Student and Alumni Showcase of Achievements Honors 3 Alumni in Rochester

By Timothy Cosgriff, assistant to the dean, Genesee Valley Location

July 23, 2015

clean artist paintbrushes on a gray background On May 14, GVC teamed up with CDL to celebrate "one college" at the annual Student and Alumni Showcase of Achievements in Cutler Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery. The theme for 2015 was “Empire State College is Your Roadmap for Lifelong Learning.” More than 160 alumni, students, elected officials and representatives of businesses, along with friends and family of the college joined Dean Jonathan Franz for this annual event. The reception featured a one-night art show of alumni and student art, with more than 80 works on display. Work was submitted from across the college, including from staff. Student and faculty academic projects were also displayed. The formal program recognized three alumni for their achievement: Ann Turner, Willie Lightfoot and Peter Monacelli. Long-time mentor Kurt Feuerherm was also recognized. Following the program, guests toured the Memorial Art Gallery and exhibition, "The Human Touch," featuring the work of more than 42 artists, including alumnus Dawoud Bey ’90, Chuck Close and Roy Lichtenstein. Attendees received wrapped books for a "blind date with a book," from among fiction, nonfiction and art book titles. Each was wrapped in map paper and contained information about the college. (Photo: left to right, Peter Monacelli, Willie Lightfoot, Ann Turner, Kurt Feuerherm, Jonathan Franz)

CDL alumnus Greg Chako played jazz at the gathering. He studied with the college while he was in Japan, then relocated to Rochester to do his Ph.D. in Musicology at Eastman School of Music. In addition, this event offered networking opportunities, connecting students and alumni with the business community.

About Ann Turner

Ann Turner '86 is a Fairport, New York native, whose extensive career as a Kodak vice president caused her to relocate to NYC, London, Atlanta and, ultimately, just five miles from Keuka College, in 2008, where she currently works as senior director of advancement. She is in her second term as the chair of the Foundation board of SUNY Empire State College and previously served on boards at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, The Little Theatre in Rochester and the Asbury First United Methodist Church.

While working for Kodak in Manhattan, Turner enrolled at Empire State College in Hartsdale and graduated with a B.S. in Marketing in 1986.

She resides on Keuka Lake with her husband, Bruce. Her daughter, Andrea, lives in Rochester, and her daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and John Egan, live in Blaine, Minn.

About Willie Joe Lightfoot Sr6.

Monroe County Legislator Willie Joe Lightfoot represents the 27th District, which includes Rochester’s 19th Ward neighborhood, where he lives, the Greater Rochester International Airport and Genesee Valley Park. Lightford was appointed to the Monroe County Legislature in 2006. He is the son of Theresa Thompson and the late Honorable Willie Walker Lightfoot, who was the 25th District county legislator for more than two decades. A lifelong resident of Rochester, Lightford often refers to himself as “home grown.” He has had a long history of civic service and is a 12-year veteran of the United States Air force, having served in Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. He also currently works for the City of Rochester Fire Department as a firefighter. Lightfoot is also a peer reviewer for the United States Department of Education, reviewing applications from cities across the U.S.

He is a 2005 graduate of the African American Leadership Development Program and a 2007 graduate of Leadership Rochester. He sits on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Board, is assistant minority leader, ranking minority member of the Public Safety Committee and on the Human Service Committee, as well as having been the founder of the Cut the Violence Initiative, which helps curve teen violence in the Rochester area. He has received numerous community awards and recognitions.

Willie and Verdina Lightford are 19th ward association members. They have four children, Daryl, Kevin, Precious and Willie Jr., as well as three grandchildren.

About Peter Monacelli 

Peter Monacelli was born in Buffalo and raised in Albion, N.Y., where he attended high school before enrolling in Erie County Technical Institute in Buffalo N.Y. He also attended Monroe Community College in 1967, where he "discovered art," and started Empire State College in 1976, working with Robert Siedel, William Sirroco and Kurt Feuerherm. He has been making art for the past 48 years and has served as an adjunct Assistant Professor of Art at Monroe Community College since 1996. His work has appeared in 70 group shows and 54 solo shows. It is in collections in several countries.

Additionally, his company, Monacelli Construction, focused primarily on urban restoration projects during its 40 years in business and was responsible for putting 220 houses and buildings back on the tax rolls. Projects included the Little Theaters, the Bucket Dance Theater rehearsal studio, the renovation of the Rundel Memorial Library to accommodate the Rochester Historical Society, the renovation of the Hallman Truck Garage to Craig Autometrics and the renovation of a 25,000-square-foot building to house Gates Automotive in Henrietta N.Y.

He has earned awards including: Monroe Community College-graduated with distinction; Empire State College-"Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges"; Monacelli Construction- three "Building on what We Got" awards; Design For City Living Award; three American Institute of Architects Awards; and two New Business Awards, Albion N.Y.

Also he received the New York State Transportation Museum Award, South Wedge Planning Committee Awards, was inducted into the Monroe Community College Alumni Hall of Fame 2012 and received the Betty Strasenburg Award for Activism 2014, for "Reshaping Rochester."

He is a 1977 alumnus of the Genesee Valley Center with a B.S. degree.

Kurt Feuerherm

Kurt Feuerherm’s art focuses on the abstraction of nature-related subjects. His landscape paintings and collages are influenced by his lifelong curiosity about nature and his exposure to varied geographic areas of the world. His ceramic creatures - owls, snakes, dogs and anteaters — reveal his irrepressible sense of humor and his fascination for animals and their behavior.

Since his early college days, Feuerherm has traveled extensively in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. From that travel and his close observation of the natural world, he has produced a body of work that bridges media, techniques, and forms, just as it reflects the images and nuances of many topographies and cultures.

After his retirement as professor at SUNY Empire State College, Feurerherm lived and taught in Florence, Italy, and traveled throughout Tuscany. Since 1999, he has lived in Wellfleet, Mass. and currently resides in Rochester.

Feuerherm's work is held in permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; The Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; the Henry Art Gallery of the University of Washington; and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. His paintings have been selected for juried exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Albright-Knox Art Museum Buffalo, Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, and the Arts Institute of Chicago; his one–man exhibits throughout the U.S. have included Galleries in Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle, Buffalo, Rochester and Wellfleet.

His educational background includes post-graduate fellowships at Yale University, studying with Josef Albers, Stuart Davies, Louis Kahn and Naum Gabo; an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Arts; and a B.F.A from the University of Buffalo.

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