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Company Licenses Green Chemistry Invention

Associate Professor of Chemistry Jacqueline Bennett

Associate Professor Jacqueline Bennett holds an imine created using her patented process.

I’m thrilled to share the news that the Geneseo-based startup company Verdimine has signed an exclusive license agreement with the Research Foundation for The State University of New York to employ a green chemistry process invented by one of our faculty members.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Jacqueline Bennett patented a process for making imines, a class of chemical compounds frequently used in the pharmaceutical, agrichemical, fine chemical, plastics manufacturing and household product industries.

Conventional methods of imine production require boiling large quantities of toxic solvents for hours to days, and leftover solvent is later disposed of as hazardous waste. Jacqueline’s process uses a non-toxic, FDA-approved food additive as the solvent, reduces production time from hours to minutes, and requires no agitation or purification, and little to no heat. It also costs much less than traditional methods of imine preparation, and its only byproduct is water.

Jacqueline invented the new process after years of research, including projects undertaken in collaboration with SUNY Oneonta students in her research group, BLONDES (Building a Legacy of Outstanding New Developments and Excellence in Science). She received a U.S. patent for her discovery in 2014 and was named Inventor of the Year by the Eastern New York Intellectual Property Law Association in 2016.

Now, as chief scientific officer for Verdimine, Jacqueline is working with a team to figure out how her process could be scaled up for use in manufacturing things like cholesterol-lowering drugs, rust inhibitors and inorganic LEDs.

It’s exciting to see our faculty and students collaborating on cutting-edge research that could one day improve safety and efficiency in chemical manufacturing. Please join me in congratulating Jacqueline on this remarkable achievement.

SUNY Oneonta a ‘Best Value’ College

Best Value Schools New York

According to independent research released earlier this month by Best Value Schools, SUNY Oneonta is one of the state’s top higher education institutions. Our college sits at No. 23 on a list of the “50 Best Value Colleges and Universities in New York for 2018.”

Helping students “find the best school to fit their needs” is the mission of Best Value Schools. Its editors considered acceptance rate, graduation rate, return on investment and net price in their analysis. “Oneonta manages to provide a little something for everyone,” they wrote. “Academically, the school maintains an even blend of liberal arts and career-oriented programs.”

The Best Value Schools list echoes findings from other organizations. Both Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and Forbes have recognized SUNY Oneonta for exceptional value in similar rankings.

SUNY Impact Foundation Logo

College to Offer Emergency Aid for Students

Starting next semester, SUNY Oneonta will offer emergency aid to students experiencing unforeseen financial hardships or emergency situations under a new pilot program aimed at keeping more students on track toward graduation.

Oneonta is one of seven SUNY campuses participating in the program, which is supported by more than $600,000 in donations from the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children.

This collaborative effort by our divisions of College Advancement, Student Development, Enrollment Management, and Finance and Administration will help students facing unforeseen challenges such as homelessness or threat of eviction, medical emergency, natural disaster, domestic violence, theft or loss of employment. The SUNY Impact Foundation will administer the program, collect data and study the effects of the emergency funding.

We are committed to doing all we can to help our students reach their goals, and we know that an unexpected financial crisis has the potential to derail a student’s college career. I’m pleased and proud that we will now be able to offer a safety net that could make the difference.

Giving Tree Serves Over 200 Children

Giving Tree Serves Over 200 Children

A few of the gifts wrapped and matched to their corresponding Giving Tree tags await pickup at the Hunt College Union Ballroom.

The college’s annual Giving Tree program is a fantastic example of the caring and generosity of our campus. This year, 57 faculty and staff departments and offices, and 40 student clubs took tags, each describing the needs of a local child, from the Giving Tree. They purchased and wrapped winter clothes, toys, food and toiletry items to be given to area families.

This is a large-scale effort that requires careful organization weeks in advance and plenty of hands on deck to receive and distribute gifts. Special thanks go to Anne Winchester in the Office of Equity and Diversity, who worked with schools and preschools to create Giving Tree tags, match them to shoppers on campus, and then staff a collection point for packages and bags in the Hunt Union last week.

I am touched by the response of our Student Activities Council, which voted last week to donate funds so that any child whose tag had not been claimed from the Giving Tree would receive gifts. This ensured that every child in the program, all 210 of them, will have a brighter holiday season.

I believe strongly that SUNY Oneonta has a responsibility to invest in surrounding communities. By embracing programs such as the Giving Tree, we make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Highlight: Dietetics Student Wins Prestigious Scholarship

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation

I am pleased this month to relay that a student enrolled in our Nutrition and Dietetics graduate program, Molly Capito, has received a prestigious scholarship from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.

Molly, of Perth, NY, is one of 19 students receiving the competitive Patsyjane O'Malley Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. Molly is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, which is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The nonprofit funds scholarships and awards, public education programs and research grants.

The Patsyjane O’Malley scholarship is awarded to students who excel in the field of dietetics, take on leadership roles and maintain a high GPA, according to the Foundation. It aims to help promote potential in the field.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oneonta, Molly was named to the Dean’s List multiple times, served her community through outreach projects, and participated in Student Research and Creative Activity Day. Most recently, she presented her original project titled “Low Fat Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

She is now earning her master’s here, and is completing her dietetic internship in the Fulton County area.

- In this Edition -

Welcome Center Ribbon Cutting

Presidential Search Moves on to Chancellor

Fine Arts Banners to Feature Student Artwork


Welcome Center Ribbon Cutting

Welcome Center Exterior Photo
The new Admissions Welcome Center
Welcome Center Conference Room

Scott Barton
Facilities Program Coordinator

From a small parking lot to a 7,800-square-foot, modern-looking structure with stellar views – we’ve all watched the transformation, and now it’s time to unveil the SUNY Oneonta Welcome Center.

Staff members from the Office of Admissions & Recruitment have begun moving into the impressive edifice, and the college is planning a Welcome Center ribbon-cutting event for Jan. 17 – the first day of classes. It will be a wonderful way to kick off the spring semester.

Construction on the Welcome Center began in December 2016. The project cost approximately $5.4 million in design, construction, equipment and furniture. It was paid for by SUNY Construction Fund capital funding, with campus-supplied funding covering some additional equipment/furniture costs.

The building houses many offices and several large spaces for presentations. Whether they’re meeting with an admissions counselor, leafing through our newly created academic program brochures, watching a slideshow or waiting for a campus tour, it’s in this building that prospective students and their families will begin their SUNY Oneonta journey.

Further, the Welcome Center is in direct alignment with the Facilities Master Plan, in that it has allowed Admissions to vacate Alumni Hall, freeing that space up for future renovation.

Overlooking much of campus and the hills beyond it, the Welcome Center should offer an excellent first impression for students, families and other visitors. Admissions employees are lucky to have that gorgeous view.

Presidential Search Moves on to Chancellor

Kathy Webster
Assistant to the President

SUNY Oneonta Logo

The search for SUNY Oneonta’s next president has entered its final stages. The Presidential Search Committee vetted applicants throughout the fall and selected six for campus visits, which began in November and concluded earlier this month. Last week the Committee held its final meeting to fulfill its charge by recommending at least three finalists to the SUNY Oneonta College Council for further review.

Following a special meeting Dec. 11, Patrick Brown, who has served the dual role of Committee and Council chair, confirmed that the Council has forwarded to SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson’s office at least three names for her consideration. The college anticipates that next semester the chancellor, with consent of the SUNY Board of Trustees, will name a successor to President Nancy Kleniewski.

Both the Committee and Council are grateful to the members of the campus community who met with candidates, participated in their open forums and served as gracious hosts. The search schedule was ambitious and SUNY Oneonta more than rose to the occasion.

Fine Arts Banners to Feature Student Artwork

Hal Legg
Executive Director of Communications

Briela Tollisen presents her Fine Arts building banner concepts
Briela Tollisen presents her Fine Arts building banner concepts at an Institutional Communication Group meeting.

Sophomore Briela Tollisen probably is more anxious than anyone on campus to see the banners on the exterior of the Fine Arts building removed. That’s because when the fading banners come down next semester, they will be replaced by new ones that Briela's, an art major from Colonie, NY, designed.

The college selected Briela’s banners through a competitive process developed by Facilities Program Coordinator Scott Barton and Kathy Spitzhoff of the Art Department. Scott, whose portfolio includes campus signage, brought the idea of replacing the current banners with student artwork to Kathy, who has years of experience as a professional graphic designer and teaches courses in design.

Kathy turned the banner replacement project into an assignment for her Advanced Graphic Design class and Scott gained approval for the initiative from the Institutional Communication Group (ICG), which oversees implementation of the SUNY Oneonta style guidelines. Working together, they created for students the experience of a professional artist responding to a call for proposals for a public work.

Scott and Kathy delivered specifications for the banners to students in October and provided feedback on initial concepts before selecting a half dozen designs for further consideration. Scott and I then narrowed the field to three for consideration by ICG in November.

Finalists presented their work, from vision to production, to ICG in November. After thoughtful discussion of the merits of each set of banners, ICG settled on Briela’s designs. ICG believes that each is a well-executed work that could stand on its own. As a series, Briela's banners present a wide range of aesthetics that showcase the creativity that SUNY Oneonta aims to inspire in its students.

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