History Professor Robert Brown has taught the same course at Finger Lakes Community College for the past several years, but never has it been so relevant.
Called “The Black Death and Beyond: How Disease Has Changed History,” the course examines the evolutionary struggle between man and microbe and the myriad ways disease has shaped history.
“It offers useful and timely insight for navigating the challenges of COVID by presenting a host of historical scenarios in which the human population was unexpectedly assailed by an unknown or little understood pathogen,” said Brown, who resides in Victor.
The class will be offered again in the spring semester, which begins Jan. 25.
Brown earned his doctorate in history at Syracuse University. One of his main research interests – and a focus of the Black Death course – is the flu pandemic of 1918 that claimed an estimated 60 million lives. He has been featured in articles and television documentaries, including the PBS’s, “Secrets of the Dead: Killer Flu.” Continue reading “FLCC’s ‘Black Death’ course offers pandemic perspective”
On the job one day, Nikole DeBell ’11 accompanied ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Lauren “Elle” Duncan with a camera and a mini basketball hoop. Elle dunked hoops over the heads of unsuspecting people and Nikole captured it on camera for a segment on the Saturday show.
“It was a really fun day and I got paid for that,” said Nikole. “Then to see what I produced on TV was really cool.”
That was a few years ago, when Nikole worked as an associate producer at ESPN. In May 2019, she transitioned into her current role as ESPN Next training and development coordinator. The position has her charged with training new production assistants, planning out yearly curriculum, running a peer mentor program and planning networking activities.
Like most everything else, her job has been affected by the pandemic.
“My role has changed pretty drastically due to COVID,” she said. “One of my main responsibilities is training new people, and we aren’t currently hiring new people.
So, the development side of my job has really come in to play. I’ve had to come up with creative ways to virtually develop and advance the people we have in our program now, which has been challenging and fun.”
Nikole has been with ESPN for four years. It’s a dream job – and fitting, considering her background.
The daughter of an NFL official and gym teacher, she was a three-sport athlete at Dansville High School: soccer, basketball, and softball.
Ed Kennedy retired in late summer from teaching psychology, but that’s not what he says he’s been doing for the last 51 years.
“I was more of a history teacher of the self,” Ed explained. “I have always been interested in helping students look at their thinking and why they think the way they do.”
For example, he would challenge them to think of a memory — perhaps from first grade — and ask themselves how that memory played out in their thinking.
With 100 semesters of teaching eight or nine classes, Ed estimates he has taught roughly 20,000 students, enough to make any dinner out or trip to Wal-Mart a reunion: “People come up and say, ‘I have never forgotten what you taught me.’”
He started teaching as an adjunct instructor in 1969 under founding president Roy Satre. “I had the privilege of serving under all of the presidents, and every president I served under was the right person at the right time,” he said.
Having turned 85 this year, Ed had made the decision to retire before the pandemic. He is not putting his feet up, though. He would like to return to the ministry, when churches resume more in-person gatherings. The Rev. Kennedy served as pastor of the Rushville Congregational Church for 49 years, having stepped down during his late wife’s illness several years ago.
His dual vocation made him a natural choice for the many invocations and benedictions during commencement, nursing advancement and other solemn occasions.
He leaves with gratitude for his fellow faculty, the professional staff and leaders on the board of trustees and at the county. “There is not one thing I ever disliked in the College,” he said. “I’ve been blessed for 50 years. I have never regretted a day that I walked into the building at FLCC.”
Before leaving for a 12-week post to help at a New Jersey hospital hit hard by COVID-19, nurse Jennifer Emmons ’11 finalized her own funeral arrangements.
“I had to have a talk with my children to let them know what was in place, where the life insurance is,” she said. “My kids weren’t going to have to wonder about anything. Working in death and dying, I know how important that is.”
Jennifer has been the executive director of the Naples end-of-life comfort home, Hospeace House, since 2017. When the pandemic took hold, the Finger Lakes Community College nursing alumna felt summoned to the storm.
She watched the early reports from the New York City epicenter, where hospitals approached capacity and supplies and staff were sorely needed.
“Being a hospice nurse I think what bothered me the most was that we kept hearing that people were dying alone,” said Jennifer. “I knew that I had skills that were needed.”
With the support of the Hospeace board of directors, Jennifer took an unpaid leave of absence to serve at the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, New Jersey, about 20 miles from Manhattan.
Her assignment was at times administrative but always in the trenches. Many hospital staff had fallen ill in the early weeks, and the crush of patients was so great, a 100-bed medical tent went up in a parking lot.
“You had to remain calm when you were the furthest thing from calm,” she said. “There wasn’t enough of anything — staff, equipment, beds. Some of those basic human needs were being overlooked because we just didn’t have enough hands on deck.”
Every long, chaotic shift was followed by a methodical routine of carefully removing her armor — gloves, gown, shield, and mask — before returning to the hotel she called home during her stay.
On the worst nights, when doubt and hopelessness crept in, Jennifer remembered something one of her FLCC instructors told her in a class years ago: “Never forget why you became a nurse.”
Those words, from the now retired Emily Kuryla, became a mantra.
Alumnus and retiree Henry “Hank” Roenke III ’73 was celebrated by the city of Geneva recently for his work to locate and repair marble markers and catalog monuments in a local cemetery.
City Council adopted a resolution declaring Thursday, Nov. 5 as “Hank Roenke Day.” Mayor Steve Valentino said Hank logged “a staggering 615 trips and 2,140 hours of volunteer service” in a section of the Glenwood Cemetery that was relocated from a burial site on Pulteney Street in 1920 to construct the former Geneva High School (now the site of the FLCC Geneva Campus Center). In the years since the relocation, the headstones have become worn, and in some cases, have sunk into the ground.
“He has completed a tremendous amount of research on the people buried there and routinely logs dates for the historical society’s archives,” the resolution said of Hank’s work. “If that wasn’t enough, he even mows the grass in that section on a regular basis.”
Hank received the CCFL/FLCC Exceptional Service Award in 2017. After earning his associate degree in natural resources conservation from Community College of the Finger Lakes, as the College was called before 1992, he attended Empire State College and then worked as a conservation specialist at FLCC from 1974 to 2001, when he was granted emeritus status.
For over 30 years, Hank developed and managed Geneva’s Loomis Woods Nature Trail, often enlisting the help of FLCC conservation students and local Cub and Boy Scouts. For 13 years, he served as a member of the Alumni Association Council, including two years as its president. He also served on the FLCC Association Board of Directors for 10 years, with two terms as president.
Click here to read the city of Geneva resolution. Click here to read a November 2018 article about Hank in the Finger Lakes Times.
Early in the pandemic, Beth Johnson knew her theatre students at Finger Lakes Community College might not be able to present their annual production before a live audience.
But she saw an opportunity to try something different while also telling the story of our time.
The result is a recorded show titled “Voices in Isolation: Pandemic and Protest” that will debut online at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19. Offered free to all on the FLCC Visual and Performing Arts Department You Tube channel, it will be followed by a live talk-back session with the creative team of writers and performers. The You Tube link can be found here and at events.flcc.edu.
“We felt it was important to provide the students a way to engage and interact with each other, especially one that allowed them the opportunity to voice their experiences and grapple with the issues our country is facing in an artistic and collaborative way,” said Johnson, professor of speech and theatre and director of the production. “While it would have been much easier to avoid offering a theatrical production this year, it would have been a huge disservice to the students for them to have missed out on a fall show.”
“Voices in Isolation” is written and performed by members of the community, students, alumni, and current and retired faculty and staff. The show contains original music, monologues, and stories exploring the impact of quarantine and issues of racial justice. Some are real life experiences, while others are fictionalized.
Each piece was recorded separately, some by the contributors themselves, others by FLCC Video Technician Jeff Kidd ’05. Kidd and Production Manager Jim Perri have spent the past few weeks editing and weaving together the recordings.
ArtSpace36, the downtown gallery of Finger Lakes Community College, will celebrate the opening of a student portfolio show and a community art auction on Thursday, Nov. 19.
A virtual reception will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. and can be accessed via links posted online at artspace36.com and events.flcc.edu. The show and auction items can also be viewed in-person at the gallery at 36 S. Main St., Canandaigua, during normal business hours: 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The portfolio show will run through Thursday, Jan. 29. It is offered in collaboration with the main campus gallery, Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34, and features a range of works created by students in the college’s Portfolio Prep course taught by Sarah Morgan, associate professor of art at FLCC. The students will give presentations during the virtual event.
“As professional artists, they can expect to have these types of experiences,” said Morgan. “This gives our students important, real-world experiences before they graduate.”
Those who attend the virtual reception will be able to bid on auction items. Up for bid are a range of works in various mediums, including drawings and paintings. Contributors include Sarah and fellow FLCC faculty members Barron Naegel, Barbara Senglaub and Lacey McKinney, and professional artists Jeanne Beck, Pat Tribastone, Kim Ratzel and Karen Sorce, among others. All items were donated; proceeds will support programming at ArtSpace36.
Online bidding for the virtual auction will continue through 5 p.m. on Dec. 4, when winners will be announced at a live online event. As with the portfolio reception, a link can be found online at ArtSpace36.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.