Mat Marucci ’65, Golden Spartan

February 22nd, 2017 | Comments Off on Mat Marucci ’65, Golden Spartan | Posted in Cover Story

MarucciMat was born into a musical family.  His sister, Mena Marucci Colella, was a concert pianist, and his brother, Ed Marucci, was a professional trumpeter.  As an active performer, author, educator and clinician, Matthew “Mat” R. Marucci ’65 was classically trained on the piano before switching to drums at the age of 19, where he studied with Dick Howard in Auburn, NY.  His performing credits include playing with many jazz greats and he has numerous critically acclaimed recordings to his credit as a leader and others as a sideman.  Mat is the author of several books on drumming for both Lewis Music and Mel Bay Publications and has written numerous articles on drumming for music magazines. His recordings and books have garnered four and five star reviewsMarucci 2 in musical magazines and on prominent jazz websites.

Marucci has been an Adjunct Professor in the Los Rios Community College District in the Sacramento area, an Applied Music Instructor at American River College in Sacramento and at the Jazzschool in Berkeley.  He has also served as an Applied Drumset Instructor at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.

Marucci 3Currently, Mat has three new CDs coming out on upstate New York record label, CIMP Records, and continues to work with his own trio and quartet.  He also plays with the Sacramento Classic Jazz Messengers and has some big band work coming up. Marucci has recently written articles for and has completed two additional books.   Mathew and wife, Diane Marie have two children who are carrying on the Marucci musical legacy.  His son Mathew is a semi-professional drummer, and daughter Therese Renee is an amateur pianist and flutist.

Samples of Mat’s recordings can be heard at and on his website

To read more about Mat Marucci, look to our upcoming Spring/Summer issue of Spartan!

John E. Walsh ’65 Receives Award

November 8th, 2016 | Comments Off on John E. Walsh ’65 Receives Award | Posted in Cover Story


John E. Walsh ’65, most visible for his work on America’s Most Wanted, attended a reception in his honor to receive his 2016 ACC/CCC Alumni Association Award.  Mr. Walsh was recognized for his achievements which include his work as an advocate and activist in Washington and across the nation to address the issues related to missing children.  His advocacy work was key to the passage of the Missing Children’s Act that was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.  His TV program helped to capture about 1,200 suspects, including individuals on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Lists during its 25-year run.  In 2014, he became the host of a documentary-style investigation series, The Hunt with John Walsh, where he details stories of ongoing cases involving fugitives with the intent of expanding searches outside the United States.

john-walsh-with-gerry-guineyDuring the Auburn campus event, Mr. Walsh shared of stories of the capture of individuals who had committed deplorable acts, and told encouraging accounts of rescue and heartening outcomes.  Members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, College faculty, staff, senior members of management, and family members were engaged with his recounts of many cases that were solved with his assistance.   John’s brother, Joe Walsh ’78, who teaches at the College, attended with his former student Alex Webb, who served as U.S. Marine and is eager to become a U.S. Marshall.  Alumni Board President Gerry Guiney presented the award winner his plaque and expressed appreciation for his good works.

Photos: Courtesy of Cayuga Collegian photographer Kody Fowler

Inauguration of Cayuga’s Eighth President

May 17th, 2016 | Comments Off on Inauguration of Cayuga’s Eighth President | Posted in Cover Story

Editor’s Note: Cover Photo courtesy of The Citizen.

0028With much anticipation, faculty, staff, local dignitaries and invited guests gathered on the Auburn Campus to observe the inauguration of Cayuga Community College’s eighth president on April 15th.  The formal ceremony began with the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band and Professor Steve Keeler serving as Mace Bearer.  As College President Dr. Brian M. Durant entered, the atmosphere became benevolent with expectation.  Our National Anthem was sung by Kelly Newton, Class of 2016; Jeffrey L. Edwards, Chair of the Board of Trustees, welcomed guests; and Dr. Anne Herron, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, served as master of ceremonies.

During the event, special greetings were given by the Honorable Keith Batman, Chair of the Cayuga County Legislature; Foundation Director Guy Cosentino; Faculty Representative Eric Zizza; and Student Trustee Molly Sharples.  The group spoke about Dr. Durant’s focused priorities which include the importance of supporting excellence in teaching strategies to increase student success outcomes. “At every meeting, Dr. Durant always asks the same question, “How does this help our students?” CCCC Foundation Executive Director Guy Cosentino said. “He reminds us that our most important mission is to make sure our students get a great education.”  Former colleague and guest speaker, Dr. Kristine Duffy, President of SUNY Adirondack agreed that his work is unwaveringly student-focused.

0178Dr. Linda VanBuskirk, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, presented Dr. Durant followed by the  Investiture conducted by Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline.  During his Presidential address, Durant said “Ultimately, all that we do is about the student. We have an emphasis on student success. Student outcomes in the areas of graduation, retention, and individual goal completion will always be our focus for continuous improvement. Student success is institutional success.”  He laid out his vision for the college and spoke about other areas of concentration including expanding strategic partnerships with K-12 and local industries, and exploring the impact of student housing.

Addressing the assembly, the new President said, “This is a tremendous honor.  It is my absolute pleasure to serve as President of this fine institution.” He concluded his inaugural address by stressing the importance of teamwork and unity as the college moves forward.  “When we all commit toward the same collective good, together, we will achieve something extraordinary.”

Cayuga’s New President Brian M. Durant

August 11th, 2015 | Comments Off on Cayuga’s New President Brian M. Durant | Posted in Cover Story

Brian M. DurantThe Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees has announced the selection of its new president. Brian M. Durant will be the ninth president in the college’s history. Durant will take over for Dr. Gregory T. DeCinque who has served as Interim President since December 2013.

“Brian is young and energetic and will fit right in at Cayuga. There are big shoes to fill when Dr. DeCinque leaves; but after meeting Brian, we all felt that he was ready to address the needs of our college,” said Jeffrey L. Edwards, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The Board looks forward to the transition and is eager to go to work on Cayuga’s future with Brian Durant at the lead,” he added.

Brian Durant most recently served as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack. He previously served as Dean for Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack before being promoted. He completed his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University, earned a Master of Science in Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from SUNY Plattsburgh.

“Brian Durant is the right person at the right time for Cayuga Community College,” said Dr. DeCinque. “Having spent the past 18 months as Interim President, I know that Brian will be a perfect fit with the Cayuga family. He brings a background that will help move CCC forward to a very bright future.”

Durant stated, “I am honored to serve as the next President of Cayuga Community College. With campuses in Auburn and Fulton, along with the comprehensive offerings available for students online, Cayuga Community College has a tremendous reputation for providing access to higher education. I look forward to collaboratively working with the college’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, and the regional community to provide high quality education for students as well as strengthen the position of Cayuga Community College for the future.”

Durant and DeCinque CCC plans

61st Annual Commencement Ceremony

May 21st, 2015 | Comments Off on 61st Annual Commencement Ceremony | Posted in Cover Story

5559086741c9c.imageSpeaking at the 61st commencement ceremony, alumnus R. Daniel Soules ’76, senior partner with Soules & Dunn Development Group, shared advice to Cayuga Community College “graduates-in-waiting.” His message was to not complicate life, be humble and use common sense. Soules offered thoughts for success to the new graduates about knowing their passion, self-improvement and networking. He said “When you move on, whether its college or whether it’s your career, never stop talking to your peers. Work with them. They’re going to be your greatest asset moving into the future for opportunity, jobs and contacts.”

The graduation ceremony, which took place on Sunday, May 17, celebrated more than 540 students. Families and faculty looked on as Dakota Marshall, one of the recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, stressed the importance of peers. Fellow Chancellor’s Award winner Brittany Androsko gave thanks to friends, family and faculty for guiding them this far through their collective journey.

A reception for the Class of ’15 was held after the commencement ceremony in the college’s café, where graduates, family, friends and faculty gathered to celebrate the festivities.

Author David Homick ’77 Tells Students to “Follow Your Muse”

February 10th, 2015 | Comments Off on Author David Homick ’77 Tells Students to “Follow Your Muse” | Posted in Cover Story

D. Homick podium with bookDavid Homick ’77 visited the Auburn Campus to speak to students on the topic of “Writing Your First Novel with Inspiration, Emotion and Intention.” Homick was the featured presenter for February in the CCC Alumni Association’s Alumni Voices program, which brings graduates to campus to share their experiences and knowledge with CCC’s students. This month’s event was co-sponsored by the Student Activities Board in their Lecture Series.

“I’m here to talk to you about how to be a writer, not how to write,” Homick told students. “You begin with the inspiration for your writing, which may be external—your past experiences—or internal,” Homick explained. “Stories are all around us! We all have an innate need to tell stories, and we do so every day.” Homick encourages students to listen to their muses for inspiration. “I don’t know what your spiritual beliefs are, but I know my personal Muses by name. When I’m stuck in my writing, I find a quiet place and ask my Muse for a ‘nugget’ of a story. After a few minutes, ideas will start to flow.”

Homick also compared the writing process to using a GPS device. “First, the GPS needs to know where you are. Second, it needs to know where you want to go; I call that your intention. In this case, your intention is to write and publish your book. Third, and most important, you put the car in gear and you start to move. Even if you move in the wrong direction sometimes, just move!” He suggested that you continually ask the simple question, “What if?” “What if this happened and then that happened? How would that add to my story?”

A-Lifetime-Last-Night-400David also spoke about his recently published book, A Lifetime Last Night. His novel is full of metaphysical wisdom and inspiration that is woven into an intriguing, contemporary, love story. One of the underlying themes of the story, as well as his life, was inspired by a favorite quote from George Eliot. “It’s never too late to be what we might have been.” Homick advises young people to, “Notice everything, never stop asking questions, and don’t be afraid to express yourself in any way that resonates with your soul.”

“Attending ACC proved to be a great stepping stone to a 4-year degree. The cost was very reasonable, all my credits transferred, and it allowed me to attend a great school while living at home and working part-time.” Shares David. A second novel, as yet untitled, is currently in the works. “It’s who I am now. I’ll never stop writing,” Homick said. He dreams of quitting his day job to pursue his writing career full time.

For more information or to purchase David Homick’s books go to

Brunell Visiting Scholar – Eileen Jerrett

November 10th, 2014 | Comments Off on Brunell Visiting Scholar – Eileen Jerrett | Posted in Cover Story

Eileen JarrettEileen J. Jerrett ’01 is back on campus this fall. She is the artist-in-residence for TELC 210: Documentary Film Production, where she assists in teaching. Her visit is sponsored through The Robert H. Brunell Chair in the Humanities. While at CCC, Jerrett has held film screenings, brought in guest filmmakers for screenings and assisted in a master class on video production. She has also continued with her own documentary film work while providing public screenings as well as screenings for other colleges.

More recently, Eileen has been traveling for her project, The Blueberry Soup Outreach Tour. The project involved a yearlong nationwide screening and discussion series about her most recent work. Blueberry Soup, named for an Icelandic comfort soup, is a documentary on how Iceland changed the way we think about the world. Taking four years to complete, the extraordinary documentary is about the constitutional change in Iceland following the financial crisis of 2008; a not-well-known story of grassroots crowdsourced constitutionalism. The film is a deeply touching account of a concerned group of citizens reinventing democracy through the rewriting of the nation’s constitution. “If given a second chance, how does a nation rebuild?”

The Oswego County Weekly commented: “Eileen Jerrett, founder of WILMA’S WISH PRODUCTIONS, has been praised by critics for being a pioneer in a new mode of documentary filmmaking. Her unique approach has gained access to incredibly intimate and universally identifiable moments of humanity. Jerrett and her films give the audience a window into personal stories reserved only for those closest. Jerrett has set out to document stories that empower, delight, and humanize the viewer as well as the subject.”

Jerrett received dual degrees with a background in film and telecommunications production at CCC. She moved to Toronto to pursue her bachelor’s in film production at Ryerson University. At the university she also discovered her career path. “I had one documentary class and that was all I needed — that became my focus,” Eileen said.

Through the inspiration of her Grandmother Wilma Jerrett’s words — “The only thing I wish for all of you is to have the same kind of love in your life that I’ve been so lucky to have in mine. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but it’s here in all of you.” — Eileen Jerrett knew that she was to go solo and start her own production company. She knew, too, that she would name it Wilma’s Wish Productions.

These photos document Eileen Jerrett’s journey in making Blueberry Soup, her Outreach Tour, and her time on the CCC Campus.

Students and Faculty Hit the Trail

May 6th, 2014 | Comments Off on Students and Faculty Hit the Trail | Posted in Cover Story

Hit the Trail 2014 -2The Nature Trail on the CCC Auburn Campus has been called “a small, natural oasis in an urban area.” It is a beloved and well used friend to many walkers, runners and nature lovers. It was recently announced that funding had been secured to make much needed improvements on the trail, and we would like to give you an update.

There is evidence that the land the trail is on was farmed in the 1950s when the campus was in its infancy. If you look closely, you may find the remains of barbed wire fencing and hedgerows dividing cow pastures and a variety of apple trees. The man-made ponds and trails were built in 1978. Through the years, improvements have been made and trails with stone dust surface were added. Large meadows of grass are mowed, adding to the tranquility of the setting. The late Ruth Sara Goldman was a regular fixture on the trail. In memory of her passing, her family members installed exercise equipment on the trail that was dedicated in her honor in 2009.

Hit the Trail 2014 -4The trail is used by professors for education on natural resource management, ecology and botany. In addition, Professor Tom Casella, who manages the trail for the College, takes his students out on the trail for inspiration for their art. Associate Professor Paul Richardson engages students, faculty and staff every spring on bird identification tours.

However, over time, buckthorn and other invasive plants like Japanese Knotweed and honeysuckle have or will take over much of the area, leaving little room for the native flora to thrive. In response, Assistant Professor Sheila Myers has enlisted students in her biology classes to conduct service-learning projects to improve the trail ecosystem. They have discussed the problems of the buckthorn, challenges with the ponds, drainage and general trail maintenance issues caused by flooding and erosion. Based on their research, the student team estimated the cost of making improvements and renovations at $31,000.  Myers has secured a $7,000 grant from the Dorr Foundation that will enable her to complete the first round of improvements being made.  Several areas of the trail have been made significantly larger after great quantities of buckthorn were removed. Trees indigenous to the area have been purchased, including Red Maple, Poplar and Swamp White Oaks. On April 24, students and faculty began planting a total of 30 6-foot trees.

Renovations are a total team effort. The CCC Foundation administers all gifts collected. The students, our future alumni, along with interested and involved members of the CCC community have rolled up their sleeves, literally and figuratively, to keep our “natural oasis” a place to continue to enjoy for many more years.

To learn more about the Nature Trail project or to learn more about their research, visit:

Bye Bye Buckthorn

May 5th, 2014 | Comments Off on Bye Bye Buckthorn | Posted in Cover Story

One of the challenges the Nature Trail faces is buckthorn, a tree that is highly invasive.  It crowds out native plants and out-competes them for nutrients, light and moisture.  It degrades wildlife habitat and forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation.

With much assistance, large areas of buckthorn have been cut and the area replanted with native oak, maple and poplar trees (thirty in all).  Students have helped by securing landscaping fabric over the cut ends.  Hopefully, covering the cut ends will stop it from re-sprouting.

Buckthorn is a common problem in many areas.  For information on buckthorn, click on this brochure link.

Rocks for Ray

May 5th, 2014 | Comments Off on Rocks for Ray | Posted in Cover Story

On January 30, CCC lost a long-time professor and friend with the sudden passing of Raymond F. Leszczynski. Many who knew Ray or took any of his geology classes knew of his love and passion for different kinds of rocks. It was infectious, and people would bring him unusual rocks they found – often because of their own, newly-found love of rocks.

Each year faculty and staff participate in an Assessment Day function; so when it was held in February, participants were encouraged to bring a special rock as a tribute to Ray. On May 1, the rocks found a home when they were brought to the Nature Trail. With help from Sheila Myers’ Conservation and Natural Resources class, the rocks were placed around newly planted trees and flowers. They will bring a smile to all who walk along the trail as they think of Ray.

CCC Fulton Campus: Nurturing Oswego County Learners for 20 Years

February 26th, 2014 | Comments Off on CCC Fulton Campus: Nurturing Oswego County Learners for 20 Years | Posted in Cover Story

Members of the 20th Anniversary Committee are from left, Sgt. Ralph Stacy, Jr. ’97, JoAnn Harris ’95, Judy Campanella ’78, Joyce Crandall ’02, Sue Witmer ’90, and Misty Digaetano ’01.  Not pictured are Pat McCurdy and Louise Wilson ’72.

Members of the 20th Anniversary Committee are from left: Sgt. Ralph Stacy, Jr. ’97, JoAnn Harris ’95, Judy Campanella ’78, Joyce Crandall ’02, Sue Witmer ’90, and Misty DiGetano ’01. Not pictured are Pat McCurdy and Louise Wilson ’72.

Cayuga Community College saw the need for community college services in Oswego County.    In the spring of 1994, after five years of study, the decision was made to create The Fulton Extension Site of CCC.   The College opened with 94 students enrolled in two rented classrooms in the basement of the Fulton Education Center in downtown Fulton.  After outgrowing that facility in just 6 months, it was moved into the former Holy Family School building on West Third Street, Fulton that summer.  In 1996, SUNY approved the Extension Center designation.

As part of the College’s Facilities Master Plan, 50,000 square feet of space was leased in a vacant discount department store and a new home for the Fulton site was designed.  The central feature was an innovative Learning Commons that combined the Library, Academic Support Center, and open Computing Lab.  Each would have about 60 stations with the open design allowing the space to “flex” to meet varying needs.  Construction began in 2000 and a groundbreaking was held at 806 W. Broadway on the new Fulton Center.  By the next year, the Fulton Center moved to the new facility.

In 2004, to accommodate the increasing student enrollment, 5,000 feet of unfinished space within the Fulton Center was renovated that added four classrooms and seven offices.

Growth continued, and in 2006 SUNY approved Branch Campus status educating more than 1,000 students and offering complete degree programs on site.

In spring 2011, Cayuga County approved the purchase of the former P&C Foods building in Fulton’s River Glen Plaza as well as 45 adjacent acres.  Kick off for construction was held in December, and the new Fulton Campus at River Glen Plaza was opened to students by fall 2012.

Currently there are close to 140 employees on the Fulton campus and approximately 23 are alumni.

Welcome Dr. DeCinque Interim President

December 11th, 2013 | Comments Off on Welcome Dr. DeCinque Interim President | Posted in Cover Story

The CCC community is pleased to welcome interim president Dr. Gregory DeCinque, who was unanimously approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees.  DeCinque retired in August as president of Jamestown Community College, another SUNY institution, where he spent 19 years as the school’s leader. He earned his PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and focused his dissertation on collective bargaining within community colleges.  He also has experience leading a college through fiscal exigency and has been the leading candidate for the position throughout much of the search since Larson announced his retirement in October.

“I hope to apply my leadership experience to help Cayuga through what I know has been a challenging time for all campus members,” DeCinque said in a news release. “We will work together to find the best solutions.”

According to the college, more than 80 percent of faculty and staff who completed a survey, agreed that Dr. DeCinque was highly-qualified for the position. He received praise from the Board of Trustees as well as students and teachers who met with him. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said in a news release. “We are deeply grateful to Dr. DeCinque for agreeing to come out of retirement and continue to serve our system as interim president of Cayuga Community College, while a search for permanent leadership is underway. It will be a great honor to continue working with Dr. DeCinque during this transition.”

After only two weeks at CCC, DeCinque has been immersed in the college and the community and said “I am beginning to feel at home.”  In the short time he has been on campus, he has spent time with many individuals and leaders of various groups in both Cayuga and Oswego counties.  In a recent report to the campus community, he stated “It is my belief that you can’t get much done until you know the people.”  We are all looking forward to getting to know Gregory DeCinque.

Barry Bilderback ’84 – The Spirit of Ghana

October 14th, 2013 | Comments Off on Barry Bilderback ’84 – The Spirit of Ghana | Posted in Alumni News & Events, Cover Story

Dr. Bilderback performs with drummer Quadir Muntaqim

Dr. Bilderback performs with drummer Quadir Muntaqim

In conjunction with the Harriet Tubman centennial, Barry T. Bilderback, Ph.D. ’84, held a special performance of music on September 23 in the CCC Lounge.  Barry is assistant professor at the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho and has spent a great deal of time studying music native to Ghana. During an interview with The Citizen, Bilderback said “Harriet Tubman’s heritage comes from Ghana. We wanted to do this in the context of her life.” He was joined by master drummer Quadir Muntaqim of Auburn who played the conga drum as well as the more traditional and native to Ghana, kpanlogo drum.

Dr. Bilderback explained the music and dance of Ghana is very much ingrained in the culture, interwoven with celebrations of life, culture and religion.  The music is exemplified by poly-rhythms, call and response and oral traditions, and what he referred to as the repetition of the cycle, the interaction between the drummer, the rhythms, the dancers, drums, players and their audience, to create a connection between all involved through music and dance.  Muntaqim agreed that for him music is very much an expression of who he is and his feelings.  “When I play the drums,” Muntaqim said. “I play my feelings and I enjoy playing my feelings.”

This music that came from Ghana was preserved by slaves and evolved into numerous forms of music from spirituals to Gospel to blues and jazz, all of which Bilderback said share some common roots. “The music was a way of communicating,” Muntaqim said. “If you could understand the music you could understand the conversation. Drumming is a language you could use to reach long distances, just like the telephone.”

Norman Lee, Director of Student Affairs with Pauline Copes-Johnson, great grand niece of Harriett Tubman. Photos taken at Cayuga CC function and on visits to Ghana.

Tubman’s great-grandniece, Pauline Copes-Johnson, was also on hand and shared her impressions of Ghana, a place she said she has been fortunate enough to visit and a place where Tubman is well respected.  “The people of Ghana know Harriet Tubman,” Copes-Johnson said. “It was a wonderful occasion to be able to go there and a wonderful learning experience.”

Editor’s Note:  To read more about Dr. Bilderback, check out “In Case You Missed It!” in this issue of Get Inspired.