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Welcome to Academic Year 2020–21!

President Denise Battles at the Opening Convocation (SUNY Geneseo/Keith Walters '11)

New and returning students and faculty are settling in for the start of the 2020–21 academic year as classes begin.

The College officially welcomed new students to campus during a virtual New Student Convocation on August 27, which included a keynote address by Melanie Medeiros, associate professor of anthropology, on cultivating a meaningful and impactful Geneseo experience. Her final request to students was informed by the words and career of Congressman John Lewis, who died earlier this year.

“I ask that you use your time at Geneseo not just as a stepping stone into a future career but as a vehicle for addressing the social injustices facing our country today,” Medeiros said. “I ask that you use the advantage of a college education to become change-makers. Study. Learn. Have conversations with people with different views and perspectives. Pay attention. Protest. And vote. Embark on the difficult journey of interrogating the ways in which you experience privilege and wrestle with how that privilege contributes to the marginalization of others. Then use your privilege to advocate for social justice.”

Alumni speaker Kwame Taylor-Hayford ’04 shared with students the most important lesson he took away from Geneseo: Failure is a pre-requisite for success. “I credit my failures with my understanding of myself, my understanding of what I’m excited and inspired about, my understanding of what I’m able to do—what I’m capable of,” he said. “I also credit those failures with my understanding of how important it is to persevere and to have a thick skin and grit and determination, because those things will help you overcome essentially anything.”

SUNY Geneseo President Denise A. Battles delivered her keynote address “The Enduring Power of a Liberal Arts Education” at the virtual Opening Convocation for faculty and staff on August 28. Battles recently completed her fifth year as president and highlighted recent accomplishments, outlined challenges, and identified actions to help sustain the college’s success.

Quoting former Xerox CEO and Rochesterian David Kearns, Battles told the audience, “‘The only education that prepares us for change is a liberal education. In periods of change, narrow specialization condemns us to inflexibility—precisely what we do not need. We need the flexible intellectual tools to be problem solvers, to be able to continue learning over time.’ Our College has used those intellectual capacities to weather many a storm throughout our history. We demonstrated that ability again this spring as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Working together, we rallied quickly, pivoting to remote instruction, and doing so exceptionally well, despite the odds. The challenges we now face are as serious as any our College has ever seen, and a successful response will require the participation of every member of our community. But with boldness, bravery, creativity, and a commitment to the greater good, we will prevail.” 

2020 award recipients announced at convocation:

Art Hatton Award for Excellence in College Advancement
Rose Anderson Linfoot, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Emerita
Kazushige Yokoyama, Professor and Chair of Chemistry

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service
Kathy Gibson-Moore, Office Assistant 3, Academic Planning and Advising

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service
Anne Baldwin, Director of Sponsored Research
Laurie Fox, Director of Education Technology

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching
Beata Golec, Lecturer of Music
Kristi Krumrine, Lecturer of Anthropology

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
Avan Jassawalla, Professor of Management, School of Business

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Excellence in Librarianship
Sheryl Larson-Rhodes, Research Instruction Librarian

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
David Levy, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Kodjo Adabra, Associate Professor of Languages and Literatures
Joan Floriano, Lecturer of Music
Melanie Medeiros, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Distinguished Teaching Professor
Harry Howe, Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Business

Faculty promotions and appointments announced at convocation:

Cesar Aguilar, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of mathematics
James Aimers, promotion to professor of anthropology
Ryan Jones, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of history
William Jones, promotion to associate librarian
Michael Masci, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of music
Leah McGray, continuing appointment in music
Melanie Medeiros, continuing appointment in anthropology
Christine Merrilees, continuing appointment in psychology
Alana Nuth, continuing appointment in Milne Library
Jason Ozubko, promotion to associate professor of psychology
Michael Restivo, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of sociology
Amanda Roth, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of philosophy
Pouya Seifzadeh, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of business
Stephen Tuolowiecki, promotion to associate professor of geography
Nicholas Warner, continuing appointment with promotion to associate professor of geological sciences

Staff promotions and appointments announced at convocation:

Elizabeth Adams, Parking and Transportation Administrator
Tiffany Brodner, Associate Director of Student Life for College Union and Activities
Emily Cole, Associate Director of Study Abroad/International Programs
Joseph Cope, Associate Provost for Academic Success
Scott Ewanow, Assistant Chief of Police
Brett Ford, Director of Athletic Communications and Media Relations
Garth Freeman, Director of Student Volunteerism and Community Engagement
Brian Galliford, Senior Desktop Services Analyst
Jeremy Hall, Assistant Director of Institutional Research
Nicholas Hardy, Senior Desktop Services Analyst
Travis Kershner, Senior Network Analyst
Susan Moore, Assistant to the President
Julie Oas, Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration
Christopher Prusak, Chief of University Police
Susan Reynolds, Stores and Mail Operations Supervisor
Daniel Ross, Head of Access Services
Justin Rusby, Janitor
Matthew Tomaszewski, University Police Officer 2
Todd White, Maintenance Assistant

Author

Robyn Rime
Senior Writer & Editor
(585) 245-5529