February 24, 2014

 

Happening ’17

Maybe it’s the thaw in the weather, and maybe it’s all the good stuff going on here on campus.  I’m feeling really good about things up here at SUNY Canton and in the North Country.

In the words of Paul Revere and the Raiders on their classic rock album Happening ’68 (OK–I know most of you won’t have ever heard of them, but they were cool back in the day),

People, something’s happening
Something in the air
Listen to the sound now
Come from everywhere.

You know you’ve got to hurry
You don’t want to be late
But people don’t you worry
What’s happenin’ is great.

As I mentioned in the last FROM THE POUCH, two of our new degree proposals have been approved by State Ed, and will be offered beginning this Fall.  These are the B.S. in Game Design and Development and the B.B.A. in Agribusiness. We’ve gotten good publicity and a lot of good comments about them.

We’re seeing strong legislative support for what we’re doing, and I’m hearing lots of folks in the economic development sector telling me how critical SUNY Canton is to the success of our region, and how we’re moving in the right directions.  Our alumni are increasingly engaged, and they like what they’re hearing.

You, our students, are doing well and are in high demand when you graduate.  Our Student Government is active, and a number of initiatives that they wanted to propose tie in perfectly with ideas the College’s administration had and we’re working to implement them.  Several students will be going to DC next month to advocate for higher education in general, and student empowerment in particular.  Our student athletes have done well, beating the local competition and some teams we’ve never beaten before by solid margins.

Every time I turn around, I hear about another faculty member who has won an award, is working on a book or has published a paper, or is doing something innovative in the classroom to support our students.  Our new Center for Diversities and Inclusion is planning a strong set of programs, and has started a weekly “Soup and Solidarity” series, that will feature free soup, music, and good conversations on a variety of topics.

There are lots of cool events coming up soon (including the annual Snow Ball this weekend) in the Student Life area, thanks to the hard work of our staff in those areas.  The campus has never looked better, and there are plans that will soon be implemented to take us to the next level with Dana  and Chaney Halls.

There’s still a lot to do to bring all of the above to fruition.  Like all good kangaroos, we need to keep a hop ahead and keep moving forward.  But like I said before, things are happening, and SUNY Canton just keeps getting better and better.

 

This Just In!  SUNY Canton Students win Chancellor’s Award!

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Two SUNY Canton students have won the coveted Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, and will be presented with the award on April 5.  The winners are Poornima Rathika Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara  (B.Tech. in Health and Fitness Promotion) and Sarah Nuss (B.Tech. in Civil and Environmental Engineering).  I’ll have a full report next issue, but for now, congratulations Poornima and Sarah!

 

 

Hitting the Ground Running

Everyone knows that SUNY Canton students and graduates are always ready to hit the ground running, thanks to the strong applied-learning focus we have at the College.  I just heard an especially great example of this, and I’d like to give a shout-out to the students involved.

A few days ago, a student in a nursing class had a cardiac problem.  Two of our students, Jessica Deleel and Christine Phippen, knew exactly what to do, being graduates of our Licensed Practical Nursing program and current students in our Registered Nursing program.  Jessica and Christine called our campus EMS squad, and also got help from a nearby instructional support assistant.  They then stayed outside the lab until the EMS squad arrived to show where the student needing help was.  Christine took the student’s temperature, and had a pulse oximeter ready for the EMS team and rescue squad, so they could assess the patient and get vital details on her condition.  They stayed calm, cool, and collected like a seasoned LPN/RN student should.

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The other students in the lab also helped out, bringing cool cloths and taking down a medical list for the EMS and rescue squads, and asking if they could also help.  Most importantly, after being stabilized, the student was transferred to the hospital and got the help she needed.

 

So, in a lesson that was a bit more hands-on than they had bargained for, our students got to see a real simulation play out before their eyes, about the cardiac topic they were discussing.  They got to see how medical personnel give an SBAR, share patient details, and do a focused assessment.  These were all concepts and assessments that the professor was planning on practicing that day in lab!

 

So, congratulations to Jessica and Christine for their cool-headed response, and to the rest of the class for pitching in.  For this reason, they all win a special “ROOsponding to a Crisis” Presidential Award, which will be delivered to their classroom in the next few weeks.

 

New Athletic Conference!

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I’m happy to report that SUNY Canton is now part of an athletic conference, namely the American Collegiate Athletic Association.  We just heard this past Tuesday that the ACAA has been given conference membership in Division III of the NCAA.  SUNY Alfred is also a member of this conference.   This conference is a good step forward for our athletic programs, and will provide our students an opportunity for post-season play.

 

Top 100 in Online Programs Again!

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SUNY Canton’s online programs are in the top 100 nationally, for the third time, according to US News and World Report.  Only three SUNY schools have this distinction!

 

Top in Pet-Friendliness Again!

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I’m also happy to report that SUNY Canton was named as one of the 25 most pet-friendly colleges in the country, coming in at #13, and was 1st in New York, and the only SUNY on the list.

 

New Banners!

Our Student Government has been working closely with Priscilla Leggette, Director of Student Activities, and our various student organizations to create banners for each club.  The first batch of banners has now been hung above the mailboxes in the Student Center, with more to come, and they all look great!  An unveiling was held this past Monday.

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Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “R”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Amanda DaCosta.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Amanda—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Savanna-Lin Boadway, Zhamal Nurdin, and Lee Meggison.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. You rent movies from it, and it’s located just outside the Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and many other stores.  Redbox.
  2. Oakland’s football team.  Raiders.
  3. Born in Barbados, this singer’s albums include Music of the Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rated R, Unapologetic, and Anti.  Rihanna.
  4. Athletic footwear company, their products include the ventilator, zig, nano, and ZQuick TR.  Reebok.

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “S”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Smartphone manufacturer that makes the Galaxy.
  2. Satellite radio service that carries Howard Stern, College Sports Nation, Venus, and Pop2K.
  3. Singer whose album A Seat at the Table, was #1 in the United States.  Other albums included Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams and Solo Star.
  4. Scandinavian country known for its meatballs and Ikea.  Its capital is Stockholm.
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February 17, 2017

From the Pouch

Volume 3, Issue 9–February 17, 2017

 

Welcome Back

We’re well into the Spring Semester, though it really doesn’t look a lot like spring.  We had a pretty good snowfall earlier in the week–more than a foot, which is unusual all at once–but it’s supposed to warm up later this week so a lot of it should melt off.  All in all, it has been a mild winter up until now.  Hopefully, the rest of February and March won’t go the other way.

 

 

Happy Birthday!

It’s birthday time in the Szafran household.  My father Daniel just turned 90 on February 8, and son Mark turned 33 on February 9.  True story:  When wife Jill was pregnant with Mark, my father was hoping that he’d be born on February 8 so that they could celebrate their birthdays together.  When February 8 came, Jill hadn’t gone into labor, so I called my father and told him that it looked like he wasn’t going to get his wish.  Just as we were preparing to go to bed, Jill came over to me and said “It’s time”, and sure enough, she delivered Mark at about 3:00 AM on February 9.  When I told my father he had just missed having his wish granted, he said “What are you talking about?  I was born in Poland—there’s a 7 hour time difference between here and there, so you made it!”  So, for many years, they indeed always celebrated their birthdays together.

If any of you have a February birthday, congratulations!  You’re in good company.

 

New Degrees!

We’ve gotten final approval lately about new degrees that we will be offering at SUNY Canton.  Getting a new degree approved is a long process–it can take more than a year to write the proposal up, get it approved on campus, send it to SUNY, respond to other colleges that may comment on it (or not want you to offer it), get approval from SUNY, and get approval from the NY State Department of Education.  It can get quite complicated, but we have some good news to announce.

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Our first new degree is in Game Design and Development.  This is a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree that will focus on the design and production of modern video games.  Students enrolling in the program will learn how to design and program these games on multiple computer platforms and for different kinds of devices, and will get lots of hands-on experience creating video games for commercial, educational, and medical audiences.  Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, and a major hub of video game manufacture is nearby in Montreal.  The program will be offered starting this coming fall semester.

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The second degree approved is in Agribusiness.  This is a 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration degree that will focus on the management side of modern farming.  As many of you may know, SUNY Canton began its history way back in 1906 as a College of Agriculture.  Many of our most successful graduates in St. Lawrence County and across the state began their careers in the college’s agriculture programs.  Over the years, most of these programs were phased out, so offering this program is a way for us to tie in to our original roots.  Students in this program will learn principles of accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, operations, human resources, economics, ethics, and communications, and learn to apply them to agriculture.  We will also be partnering with local agricultural enterprises to provide internship opportunities for students.  The Agribusiness program will be offered starting this coming fall semester.

 

Visit to SUNY

While some people give out chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day,  SUNY Canton got to celebrate with a visit to Albany for our Campus Visit, which was an opportunity for us to speak with folks at the systems office about how we’re doing on campus relative to our performance improvement plan; what our current vision is for the College; what we think the College could be in 2025 if money weren’t an issue; what we think our strengths,  weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are; and to propose some areas that we’d like some funding from SUNY for.  A group of 11 of us participated in preparing our responses, including me, the vice presidents, our student government president Nikki Zeitzman, our associate provost, our co-chief diversity officers, our Faculty Assembly moderator (who got sick and wasn’t able to attend the meeting), and our UUP local union president.

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We left Canton at about 7 AM for the drive down to Albany and fortunately the weather cooperated, so we had a pleasant ride.  We got there just in time for a quick lunch, and then went over to SUNY for our 1 PM meeting.

By all accounts the meeting went well, and I think our colleagues at SUNY now have a stronger understanding of the many great things going on at SUNY Canton today, and the even greater things we are planning and working toward for the future.  Hopefully, they’ll invite us to submit  proposals for funding on some of the ideas we presented.

 

Long Trip

I went on a marathon trip last month, starting on January 17th and running to the 29th.  Leg one had me going to Nashville for the NCAA National Convention.  SUNY Canton became a full member of NCAA Division III this past year.

The drive down to Syracuse to catch my flight was mostly fine and I took off on time for Chicago where I was changing planes.  The connecting flight to Nashville was only three gates away and we got on the flight on time.  After taxiing out from the gate, we sat there for about 45 minutes (which the pilot initially said was due to heavy traffic), and were then told there was a mechanical problem.  The plane returned to the gate, we sat there a bit longer while a repair crew looked things over, and were then taken off the plane.  After another hour or so, they announced that we would be going onto another plane in a short while, and 45 minutes later, we did.  I arrived in Nashville almost three hours late, and by the time I got to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, all the restaurants were closed and I had to content myself with a pretty dismal pre-packaged sub.

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is a pretty impressive place—they say it’s the biggest hotel in the U.S. that doesn’t have a casino associated with it.  After checking in, it was a long walk  to where my room was, involving a couple of escalators, a sky bridge, and two elevators before I got there.  The hotel reminded me of San Antonio’s Riverwalk—there are several “rivers” inside (you can even take a boat ride on one of them) with restaurants alongside, and the skywalk was over an area with lots of exotic plants.

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The first big event was the NCAA Honors Celebration, showcasing students who have overcome great adversity or challenge to excel both scholastically and athletically.  There were also others who were chosen on the 25th anniversary of their graduation.  The Theodore Roosevelt Award for Astounding Accomplishment went to Beth Brooke-Marciniak, who was a great basketball player who went on to become a business leader at Ernst and Young and is now their Global Vice Chair of Public Policy and was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women.  Other sessions during the week focused on the Fair Labor Standards Act, social justice in in college sports, and a bunch of business meetings.  Our own Courtney Bish (VP for Student Affairs) was selected to attend the Athletics Direct Reports Institute at the NCAA Conference, one of only 43 selected nationwide from Division III.  Congratulations, Courtney!

I left Nashville on Sunday morning, taking an early United Airlines flight to Washington DC.  By an odd coincidence, the person sitting next to me on the plane was Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State College, and a friend from back in Georgia days.  My connection time in Washington was supposed to be an hour, but after getting on the plane to Albany, we had to get off because of mechanical problems.  This time the delay was five hours before they could get us on another plane.  The airport was filled with women who had participated in the National Women’s March the previous day and were returning home.  It was interesting to hear their stories about the March, and how excited and energized they were to get more politically involved.  The flight finally took off at about 5:30 PM, and was otherwise uneventful.  A few minutes after arriving in Albany, I got a news announcement on my phone—all domestic flights on United had been cancelled due to a computer malfunction, so I had barely made it onto the flight on time. 

On Monday morning, I went over to the Egg in Albany to attend a breakfast honoring SUNY’s Chancellor, Nancy Zimpher.  Chancellor Zimpher will be leaving her position at the end of the academic year, so this was our chance to say “thanks” for everything she has done and to wish her well in the future.  The breakfast was followed by the Chancellor’s annual State of the University Address, where she talked about two new initiatives.  The first, the SUNY Impact Foundation, will be created to raise funds to support degree completion and student success on all campuses.  The second was the creation of the SUNY Center for Systems Change, which will focus on continuous improvement within the system.  There were several pictures of SUNY Canton in her presentation, thanks to the good efforts of our PR folks. 

Following the Address, I joined Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) to speak with our own State Senator Patty Ritchie.  Senator Ritchie is a strong supporter of SUNY Canton, and is especially interested in our efforts in agriculture, nursing, and economic development.  She noted: “Centers of learning—like SUNY Canton—are key to helping people have bright futures, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work together to improve higher ed opportunities for students.”

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We then met with Deborah Glick, the Chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee.  Assemblymember Glick is a strong supporter of SUNY and of higher education in general.  We discussed some of the new initiatives we are taking at the College, as well as Governor Cuomo’s new Excelsior Scholarship initiative.  Our third meeting was with members of Senator Kenneth LaValle’s staff on the same issues, and they were strongly supportive.

That evening, we attended the Business Council’s Legislator’s Reception, where we met several colleagues from other SUNY campuses and several business leaders, including one I found out was our own alumnus—Tom Landry (no, not the football player, though he’s met him!), who works at blueRock Solar.

On Tuesday morning, I met with our local Assemblywoman, Addie Jenne.  I’ve met with her many times, both at formal meetings and at various events around the region, and I always enjoy hearing her viewpoints.  She is also a strong supporter of the College and is interested in several of our new initiatives.  From there, it was down to SUNY Central to meet with Gloria Lopez, who is the System – wide Affirmative Action Officer in SUNY’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a Fulbright scholar.  We chatted a bit about world music and about some of the initiatives we are planning that will enhance diversity on our campus.  Gloria has lots of interesting ideas that I look forward to sharing with our Executive Diversity Council.

After lunch, I went to the airport for the third leg of my trip—visiting alumni in Florida The flight was fine and I arrived in Orlando on time.  The moment I walked out of the terminal, Peggy Sue Levato from our Advancement Office was there, having correctly guessed which door I’d emerge from.  On Wednesday and Thursday, we got together with several alumni in the area.  We drove to New Smyrna Beach and checked in to the Best Western, right on the beach.  My room had a very nice beach view and even had a small balcony.

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That afternoon, we went to an alumni gathering that was well attended, and I was very happy to see former SUNY Canton President Joe Kennedy and his wife Dine there, as well as several foundation board members Gil White, Bob Raymo, and Chris Gray.  I gave a short presentation updating everyone about what’s going on at the College, and they all were very pleased at our progress on multiple fronts.

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On Thursday, we drove down to the Villages, a new and very large city that has been established near Leesburg. We met with Rosella Valentine (’68) and her husband John at a very nice restaurant.  It’s always nice to see them—Rosella is a long-time member of the foundation board (I learned it was her 40th anniversary of service on the board!) and John and I share a love of classical music and opera.  On Saturday, we went to another alumni gathering, this time in Summerfield.  Joe and Dine Kennedy had made the trek out to be at this meeting too, and it was another well-attended gathering.

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Afterwards, it was back in the car for the ride up to Orlando, to stay at the Airport Fairfield Inn.  We left Orlando on Sunday, getting to Syracuse at about 4 PM, and after a stop in Watertown for dinner, I finally got home at about 8 PM.  The next morning?  Back to work on campus for a bunch of meetings that had stacked up in the 12 days I was gone.

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “Q”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Marlene Cazahuati.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Marlene—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lee Meggison, Beoncia Chaplin, Zhamal Nurdin, and Peyton Robinson.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Sound a duck makes.  Quack.
  2. It’s worth 25 cents.  Quarter.
  3. Royalty whose albums include Black Reign, Order in the Court, Trav’lin Light, and Persona.  Queen Latifah.
  4. French-speaking Canadian province.  Quebec.

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “R”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. You rent movies from it, and it’s located just outside the Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and many other stores.
  2. Oakland’s football team.
  3. Born in Barbados, this singer’s albums include Music of the Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rated R, Unapologetic, and Anti.
  4. Athletic footwear company, their products include the ventilator, zig, nano, and ZQuick TR.
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December 7, 2016

FROM THE POUCH

Volume 3, Issue 8–December 7, 2016

 

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Required Training–Please Participate

On July 7, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed his Enough is Enough legislation to combat sexual assault on college and university campuses statewide.  As part of this  legislation, colleges are required to provide Title IX training to all students, faculty, and staff.  SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton have partnered to provide online training for our students.  All new, new transfer, and readmitted students are required to complete the training module by no later than December 16, 2016.

Last week, you received an email from Stacey Basford with the subject line “Required Student Training – Due December 16.”  Please look for that email, and complete your training on/before December 16.  If you lost the email, here are the instructions:

(1) Click on the following link:  http://training.wecomply.com/wc2/login.aspx

(2) Enter your username [##UserName##]

(3) Enter your password [##Password##]

(4) Click the “Sign-In” button

(5) Complete the training.

Should you have any problems signing in or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Title IX Coordinator, Amanda Rowley, at rowleya@canton.edu or call ext. 7559.

 

 

It’s December Already?

How can it be December already?  It seems like the semester just started and yet, in another two weeks it will be over.   I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, ate lots of turkey, and is feeling invigorated to make the push for doing well on finals.

We stayed around the area for Thanksgiving, and after a little discussion (OK, argument), decided that we’d stay traditional again this year and get a turkey.  My wife Jill had the nice folks at Price Chopper look around the back to find the smallest possible turkey since it’s just the three of us, and she really doesn’t like turkey all that much.  They found a nice 12 pounder, and after thawing it out, washing it, adding some stuffing, and rubbing the outside with some seasoning, it was quite delicious.  One of the best inventions of all time is the oven cooking bag—it keeps the turkey moist, requires no basting, retains the gravy inside, and even makes the bird cook faster.  What more can you ask for less than a dollar?  Anyway, after gorging on the turkey, stuffing, and rice for a few days, we had all had enough and dumped the little bit that was left.

This year, Chanukah comes on the same day as Christmas.  Chanukah can come as early as November 28 or as late as December 27, so this year it is an unusually late one.  My family have a number of Chanukah menorahs (candelabras) that we’ve picked up over the years.  Our favorite is one we got for son Mark’s first Chanukah—it has Mickey and Minnie Mouse lying on the floor in front of a fireplace, playing with dreidels (little spinning tops).

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Good luck on your finals, and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and a Happy New Year!

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Diversity Conferences

Back on November 8,  Provost Doug Scheidt and I took a drive down to Saratoga Springs to attend the Cultural Competency and Inclusive Excellence Institute for Senior SUNY Leadership (CCIEI, November 8) and the SUNY Diversity Conference (November 9-11).  The trip down was quite nice—a crisp fall day through the Adirondack Mountains.  There are several choices of ways to get there that are all about the same distance and time, but I usually go through Newcomb and Minerva on Route 28N toward Olmstedsville, and pick up I-87 in Pottersville.  This time I noticed a sign for Olmstedsville a bit earlier and turned off to go there, only to find myself on a road that I had never been on before (I think we were on County Road 24), in an area where there was no GPS signal.  I knew we’d be fine if we kept heading east, since we’d eventually run into either US 9 or I-87, and sure enough we did at Schroon Lake, which turned out to be quite beautiful.  Anyway, we got to Saratoga Springs just in time for the conferences.

The CCIEI was good, with a very interesting session on how we’re wired to see and do certain things in a particular way.  The speaker, Howard Ross, showed a series of words representing colors that were the same color as the word (i.e., the word “red” was colored red), and had us read them as quickly as we could.  No one had any problem with that.  He then showed a similar series of words representing colors, but this time, the word was colored in a different color (i.e., the word “red” was colored blue), and asked us to say what color each word was (blue in this example).  This caused a mental “disconnect”, since our minds are trained to read the word, not its color, and it was much harder to do it.  This phenomenon, Provost Scheidt (who is a psychologist by background) tells me, is called the Stroop Effect.

Ross then showed it wasn’t just our minds that work that way—our bodies do too.  He showed a film clip with people riding a bicycle that had been modified so that when the handlebars were turned in one direction, the bicycle would turn in the opposite direction.  People were offered $50 if they could ride the bicycle about 20 feet without falling off, and no one could do it, because we’re conditioned when we learn to ride a bicycle that it will react only in one way.

Both things illustrated that it’s really hard to see or do things in new ways, because we’re so conditioned to doing them in the way we’re used to.

In the same way, our prior experiences give us biases.  If you got ill after eating carrots when you were young, you might avoid carrots from that point forward.  The bias could be conscious (you remember the earlier bad experience) or unconscious (you’ve forgotten why you don’t like carrots but you still avoid them, or you may even shy away from all orange foods because you associated the bad experience with orange-colored foods in general).  There’s no particular harm to this kind of bias, since we all have individual preferences in food, style of clothing, and so on.

However, through their upbringing or experiences, some people associate negative traits with whole groups of people.  If one person from Potsdam treated you meanly, you may associate meanness (and other negative traits) with all people from Potsdam, and avoid going there, hiring someone from there, or simply be fearful of someone from there, without even being conscious that you are doing this.  This type of bias, even when unconscious, results in discrimination, since fear quickly triggers the more primitive part of the brain, whereas the intellectual part of our brain reacts more slowly.  Harvard University has a website where you can take a test to see if you have an unconscious bias (they call it implicit bias) in a number of areas.  If you want to give it a try, you can click here.

Since everyone has unconscious biases of one kind or another, that’s part of the reason it is important to make sure that decision-making groups are diverse. A diverse group will be less likely to have all had the same experiences or unconscious biases, and if group members are willing to speak up, less likely to arrive at discriminatory outcomes.  Also, when one is aware of unconscious biases in general, and one’s own biases in particular, it is easier to avoid acting in ways that result from them.

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The SUNY Diversity Conference featured of a number of keynote speakers as well as parallel sessions of individual presentations.  A number of the speakers made last-minute changes in their talks to editorialize about the election outcome, with several expressing concern about what the future Trump administration might do regarding issues related to diversity, and resolved to fight anything that would push back on recent social gains.

As is always the case, some of the talks were more interesting than others.  I personally would have liked more talks to have focused on strategies that had been found to be successful and how they were implemented and fewer on advocacy, but on the whole, the conference was quite worthwhile.

At the very end of the conference, I was part of a panel of four presidents talking about how they were implementing the Board of Regents’ Diversity Agenda on their campuses.  I presented a PowerPoint on what we have done at SUNY Canton.  It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in the various campus’ approaches, and I was able to get a few ideas of new things that might be worth trying.

  

Shout Outs

Congratulations to our Health Care Management program, which was just listed among the Top 10 Low Cost Online Degree Programs 2016 by bestdegreeprograms.org.

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The website praised the degree, saying “SUNY Canton rivals even the most accommodating online colleges with its B.S. in Health Care Management, which allows students to select any combination of online, hybrid and face-to-face courses.”  Health Care Management (part of the general category of Health Administration) is a high demand field.  The website goes on to say “If you graduate with a B.S. in Health Administration, you’ll find yourself gazing into a future with explosive career opportunities. The BLS anticipates an immense 17% growth in health management positions before 2024 – that’s more than 56,000 new jobs…the data indicates that a degree in this discipline could be your ticket to a reliable future with high ROI and room to grow.”

 

Kudos to DianeMarie Collins for her good work with the SUNY Canton’s new electronic sign.

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It’s a harder job than you may think—DianeMarie often stays late to create signs for events, rearranges the order of events to accommodate requests, and diplomatically fields requests or addresses complaints about submissions that don’t fit the agreed upon criteria.  The sign looks great, and I enjoy reading it as I drive in each morning!   

 

Congratulations to Dr. Emily Hamilton-Honey (English) who recently won the St. Lawrence County Chapter of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Research Award for her in-depth study of young women’s serial novels.

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She is the author of a book in progress titled Girls to the Rescue: Mixed Messages From American Girls’ Series Fiction in World War I. Her research is based on series books including The Red Cross Girls, The Khaki Girls, and the Ruth Fielding novels. The book is slated to be published next year.

 

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “O”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Lee Meggison.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Lee—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lynnette Lessley, Nurdin Kyzy Zhamal, Christopher Bertrand, and Christine Simon.

Here are the correct answers:

    1. President of the United States.  Barack Obama.
    2. The capital of Canada.  Ottawa.
    3. Name of the place where Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion defeated the wicked witch of the west.  Oz.
    4. English-Irish pop group that has albums Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M.  One Direction.

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “Q”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Sound a duck makes.
  2. It’s worth 25 cents.
  3. Royalty whose albums include Black Reign, Order in the Court, Trav’lin Light, and Persona.
  4. French-speaking Canadian province.
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November 18, 2016

FROM THE POUCH

Volume 3, Issue 7–November 18, 2016

 

 A Message from the Governor and from Me

I just received a message from New York Governor Cuomo that I thought I’d share with everyone, and then make a few comments of my own.  Here’s what Governor Cuomo had to say:

New York and this nation were founded on the premise that we are all created equal. In the weeks that have followed the election, that promise has rung hollow for too many New Yorkers and Americans.

Hate crimes have spiked across the country and this state has not been spared. This week, fliers glorifying the KKK were found distributed on cars in Suffolk County. Last week in Allegany County, a softball field dugout was defaced with the words “Make America White Again,” accompanied by a spray-painted swastika. These are just a few examples. My administration has launched a number of investigations into hate crimes targeting minorities and immigrants.

I call on all public officials, of all parties, and indeed, all people everywhere, to denounce and repudiate these expressions, and to pledge to punish to the full extent of the law anyone engaged in such acts. To remain silent is to engage in a dangerous new permissiveness that threatens our American way.

Residents who have experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or discrimination are encouraged to call our toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.

Let me be very clear: These acts of hate and intolerance go against everything New York stands for. We have welcomed generations of immigrants with open arms. This state will continue that proud legacy – we will not turn our backs and we will not let this heated rhetoric divide us.

We will stand strong united in the face of intolerance and show the world that we are one people, one family, and one New York.

These sentiments also apply to SUNY in general and SUNY Canton in particular.

Many people don’t know this, but a big part of the reason for the founding of the SUNY system was to combat discrimination.  Until the 1940’s (and in some cases, even beyond), many of New York’s private colleges were discriminatory and restricted the admission of students who were Black, Hispanic, or Jewish.  In response to this discrimination, the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University was created in 1946.  The Commission carried out a study, and recommended the creation of a public state university system that would be open to all New Yorkers without regard to race, creed, or religion.  Legislation was passed in 1948 that created SUNY, and many colleges that had been created for special purposes (such as SUNY Canton, a specialty college of Agriculture and Technology which was founded in 1906) joined the system that year.  Standing united against intolerance has therefore been in SUNY’s mission from the very beginning.

At SUNY Canton, we are absolutely committed to the credo that Everyone is Welcome Here.  We have recently appointed two co-Chief Diversity Officers (Lashawanda Ingram and William Jones), and are about to open our Center for Diversities and Inclusion.  We offer a regular series of programs, workshops, activities, and events that celebrate and promote diversity, and are working hard to do even more.   In the words of the song People Have the Power by Patti Smith:

                                   I believe everything we dream,

                                    Can come to pass through our union.

                                    We can turn the world around,

                                    We can turn the Earth’s revolution,

                                    We have the power—the people have the power.

We encourage everyone to join us and come together to show the world that through our union, we are one family, one student body, and one campus community that’s going to turn our dreams into reality together.  

 

Sustainability

This past Tuesday (November 15), SUNY Canton’s Environmental Change Organization (ECO) held their “First Dump” activity, starting this year’s composting initiative.  ECO President Jessica Fischer explained what composting was and why it is important to helping the environment and reducing waste, and Pat Hanss and Kelly Carter talked about how students, staff, and faculty worked together as a team to promote the positive academic and environmental impacts of the project.

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Everyone then walked to the compost pile to watch the facilities crew add 325 lbs. of pre-consumer food waste (which is the amount generated every few days on campus) to a truckload of autumn leaves and mix them up, starting this year’s composting process.

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The composting project has recently been awarded with some funding from the College Foundation’s Campus Enhancement Awards to expand the compost pile and perfect the process.

ECO initiated composting in Fall of 2015. Since then ECO and its advisor Rajiv Narula, the College’s Dining Services (including Sue Law, Brad Winters, and the kitchen staff), Physical Plant (including Pat Hanss, Stan Wilson, and the facilities crew) and campus Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Carter began a trial compost pile from October 2015 to April 2016. The food waste was weighed, dumped and mixed with leaf litter two to three times a week. The mature compost was used this summer and fall in the flower beds and boxes in Roselle Plaza, and also as an addition to the soil for the new Bee and Butterfly Habitat near French Hall. Last year SUNY Canton diverted 5,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from the landfill and into our compost pile. The project has been presented at several conferences through posters and talks.

You can read more about this project in the Watertown Times article here.

 

 

Tutoring Center Named

As many of you know, SUNY Canton’s Tutoring Center was voted #1 in SUNY.  This past week, on November 14, it got a new name—it is now the Betty J. Evans Tutoring Center.  Betty Evans is a retired teacher who taught students with disabilities at the Canton Central School District for 18 years.  She was well known for always finding a way to help students reach their potential and achieve success.  Betty Evans was inducted into the SUNY Canton Hall of Fame in 2014, and recognized for her recent contribution to the SUNY Canton Foundation at the naming ceremony.

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“I have spent most of my life helping people decide what they will do with the opportunities they have,” she said. “My hopes are that the students will make good use of what is available here, and it is very apparent that they have already started. This is a beautiful and practical place.”  The Betty Evans Tutoring Center offers help from both peer and professional tutors in math, science, business and accounting, and writing.

You can read more about the Center in the Daily Courier Observer here.

 

 

So Many Thanks

Words can’t describe how much I appreciate how everyone rallied around my family last week after my mother passed away.

The funeral was held in Syracuse on Sunday, October 30, at the Sisskind Funeral Home.  My father had flown in on October 27 from Las Vegas, and stayed in Syracuse with some family friends.  My sister Drorit had handled most of the arrangements from her home in Houston, and flew in with her partner Susanne on the 28th.  By 1:00 PM, the funeral home’s hall was packed—all the seats were taken and there were many people standing.  Several family members from Israel and Las Vegas weren’t able to come in person and skyped in through an arrangement my cousin Assaf (who flew in from Seattle) had set up.  Family flew and drove in from around the country, some making it to the funeral and others during the week where we sat Shiva. So many people came from Syracuse, where I grew up and my parents lived for so many years.  They included their oldest friends, many of the teachers and students (past and present) from the Syracuse Hebrew Day School where my mother had taught for so many years, and many other friends and neighbors.  Several people drove down from Canton representing the synagogue and the College.  Our deepest thanks to everyone who was able to come.

The service was officiated by Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport (from Syracuse University Hillel, who also did the benediction at my inauguration at SUNY Canton) and Rabbi Evan Shore (from synagogue Young Israel-Shaarei Torah).  Syracuse Hebrew Day School principal Barbara Davis spoke about what a fine teacher my mother had been for so many years, and how she never gave up on any student—she was determined that each one would be able to succeed.  I gave the eulogy, and my sister Drorit shared some remembrances and read a poem called “Letter from Heaven”.

My father Daniel then spoke, about how he and my mother had first met and dated, and how they were married after only three months.  He spoke about their early life together, how we moved to the United States, and how he surprised her by signing her up to take her first college classes, ultimately resulting in her getting her associates degree from OCC, and her bachelors and masters degrees from SUNY Cortland.  She originally agreed to teach at the Hebrew Day School for one year, which then turned into 26 years.  He talked about how close she was to my son Mark, and how proud she was at his bar-mitzvah.  He ended by saying even near the end, she would hold his hand in the hospice, and clap along to music.

After the burial, we drove back to Canton for the Shiva—the traditional seven-day mourning period—that was held in the College’s Alumni House.  So many people from the College and the community came by to pay their respects that I couldn’t possibly list them all, many bringing food for the mourners.  So many others sent sympathy cards and posted their condolences on Facebook.  Our deepest thanks to everyone for lending us support in this trying time.

Some things we’ll never forget include Prof. David Penepent and all the Funeral Services Administration students who came by to give their condolences; our Student Government and all the students who drew and signed the beautiful angel poster—we’ll always treasure it; and the many kindnesses extended by Michaela Young, Peggy Levato, Sue Law, and Sean Conklin in going so far out of their way to meet the needs of my family during the mourning period.

My family and I feel extremely blessed to have such wonderful family members, friends, colleagues, and students to lend us support.  We’ll always remember how you were there when we needed you.

 

 

Southern Swing

Congratulations to Dr. Margaret Venable, a good friend, a fellow chemist, and one of the best people I know on her inauguration as president of Dalton State College in Georgia.  I flew into Chattanooga on October 20 and then drove the 30 miles or so from the airport to Dalton. The inauguration ceremony was preceded by a luncheon where I ran into lots of Georgia friends.

The inauguration itself was quite nice.  It had rained the previous day (good, because Dalton was experiencing a severe drought) and there was some concern it might rain again, but instead it was quite windy, which kept the temperature down—especially good since I was wearing my regalia.  There were the usual greetings and best wishes from various campus constituencies, and Margaret gave a very good speech.  And just like that, it was over and she was Dalton State’s first female president.  Congratulations Margaret!

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The next day, I drove from Dalton to Cary, NC (a city near Raleigh) for some alumni visits.  It’s a long ride, but the weather was good and the traffic was relatively light.   I was joined there by Amanda Stopa and later by Anne Sibley from SUNY Canton’s Advancement Office.  While there, we had a very nice gathering of alumni who now live in North Carolina, followed by several visits with individual alumni, all of which went very well.

I left on the morning of October 25th, driving to Columbia, SC, where I was speaking at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).  When I got to Columbia, I was surprised to find that I hardly recognized the city at all.  I had been there for graduate school between 1976 and 1981, and had visited a few times since, but relatively recently, they had totally redeveloped the area and it was now an area composed of upscale restaurants and clubs, several new hotels, and a new Alumni Center and Convention Center for the University of South Carolina.  The ACS meeting featured a symposium in honor of Dr. Jerome D. Odom, my research professor when I got my Ph.D., and I was delighted to have been invited to speak there. The symposium was a lot of fun, with lots of interesting chemistry and funny stories about when things had gone less than well in the lab.  After the symposium, we all went out to lunch where we joined Jerry’s wife Toni, who in a long convoluted way, I was responsible for his having met many years ago!

 

 

New York Frame of Mind

I left the lunch at about 2:00 PM, because I had to drive out to the airport, drop off the car, and catch the 4:15 PM flight to New York City, where I was attending SUNYCON, an annual SUNY conference that focuses on issues affecting higher education.  The flight actually got there a little early, but I quickly lost the time waiting in line for a taxi to take me into Manhattan.

The next morning (October 27th), I took the subway up to Times Square where SUNYCON was held and joined up with Provost Doug Scheidt, Executive Director for University Relations Lenore VanderZee, Senior Media Relations Manager and Photographer Greg Kie, Public Relations Manager Lorrette Murray, and Director of Public Relations and Web Designer Travis Smith who were also there for the meeting.  The sessions were interesting with some good speakers (you can see the agenda here), and of course we ran into lots of people we know from around SUNY, including former SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph Hoffman.

After the sessions ended for the day, I walked crosstown in some miserable weather (fortunately, I had an umbrella) to join up with an Advancement Officer from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for dinner.  WPI was my undergraduate college, and on the 40th anniversary of my graduation back in 1976, gave me their Goddard Professional Achievement Award.  Unfortunately, the WPI award ceremony had been back in June at their Alumni Reunion, which fell on the exact same day as SUNY Canton’s Alumni Reunion!  Needless to say I couldn’t attend theirs since I was at ours, and this was the first time we were able to meet up so they could give me the actual award—a very nice framed citation, and a very heavy obelisk made of green marble that has my name carved on one side and the award name on the other.

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The SUNYCON conference ended on the 28th, and I took a taxi crosstown to meet two representatives of the Korean Consulate for lunch.  As many of you will recall, Korean Consul Yunju Ko had visited our campus last year as part of our Excellence in Leadership series.  The talk he gave then was excellent and well-attended.  He contacted me a few weeks ago, asking if we could arrange for Consul-General Gheewhan Kim to speak on campus this year.  I told him we’d be delighted, but there was one small problem—I’d be in NYC at the time they’d be at Canton!  It turned out that was fine—Consul-General Kim gave a very good talk on campus, they drove back to NYC that evening, and we met at the Consulate the next afternoon.  The meetings went very well, and we’ll be signing some articulation agreements with several Korean universities in the near future, which will create some new opportunities for our faculty and students.

 

 

What Is “FROM THE POUCH”?

FROM THE POUCH is a blog I write for SUNY Canton students.  During the fall and spring semesters, it comes out every week more or less, depending on how busy I am.  It consists of news, answers to student questions, and random thoughts that cross my mind.  There’s even a trivia contest in each issue—if you’re the first to get every question right, you win a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.  Even if you’re not the first, you get your name published in the blog, and that’s priceless!  I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments.

 

Best regards,

Dr. Zvi Szafran

President, SUNY Canton

 

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

There wasn’t one in the last issue.

 

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “O”. The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. President of the United States.
  2. The capital of Canada.
  3. Name of the place where Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion defeated the wicked witch of the west.
  4. English-Irish pop group that has albums Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M.

 

 

 

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November 2, 2016

From the Pouch

Volume 3, Issue 6–November 2, 2016

 

In Memorium

As many of you have heard, my mother Simona Szafran passed away last week, on October 23, 2016 at 3:00 AM Pacific Time in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This issue of the BLAB is dedicated to telling her life story, and we’ll return to the more usual contents next week.

She passed away at the Nathan Adelson Hospice, receiving wonderful care from my father and from the Hospice’s dedicated staff.  She died peacefully and without pain.  My father, Daniel, had been giving her loving 24-7 care for more than the past year, and had brought her back from death’s door more than once.  On October 23, her time to rejoin her parents came.

My mother was born on May 3, 1935, in Bucharest, Romania.  She was the oldest daughter of Bernard Dulzer, a well-known singer of Romanian folk songs (under his stage name of Bela Chitaristul—Bela the Guitarist) and Clara (Lupu) Dulzer.

My grandfather’s recording of Nunta Tiganeasca, a Romanian song

She is survived by her older brother, Reuven Avihai and her two younger sisters, Shulamit Ronen and Dina Rubin, as well as by husband Daniel, children Zvi and Drorit, and grandson Mark.

As a girl, Simona was an excellent student in many subjects, but she always especially loved languages.  It was an almost impossible time to be a student—she was four years old when World War II began.  Soon thereafter, King Carol II abdicated and the country came under the rule of Ion Antonescu and the anti-Semitic Iron Guard.  The family was caught up in the whirlwind of the Holocaust.  There was hardly any food, the family had to go into hiding at times, her father Bernard was forced to become a slave laborer (which he barely survived).  Her mother Clara kept the family together in a small unheated flat where they often had to subsist on soup and grain made from lobodiza, a local thistle/weed.

She attended the Tarbut School in Bucharest, which was where she learned Hebrew.  At the height of the war, the school had to go underground.  When the children wanted to quit school due to the hardships and danger, Clara would have none of it—she insisted that they keep studying.  When the children said “We may die tomorrow”, Clara said “Then you’ll die educated.”  Even in these most horrible of times, my mother told us of the goodness of strangers—while there were some who closed their eyes to the suffering of those around them, there was a also a family that hid them when things were at there worst, and there was a woman—a stranger—who bought her a winter coat when she saw her shivering in the winter cold.

After the war, she did well enough on an entrance exam to win a scholarship to the Chemical Technical High School in Bucharest, where her older brother Reuven had previously gone (Reuven went on to become a chemist as a profession).  When I first started studying chemistry many years later, my mother would sit down with me and tell me what she remembered from what she had learned so many years earlier, and what the various chemical terms and names were in Romanian.

The communists took over the Romanian government after the war, but a few years later, allowed Jews to leave the country.  Her family took the opportunity to emigrate to Israel in 1950.  Simona lived on a kibbutz for two years, and in 1953, while at a small party, met Daniel Szafran, my father.  Daniel was a Auschwitz survivor who had immigrated to Palestine after World War II, who had joined the underground army and fought in Israel’s War of Independence.  He asked her out on a date, but while she was reluctant since she knew Daniel would be leaving the country in a few months, she agreed.  After a whirlwind courtship, three months later on August 9, they were married.  They were the most loving couple ever, in a romance that lasted 63 years.

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They went to Germany (where my father studied heavy machinery mechanics and his brother Nathan, also an Auschwitz survivor, was part of the American military occupation force) for two years.  When my mother got pregnant, they traveled by train and boat to Israel in the summer of 1955 to give birth to me.

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My mother holding me, at 4 weeks old

Two years later, my sister Drorit was born in 1957.

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L-R:  back:  My uncle Yosef Ronen, Daniel, my aunt Shulamit, Simona.  Front: my cousin Aviram, me, and standing, my sister Drorit.

In 1959, our family moved to Syracuse, NY so that my father could be together with his brother Nathan, who had settled there.

We lived in apartments on Clarendon Street and then on Judson Street in Syracuse before my parents bought the house they still own on Hazelwood Avenue, where we grew up.  Nathan lived two houses down with his family—my aunt Shirley and their two children Karen and Barry.  It was more like one big family—we literally did everything together, seeing each other multiple times every day.

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Visiting New York City:  (L-R) Me, Drorit, my mother, and our cousin Charles Meltzer

As we grew up, Simona was primarily a mother and a housewife, but when I became a teenager, she returned to school, earning an Associates Degree from Onondaga Community College.  I remember quizzing her as she was taking a class in Botany and trying to memorize the various phyla and genera of plants.  After graduating, she continued her education, taking a bus from Syracuse to Cortland early each morning to take her classes, and taking the bus back in the afternoon so she could be back as we returned from school.  She earned her Bachelors Degree (cum laude) in Modern Languages from SUNY Cortland in 1969, and then her Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Cortland in 1971.  I remember how proud I was at each of her graduations.

Simona taught French in the Syracuse public schools at Blodgett Junior High School for a year, and then taught Hebrew at various schools for many years.  The longest tenure was at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School teaching 1st and 2nd grade, where she taught from 1975 to 2001, when she retired.  I remember visiting her beautifully decorated classroom dozens of times over the years, listening to her describe what she was doing in her classes and telling me how much she loved each and every one of her students.  Whenever I would visit Syracuse, I’d always run into several people who told me she was their teacher when they were little.  She leaves a legacy of more than 1000 students who adored her.

Over the years, Simona’s greatest pride came from seeing her children complete their educations and start their careers.  She was so proud when Drorit became a social worker and devoted her life to helping others.  When I completed my doctorate in 1981, she was certainly proud of the chemistry work I had done, but even prouder when I was able to pass the foreign language requirement in French on the first try, since languages were her forte, not mine.  She spoke English, Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Romanian, French, Spanish, and Russian, and could also understand Italian and some Polish.  When we were growing up, whenever my parents wanted to keep something private from us, all they had to do was speak in German or Yiddish. When I started to teach at colleges, earned tenure, and rose up the ranks and became a dean and then a vice president, we would always talk about teaching strategies and she would want to be sure that I was providing support for my faculty.

Simona’s only grandchild, my son Mark, was born in 1984.  She and my father came to Salem, NH to see us a few days after the birth.  From the minute she and Mark looked at each other, it was a mutual love at first sight.  Mark would always call her ‘my Mona’.

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We always took our vacations together, going all over the U.S., Canada, and Israel on trips.

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When Mark, who is developmentally challenged, was studying for his Bar Mitzvah, she helped teach him the Hebrew alphabet so that he could read the prayers.  I remember we were driving on vacation in Maine and Nova Scotia, with my parents in one car and us in the other, and Mark insisted on riding in their car.  It was Mona who taught him the blessings over the Torah on a single morning as were driving toward Halifax through the power of pure love.  When he successfully completed his Bar Mitzvah ceremony and realized he was finished, it was Mona that he immediately ran to first—to kiss and hug her.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the synagogue.

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After retirement, my parents lived in Las Vegas during the winter months and Syracuse as the weather got warmer.  Each spring, they would drive from Las Vegas to Houston to see Drorit, then to Marietta, GA to see my family, and then to Syracuse to spend the summer with their friends.  Every October, they’d do the reverse drive.  When I became President at SUNY Canton, they came up from Syracuse to help me move in, planning to stay for two weeks.  They wound up staying until December, because they enjoyed it so much.  We bought a house together in Canton which had a wing for them with their own bedroom and bathroom.  They were in Canton for my inauguration.  When the post-inauguration party ended with me playing the guitar with three colleagues in a college band we had formed to play at Open House events, she came over after we finished, and said I had reminded her of her father when he played the guitar.

Simona loved to dance with my father.  Over the years, they would dance at every ceremony and event they were at.  When we went on a cruise together, they danced every night.  They were so good at it, people would stop their own dancing to watch them, and people all over the ship were talking about them.  At my inauguration, the local newspapers published a picture of them dancing together.  The plan was for my parents to spend the cold months in Las Vegas and the warm months in Canton and we did that for two years, but Simona’s health failed her then and she could no longer travel.

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The hardest part about my mother’s decline was her almost total memory loss.  She could remember some of the past, but not what had happened even one minute earlier.  As memories faded, the last things she remembered were that she had been a teacher for a long time, her appreciation for languages and music, and her love for my father.  She would only let my father take care of her, but fortunately, she would often mistake me for him so she was willing to go places with me and to let me help her.  I flew out to Las Vegas to see her as the end approached.  I still could see the endless love between my parents as my father cared for her.  In a final blessing, she had some lucid moments during the visit when she told me (in Hebrew) how she had loved being a teacher.  We were even able to speak a little French to each other.

I will always remember her as the vibrant, loving, and brilliant woman she was, who gave me my love of chemistry, music, education, and teaching.  She’s reunited with her parents in heaven now, and I can see her listening and dancing while her father sings, waiting patiently and watching over us until it’s our time to join her.  Rest In Peace, Ima.

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “N”.  Our fastest responder with all five correct was Allison Farnung.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Allison—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Jennifer Blair, Lee Meggison, Ashley Paez, Alicia Febus, Erwin Mahler III, and Cory Rolince.

 

Here are the correct answers:

    1. Place with five boroughs, and the Bronx is up and The Battery is down.  New York, New York.
    2. Service that streams movies and some TV shows.  Netflix.
    3. Gaming company that is behind Super Mario Brothers and sells the 3DS and Wii platforms.  Nintendo.
    4. Stage name for rapper Christopher George Latore Wallace, who was killed in 1997. His album Life After Death was released 16 days later, and rose to #1 on the charts.  Notorious BIG.

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

No trivia contest this week–a new contest will reappear in the next issue.

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October 14, 2016

FROM THE POUCH

Volume 3, Issue 5–October 14, 2016

 

 

Recent Activities on Diversity at SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is a diverse college, and our credo is ‘Everyone is Welcome Here’.  It’s critically important that we respond to the needs and aspirations of our diverse community in a variety of ways.  We’ve already had several events on campus this semester, starting with the three vigils that took place the first week and including a student open forum, all sponsored by our Student Government and our Co-Chief Diversity Officers, Lashawanda Ingram and Bill Jones.  Many more events and discussions are planned during the rest of the year.

There were several interesting events on diversity that took place yesterday.  The first was a workshop titled Diversity Affairs: Building our Capacity for Greater Inclusion, which was offered to SUNY Canton faculty and staff.  The workshop was led by the Reverend Dr. Jamie Washington, one of the top national experts on this subject.  Dr. Washington, president of the Washington Consulting Group located in Baltimore, has worked with more than 300 organizations over his 30-year career.  The workshop was well attended, with about 50 people participating including me.

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Dr. Washington talked about how to have productive conversations about diversity and how to recognize that we’re all complex combinations of different attributes—race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc.  Whenever we enter any room or conversation, our attributes come into the room with us and become part of the context of what happens next.  What’s important is that we also enter the room with an open mind, welcome all different perspectives (though welcoming does not necessarily mean we need to agree with those perspectives or change our own), provide a space where people feel free to share their thoughts without fear of retribution or being attacked, and even allow ourselves to have fun and laugh at ourselves.  He made the point that depending on what attribute we’re focusing on, we may be in the privileged group, or we may be in the non-privileged group.  The goal is to take steps to bring the two groups closer together in action and in understanding.  The workshop was very well received by the audience, and everyone enjoyed participating in several activities to raise awareness of various aspects of diversity.

Dr. Washington also presented a talk focusing on similar themes (‘Building Capacity for Leadership’) for students and the general public last evening.  The audience was moderate in size but quite enthusiastic.  I’m glad I attended both events, and learned a lot.

Also taking place yesterday was a four hour symposium titled Enough is Enough: Understanding the New College Anti-Sexual Assault Law and Building Partnerships, sponsored by Renewal House and the SUNY Canton University Police.  Renewal House is an organization in town that offers support to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in St. Lawrence County.

There were three sessions at the symposium:

  • Understanding the Requirement in Education Law 129B “Enough is Enough
  • Developing Community Collaborations, and
  • Understanding the Needs of LGBTQ+ Students and Students of Color.

The first and last sessions were led by Michelle Carroll, the Campus Coordinator for the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA), and the second session by our own Amanda Rowley and Renewal House’s Campus Advocate, Angelica Soto.

The symposium was well attended by a mix of students, faculty and staff, all of our SUNY Canton University Police, and police from the Village of Canton and from SUNY Potsdam.

I’ve mentioned that we will be opening our Center for Diversities and Inclusion on campus soon.  At this point, we’re waiting for the furniture to arrive (it should be any time now), and then as soon as we can arrange it, we’ll have a grand opening.

  

Art at SUNY Canton

We’re starting up an Art Exhibit series at SUNY Canton, hopefully to begin with about two exhibits a semester.  Our first exhibit will feature watercolor paintings by Jay Waronker on the subject of Synagogues in Sub-Saharan Africa.  These synagogues are located in many countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Waronker, a Professor of Architecture at my previous campus of Southern Polytechnic State University, noted “Most people are inclined to look at Africa as this homogenous place, but there is tremendous diversity from country to country, synagogue to synagogue.”  You can read more about his work here.

 bulawayosynagogue

The exhibit and artist’s talk will begin at 6:00 PM on October 17 in the Southworth Library.  Refreshments will be served.

A similar exhibit and talk on Synagogues in India will be presented at Congregation Beth El in Potsdam on October 16 at 2:00 PM.

  

Sustainability Day

Back on Friday September 30, I drove over to Clarkson University, where I participated in a symposium on sustainability.  Clarkson’s president Tony Collins provided a very tasty lunch at his house for Dr. Peter Bardaglio (the symposium’s keynote speaker), the sustainability officers from the four colleges (SUNY Canton, SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence University) in the St. Lawrence Valley, and me.  After eating and a nice conversation, we walked over to the student center.

logoAfter an opening and welcome from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, I was part of the President’s Panel, which was moderated by North Country Public Radio’s David Summerstein.  I’ve met David before on several occasions, and very much enjoy his radio show (The Beat Authority, Fridays from 3-5 pm) which focuses on very cool worldwide dance music.  David asked us a number of questions about how we defined sustainability, how we were implementing it on our campuses, and what the challenges were in trying to change the culture so that there would be a greater awareness of issues related to sustainability.  The panel went very well, and I enjoyed participating.  Among the 100 or so people in the audience were several from SUNY Canton, as well several friends of mine from the community.  

 

ACT Meeting

Right after the Sustainability Day panel, I had to run back to the car to drive to Fairport NY (not far from Rochester, about 4 hours away), where I was attending the annual SUNY Association of Council Members and College Trustees meeting.  I got there about 6:30, just in time to check in and get to the opening dinner at 7:00.

The conference was held at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa, which is a very nice place.  It has beautiful grounds including a very large swimming pool, a beautiful interior, and my room was large and attractive.  The food at the dinner was very good, and I got the chance to renew acquaintance with several college council members and trustees who I’d met the year before.

There were several updates, talks, and tool-box sessions on Saturday, but the highlight was the ACT Scholarship Luncheon.  SUNY Canton student Francesco Palumbo was one of four statewide winners of the ACT Scholarship, and the four were an impressive bunch, all having excellent scholastic achievements and having plans to go on to do great things.

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Francesco is on the right.

I sat at the same table as Francesco’s family, and there’s no question where he gets his friendly personality from—they are among the nicest people I’ve ever met.

 

That evening, I took advantage of the area and went out to my favorite type of restaurant—an Indian restaurant about 4 miles away.  The Deluxe Dinner for One (as they called it) was magnificent—a mixed grill of tandoori chicken and shrimp, chicken tikka, and vegetables; a side dish of chicken curry; basmati rice; and naan.  A mango laasi drink was included, as was some kheer (rice pudding) for dessert.  I did my best, but couldn’t finish it all!

The conference concluded on Sunday morning with a session on the Educational Opportunity Program and a business session.  I drove home, stopping in Syracuse for lunch.  What kind of restaurant?  Another Indian restaurant, of course, just off of Electronics Parkway that had a nice buffet.  I was still well stuffed when I got back to Canton. 

 

What Is “FROM THE POUCH”?

FROM THE POUCH is a blog I write for SUNY Canton students.  During the fall and spring semesters, it comes out every week more or less, depending on how busy I am.  It consists of news, answers to student questions, and random thoughts that cross my mind.  There’s even a trivia contest in each issue—if you’re the first to get every question right, you win a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.  Even if you’re not the first, you get your name published in the blog, and that’s priceless!  I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments.

Best regards,

Dr. Zvi Szafran

President, SUNY Canton

 

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “M”.  We had a ton of entrants, and our fastest responder with all five correct was Breanna Ziser.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Breanna—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Concetta Smythe, Rieanna Dupree, Cassandra Jones, Randi Conway, Lee Meggison, Siani Smith, Allison Farnung, Charles Hanby, Serina Six, Ashley Paez, and Bryant Yates.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. The “King of Pop”. Michael Jackson.
  2. She played Hannah Montana, and taught the world how to twerk. Miley Cyrus.
  3. Comic book company that publishes Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men. Marvel Comics.
  4. Movie about a zebra, lion, hippo, giraffe and a bunch of penguins that escape from the Central Park Zoo.  Madagascar.

 

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “N”. The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Place with five boroughs, and the Bronx is up and The Battery is down.
  2. Service that streams movies and some TV shows.
  3. Gaming company that is behind Super Mario Brothers and sells the 3DS and Wii platforms.
  4. Stage name for rapper Christopher George Latore Wallace, who was killed in 1997. His album Life After Death was released 16 days later, and rose to #1 on the charts.

 

 

 

 

 

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September 30, 2016

FROM THE POUCH

Volume 3, Issue 4–September 30, 2016

 

 

Things Can Get Very Busy, But Contact Me Anyway!

As most of you are aware, I give out my phone number to students because I want you to call me if there’s ever a situation where you’ve tried to go up the chain of command, but haven’t been able to resolve an issue.  I appreciate it that students almost never call me about something frivolous—it’s always something important.  I also get text messages from students and even more emails.  That’s good.

I do try my best to answer you quickly, but truth be told, how quickly I can get back to you depends on when you contact me and what the issue is.  Some things are handled easily—I’ll pass along your concern to the vice president who is in charge of that issue, and they get to the bottom of it.  In other cases, the situation may be more complex than is obvious.  In that case, getting the answer or trying to solve the problem may take some time.  Most of the time I’ll email back and say I’m working on it, but in rare cases, I work on it and forget to email back because I get caught up in other things.  If you have tried to contact me and you don’t hear back within a day or two, all you have to do is send me a follow up message—just copy the original one and say “did you get my previous message?”

This last week has been pretty non-stop for me.  On Monday I was in the hospital for a routine test that people my age have to have every so often.  The folks at Canton-Potsdam Hospital were really excellent and provided top-notch care—the doctor was great, and the nurses that assisted me were all graduates of SUNY Canton, so I knew I was in good hands.  Both major hospitals in the county (CPH and Claxton-Hepburn in Ogdensburg) are of very high quality—I’ve had nothing but good experiences with both.

Whenever you’re out for a day, the work still piles up.  Because of that, Tuesday through Thursday consisted of non-stop meetings on one thing or another.  On Friday, I flew to Las Vegas for a quick visit to see my parents who live there.  It was great to see them.  Back in August, they celebrated their 63rd anniversary, which is quite an accomplishment.  My mom has some serious health issues, but my father is giving her lots of loving care and I’m hoping for the best.  I left Las Vegas at noon (Pacific Time) this past Monday, flew into Detroit and then to Ottawa, arriving at 10 PM (our time).  It always seems weird going into Canada to travel to another point in the United States.  Between going through customs and the drive from Ottawa back to Canton, it was midnight when I finally got home.

Since the work piled up again, there have been lots of meetings this Tuesday through Thursday.   On Friday I’m off again, this time driving to the Association of Council Members & College Trustees meeting in Fairport NY, where one of our students, Francesco Palumbo will receive a major award.  I’ll be back to Canton on Sunday, just in time for the Jewish New Year.  I’ll be out on Monday for the religious holiday, and then the cycle begins again.

To add to the list of things I needed to do, my iPhone also had begun to go wonky on me, and I wanted to deal with that before I traveled.  The glass plate was separating from the body of the phone, there was a small crack in the plate, Siri couldn’t hear what I would say, and I was even getting intermittent problems with being able to dial the phone.  I figured I would upgrade to the new model that just came out, but when I want to the Verizon store in Ogdensburg (the one near the Tim Horton’s), the new iPhones were on backorder.  They recommended that maybe I should get my phone repaired instead, and there was someone there who could do it.   Sure enough, the EZ Repair guy there took my phone and fixed it on the spot, taking care of all the issues, and had it done in less than half an hour.  How impressive is that?   I love the personal attention you can get at so many places in the North Country!  Now I’m all set for my trips and all is well with the world.

 

Constitution Day

Last Friday, SUNY Canton celebrated Constitution Day with a full slate of very cool activities.  The morning included a Constitution Trivia Contest (complete with red, white, and blue cupcakes) led by Hannah Ralston and Rachel Santose at the Southworth Library.  It also featured a visit from George and Martha Washington, ably portrayed by Nico Auguste and Molly Mott. 

martha-and-george

There was also a voter registration drive, and an additional 70 students registered.  Another drive was held the previous Wednesday at the student activities fair.  Lots of faculty and staff volunteered to help out with the contest and the voter drive.  If you haven’t registered to vote yet, get off your rear end and do it.  This is going to be an important election, and every vote counts.  Lots of people have fought and died to get the right to vote, and lots of people even today live in places where they don’t have that right.  Honor their lives and efforts by registering to vote, and then vote in November on election day.

I wasn’t able to attend the Trivia Contest since I was at Clarkson University at a North Country Regional Economic Development Council meeting during the morning, but I rushed back to SUNY Canton to host a lunch for N.Y. Supreme Court Judge Vito Caruso.  It was really interesting to meet with Judge Caruso in such a relaxed atmosphere and to talk about how similar our childhoods were and about some of the more unusual events in our lives.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and was very down to earth. 

Judge Caruso gave his formal presentation at 1:00 PM on the subject “The Constitution—Its Origins and Its Future”.  The talk was well attended by an appreciative audience of legal and political dignitaries, two chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and lots of students, faculty, and staff.  It was a very engaging talk, giving the history of the development of the Constitution, as well as some interesting comparisons between the Federal Constitution and the New York State Constitution, which actually predates it.  The New York Constitution is much longer than the Federal one and also contains certain rights that the Federal Constitution doesn’t have.

At the end of the speech, after answering several questions from the audience, Judge Caruso was presented with a proclamation from State Senator Patty Ritchie’s representative, Jim Reagan, and with a certificate of appreciation from me.

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The speech was followed by a reception on the Roselle Plaza, at the end of which Judge Caruso was presented with a proclamation from Assemblywoman Addie Russell. 

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I also had the pleasure of having dinner at the Alumni House with Judge Caruso, Steve Button (from the County Attorneys Office, who had arranged to bring the judge to campus), and several of the judge’s associates and their spouses.

It takes a veritable army to put together an event of this magnitude, so I can’t list everyone, but a lot of the work was done by the faculty and the Dean from our Business and Legal Studies programs (Profs. Stephanie Petkovsek (chair), William Jones, Alexander Lesyk, Christina Lesyk, Rosemary Phillips and Dean Jondavid DeLong); and our Special Events Coordinator DianeMarie Collins.  Thanks to everyone involved!

 

More Great Stuff!

  • Did you know that one of SUNY Canton’s online degree programs was selected as #1 in the country? It’s true—our B.S. program in Emergency Management was selected as the best by the Emergency Management Degree Program Guide.  Several others of our online programs are also in the top ten in the country in their areas, and our online programs in general were rated in the top 50 in the country!

 

  • Speaking of ratings, SUNY Canton jumped way up in the US News & World Report Best College listings, from #44 last year to #23 on the Regional Colleges—North list. We also drew praise for our diverse student body.

 

  • Our International Programs Office had a very successful event last Friday evening. Some of our international students joined up with some from SLU and visited Fobare’s Orchard.  There was a great turnout, and it was lots of fun.

 fobaresorchard_fa2016

  • Back on September 15th, we had a ribbon cutting for the official open of our Financial Literacy Center. Located in Cook Hall, the Center offers several programs that should be of interest to students: free tax-preparation assistance, money management guidance, and loan repayment advice.  The Center is sponsored by Alesco Advisors, Prof. Daniel G. and Linda L. Fay, North Country Savings Bank, SeaComm Federal Credit Union, St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union, and the SUNY Canton College Foundation.

 flc

 

 

What Is “FROM THE POUCH”?

FROM THE POUCH is a blog I write for SUNY Canton students.  During the fall and spring semesters, it comes out every week more or less, depending on how busy I am.  It consists of news, answers to student questions, and random thoughts that cross my mind.  There’s even a trivia contest in each issue—if you’re the first to get every question right, you win a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.  Even if you’re not the first, you get your name published in the blog, and that’s priceless!  I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments.

Best regards,

Dr. Zvi Szafran, President, SUNY Canton

 

 

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “L”.  We had a ton of entrants, and our fastest responder with all five correct was Tabitha Jaycox.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Tabitha—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lee Meggison, Christine Matias, Ashley Paez, Cassandra Hughes, Anthony Romano, Christina Romanoski, Alicia Febus, Cassandra Jones, Robin Simmons, Savanna-Lin Boadway, Jessica Fischer, Tammy Zehr, Erwin Zahler III, Taylor Van Brocklin, Bryant Yates, Serina Six, Katja McCall, Kim Kurdziel, Zach Gagliardi, Briana Teele, Siani Smith, Jasmine Duvall, Crystal Francis, Brittany Leaty, Peyton Robinson, Robert Snow, Harley Woodruff, Samantha Heffernan, Allison Farnung, Breanna Ziser, Marissa Hall, and Rebecca Foote.

 

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Pop singer whose hits include “Poker Face”, “Paparazzi”, and “Born this Way”. Lady Gaga.
  2. Disney animated movie with main characters Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, and Timon. Hakuna Matata!  The Lion King.
  3. Type of computer you can carry with you.  Laptop.
  4. New Orleans is in this state.  Louisiana.

 

 

This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “M”. The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. The “King of Pop”.
  2. She played Hannah Montana, and taught the world how to twerk.
  3. Comic book company that publishes Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men.
  4. Movie about a zebra, lion, hippo, giraffe and a bunch of penguins that escape from the Central Park Zoo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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