For 30 years, the Cayuga Community College Foundation has provided resources to create some of the most memorable opportunities for our students during their college experience. In addition to its fundamental role in awarding $300,000 annually in scholarships to help our students fund their education, the Foundation enhances the quality of Cayuga education through its support of capital projects, like the new Fulton campus at River Glen, equipment purchases, and faculty development. It enriches student lives through endowed cultural enrichment programs such as the Brunell Visiting Scholar and the Noreen and Michael J. Falcone Lecture Series, and the additions that distinguish the Cayuga experience from our peers, including providing support for digital cameras in a new photography class and for world-class speakers, performers, and artists.
Last Wednesday, for example, Professor Melissa Johnson’s art students found inspiration for painting in the undulating harmonies of international musician Samite, our Brunell Visiting Scholar this year. As students swirled brushes across the canvas and Samite played the litungu, a traditional African lyre, students and observers alike were invited to transcend their daily routine and experience the present more fully through artistic expression. Such experiences go beyond the typical college painting course. Through College Foundation support, students have high expectations for this margin of excellence.
Thanks to the efforts of a small group of people who established the Foundation in 1982, the initial endowment of $166,000 has grown to $11 million today. The Foundation provides the College with endowment assets averaging $3,202 per full-time student, compared to $445 per full-time student among our State University of New York peers. The success of the Foundation can be traced to its roots and founding directors, including these community members: Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr., Joseph F. Ganey, Peter J. Emerson, Ronald West, George Metcalf, May Minturn S. Osborne, Arthur J. Bellinzoni, William Komanecky, Lloyd S. Riford Jr., Marion B. Kennedy, Robert J. Tarnow, D. Bruce Dearing, John Bisgrove, and William F. Allyn. Soon after its start, the Foundation Board appointed Daniel Labeille, former faculty member, as the first Executive Director.
During the past 30 years, the Foundation has led eight successful fundraising campaigns in addition to, since 1995, annual alumni fund drives. It has been integral to capital projects, including the College lobby, the James T. Walsh Regional Economic Center, and the Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre. It renovated chemistry and biology laboratories, built a recording studio for the Telecommunications program, secured funding for the first endowed faculty chair in entrepreneurship at an American community college, and hosted events and receptions for the College and local communities.
The most significant investment in the College occurred last Fall when the Foundation formed the CCCF River Glen Holdings, the nonprofit subsidiary to purchase the major portion of the River Glen property in Fulton. It is leasing portions of the property to the College to help meet our needs for more space. The first phase of that expansion, the renovation of the former P&C building, will be complete this Summer. We expect to move into it in time for classes this Fall. The $9.4 million investment by the Foundation in the 25 acres and 124,000 square feet at River Glen ensures that this move will be the fourth and final one for the Fulton campus. We now have the space to grow and meet the needs for higher education in Oswego County for the future. We are grateful to have the support of the College Foundation in advancing this and so many of our top priorities.
As current Foundation President Lloyd E. Hoskins says, the true bottom line for the College Foundation is reported not in terms of dollars raised but rather in the number of lives changed. Through its efforts and programs, the College Foundation has enriched the lives of innumerable campus and community members during the past 30 years. I congratulate each person who serves or has served on the Foundation Board and thank the individuals, corporations, and foundations who have donated to the Foundation during the past three decades. These gifts help us to provide the highest quality education, the best learning environment, and the broadest range of extracurricular and co-curricular experience at an affordable price to our students. Indeed, it is about lives being changed!
This column first appeared in the March 12, 2012, issue of The Citizen in Auburn, N.Y.