Alumni in the News for July 2018

We are proud of our alumni. This month’s news roundup gives a sampling of their many ongoing achievements, from being recognized for school leadership, to combining scholarship with athleticism, to supporting their communities in wonderful and surprising ways. Oh, yes, and they’re also launching coffee into space!

Julian Lipinski ’18 was in the news for being named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year of the Northeast 10 Conference. A finance major from Australia who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average and outstanding basketball player at Saint Rose, Lipinski is the third Saint Rose men’s basketball player to receive the award in the past decade (Dominykas Milka ‘14 was recognized in 2014 and Steve Dagostino ’08 was honored in 2008). In addition, Christina Cuffari ‘12 and Caitlin Brauer ‘13 were named Northeast 10 Conference Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year – Cuffari for soccer in 2012 and Brauer for swimming and diving in 2013 – all in the same decade.

Rachel Danielle Leombruno ’17 G’18 was in the news for graduating summa cum laude with her M.S.Ed. from Saint Rose in May 2018. She is currently teaching Spanish at Catholic Central High School in Troy, New York, in a temporary position. “Leombruno earns degree at Saint Rose” ran in The Post Star.

Julianna Palomba ‘16, who teaches fourth grade at Eagle Elementary School in the Bethlehem school district, was recognized by New York State for innovation in the classroom as well as commitment to sharing best practices with fellow teachers. Staff members and students from all grades at Eagle Elementary, as well as members of Palomba’s family, were at a special, surprise assembly to see Palomba receive the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program award and a $5,000 check for personal development. The story is detailed in the Spotlight News.

Amanda Hocking ‘13 was promoted to assistant director of the Adult Day Health Care Program at Valley Health Services. Her promotion was noted in the Utica Observer-Dispatch under “Hocking promoted to assistant director at VHS.”

Jimmy Fallon ‘09 talked about his humble beginnings in the Hollywood Reporter, including how he nearly went into the priesthood as a high schooler, discovered standup comedy, and decided to seek his fortune in southern California – just one semester before graduating from Saint Rose. (He was later awarded his degree in 2009.) Jimmy is no stranger to failure: His road wasn’t always smooth (rejections from SNL, sleeping on couches, and lots of ramen noodles appear in the story), but now he’s our favorite international talk-show host. Jimmy shares how fame and fortune have, and haven’t, changed him.

Theresa Andrew G’07 retired after 33 years in education, most recently serving as principal of North Warren Central School. After a short stint teaching in Troy New York, she joined the North Warren School District as a teacher about 30 years ago. The announcement was included in The Sun’s article, “North Warren principal retires after 33-year career.”

Eric Bell ’07 was in the news for his appointment as assistant superintendent of management services at Champlain Valley Educational Services. Formerly district treasurer and Title 1 coordinator and capital-projects administrator for Beekmantown Central School since 2011, he previously conducted statewide audits for the New York State Comptroller’s Office. The news was shared in “Newsmakers: June 10, 2018” in the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

Mike Brown G’07 was in the news recently for launching his ultra-strong Death Wish Coffee into space. DWC is now being served on the International Space Station – a plan that started about a year ago, when retired astronaut Nicole Stott told DWC’s podcast host, Jeff Ayers, that what she most wanted when she got back to the space station was a good cup of coffee. DWC got to work on the project and, in late June, NASA sent freeze-dried packets of DWC in care packages to the six astronauts of Expedition 56. Details were reported by several media outlets, including CBS 6 in Albany.

Death Wish Coffee also appeared on Walmart shelves across the United States in early June, and caffeine fans were buzzing about how they couldn’t wait to try the “World’s Strongest Coffee.” News reports and reviews came in from all over – from Virginia and Alabama to California and South Dakota. Here is one from from the The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia.

And in one last bit of news from Mike Brown’s Death Wish Coffee, the company finally hired its first chief financial officer. Details were reported by the Albany Business Review.

Gabriel Barbato ’00, G’05, principal at Eagle Point Elementary School in Albany, is now the leader of the school he attended long ago. He was profiled in print and video in “Gabe Barbato leads Eagle Point Elementary School” in the Times Union.

Shelette Pleat ’05, G’13 congratulated graduates of the high-school-equivalency program in Schenectady, New York. Pleat, the early-literacy coordinator for Schenectady schools, told the graduates that she herself was a high-school dropout. One of six children raised by a single mom, Pleat told the graduates, “I’m every statistic that you read about. …The one thing I did have was a strong mom.” She earned her GED at age 21 and went on to earn her place on the dean’s list at Saint Rose. “Tough road makes diplomas that much sweeter” ran in the Daily Gazette.

Jeremiah Condon ’04 is the new head coach for Castleton University’s Spartan track and field teams (men’s and women’s). Condon had worked as head varsity track and field coach at Granville High School in Granville, New York. “Condon takes over Castleton Program” ran in the Rutland Herald on June 15, 2018.

Michele Whitley G’00 has become principal of Geyser Road Elementary School in Saratoga Springs, New York. She was formerly the K-12 administrator at Mohonasen Central School District, where she had worked in various administration capacities for the past 12 years. She has also been an assistant principal in the Ballston Spa School District and a teacher in the Mohonasen Central School District. The story was detailed in “Geyser Road Elementary gets new principal” in Saratoga Today and “Michele Whitley selected as principal at Geyser Road Elementary School” in The Saratogian.

Caleb Martin G’99, G’10 was announced as the secondary-school principal at North Warren Central School in Chestertown, New York, replacing Theresa Andrew G’07. Martin has been at the school since 2006, when he began working there as an alternative classroom teacher. “Martin named secondary principal at NWCS” ran in The Sun Community News.

Lorraine Hohenforst G’90, G’91 received the 2018 Jane Bullowa Service and Leadership Award from New York State. The deputy superintendent of the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Hohenforst was recognized for her innovative leadership in several new initiatives at BOCES in “HFM BOCES deputy superintendent awarded,” on June 15, 2018, in the Leader Herald.

Elizabeth Miller ’76, G’77, in addition to running two manufacturing facilities, has been working on renovating a historic theater in Glens Falls, New York. In a video published by the Albany Business Review, she shared her vision for the theater and some of the challenges she’s faced.

Author Candace Christiansen ’68 spoke to elementary schoolers about her book “Calico and Tin Horns,” a retelling of the story of the Anti-Rent War (also known as the Helderberg War) of 1839-1845, when tenants rebelled against unfair practices of their landlords and successfully demanded land reform. “Anti-Rent Wars remembered in art, literature, and drama” ran in The Altamont Enterprise.

When retired Lowville teacher Anna M. Tabolt ’56 passed away on February 4, 2018, none of the future recipients of her generosity had an inkling of what they were about to receive from her. From the Lowville Free Library to the Watertown PBS television station to the Spring Farm Cares animal refuge, 26 area organizations each received a gift of $80,000 from Tabolt. Most of the recipients had never even met her. Looking back on her life after the fact, the beneficiaries discovered that she had been quietly giving to them all along. “The gifts of Anna M. Tabolt” ran in the Journal & Republican.

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Events for July 2018

Our on-campus happenings may slow down a bit over the summer, but they certainly don’t stop! Drop by the Esther Massry Gallery to see the faculty show or listen to some inspiring tunes from the Baroque era at the Bach Bash.

Ongoing until July 31:
The Art and Design Faculty Show, Esther Massry Gallery, Massry Center for the Arts. After July 31, the gallery will reopen with the faculty show on September 7. Summer hours: Monday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Sundays and July 4. 

July 11:
Graduate Meet and Greet, 3 to 5 p.m., Veteran’s Center (Casey Hall), Office of Graduate Admissions

July 13:
Summer Open House (Undergraduate Admissions), 9:30 a.m., Massry Center for the Arts

July 20:
Summer Open House (Undergraduate Admissions), 9:30 a.m., Massry Center for the Arts

July 28:
Bach Bash, 7 p.m., Massry Center for the Arts, Picotte Recital Hall

Upcoming:
It’s happening in September, but you can register now: The Golden Knights Golf Classic will be held on September 14 at the Capital Hills at Albany golf course, 65 O’Neil Road, Albany. Click here for more information.

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Tom Kerner ’82: A New World of Teaching After Retirement

After a fulfilling career in teaching, Tom Kerner has found new rewards in mastering and using an international method for teaching English as a second language.

During his time at Saint Rose earning his B.S. in Special Education, Kerner learned a valuable lesson. “You can’t just plunge into instruction,” says the Albany native, who retired in 2012 after 27 years of teaching in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont public schools. “You have to know what your students’ performance levels are and what skills they bring to the task.”

About a dozen years ago, Kerner discovered a huge group of students who weren’t receiving that benefit. He learned about the issue during a trip to Cambodia, from a friend from Schenectady who was living there. While university students in Southeast Asia are required to be proficient in English, the vast majority are taught by native English speakers – expatriates from the United States and elsewhere – with no training as teachers.

“There’s no requirement of teaching expertise,” says Kerner. “I found they had no idea what to do other than follow the curriculum.”

Read more about Kerner’s story and how teaching English across the world reconnected him with part of his past here.

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Michael Weidrich G’06, G’10: When Art and Business Equal Success

You might know him as the person who started Albany’s 1st Fridays arts walk to revitalize Lark Street and downtown Albany, the organizer who brought musician Moby to Larkfest, or the Capital District’s proud champion of LGBTQ and minority individuals over the last decade. Now, Michael Weidrich G’06, G’10 is back in his native Buffalo as the executive director of Young Audiences of Western New York (YAWNY), an-arts-in-education organization that provides a wide range of arts and cultural programs to the region’s school children.

Skilled and accomplished in arts advocacy, business development, and social-justice activism, Weidrich is a Renaissance man who starts renaissances in his own communities. A rarity with a BFA and an MBA, he’s an artist who’s adept at business, and a businessperson who’s at home in the arts.

Read more about Weidrich here.

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