For Immediate Release—Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo professors to cater
Livingston CARES dinner April 18;
Mississippi leader to speak

GENESEO, N.Y.—The Geneseo Philanthropic Chefs will cook about 20 pounds of pasta at the second annual Livingston CARES Share & Care Dinner, which will focus on State University of New York at Geneseo and community relief efforts for people recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The event will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Geneseo United Methodist Church, 4520 Genesee St. in Geneseo.

Connie Rockco, president of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors in Mississippi, will serve as guest speaker. Community members who have traveled to Mississippi to help Katrina victims also will share stories, reflections and photos of their experiences. In addition, Livingston CARES will present awards and recognize volunteers.

Several of the philanthropic chefs—about a dozen community members who enjoy cooking and baking—will cater the meal, which will include salad and spaghetti with sauce and meatballs. Formed in 1985, the group cooks meals at several fund-raisers each year. Several Geneseo professors and alumni will ditch their day jobs to moonlight as gourmet and pastry chefs.

The Share & Care dinner is free, but donations are welcome and will support the work of Livingston CARES. The organization was granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service this spring retroactive to August 2, 2006. Gifts above the cost of the dinner are tax-deductible under IRS regulations. Reservations must be made by Friday, April 13, by contacting Kay Fly, coordinator of student volunteer and service learning at the college. Fly can be contacted at (585) 245-5893 or

SUNY Geneseo Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics Gary W. Towsley will serve as head chef. His kitchen crew will include Distinguished Teaching Professor of History William R. Cook, alumni Glenn McClure '86 and Dianne "Deedee" (Casey) Rutigliano '90 and Lynn (Melizzi) Kennison '81, who serves as administrative assistant for a National Endowment of the Humanities Seminar on Dante's "Commedia" offered by the college. In addition, several students will work in the kitchen chopping vegetables and stirring sauce.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, members of the college community joined with Livingston County administrators, the county Chamber of Commerce, the town and village of Geneseo, and local clergy and churches to form Livingston CARES (Livingston County Community Action Relief Efforts) as a unified response to mobilize and coordinate relief activities. Livingston CARES entered into a long-term relationship with Harrison County to rebuild the community, provide supplies and assist in any way needed.

Last fall, Geneseo was one of nine colleges and universities in the nation to receive a Katrina Compassion Award during the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Awards Ceremony in Chicago.

This year's guest speaker, Connie Rockco, is a Harrison County elected official with whom many Livingston CARES volunteers have grown to know well during trips to the Biloxi area. Rockco entered politics in 2000, and in January 2006—five months after Katrina hit—she was elected president of the Board of Supervisors, the first time a woman was elected to such a post in the county or the state.

The annual dinner event provides an opportunity to reflect on the past year and request volunteers for upcoming trips. Livingston CARES will make its fourth trip since the start of 2007 after the academic year ends, from May 13-19. The work will focus on construction of Habitat for Humanity homes in East Biloxi. The cost will be $550 per person. For more information about Livingston CARES, visit or contact Tom Matthews at (585) 245-5857 or