Remembering Bill White, FLCC’s ‘Swiss army knife’

FLCC retiree Jeff Adams made this remembrance video of images set to music.

Nursing professor Susan McCarthy is the first to admit her struggles with technology. Through the years at FLCC, she has relied on support from Information Technology staff, and in particular, Bill White.

“Bill always came to the rescue,” she said. “He never made you feel dumb – he always tried to teach.”

Bill had his limits, however. “The last time I called him for the same issue I usually called for, he brought a permanent marker with him to draw an arrow next to the button I needed to push.”

Problem solved – in Bill’s typical gentle and humorous style.

It’s one of many memories shared among faculty and staff following Bill’s death on Saturday, Oct. 17 after an automobile accident in the town of Seneca. He was 63 and is survived by his wife, Faith, and their daughter, Rebecca.

Photo of man with medallion
Bill White was honored with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in 2014.

Bill joined FLCC in 1998 as the first full-time “audio-visual, TV, audio, cable TV, wiring and all around technical guru,” said Jeff Adams, who served as director of the former educational technology center until his retirement in 2010.

“He set a new standard for background knowledge, flexibility, collegiality, and willingness to tackle new technology projects,” said Jeff.  “From then on, those who came to know Bill relied on his expertise to solve problems and also respond with a smile.”

Bill Pealer, media production specialist, said Bill was a “Swiss army knife – a multi-talented everything guy.”

The pair often worked together providing audio-visual support for events, everything from in-house workshops and concerts to major community fundraisers.

Photo of Bill Pealer and Bill White in front of a lake
Bill Pealer and his late colleague, Bill White, posed for a photo during an out-of-town conference.

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Public can watch FLCC ceremony honoring exceptional alumni, benefactors

Finger Lakes Community College will honor exceptional alumni and benefactors with an online event held in lieu of an annual awards ceremony.

The 2020 FLCC Alumni Association and Foundation Awards ceremony, typically held the night before commencement, was postponed due to the pandemic. With large gatherings still prohibited, the ceremony is online on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.  The public is invited to join at this link.

The honorees are as follows:

Benefactor Award: Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation

Since 2012, Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation’s First in Family Scholarship has been awarded annually to an FLCC student, enabling first-generation college students to graduate debt-free. The 2020 recipient is Katelyn Roland of Phelps, a Midlakes graduate, who is planning to study nursing.

 The late Max and Marian Farash

The late Max and Marian Farash:
Their foundation was honored with the Benefactor Award

Distinguished Alumni Award: Lester E. Mayers ’17

Mayers, a traveling poet, performer, and poetry instructor, is the author of published works, including two collections of poetry. He was the recipient of the 2019 Visionary Award from the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and the commencement speaker for the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts’ Class of 2019 in New York City.

CCFL/FLCC Alumni Association Exceptional Service Award: Corinne M. Canough

Canough, director emeritus, led the Center for Advisement and Personal Development, established the college’s food cupboard, and created the faculty advisor training and compensation model for new student registration.

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Inspired by challenge, FLCC alumni create George Floyd Scholarship

PHoto of Althea Jones-Johnson
Althea Jones-Johnson ’18

As she sat at her table for the annual scholarship dinner awards ceremony at Finger Lakes Community College in September 2017, Althea Jones-Johnson made a promise to herself: One day she’d do what she could to help future students of color join the list of honorees.

“I was just so grateful,” she said. “I remember saying to myself that I want someone else to be able to experience that.”

Fast-forward to the present: Having recently embarked on a master’s degree program in higher education, Althea has partnered with fellow FLCC alumna and graduate student Samantha Maniscola to establish a new scholarship for African-American students.

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship awards $1,000 to a deserving student in the memory of the Minneapolis man who was murdered by police during what should have been a routine misdemeanor arrest.

The scholarship is inspired by a desire to bring change and a challenge by North Central University President Scott Hagan who on June 4 announced the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship at his institution and called on every university president in the country to follow suit.

“I saw that this college had challenged other institutions to do the same things and I called Sam and said ‘We should do something like this for FLCC.’ And now, here we are.” Continue reading “Inspired by challenge, FLCC alumni create George Floyd Scholarship”

Young Entrepreneur Academy student heads to national competition

Brandon Russell headshot
Brandon Russell is a sophomore at Honeoye-Falls Lima High School

A student who participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy last year at Finger Lakes Community College is headed to the 12th Annual Saunders Scholars National Competition for young business owners, hosted online by Rochester Institute of Technology on Oct. 17.

Brandon Russell, 15, is a sophomore at Honeoye Falls High School in Lima. His product, called No Touch Flush, is just as it sounds, a device that can be used to flush a toilet without using your hands.

He will be up against 35 other students from Young Entrepreneurs Academy chapters across the country, including seven others from New York State.

Though he had an interest in starting a business from a young age, Brandon enrolled in the Saturday morning program a year ago without a product in mind. “I was doing YEA and really struggling to find an innovation or idea,” he said.

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Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post

Three officers near the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
FLCC criminal justice alumnus Jacob Habecker is shown at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Standing at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jacob Habecker thought of little other than his assignment, to serve and protect.

That, and the silence: As a member of the federal police, he’d grown accustomed to the buzz of dispatchers and fellow officers on his radio. Standing under the portico at the top of the Supreme Court steps in a frozen salute, Jacob was struck by the quiet and the long, snaking line of mourners.

Over the course of two days last month, Jacob was among a select group of federal officers chosen to serve in the honor guard while Ginsburg lay in repose at the Supreme Court where she served from 1993 until her death on Sept. 18 at age 87.

“It’s a memory I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. I’m very proud of it,” said Jacob, a Palmyra native and alumnus of the criminal justice program at Finger Lakes Community College.

Jacob and fellow honor guard members, clad in their navy blue uniforms and matching face coverings, alternated in 15-minute shifts at the head of the flag-covered casket while mourners paid respects on Sept. 23 and 24.

Jacob could tell when a dignitary had arrived because they were escorted to the front of the line. He was working when Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez came through.

Presidents were allowed a closer view. “I was there when Bill Clinton came, but in other room,” he said, later adding, “The honor guard appealed to me because it allowed me to witness history first-hand.” Continue reading “Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post”

Masks aplenty thanks to efforts of FLCC mother, daughter

Photo of mom and daughter with face coverings on a porch
Kim Dey, left, and her daughter, Emily, are shown with some of the 1,000 face coverings they donated to FLCC recently. Both students, they’ve led a community effort to gather materials, sew and distribute over 30,000 since mid-March.

Shortly after the pandemic hit, Finger Lakes Community College student Kim Dey heard from a friend who works as a nurse at an area hospital and was worried about the shortage of masks.

“She said, ‘Kim, can you help?’” Kim remembered of that call in March.

Kim quickly organized a Facebook group, We Are In This Together – Sew Away Corona Upstate NY Palmyra/Macedon. It drew those who could sew, provide mask materials or support the effort with donations or connections. In the seven months since, the group of mostly Wayne County residents has made over 30,000 face coverings that have been donated to medical centers, police departments, schools, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, migrant farm workers and Native American communities.

FLCC is among the latest in a list of recipients that includes dozens more organizations, businesses and individuals as far away as Florida. Kim and her daughter, Emily, also an FLCC student, donated 1,000 face coverings to be handed out to students, faculty and staff.

“This donation is much appreciated and will be put to good use,” said Dawn Hess, director of environmental health and safety at FLCC. “We require face coverings in our buildings and sometimes our students simply forget or could use an extra.” Continue reading “Masks aplenty thanks to efforts of FLCC mother, daughter”