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MVCC planned to open its 25th anniversary celebration on May 2nd with a silver anniversary choral-orchestral concert, Sunday, May 2nd, in the Gymnasium. The concert included more than 100 vocal and instrumental musicians, including grade school students, high school students, music teachers, professional musicians and others. Pasquale Caputo, well-known Utica tenor and artistic director of the Utica Opera Guild, was guest soloist. The concert was directed by Albert Johnson, assistant professor of music in the General Education Department. The concert included “Song of Thanksgiving” (Ralph Vaughn-Williams) – including a narrative part for biology professor Stanley Cornish- ”This is Our Time,” (William Schuman), “Onward, Ye Peoples,” (Jean Sibelius), “The Last Word of David,” (Randall Thompson), “A Swan,” (Paul Hindesmith), and “Three Contemporary Madrigals,” (“Ladies & Ye Youthful Lovers,” “O Lovely Bird,” and “Welcome to May”) (Eugene Butler) – the last two performed by MVCC’s recently organized student chorale. The John F. Hughes Choristers (junior high school) also performed. The concert was open to the public free of charge.

Other planned celebration events, scheduled through October, would include photography and art exhibits, speakers, and dedication of the newly remodeled College Center. (From College news releases, April 1971)

Alumni, student representatives, faculty and staff members attended MVCC’s 25th anniversary dinner on October 23, 1971 at Massoud’s Restaurant, Washington Mills. Tickets for the steak dinner cost $4.50. The dinner also highlighted the College’s annual Alumni Weekend. The speaker at the dinner was Dr. Richard L. Whitford, Executive Assistant to SUNY Chancellor Ernest L. Boyer. Dr. Whitford was a native of Melbourne, Australia, who had been an administrator at the State Education Department of Tasmania, Australia from 1937 to 1961, then joined State University College at Buffalo as a visiting professor before joining SUNY Central Administration, being named Executive Assistant to the Chancellor in 1970. The “toastmaster” was Dr. Milton Richards. Professor Willard Sauter was chairman of the Silver Anniversary Committee. Board of Trustees Chairman Bruce C. McLean welcomed guests. (October 1971)

October 22-24 was also alumni weekend. On the 22nd, there was an event called “Joints of the Past,” a reminiscence about popular places frequented by students over the past 25 years. The major event on the 23rd was the Silver Anniversary Dinner – see above. On the 24th, a play was staged in the new Payne Hall: “Lovers and Other Strangers,” by the Players of Utica. James Solan was alumni weekend chairman.

(NOTE – Utica College also celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1971.)

More than six months of Silver Anniversary events ended with a Silver Anniversary Athletic Tournament, with competing teams from Adirondack Community College, North Country Community College, and Tompkins-Cortland Community College, in both basketball and wrestling. (January 1972)


Mohawk Valley Community College observed the 30th anniversary of its founding on October 15th. The College began with 53 students and 11 instructors in 1946, and was known as the New York State Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences at Utica. From a single program in retail business management, the institution had grown to include more than 20 degree curricula and numerous non-credit courses for nearly 7,000 full-time and part-time students. The MVCC Board of Trustees noted the event by officially proclaiming the full 1976-77 academic year as an Anniversary Year at MVCC. (November 1976)

On Tuesday, April 19th, bluegrass legends “Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys” performed in an evening concert in the Gym, along with the local bluegrass group, “Headin’ South.” On Thursday, April 22nd, actor Jerry Rockwood portrayed author Edgar Allen Poe in a dinner theater presentation. On Friday, April 22nd, mime Trent Arterberry performed, followed by Aztec Two-Step, a country-folk-rock band, in concert. On Saturday, April 23rd, there was an anniversary open house at the Utica Campus, and the official opening of an expanded Utica Campus physical education complex (See “Buildings”). In the evening, there was a concert and dance in the gym featuring the Les & Larry Elgart Orchestra, a 14-piece big ban, sponsored by the Alumni Association and Student Association. On Sunday, April 24th, the MVCC Orchestra presented a concert in Payne Hall Auditorium. A handball and racquetball tournament took place all week in the expanded Physical Education Building.

On April 14th, 1977, County Executive William Bryant proclaimed the week of April 18th to be “MVCC Week in Oneida County,” in recognition of the College’s 30th anniversary.

On April 20th, the College dedicated a mural painted by Everett M. Adelman, an instructor at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute School of Art. Commissioned for the 30th anniversary, the painting included elements of MVCC’s architecture, educational programs, faculty, students, social and community events. The painting was to have been permanently displayed in the College Center Student Lounge, but was apparently removed during renovations. As of 2006, its whereabouts are not known.

In 1977, the College offered 20 degree programs.

1986 – 40th anniversary

On September 27th, there was a torch relay run from the Rome Campus to the Utica Campus as part of the anniversary observance. Participants included Rome Mayor Carl Eilenberg; Diane Green, student; Michael Hadity, student; Jeff Whitehead, student; Michael Kerrigan, employee; Regina Piacentino, graduate; Kathy Kelly, graduate; Douglas Peters; Brian Jordan, graduate; Delores Luizzi, employee; Lawrence Luizzi; Ivan Smith, employee; Steven Woods, graduate; Jim Simpson, graduate; William Newman, employee; Richard Meili, employee; Toni McCully; David Mathis, trustee; Robert Ingalls, Oneida County undersheriff; Michael Sewall, employee; Joseph White, employee; John Rybash, employee; Julius Grossman, employee; Angelo Latucca, employee; Thomas Nelson, Utica comptroller; Donald Willner, employee; Edward Kobos, employee; Anthony Spiridigloizzi; Susan Martineau, employee; Thomas Capraro, employee; William Perrotti, employee; Satya Tandon, employee; Joe Kelly, Utica Observer-Dispatch columnist.

On October 14th, a 40th anniversary luncheon was held to honor local employers of MVCC graduates. It was held at the Sheraton Inn & Conference Center (later the Radisson) on Genesee Street in Utica. The featured speaker was Dr. Thomas Kubala, recently appointed deputy to the SUNY chancellor for community colleges. Appreciation awards were presented to area employers on the basis of the number of MVCC graduates employed. Among the award categories were manufacturing, professional services, retail business, financial services, health care institutions, government agencies and education. Awards were also presented to employers on the basis of the range of MVCC programs represented in their employee population, the number of years in which they had hired MVCC graduates as new fulltime employees, and to a graduate of the college who employs other MVCC alumni in a private sector enterprise. The following firms were recognized: Norstar Bank of Upstate New York, PAR Technology, General Electric Company Aerospace Electronic Systems Division, Stetson-Harza Architects & Engineers, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Griffiss Air Force Base, Utica National Insurance Company, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital Center, and Karaz Shoes.

On October 18th, 29 alumni were presented 40th Anniversary Medals during a banquet at the College. Medals were presented by current students in the same program, whose attended was funded by Student Congress. Winners of the medals, by program:
Accounting – Ginece Korber Spina, Class of 1977, billing supervisor at Eastern Rock Products
Advertising Design & Production – Robert R. Tripolsky, Class of 1972, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, a member of the public relations staff of the General Motors Pontiac Division
Air Conditioning Technology – Kevin M. Ransom, Class of 1978, Building Services Office, Carrier Corporation
Banking & Insurance – Paul F. Renckert, Batavia, Class of 1959, director and vice president of the Corporate Retail Banking Operations Division of Goldome. Was the original CEO/President of Genesee Federal Savings & Loan Association.
Business Administration – David A. Near, Class of 1978, Chicago, Ill., marketing performance specialist, corporate headquarters, United Airlines
Chemical Technology (formerly Science Laboratory Technology) – Judith B. Malloy, Class of 1976, laboratory supervisor, Special Metals Corporation, New Hartford
Civil Engineering Technology – Jay A. Winn, Class of 1964, director of Construction Services Group, Stetson-Harza, Utica
Criminal Justice – Kurt D. Schultz, Class of 1978, St. Louis, Missouri, assistant circuit attorney
Drafting Technology – Michael Paquette, Class of 1983, Greene, NY, senior drafter at Singer-Link, Binghamton, working on flight simulators
Electrical Engineering Technology – Joseph W. Cilurzo, Class of 1957, Toledo, Ohio, president of the Jobst Institute, a Bristol-Myers subsidiary
Electrical Service Technician – Kevin S. Swayze, Class of 1981, plant engineer and maintenance supervisor, H. Waterbury & Sons Company, Oriskany
Engineering Science – Mark A. Wolber, Class of 1971, an attorney with Goldbas & Goldbas, Utica
Fine Arts – Daisy Clinton, Class of 1978, Rome, teacher and artist
Food Service – Pamela Nigro, Class of 1980, assistant professor in MVCC Life Science Dept, coordinator of the Food Service program
Human Services – Eldonna S. Wing, Class of 1981, senior psychiatric social work assistant, Alcohol Day Rehabilitation Program, Oneida County Health Department
Individual Studies – Mabel A. Silliman, Class of 1982, personnel manager, Chesebrough-Pond’s, Inc.,
International Studies – Georgette F. Harris, Class of 1984, then a graduate student in the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. She later went on to be a television producer, working on “Where In the World is Carmen San Diego,” among other programs
Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities & Social Sciences – Rachel D. Criscione, Delmar, NY, Class of 1969, president and designer for Gingersnips, Ltd., a manufacturer of children’s clothing which she founded in 1981
Mathematics – Vivian W. Morabito, Class of 1979, Poughkeepsie, NY, employed by IBM to develop mathematical models and computer programs to evaluate computer components and systems
Mechanical Engineering Technology – Mahlon York, Class of 1950, manager of metallurgy, Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company, Utica
Media Marketing & Management – Michele E. Stofle, Class of 1981, marketing director at Sangertown Square, New Hartford
Nursing – Dr. Betty J. Reynolds, RN, Class of 1971 associate professor of nursing at East Carolina University (NC), previously a geriatric nurse practitioner for Oneida County Health Dept, and an instructor at Loretto Geriatric Center, SUNY and Upjohn Health Care
Recreation Leadership – Gregory Phillips, Class of 1981, Cold, Spring, NY, recreation program leader, Downstate Correctional Facility
Respiratory Therapy Technician – Sharon A. LaPine, Class of 1977, regional sales manager, Linde Homecare Medical Systems, Inc, Utica. Had previously been a respiratory therapist at Rose Hospital (Rome), St Elizabeth Hospital, Utica
Retail Business Management – Dr. Hugh Farley, Class of 1953, Schenectady, law professor at SUNY Albany, and NYS Senator
Science – Capt. Nathan L. Riles, Jr., Class of 1976, a physician with the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Reynolds Army Hospital, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
Secretarial Science – Theresa G. Reale, Class of 1968, a paralegal assistant in the Utica law firm of Gorman, Waskiewicz, Gorman & Schmidt.
Surveying Technology- Mary Lou Noel, Class of 1981, technical engineer, Stone & Webster Engineering Company, Nine Mile Point #2 and Steam Station, Oswego
Welding Technology – Robert McGough, Class of 1980, a welding teacher for the Herkimer BOCES


A year filled with special events was planned for the College’s 50th anniversary, including a snow sculpture contest, breakfasts and receptions for area business leaders and alumni, a giant birthday cake, a fund-raising dinner, an art auction and a new MVCC Hall of Fame. The College would also be saluted on NBC’s “Today Show,” (Jan. 30, 1996) through the assistance of Steve Merren, VP/GM at WKTV. The theme for the year was “New York’s 1st Community College.” On January 29th, there was a breakfast meeting on campus, to which local CEO’s were invited; they were asked to bring an employee who was an MVCC graduate. On January 30th, there was a scavenger hunt on the Utica Campus, with clues from the College’s history; the event was organized by Robert Haggett, director of institutional advancement. On January 31st, there was a reception at the Rome Campus, for members of the Rome Community, friends of the College and selected alumni, hosted by Dr. Jon Gibralter, dean. A snow sculpture contest at the Utica Campus, scheduled for Feb 1-2, was cancelled due to lack of snow. On Feb. 2nd, there was also a “birthday party,” in the Utica Campus College Center with a large birthday cake prepared by Hospitality students, and entertainment by the Rhythm-Lites. Funding for the anniversary was raised in part by selling electric “birthday candles,” for $50 each; the sponsor’s name was to be engraved on the candle, and the candle displayed throughout the anniversary year in a window of one of the campus buildings. 50th anniversary post-it cubes were produced and distributed widely. On Saturday, May 18th, there was a commemorative torch relay run from the Rome Campus to the Utica Campus. The route included Floyd Avenue, Black River Boulevard, East Dominick Street, Mill Street, Route 233, Route 69, Main Street (NY Mills), Burrstone Road, Memorial Parkway, Sherman Drive.

In the fall, the first MVCC Hall of Fame inductions were held. Inductees during the first year: Emlyn I. Griffith, Dr. Fillmore Burke, Sr., Dr. John T. Dizer, Jr., Dr. Armond J. Festine, Robert R. Jorgensen, David Mathis, Dr. Albert V. Payne, Dr. Michael I. Schafer, Charles E. Schmidt, Edwin G. Warner. (See “Hall of Fame” for additional information.)

A special newspaper insert was also produced during the fall, with versions for the Rome Daily Sentinel and Utica Newspapers. It focused on MVCC’s 50th anniversary, Utica College’s 50th anniversary, SUNYIT’s 30th anniversary and the Utica School of Commerce’s 100th anniversary.


A special anniversary logo was designed by Joelle Cianfrano, a graphic design student from Rome. She was one of 14 students in a Professional Practices for Graphic Designers class taught by Prof. Robert Clarke who entered the competition.

In June, a Board of Trustees dinner honoring all trustees, past and present, was scheduled.

Other activities were in the planning stage as work on this edition of the College’s history ended.