Entries for month: June 2013

Two alumni awarded honorary doctorates

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Two alumni awarded honorary doctorates














Alfred University Commencement 2013 was a significant occasion for two alumni - a class year apart - whose career paths have taken similar turns. Each of them was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from their alma mater May 18. 

Robert H. Benmosche, a 1966 graduate who is currently CEO of American International Group Incorporated (AIG), was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business degree, honoris causa. A Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, was bestowed upon Peter Cuneo, a 1967 alumnus who is completing a six-year tenure as chairman of the AU Board of Trustees.

Both men are known for their acumen in turning struggling companies into thriving enterprises. Benmosche is credited with rescuing MetLife, and taking it public, then several years later was called out of retirement to lead AIG back to solvency after the national financial crisis of 2008. Cuneo is best known for leading the turnaround of Marvel Comics from a bankrupt comic book publisher to an entertainment industry giant. 

Before joining MetLife, Benmosche spent more than 13 years at PaineWebber Group Incorporated, where he served in several capacities, including senior vice president of marketing; chief financial officer of the Retail Brokerage Division; and as executive vice president from 1989-1995, serving as the head of operations and technology and director and sales manager for over 1,500 retail investment advisors.  He also directed the merger of Kidder Peabody into PaineWebber in 1994.  Earlier in his career, Benmosche was a Chase Manhattan Bank vice president and a staff consultant with Arthur D. Little.

Cuneo tallied seven turnarounds of distressed businesses in the global media and consumer products sectors prior to his Marvel maneuvers. Currently, Cuneo is managing principal of Cuneo & Company, a private investment and management company he owns in partnership with his sons Gavin and Colin. They focus on making investments in private companies within the consumer, retail and entertainment-oriented industries.

Benmosche was also the keynote Commencement speaker. He urged the new graduates to begin with a vision but “deal with the hand that’s been dealt you.” And though that “may be a tough hand, it’s adjustable.” He noted “the economy is stronger than you think” and urged the graduates to go forward with a “sense of optimism.”  

More than 350 undergraduate, master’s, advanced studies certificate, and doctoral candidates (including those who earned degrees in August and December 2012) were awarded Alfred University degrees during exercises in the McLane Center on campus. Presiding over the festivities was Dr. Charles M. Edmondson, Alfred University president.

See the complete video of AU’s 2013 Commencement ceremony.

AU’s Gilman Scholars explore academics abroad

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Kevin O’Connor and Sarah Deitsch, Alfred University (AU) undergraduate students, earned cultural exchanges while abroad as Gilman scholars on the federally endowed fund for students seeking international experience.


Outstanding seniors serve as AU ambassadors

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Outstanding seniors serve as AU ambassadors














Samuel Miller, a materials science and engineering major in the Inamori School of Engineering, and Jordyn Larkins, a communication studies and Spanish major in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, are this year’s recipients of the Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Awards at Alfred University.

Outstanding seniors – one man and one woman – are chosen each year by a campus-wide committee on the basis of scholarship, extracurricular leadership and personal character. Faculty, staff and students may nominate candidates for the award.

“Jordyn and Sam are truly well-rounded, positive and successful students that the Marlin Miller award was established to honor,” said Kathy Woughter, vice president for Student Affairs. “Both have been captains of varsity athletics teams, graduates of our leadership programs (the Women’s Leadership Academy for Jordyn and the Gary Horowitz Leadership Development Program for Sam), leaders in community service and exceptional scholars. More than that, though, is the solid commitment both Jordyn and Sam have to mentoring younger students, and sharing their love for AU with others. I am proud and pleased to call them our 2013 Outstanding Seniors.”

Her four years at Alfred University taught her to be a leader, said Larkins. When she arrived on campus as a freshman, “I tried to be very active and involved in extracurricular activities,” and that allowed her to hone her leadership skills. She was the student representative for the Class of 2013 Opportunity Program students. Being elected by her peers to represent them “meant a lot to me. It showed me that students from my class trust me and my judgment …and were willing to allow me to be their voice.”

Larkins was captain of the women sprinters on the track team and helped to build the cadre of women sprinters who belong to the team. In her freshman year, Larkins was one of the only women sprinters, but each year, she recruited more. She tried to be a role model for the others in practice and in the classroom.

Larkins is a member of Phi Sigma Iota, the modern languages honor society, and of Phi Beta Kappa, a national honor society for liberal arts majors. She served on the advising committee for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and is a member of the AU Gospel group.

Larkins has been a summer public relations intern with the Rochester (NY) Rhinos professional soccer team; an operations assistant with the Children’s Youth and Learning Initiative at Alfred University; a guest relations host at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY; a camp counselor for the Community Place of Rochester, NY, and an entrepreneur at Art Peace in Rochester, NY.

 “Alfred University is as much a part of me as I am of it, considering the mark that AU’s faculty, staff, and students have made on me,” said Miller, who is also the recipient of a State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

 “When I host students overnight, take them on tours, or talk at fall or spring visit days, I always use the same word to describe Alfred: Community,” Miller added. “We make sure you are not just an athlete, bookworm or artist. The Alfred community takes you in and helps mold you into the person you want to be. Alfred gives you things you can’t measure – friends and a support system, a home away from home, career opportunities. I hope I’ve been able to give back to the Alfred community as much as it has given to me.”

Miller received the Scholes Award for the highest grade point average among freshmen engineers and the 2012 Faculty Award for Outstanding ceramic engineering and materials science senior. He participated in Drawn to Diversity as a sophomore, creating a game that taught the pros and cons of hydrofracking. His project earned him a nomination for the Richard V. Bergren Student Innovation Award.

Involved with a number of campus organizations, Miller is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society; an officer of Keramos, the ceramic engineering honor society; and president of Material Advantage, the materials science club. He has been a research assistant to Scott Misture, professor of materials science at Alfred University, and to John Olesik, director of the Trace Element Research Laboratory at Ohio State. He has been a summer research assistant at Corning Incorporated and at Owens Corning, and worked with the Alfred University Career Development Center as an engineering research assistant.


Captain of the men’s varsity soccer team, Miller is a member of the Newman Club and has participated in several community service events, including a monthly soup kitchen. Through the AU Honors Program, he also did community service projects, including assistance to senior citizens on home maintenance tasks and a clean-up at Foster Lake. He has been an Honors Program “Big Brother” and a member of the Saxon Sidekicks peer mentoring program.

Along with a hand-crafted tile made by Wayne Higby, internationally acclaimed artist and professor of ceramic art in the School of Art & Design at AU, Larkins and Miller received $5,000 in cash, thanks to an endowment created by Robert L. MacNeil Jr. of Wyndmoor, PA, a friend and business colleague of Marlin Miller, who is a 1954 alumnus of Alfred University as well as a member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The return of Saxon Pride

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It’s been 29 years since Saxon fans have seen the Saxon warrior on horseback, the living symbol of Saxon pride at athletics events. This fall will see the return of that much anticipated warrior and horse, as well as a brand new mascot.


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