Alumni Wall Displays Post-Grad Success

Photo by Lizzie Nimetz.
Photo by Lizzie Nimetz.
Photo by Lizzie Nimetz.

A “Notable Alumni Wall” has been installed in the Humanities Building next to the Office of  Career Services.

The wall features the pictures of seven SUNY New Paltz graduates and their professional accomplishments since leaving New Paltz.

Brenda Dow, director of alumni relations, said regular discussions of how so many SUNY New Paltz graduates were making strides that could inspire students lead to the conception of the wall.

“I think it’s incredibly important,” she said. “I think people who graduate from New Paltz serve as examples to the students.”

Picking alumni of varying graduating classes and areas of study was the goal, Dow said. The office of alumni relations works closely with the office of communications and marketing to keep in touch with alumni and what they are involved in.

“We have a long list of notable alumni that we are always adding that we would like to profile,” she said.

Currently the wall features CEO and Co-founder of Knight Trading Group, Kenneth Pasternak, class of ’77; New York State lawyer, Regina Calcaterra, class of ’88; SUNY New Paltz donors Robert Mountz class of ’68, ’71, ’80 and Henrietta Mountz ’68, ’71;  Director of African Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Patrick Coleman, class of ’90; and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Stony Brook University, Maria Rodolis, class of ’10.

Recent graduate of the class of ‘13, actor Ian Brodsky, is also on the wall.

Brodsky, who played a teenage violin prodigy in the feature film, “Begin Again,” which  premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was a timely choice, Dow said.

“The movie came out in July and was played in Rosendale,” she said. “It’s scheduled to be released sometime this fall. Many people still remember him from classes here.”

The installation is comprised of frames that can be reopened in order to periodically update the featured alumni and create renewed display of seven new alumni.

Dow said credit for the wall can be given to the office’s new vice president for development and alumni relations, Erika Marks, as well as program director for donor relations and stewardship Eileen Bastian, who worked with the vendor to develop the structure and placement of the installation.

The Career Service center also works hand in hand with the office of alumni relations and both are jointly invested in connecting students with alumni for internship programs and jobs, Dow said.  Having the wall outside of the center, she said, is a testament to the importance alumni have to them and the students.

“I think when many people are looking at schools, often times in conjunction with their parents, they want to know what people have done after they graduate,” she said. “Where did they go? What kind of jobs did they get?”

Dow has seen both current students and prospective students engaged in reading the wall.

“We hope students can stand there and be like, ‘maybe I can be up there someday,” she said.