years, she served as literacy facilitator for University Park Creative Arts Elementary School in Charlotte, N.C. During her career, she was a contributing author to the Swain Beginning Reading Program and was a speaker at numerous reading conferences. She and her husband, Herb, have retired to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Terrie (Benson) Murray, ’76, (pol. sci.) was elected president of the Philanthropic Education Organization’s CM chapter. The PEO is an international women’s organization that awards scholarships, grants and loans to support women’s efforts to obtain higher education and advanced degrees.

Dr. Deborah (Anders) Silverman, ’76, ’79, (music ed., English) received the Distinguished Service Award from the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Dale Robin Goodman, ’77, (elem. ed.) performed solo and with collaborators on, “Sweet and Salty,” her most recent release on Wepecket Island Records. She is awaiting the upcoming release of Wepecket’s, “Banjo Babes,” which features three of her tunes along with five other women banjoists ( She still loves her day job as Development Director at WMPG Community Radio in southern Maine.

Dr. Stephen L. Gage, ’78, (music ed.) directed the All-County Senior High School Band at the Spring All-County Concert at Chautauqua Institution sponsored by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers’ Association.

Dr. Cheryl Kaus, ’78, (psych.) is Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Valerie (Booth) Nixon, ’78, (bus. admin.) was recently appointed Interim President of Alfred State College.

Cynthia Flaherty, ’79, (music ed.) is a new area representative for American Scandinavian Student Exchange (ASSE) International. She recently completed training and is certified by the U.S. Department of State. Cynthia will be seeking families that would like to host a foreign exchange student. She recently retired from teaching music in the Dunkirk City School District for 33 years and is now giving piano lessons.


Ira Dannenberg, ’80, (history) was appointed Vice President of R & D Food Division for VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.), a provider of ERP software. Leslie (Constanzer) Ahrens, ’81, (elem. ed.) is teaching seventh grade writing at Stroman Middle School in Victoria, Texas.

Walter Gotowka, ’81, (bus. admin.) received the Agent of the Year Award from Lawley Tradition LLC.

Sean Kirst, ’81, (English) delivered the keynote address at the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Annual Conference at SUNY Fredonia.

David Sluberski, ’81, (special studies) is a lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology, and was nominated for an outstanding teaching award/nontenure track.

Mitchell Banas, ’82, (psych.) was selected by the Greater Niagara Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America to receive the Silver Beaver Award. The award is presented to individuals who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service to the council. It is the highest distinguished service award the organization can present locally.

Pamela (Baker) Gratton, ’82, (speech and hearing hand.) has been named branch manager of the American Red Cross Cayuga County Branch.

Valerie (Hayes) Lis, ’82, (account.) has been appointed Deputy Director for the Chautauqua County Department of Finance.

Marcia (Carlson) Bliss, ’83, (account.) was named Woman of the Year by the Jamestown Interclub Council at its annual Banquet.

Laurie (Boreanaz) Carra, ’83, (pol. sci.) was appointed Senior Deputy Counsel at Independent Health, where she has worked since 2008.

Joseph P. Dispenza, ’84, (theatre) was inducted into the Fine Arts Wall of Honor at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y.

Scott Martelle, ’84, (pol. sci.) was a panel moderator at the Los Angeles Festival of Books. The panel, “Nonfiction: Landscapes Real & Imagined,” was part of a two-day event that gathered authors and readers.

David Musial, ’84, (special stds.) reports that the music technology program he founded, designed, and hired all of the faculty for at Stevens Institute of Technology was named in The Best Colleges ranking as second in a listing of The Most Innovative College Music Programs Changing the Industry.

John Poppo, ’84, (sound rec. tech.) was recently elected Vice Chair of The Recording Academy at its recent board of trustees meeting.

Dr. David Ezzo, ’85, (anthro.) has accepted an adjunct teaching job at Niagara University. David taught an Introduction to Sociology class during the spring semester. He also was the author of, “Female Status and Roles Among the Iroquois,” in Whispering Wind Magazine.

Jeff Nelson, ’85, (sound rec. tech.) and Dave Spier, ’87, (music perf.) can be heard on a new CD by Nineteen-Eight Records, “Bloom,” with composer/arranger Asuka Kakitani’s jazz orchestra. Russell Patrick, ’85, (music-applied) and Fredonia friends in the 1980s Fredonia Reunion Jazz Ensemble, performed with members of the SUNY Oswego Reunion Jazz Ensemble in the annual Oswego (N.Y.) Harborfest celebration.

Tracy Pratt-Savage, ’85, (history) was appointed the sales manager of SAVE on Everything, a direct mail marketing firm in Minneapolis, Minn. After 10 award-winning years at the Count Basie Theatre in New Jersey.

Numa Saisselin, ’85, (music ed.) is the new President of the 1,900-seat Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Fla.

Dr. John Coggiola, ’86, (music-applied) conducted the All-County Junior High Band at the Spring All-County Concert at Chautauqua Institution sponsored by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers’ Association.

Wendy (Corsi) Staub, ’86, (English) returned to Dunkirk in February for a signing for her new book, Shadowkiller. Her book, Sleepwalker, is a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award given by the Mystery Writers of America.

Bill Filipiak, ’88, (commun.) codirected and edited the film, “Family Band: The Cowsills Story,” which started airing on Showtime channels in March. The film is about ’60s pop chart-toppers The Cowsills, the real life inspiration behind, “The Partridge Family.”

Dr. Liana Valente, ’88, (music perf.) presented a concert of new vocal music at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. In addition to works by faculty and students, the concert included the second performance of a cycle of 15 one minute miniatures written for Dr. Valente as a project of Vox Novus, “15 Minutes of Fame.”

Gary Pacos, ’89, (pol. sci.) was promoted to Senior Vice President, Compliance and Operational Risk, at First Niagara Financial Group, Inc.


Bonnie (Fox) Garrity, ’90, (commun.) was a key speaker at the Access, Competition and For-Profit Higher Education Conference held at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She was invited as a leading scholar in the field and for her recent publications in the Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies.

Caroline (Kane) Lacy, ’90, (commun.) was appointed Director of Marketing and Public Relations at McGuire Development Co., a commercial development, brokerage and property management firm.

Michele (Roguski) Gennarino, ’91, (bus. admin.) earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Medaille College in 2005 and is Director of U.S. Outbound Operations for Concentrix.

Joseph L. Gugino, ’91, (bus. admin.) has joined Daniel R. Ryel, ’73, as a financial advisor for New England Financial. He recently attained CFP designation, and is also a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He resides in Fredonia with his wife, Jessica (Lyford) Gugino, ’05, (elem. ed.) and their two children, Rosemary and Louis.

Tom Pokel, ’91, (bus. admin.) worked for the Buffalo Sabres in its Marketing Department for six years until he had the opportunity to coach professional hockey in Europe, and has been coaching there ever since. During the regular season he was the Head Coach at Alleghe Hockey Tegola Canadese in the Italian Serie A1, Alleghe, Italy. The team competed in the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Pete Correale, ’92, (commun.) performed at the Helium Club in Buffalo, N.Y. “Entertainment Weekly,” named him one of the top comics to watch and he has appeared on all of the late-night talk shows.

Shawn Goodman, ’92, (psych.) had his latest young adult novel, Kindness for Weakness, published by Random House and included in the New York Times Sunday Book Review on May 10. The book, which has the juvenile justice system as its focus, is being marketed for older teens, but has a broader appeal. Shawn also works full-time as a school psychologist in Ithaca, N.Y.

Michael Gilly, ’93, (account.) has joined EFP Rotenberg, LLP in Corning, N.Y., as a supervisor in its Tax and Business Services Department.

Christine (Northway) Fontaneda, ’95, (psych.) was named Senior Director of Development for the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo.

Kevin Sylvester, ’95, (commun.) was one of the eight local celebrities matched with a professional Western New York dancing studio in, “Suneel’s Celebrity Gala,” a ballroom competition modeled after “Dancing with the Stars.” Suneel’s Light Foundation is a local nonprofit committed to raising money for research into treatment and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Sylvia (Cross) Swan, ’96, (sociology) has been promoted to Social Development Director at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy.

Natalie Palermo, ’97, (commun.) recently published, Rowan Discovers the Elements of Art, an elementary art education book that she wrote and illustrated. She teaches elementary art in the Webster (N.Y.) Central School District.

Christopher Smith, ’97, (account.) was recently added to the Jamestown Area YMCA Metro Board of Directors.

Jason DeChard, ’98, (bus. admin.) was promoted to Branch Manager of Community Bank in its Dunkirk office.

William Witzleben, ’98, (pol. sci.) was appointed by M&T Bank as Vice President, Business and Professional Banking Manager.

Jason Enser, ’99, (commun., pol. sci.) recently accepted a new position as Dean for Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack Community College. He is responsible for Accessibility Services, Admissions, Advisement, Athletics, Career Services, Counseling, Residence Life, Student Activities and Student Success. Shaun Nelms, ’99, (soc. stds./sec. ed.) was appointed Deputy Superintendent of Schools in the Greece (N.Y.) Central School District.


Marcus Goldhaber, ’00, (mus. theatre) starred in the new off-Broadway musical, The Wonderful Wizard of Song: The Music of Harold Arlen, which played at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City this spring. He also performed works from the show at the Shea’s Performing Arts Center Black Tie Gala in April.

Aaron Luce, ’00, (bus. admin.) has been employed at Tri-County Family Medicine Associates in Gowanda, N.Y., since 2006. He is currently the Disease Management/Health Maintenance Coordinator. He lives in Cattaraugus, N.Y., with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children.

Daniel G. Richter, ’00, (sociology) is the script coordinator and writer for producer Jennifer Lopez’s new ABC Family television series, “The Fosters.”

Amy Johnson, ’01, (elem. ed.) was named an Associate Director of Development at the University of Buffalo.

Dr. Thomas C. Priester, ’01, (English/ sec. ed.) recently completed his Doctor of Education degree at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. He currently serves as Instructor of Transitional Studies at Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y. In addition, he is the President of the College Student Personnel Association of New York State, traveled to Brazil to teach English this summer, and in the fall will begin teaching for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration graduate program at SUNY Buffalo State.

Cheryl Sarjeant, ’01, (pol. sci.) has joined Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP as an Associate Attorney.

Andrea (Colao) Czopp, ’02, (English) was promoted to Director of Communications and Government Relations at The Hamister Group.

Thomas Lang, ’02, (theatre) was named an Associate at Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP law firm.

Matthew Nordhausen, ’02, (history, music ed., music perf.) has been hired by the Hilton (N.Y.) Central School District as Director of the Crismon Cadets Marching Band.

Shana (Riley) DiCamillo, ’03, (music ed.) has accepted the position of Donor Relations Coordinator in the Department of Institutional Advancement at Niagara University.

Pamela (Smith) Enser, ’03, (literacy 1: birth-6) was recently appointed as Assistant Registrar at Schenectady (N.Y.) Community College.

Emilija (Bullwinkel) Thevanesan, ’03, (English) received a certificate in Building and District Leadership from the University of Rochester’s Warner School in May 2012.

Dr. Charlie Wesley, ’03, ’06, (English) received his Ph.D. in English literature from Binghamton University in May 2012. He is a Visiting Professor of English at Daemen College.

Lauren Edman, ’04, (sound rec. tech.) is the singer in the group, For Every Story Untold, and is releasing her self-produced solo debut album, “It’s Always the Quiet One.” Emilie Pryor, ’04, (philosphy) was hired as a proofreader for the SKM Group, a marketing communications agency.

Ana (Bonafacio) Santos, ’04, (bus. admin.) is the Creative Director for the Office of Children’s Health at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Recently, Ana and her two daughters, Joelle and Anahia, starred in the video presentation of the American Academy of Pediatrics’, “12 Ways to Show Love.”

Dr. Jillian Beyer, ’05, (biology) has opened an optical business, 14220 Optical, in Buffalo, N.Y. She also owns Hamburg (N.Y.) Optical.

Raymond Bonilla, ’05, (media arts) received a coveted Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York for his poster design created for, The Piano Lesson, which was the first play with an all Africian American cast produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia.

BJ (Brian John) Erdmann, ’05, (acting) was a featured aerialist on Jay Leno’s, “The Tonight Show,” performing with the internationally-renowned circus troupe, Cavalia.

Kaela Altman, ’06, (acting) is Executive Director for the BoHo Theatre in Chicago, Ill., which received 14 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, topping the list as the most nominated theater company in the city. She produced five of the six nominated productions including, Floyd Collins, and, The Spitfire Grill.

Colleen Benedict, ’06, (mus. theatre.) recently appeared in an episode of the Discovery Channel’s series, “I Married a Mobster.”

Scott Bye, ’06, (visual arts/sculpture) returned to campus for the installation of one of his sculptures, “Rush Docks V,” as part of the In Sight/On Site program.

Crystal Ohnmeiss, ’06, (interdisc. stds.) was promoted to Senior Program Manager at People Inc. She has been employed at the agency since 2006 and held several positions, most recently as program manager.

Andrew J. Reading, ’07, (account.) was promoted to Manager in the General Services Team at Dopkins & Company.

Kaitlin Sylvester, ’07, (child. inclu. ed./English) has been appointed as English Language Arts Instructional Coach at Community Charter School in Buffalo, N.Y.

Andrew McCardle, ’08, (commun./ TV and digital film) started working recently at Google in New York City in its Video Production department.

Kara Welch, ’08, (commun.) has been hired as an Administrative Assistant for ProNexus LLC, a subsidary of The Bonadio Group.

Ashley Kuell, ’09, (bus. admin./market.) was promoted to Senior Recruiter of Human Resources at People Inc.

Jacob Swanson, ’09, (music perf.) has been hired as an instructor in the music program at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts in Jamestown.


Mackenzie Cady, ’10, (econ.) has been hired as Manager of the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield. The association is a not-for-profit organization focused on economic development via the grape industry and tourism.

Andrew Sklar, ’10, (acting) appeared as Lonnie in the musical, Rock of Ages, at Shea’s Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y.

Katie Bager, ’11, (commun./media mgmt.) was named a Content Publisher for Synacor, Inc.

Casey Gray, ’11, (music perf.) accompanied the elementary chorus at the Spring All-County Concert at Chautauqua Institution sponsored by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers’ Association.

Matt Reiners, ’11, (sport mgmt.) recently co-founded a company, Party Headphones, which provides specialty wireless headphone systems that allow users to plug any audio source into a transmitter which broadcasts to headphones within a 100-yard radius. The product allows individuals to control their own volume so they can talk without screaming over loud music, choose between two audio channels, and not worry about area noise restrictions. To learn more, visit

Matthew Carlson, ’12, (public account.) was hired as a Junior Accountant at D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP, Certified Public Accountants in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Keith Mackowiak, ’12, (public account.) was appointed as a Staff Accountant at Johnson, Mackowiak & Associates, LLC.

Magen Maloy, ’12, (child. inclus. ed.) has been hired as a special education teacher for grades seven to 12 English at a school in Davenport, N.Y.

Betsy Thayer, ’12, (public account.) became a Certified Public Accountant in New York State by passing all parts of the CPA exam. Of the more than 92,000 candidates that sat for the exam last year, only 39 others across the U.S. had a higher score.


posted @ Friday, August 23, 2013 2:44 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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