March 7, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Long Island Center Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Left to right: Marian Conway ’01, ’04, Marc Herbst ’86, Dean Spitzer, President Davis, Barbara O’Connell ’76 and Maureen Dillon ’98.

Distinguished Alumnus Award Ceremony - Left to right: Marian Conway ’01, ’04, Marc Herbst ’86, Dean Spitzer, President Davis, Barbara O’Connell ’76 and Maureen Dillon ’98.

(OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – March 7, 2012) The Long Island Center of the State University of New York Empire State College celebrated 40 years of innovation in higher education and service to Long Island at an event held Friday, March 2.

“This college, with the support of its employees, its learners, its supporters in the community and our graduates is poised for a great 40 years to come, both here on Long Island, across the state and globally,” said college President Alan R. Davis.

“Friday evening’s celebration highlighted how innovative, nontraditional educational programs, for primarily adult students, have succeeded in transforming the lives of many of our graduates,” said Michael Spitzer, dean of the Long Island Center. “These graduates have had a positive impact on the quality of life on Long Island and, indeed, on New York state and we are proud to honor their accomplishments.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, state Assemblyman Michael Montesano, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the Nassau County Legislature and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and the Suffolk County Legislature offered letters of congratulations, a resolution of support, a citation and a proclamation in recognition of the center’s 40 years of service to the citizens of Long Island.

Dr. Lee Koppelman .

Dr. Lee Koppelman

The event featured a lecture by Dr. Lee E. Koppelman on the topic of "The Impact of Robert Moses on Long Island."

Koppelman was director of the Suffolk County Planning Department and the Nassau-Suffolk County Regional Planning Board and he worked with Robert Moses as head of the Long Island State Park Commission. Koppelman currently serves as the executive director of the Center for Regional Policy Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Natalaie Naylor, professor emerita from Hofstra University at the LIC 40th Anniversary celebration.

 Natalie Naylor, Hofstra University professor emerita, at the LIC 40th Anniversary

The program concluded with Davis leading the ceremony to honor college alumni with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, which were presented to Marian Conway ’01, ’04, Maureen Dillon ’98, Assemblyman Marc Herbst ’86 and Barbara O’Connell ’76.

“Our alumni show us, by their many contributions to their communities, work places, and by their own creativity and self-fulfillment that our jobs as mentors, administrators and staff are worthwhile endeavors – they make us proud,” said Davis.

SUNY Empire State College Long Island Center Fast Facts
More than 7,000 alumni college alumni have graduated from the Long Island Center
The college enrolled 2,258 students in 2009-10
Students from the Long Island Center earned 7.6 percent of the degrees awarded in 2009-10
The college has both Pathways and Nursing Pathways transfer agreements with Suffolk and Nassau Community Colleges
More than 1,350 Suffolk and Nassau Community College students went on to Empire State College during the last four years

About SUNY Empire State College
SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace of their choosing.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

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Below are biographies on the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Marian Conway ’01, ’04
Award presented by AmyRuth Tobol
associate dean, Long Island Center

Marian Conway, a long-time resident of Lindenhurst, came to the Roslyn Savings Foundation in June of 2002, after 15 years in business. During that time, she accumulated business-management experience, which she believes is critical in the nonprofit field. Conway has been the executive director of the New York Community Bank Foundation since 2007.

Conway didn’t begin her college career until her youngest child went off to kindergarten, and is now two chapters away from finishing the dissertation she is working on for her Ph.D. She received a Bachelor of Science in cultural studies with a concentration in writing and a Master of Arts in liberal studies from SUNY Empire State College.

Conway credits her success to the independent learning skills she acquired at Empire State College. She is on a number of nonprofit boards, including Community Development Corp., Long Island Arts Alliance, Middle Country Library Foundation, St. Johnland Nursing Center and Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk. Most recently, she received the Gilbert Tilles Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals for her philanthropic leadership. She is a staunch advocate of lifelong learning and remains an active alumna as the Long Island Center representative on the college’s Alumni Student Federation Board of Governors, serving now as the board’s past president.

Maureen Dillon ’98
Award presented by Frances Boyce
mentor, Long Island Center

Maureen Dillon is a labor services representative with the New York State Department of Labor, where she has been working with unemployed citizens, and has developed innovative and effective career workshops for them. The most popular series was five workshops, “Who Do You Think You Are,” designed to help customers see who they are and enable them to market themselves through personal branding.

She worked for the New York Jets football team from 1985-2008, with her last position with the organization as the coordinator of player development. She found that role the most rewarding, facilitating the educational and second-career aspirations of the players and the executive and support staffs. Dillon graduated from SUNY Empire State College in 1997 with a B.S. in business, management and economics. She is certified in career development and planning, and is a member of the National Career Development Association. Dillon has volunteered with a wide range of Long Island-based agencies, including Hospice, and works part time at her local library, counseling and advising area residents seeking employment.

Marc Herbst ’86
Award presented by Jim Robinson
mentor, Long Island Center

Marc Herbst was appointed as the executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association Inc. (LICA) in September 2006. He also serves as chairman of the Council of State Executives for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and vice president of the New York Roadway and Infrastructure Coalition.

Before joining the association, Herbst served the New York State Thruway Authority as its director of transportation planning and environmental services. In that position, he also served as the executive project manager for a planning study to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge between Rockland and Westchester counties.

As a five-term member of the N.Y. State Assembly, Herbst served as the ranking member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. He also served as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Review Board and as a member of the Long Island Commission on Critical Transportation Choices.

Herbst remains active in various business and labor organizations, and has been recognized professionally and personally. He was honored as the 2010 Construction Executive of the Year for his contributions and leadership as the chief executive officer of LICA, and was named the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce 2002 Citizen of the Year. His community and charitable work includes service as the president of the Hicksville Community Council, that community’s umbrella organization of all clubs and organizations, as well as the president of the Hicksville Library Board.

After completing his Bachelor of Science in business, management and economics with a concentration in business administration, he went on to receive a Master of Science in transportation planning and engineering from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn. He also holds a Master of Divinity from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, is an ordained minister and serves as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Syosset.

Barbara O’Connell ’76
Award presented by Jeff Sussman
mentor, Long Island Center

Barbara O’Connell is a senior vice president of private banking business for the Northern Trust Company in the Greater New York City area. O'Connell graduated from SUNY Empire State College with a B.S. in business, management and economics with a concentration in educational administration. She also received a Master of Business Administration from Adelphi University.

O’Connell joined Northern Trust in April 2006 after a 15-year career at U.S. Trust Company, where she was a senior vice president in private banking. Prior to her career at U.S. Trust, she served as a private banker at Chase Manhattan Bank and a corporate banker at J.P. Morgan & Co., where she completed their highly regarded corporate banking training program.

Before beginning her distinguished banking career, O’Connell had long served the college and the Long Island Center. She started her career at the  Albany location. She moved back to her home on Long Island and joined the Long Island Center as the dean’s secretary when it opened in 1971. Not long afterward, she was promoted to administrative assistant to the dean, then assessment counselor and, finally, assistant dean for assessment.

In continued commitment to the college, O’Connell was a member of the Empire State College Foundation Board, serving on the Finance Committee.

  Gillibrand Letter (PDF  120kB)

  State Senate Resolution (PDF  84kB)

  Montesaon Letter (PDF  46kB)

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