July 13, 2009
SUNY Cortland grads back in town this week
Annual alumni weekend begins Thursday as 600 SUNY Cortland graduates expected
SUNY Cortland and the city will come alive with memories later this week as the college welcomes more than 600 alumni for its annual Reunion Weekend.
The first event is a pizza party Thursday for the Class of 1949 at the Red Dragon restaurant. More social events, dinners and tours will start Friday and continue Saturday.
The special events include receptions for all sorority and fraternity alumni, a dinner and musical for the classes of 1949 and 1954 at The Community Restaurant, celebrations for some classes, a silver anniversary dinner for the Class of 1984, a Half Century Celebration for the classes of 1958 and before, and a concert by the FabCats at Corey Union.
Theta Phi sorority alumnae will have several functions throughout the weekend.
Two people will receive the Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award at a luncheon Saturday at Corey Union: Rosa LaSorte Rich of Brockport, Class of 1955, for her service in public secondary and higher education; and the late Cmdr. John Clark, Class of 1959, a highly decorated Navy officer.
The Distinguished Young Alumni Award will be presented to Jene Lupoli Luciani, Class of 1999, a broadcast journalist who chronicles the fashion industry.
An Endicott native, Rich earned a master’s degree in education from University at Buffalo in 1956 and was an assistant professor of health at physical education at SUNY Brockport from 1958 until 1964, when she left to form a physical education program for women at American University in Beirut, Lebanon. She spent four years there, instituting the first student exchange program for SUNY Brockport students and creating the dean of women position.
She helped evacuate 5,000 Americans from Beirut during the Arab/Israeli Six Day War in 1967.
Rich taught health in the Batavia city school district from 1973 until 1989.
Clark spent 31 years in the Navy after receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education. The Syracuse native flew more than 4,700 hours and made more than 350 aircraft carrier landings during his career.
Clark served in the Vietnam War and received more than 12 medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, presented as a Presidential Citation for heroism in 1972.
Later, he became air boss — director of flights and aircraft recoveries — aboard two aircraft carriers. He retired in 1991 and worked for 10 years at BEI/Kimco Magnetics in San Diego. Clark died in 2007.
Luciani worked in television after receiving her bachelor’s degree in communication studies, mostly as a producer. She joined a marketing company owned by fellow 1999 alumna Melissa Browne and worked with some of the world’s more noted corporations and fashion designers
The Hudson native then launched her own fashion column for “The Wag” and eventually became the magazine’s fashion and beauty editor.
Since 2006, Luciani has become a television commentator about the New York City fashion scene, appearing on Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates as well as Style Network’s “Look for Less” and Discovery Channel’s “Go Ahead, Make My Dinner.”
Her first book, “The Bra Book,” is scheduled for publication in December by BenBella Books.
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