Apr. 30, 2010

SUNY Geneseo Presents Awards for Philanthropic Leadership, Professional Achievement

award winners

Clockwise from bottom left: Anthony Wiederkehr, Sheila Chanler and Mary Anne Gillespie.

GENESEO, N.Y. - Members of the Chanler Family of Geneseo were among those honored April 23 for philanthropic commitment to SUNY Geneseo. Several members of the family were present at the president's recognition event, where Sheila Chanler received one of two Geneseo Foundation Awards for Philanthropic Leadership on behalf of her family. The award is presented to individuals who have made an extraordinary impact on SUNY Geneseo students through their commitment and generosity.

"For decades, members of the Chanler family have been dedicated supporters of Geneseo's School of Business, our art galleries, the music department and athletics program," said Geneseo graduating senior Mark Simeone in presenting the award to Chanler. "Please accept this honor on behalf of the college community and all those students who have benefited from your family's generosity and commitment to Geneseo."

The Chanler family settled in Geneseo in the early 1900s and for more than 100 years has been a pillar in the community. Admiral Hubert W. Chanler was a leader in establishment of The Geneseo Foundation and served as its founding chairman. Gertrude Chanler also was a charter member of the foundation board and served as chair from 1981-84. Every year, the Hubert and Gertrude Chanler Endowed Scholarship benefits outstanding undergraduate majors in music, art, theater and dance.

Hubert and Gertrude's children have continued the traditions established by their parents. Before his passing 2008, John Chanler was the insurance executive and owner of the Chanler Agency. John and Sheila raised three children: Andrew, Kevin and Allison in Geneseo. Andrew took over the family business in 2002.

Also receiving a leadership award from the Geneseo Foundation was Mary Anne Gillespie, vice president of sales for PayPal. In 2005, Gillespie established the Gertrude Dewey Gillespie Endowed Scholarship in memory of her mother, Gertrude Dewey Gillespie, a 1939 Geneseo graduate.

"Your scholarship represents a wonderful living tribute to your mother," said graduating senior Lindsay Burcyk, in presenting the award to Gillespie. "Because of your generosity, your mother's commitment to educating young people and her passion for teaching will live on through Geneseo students like me."

As a student in the 1930s, Gertrude Gillespie was president of student government and Alpha Sigma Omicron. She also served as editor of the student newspaper. After leaving Geneseo, she began her teaching career in Hornell and taught for 34 years, sharing her love of teaching and education with hundreds of children while raising a family of her own.

At the recognition event, Anthony Wiederkehr, a 1987 Geneseo alumnus from the Seattle area, was honored with the Geneseo Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award. Wiederkehr is the founding president and chief executive officer of AeroMech, Inc., which specializes in aircraft engineering and design and certification services, aero-performance analyses, avionics kits and onsite aircraft modification services.

"We celebrate your professional accomplishments and applaud your commitment to this special college," said Mark Cronin, a 1988 Geneseo graduate and president of the Geneseo Alumni Association.

Wiederkehr was a physics major at Geneseo and also earned degrees in aeronautical engineering and computational fluid dynamics. He played on the men's basket ball team at Geneseo and is a member of the Roundtable Athletic Association Board of Directors.

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