Medals Given to Those Who’ve Contributed to Education, Community and Business; Alumni Award on Tap Also

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – The SUNY Orange Foundation will distribute its annual Leadership Awards at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17 in Orange Hall Theatre, honoring two longtime Orange County residents, a regional business and a local foundation for their contributions to the areas of education, business and community within the Hudson Valley. In addition, the College will recognize a distinguished alumnus for his leadership and service to SUNY Orange.

Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president, and Nicholas Illobre (Class of 1971), chair of the SUNY Orange Foundation, will host the event. Award medals will be presented to Advance Testing (Leadership in Business), The Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations (Leadership in Community), Barbara Bedell (Leadership in Community) and Dr. John Cummins (Leadership in Education). Manfred Altstadt, a 1970 SUNY Orange graduate, will receive the Alumni Leadership Award.

This year’s Leadership Awards ceremony marks the fourth year in which the College has celebrated the achievements and contributions of local individuals, businesses and organizations.

The Educational Foundation of SUNY Orange was established as a non-profit corporation in 1987. According to the Educational Foundation by-laws, the objectives for which the foundation exists are to solicit, receive, hold, invest, administer and make expenditures of gifts to or for the benefit of Orange County Community College. In 2008-09, the Educational Foundation awarded nearly $150,000 in scholarships that helped deserving students attend SUNY Orange.

Among the hallmarks of the foundation’s scholarship program is the President’s Scholarship for Academic Achievement, which is awarded to 10 incoming freshmen from Orange County high schools who are in the top 10 percent of their high school class, or hold a cumulative grade point average of 90 or better, and plan to enroll full-time at SUNY Orange. In all, more than 80 scholarships are funded through the efforts of the Educational Foundation.

Additionally, the Educational Foundation has set up a number of funds for contributors to target their gifts. The Foundation will accept registrations for the Leadership Awards event through the close of business on Monday, Sept. 14. For information, contact Pat Cregar at (845) 341-4769.

Previous Leadership Award Recipients

Leadership in Business
2006: John A. D’Ambrosio, president, Orange County Chamber of Commerce
2007: James W. Taylor Jr., chairman, Taylor Recycling
2008: Frontier Communications

Leadership in Community
2006: John J. “Jack” McMahon, former administrator, SUNY Orange
2007: Ralph Martucci Jr., director of corporate business operations, Ottaway Newspapers
2008: Roberta “Bobbie” Glinton ’64, agent, Hawks Nest Realty
2008: Rich and Marianne (’83) Rowley, community activists

Leadership in Education
2006: Joan I. Siegel, faculty emeritus, SUNY Orange
2007: Don Przytula, guidance counselor, Monroe-Woodbury High School
2008: Sister Ann Sakac, former president, Mount Saint Mary College

2009 Leadership Award Recipient Profiles

Advance Testing Company
Leadership in Business

LOGO: Advance TestingWith little more than his station wagon and some credit cards in 1984, James P. Smith Jr. left his job at Plaza Materials and set up Advance Testing Company in a Beacon, N.Y., condominium. In 25 years, the highly regarded materials testing technician has grown his company into a respected regional business that has garnered national and international acclaim.

Today, in addition to its corporate headquarters in Campbell Hall, N.Y., Advance Testing operates offices in West Stockbridge, Mass., and Enfield, N.H. The company has earned a sparkling reputation for its thorough, accurate and diverse testing programs. Advance Testing technicians are skilled in testing and inspecting asphalt, concrete and masonry, soil, and structural steel. The company also provides welding training, certification and testing, along with an array of geological and subsurface services.

True to its Hudson Valley roots, Advance Testing has strongly supported the needs of the local construction industry, from construction of the new Orange Regional Medical Center in Wallkill to the development of the Army National Guard’s new hangers and aprons at Stewart Airport (to house the C-5A transports).

Advance Testing was the first private consulting firm in the Northeast to purchase a gyratory compactor and an NCAT ignition furnace to enhance testing and improve the quality of hot mixed asphalt. Advance Testing also was instrumental in providing technicians to staff New York State’s first experimental quality control/quality assurance pilot program, and as a result became an early expert in QC/QA programs. In the past several years, Advance Testing has become an industry leader in pavement smoothness testing by being one of the first to invest in cutting edge road profiling equipment.

Advance Testing has also invested in SUNY Orange, establishing an annual scholarship given to a full-time entering freshman from the Newburgh School District who is majoring in a construction technology program. The company also regularly provides SUNY Orange students with internship opportunities.

Advance Testing continues to serve projects across the eastern seaboard of the United States thanks to its state-of-the-art laboratories staffed by certified technicians utilizing the newest available technology.

The Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations
Leadership in Community

PHOTO: Kaplan FamilyThanks to its thoughtful vision, spirited commitment to the community and generous advocacy for countless organizations and groups, the William and Elaine Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations have positively impacted the Hudson Valley in ways that will be felt for decades to come.

William and Elaine Kaplan’s vision was shared early on with their four daughters: Joan, Sheila, Deborah and Amy, who continue to share their parents’ vision with others. The Kaplan Family’s philanthropic efforts have contributed to the advancement and creation of educational programs and facilities that have generated opportunities for countless residents in the Hudson Valley.

Over the past two decades, the Foundation has helped construct or renovate numerous not-for-profit buildings in and around the City of Newburgh. However, according to the Kaplan family, “it’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people and their needs being met.”

Education, health care, and children’s services are simply a few of the many diverse areas that have benefited from the Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations’ dedicated support. The Foundations’ commitment to Newburgh, in particular, has been demonstrated by their longstanding relationships with St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties Inc., The Greater Hudson Valley Health Care Center, as well as collaborations with Habitat for Humanity, Newburgh Day Nursery, The Holden Home, The Boys Scouts, Jewish Family Services, Inspire, and Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County.

The Kaplan Family’s commitment to education provided the support needed for educational facilities, program enhancement, and scholarship programs at McQuade Children’s Services and both SUNY Orange and Mount Saint Mary College.

The Kaplan family and the Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations have continued to demonstrate a relentless, unparalleled and continuous devotion to their community and a willingness to help improve the lives of others.

Barbara Bedell
Leadership in Community

PHOTO: Barbara BedellFew in Orange County have seen their impact upon the community range as broadly as that of Barbara Bedell. For 37 years, Bedell has been a noted columnist for the Times Herald-Record. In addition to often giving a “voice” to local community members and organizations, Bedell’s daily writings serve as the bridge that unites a diverse population within the region.

As a child of World War II whose father volunteered to serve in the Navy following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she is particularly faithful to our veterans and active military personnel. Deeply devoted to her family—she has two daughters, two sons, eight grandsons, six granddaughters and one great-granddaughter—and friends, Bedell is also committed to the community that she chronicles every day.

Prior to joining the staff at The Times Herald-Record, she was an active community volunteer whose work included serving as president of more than 20 organizations. Her fundraising efforts for a mission in Liberia earned her a certificate bearing the Vatican Seal and signed by Pope Paul. She also hosted a daily radio show, was named Mrs. Wyoming in 1967 as part of the Mrs. America Pageant.

An award-winning writer, she has earned numerous honors for her work, including the Myrtle Wreath Award from Hadassah, an honorary degree from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, the Humanitarian Award from the Orange County Human Rights Commission, Mother of the Year from the Middletown Elks and Woman of the Year from the Sons of the American Revolution. She is also listed in Who's Who in America.

Bedell has long been an advocate for SUNY Orange, in particular the College’s cultural events and civic involvement. Both she and her daughter Patricia, a 1976 SUNY Orange graduate, have been honored with commemorative bricks along the walkway leading to the College’s historic Morrison Hall.

Dr. John Cummins
Leadership in Education

PHOTO: Dr. John CumminsFor many, teaching is an intoxicating mix of passion, commitment, performance, learning, pride and satisfaction, all focused toward pushing students to exceed their limitations and realize their potential. And once that blend gets into the blood, few other pursuits hold the same appeal.

Such is certainly the case for SUNY Orange faculty emeritus Dr. John Cummins, who joined the College’s faculty ranks in 1967 and spent 26 years in the classroom. He retired in 2007 yet has continued to serve SUNY Orange in a part-time teaching role. Prior to his retirement, he was chair of the Science and Engineering Department, a position he held at various times throughout his tenure at the College.

Cummins remains among the most popular faculty members to have graced the College’s halls, thanks to his affable personality and caring nature. Additionally, he has held nearly every faculty and academic administrative rank possible, including serving as department chair and academic division chair. From August 1998 to August 1999 he filled the role of interim vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Orange.

Cummins earned his doctorate from Penn State in 1985 and has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth University, Penn State University and Indiana University’s campus in Shah Alam, Malaysia. Throughout his first eight years at the College, he simultaneously served as dean of college students at St. Albert’s Seminary.

Cummins received the College’s inaugural student-elected “Faculty Member of the Year” award in 1989 before repeating that honor in 1994. With his thoughtful and attentive style both inside and outside the classroom, Cummins has positively influenced generations of students, but it is his generous mentoring of younger faculty that will assure his impact on students continues well into the future.

Manfred Altstadt
Alumni Leadership Award

PHOTO: Manfred AltstadtOver the years, SUNY Orange has been tremendously fortunate to have a group of dedicated and committed alumni who have generously donated their time and support to their alma mater, and one of the central figures in that group is Manfred Altstadt.

In recognition of his efforts on behalf of his alma mater, the College honors Altstadt with its Distinguished Alumni Award. A 1970 graduate of SUNY Orange, Altstadt is currently the chief operating officer of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, headquartered in New York City. His company provides retirement and other annuity products to employees of small and mid-size organizations. Mutual of America ranks in the top 100 life insurance companies in America with assets in excess of $12 billion.

Altstadt also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Mutual of America Capital Management Corporation as well as Mutual of America Investment Corporation. He is chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Mutual of America Corporation.

He is a familiar presence on five Mutual of America corporate boards while presently serving as the director of the boards of the following non-profit organizations: Calvary Hospital; the Calvary Fund; Army War College Foundation; Mutual of America Foundation; Hazelden, New York; the Leader to Leader Institute; and ArchCare.

Previously, he has held membership on the local boards of McQuade Children’s Services and the Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties. He was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to their heritage group and to humanity. He has also received the United Hospital Award for outstanding service and the Distinguished Trustee service award from Calvary Hospital.

His service to SUNY Orange includes tours on the boards of the College’s Alumni Association and Educational Foundation. He has been an ardent supporter of the College and directed both the SUNY Orange Educational Foundation and Alunni Association in their development of investment strategies that have greatly enhanced the College’s ability to serve its students and alumni.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940