Italian Heritage Celebrated in College Gala

A night of Italian music and great food is planned for Friday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. at the College of Staten Island, as CSI celebrates the borough’s Italian heritage and honors two Italian-Americans who have left an indelible mark on Staten Island.

Called La Notte della Canzone, or Night of Songs, the evening will feature performances by members of the cast of the Bronx Opera and include a concert of arias and popular Italian songs.

The performance will be followed by a dessert and wine reception, with proceeds from the evening going to the College’s Italian Studies Overseas Language Award (ISOLA), a program to support study in Italy for high-achieving CSI students of Italian language and culture. Tickets for the evening are $50 per person. Both the concert and reception will be held at the College’s Center for the Arts, heralded by one critic as one of the premier performance spaces of any college in the East.

“This is an affordable and thoroughly enjoyable way to recognize one of the world’s great cultural traditions,” said Dr. Marlene Springer, CSI president. “In one wonderful evening, we support our students in their academic journey, rejoice in our Italian heritage and honor important community members.”

This year’s honorees are Mae Seeley and Frank Naso.

Ms. Seeley has been a long-time friend of the College and an important community activist on Staten Island. She is the past administrator of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences (where she developed a joint arts program with CSI) and a member of many Staten Island cultural organizations, including the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, where she was curator/director. During her leadership of that organization, she introduced an Italian language program for adults and children, while restoring the museum’s Rosebank facility. She was also one of the leaders in the community effort that preserved the Staten Island Greenbelt. At CSI, she was active in Friends of the College. Through her work with that organization, she was able to raise significant funding for the school’s library. A graduate of Barnard College, she is married to Dr, David Seeley, a professor of education at CSI, and lives in New Brighton.

“Mae’s contribution to our borough is huge,” Dr. Springer said. “If she had done nothing else except dedicate her time, talent and energy to preserving the Greenbelt, her legacy would be secure. But when you consider that in addition to this remarkable achievement, she was a driving force in many other cultural organizations, including fundraising for our college, you see just how important she has been in the history of our borough.”

Frank Naso is vice president of the Naso Organization and has been active in the real estate industry on Staten Island for 17 years. His organization has provided quality housing for more than 500 Staten Island families. He is a community activist, supporting the Boy Scouts of America, Eden II, the Community Resource Center, Project Hospitality, the March of Dimes and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He is a graduate of St. John’s University and is a past president of the Building Industry Association of New York City and is chairman of the 2003 Chamber of Commerce Building Awards. He and his wife, Danielle, have three children and live in Castleton Corners.

“Commitment to community is a key element in selecting our honorees,” Dr. Springer said. “Frank Naso not only meets that standard but far exceeds it. His commitment to our borough extends over years and is driven by a dedication to enhance the quality of life in our community.”

For more information about the evening, contact the CSI Advancement Office at 718-982-2365.

College of Staten Island CUNY Opens Doors to “Katrina Students”

College of Staten Island President Dr. Marlene Springer today announced that CSI will admit immediately any students who had planned to attend colleges now closed due to Hurricane Katrina.

“One of CSI’s greatest strengths is its total commitment to students,” Dr. Springer said, “Today, that commitment goes beyond our campus to students directly affected by Katrina. Certainly, everyone’s attention is focused on the life and death issues surrounding the tens of thousands of refugees from this devastating storm. But in the midst of this catastrophe it’s easy to forget about students attending storm-ravaged colleges along the Gulf coast. Those students might not have lost loved ones or their homes but they have lost their schools. CSI is reaching out to those students, to the Katrina students, and offering them an academic home.”

The president noted that the academic logistics might be initially difficult.

“There’s no communication coming out of these schools,” Dr. Springer said, “and that’s not likely to change for some time. There are also issues of registration here at the College. But these are all manageable, indeed, of only minor significance compared to the moral imperative to lend a hand. We have the opportunity to do more than express our sympathy. We can take action. CSI is a senior college in the CUNY system with a wide array of courses and majors. We can enroll affected students and work with them to resume their education during this very difficult time.”

Students affected by Katrina have already contacted CSI and expressed interest in enrolling. Daniel Lederman from New Springville is a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he is majoring in business.

“The CSI faculty and staff that I have spoken with have been very helpful and welcoming,” he said. “I appreciate the moves taken by CSI and other institutions across the country. I am considering all of my options, and I am waiting for more news and comments from Tulane University before making a decision. My thoughts and concerns are with the people of New Orleans.”

In addition, CSI is planning a fundraising campaign on campus to aid communities is storm-damaged areas.

BOROUGH PRESIDENT MOLINARO ANNOUNCES CAPITAL FUNDING FOR CSI COMPUTER LABORATORY Allocates $128, 000 for GIS Data Systems for Traffic and Development Research

Borough President James P. Molinaro today announced the allocation of $128,000 in capital funding to the College of Staten Island (CSI) for the purchase of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology for traffic and development research.

The funding will create a computer laboratory to make possible research and teaching in GIS. The laboratory will consist of high-end computers and a large, high-resolution plotter, scanners, special purpose software, statistical analysis, database, and visualization computational systems.

“Population growth and the traffic problems that accompany it are the two greatest issues facing Staten Island today,” said Molinaro at a press conference at CSI. “I am very proud to provide this state-of-the-art technology to CSI, and expect great things to develop from this important research tool. I look forward to working with CSI to continue providing not only community resources, but educational resources as well.”

Marlene Springer, President of CSI, said, “This new technology will provide us with opportunities for collaboration among researchers at CSI, New York City and State agencies, and elected officials. GIS models of New York, the tri-state area, and Staten Island will be developed to help understand cause-and-effect relationships, such as traffic flow, school redistricting, social services, economic development, and environmental conditions. I would like to thank Borough President Molinaro for his ongoing support of CSI and in particular for his support of this project.”

GIS is a computer program that permits the user to collect and analyze information spatially. The system presents layers of information in a visual representation across geographic locations. Users may compare distributions from place to place or pile layers of different kinds of information and see how they interact with each other — and GIS presents all the information visually.

“But this powerful technology will do more than just display data,” said Deborah Popper, CSI geography professor. “With transportation and development issues, for example, GIS will not only display infrastructure data, such as sewage and water pipes, electrical and utility lines and transportation information in synergy with census data, but it may also project infrastructure stresses and overloads should a single-family residence community have a high density, multiple-family housing unit constructed.”

GIS models are one of the most powerful analytical tools for understanding demographics and population dynamics. The availability of GIS models will enhance the scientific and geographic research of CSI faculty in Economics, Geography, Political Science and Sociology. The lab will also allow them to incorporate hands-on GIS modeling in their classes, which will enable students to learn to develop GIS models for use in their future careers.

Erica Jong to deliver commencement address and receive honorary PhD from the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island

Erica Jong, author of eight novels including Fear of Flying, Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones and Sappho’s Leap, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary PhD
degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from The City University of New York’s
College of Staten Island.

WHO:
Erica Jong, commencement speaker and honorary PhD recipient

WHAT:
Twenty-Ninth annual commencement exercise for a record 2,100 baccalaureate
and master degree candidates.

WHERE:
The City University of New York / College of Staten Island
Great Lawn (rain or shine)
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314

WHEN:
Thursday, June 2 at 10 a.m.

“We are honored that Erica Jong will deliver the commencement address to our
graduating class this year,” commented Dr. Marlene Springer, president of
CSI. “She is known around the world as a leader committed to women’s rights
and freedom of expression. She cares deeply about her commitments, and she
challenges us to overcome our fears. Her presence is sure to be compelling,
provocative and motivational.”

Alumni Speaker: Ferdinand Alvaro, a senior partner with one of the leading
minority-owned law firms in the United States, Fitzhugh, Parker and Alvaro.

Student speaker: Sophia Tamezrian, one of six children raised by a widowed
mother in war-torn Beirut, often studying by candlelight. She graduates
with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in accounting with minors in both
economics and finance. “Education is the key both to personal and
professional advancement,” said this long-time employee of the United
Nations, adding that it education is a “crucial component” to creating and
maintaining peace.”

For more information, visit: www.csi.cuny.edu/graduation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you plan to attend or send a representative, you must
contact Ken Bach at (718) 982-2328 to arrange access and parking.

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a senior college of The City
University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university. CSI
offers 35 academic programs, 15 graduate degree programs, and challenging
doctoral programs to 12,600 students.

CSI Archives & Special Collections Receives Award

At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in Albany last month, the CSI Archives and Special Collections received a second-place award for the finding aid to The Eric N. Vitaliano Papers.

The finding aid award recognizes “outstanding achievement in the preparation of finding aids, paper or electronic, by institutions within the MARAC region (NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, DC, VA, WV).

Archival finding aids are publications that provide researchers with information about the contents of manuscript collections and the award committee looks for effective, complete, concise organization of information and a pleasing visual appearance.

Second place winners over previous years have included: Princeton University, Rutgers University, The Museum of Modern Art, and the New York State Archives.

To view the winning finding aid visit the CSI Archives web site at:
http://www.library.csicuny.edu/archives/ and click on the
Assemblyman Eric N. Vitaliano Papers link.

New York State Archives awarded the College of Staten Island a $10K exploratory grant

This past year, the New York State Archives awarded the College of Staten Island a $10K exploratory grant focused on documenting the Willowbrook State School .

On Tuesday, May 10, the grant consultant’s report will be issued, and CSI’s Library Archives and Special Collections will host a tour of the Willowbrook sites at 2:15 p.m., followed by a public reception at 4 p.m.

WHAT:
A Celebration of the Donation of Papers to the
Willowbrook State School Archives of the College of Staten Island
by Bernard Carabello and Diana McCourt .

WHO:
Elizabeth Connelly , former assemblywoman
Diana McCourt , parent of a former resident of the Willowbrook State School
Bernard Carabello , former resident of the Willowbrook State School
Marlene Springer , president, CSI

WHERE:
College of Staten Island
Library Archives and Special Collections
Building 1L, Room 216
Staten Island NY
10314

WHEN:
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
4 p.m.

At the 4 p.m. reception, Mrs. Connelly , Mrs, McCourt, and Mr. Carabello will be speaking.

“This archive project is a healing project,” says Mrs. McCourt , and “although much of the official state and court records about the Willowbrook State School have been collected, this project is special in documenting the activities of families, caregivers and the people who lived in Willowbrook. In this great project our separate stories: sad; heroic; funny and desperate; become part of a whole history. It is a sacred trust that the stories held here will inspire future holy warriors to defend against such horrors ever happening again.”

Erica Jong named commencement speaker at CSI graduation CSI’s class of 2005 is the largest in college’s history

A record 2,100 baccalaureate and master degree candidates will graduate at the College of Staten Island’s 29th annual commencement exercise on Thursday, June 2, at 10 a.m, rain or shine, on the college’s Great Lawn.

Erica Jong photo © James KriegsmannThis year’s commencement speaker is Erica Jong, author of eight novels including Fear of Flying, Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones and the recent novel Sappho’s Leap. Ms. Jong will also receive an honorary PhD degree from CSI, Doctor of Humane Letters.

Ms. Jong holds the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature, and has received Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize for her poetry and the Deauville Award for Literary Excellence in France. In Italy, she received the Sigmund Freud Award for Literature. Her book Fear of Flying, which was first published in 1973, was recently re-issued by New American Library in a 30th anniversary edition. The book is printed in 27 languages worldwide, with sales of 12 million.

“We are honored that Erica Jong will deliver the commencement address to our graduating class this year,” commented Dr. Marlene Springer, president of CSI. “She is known around the world as a leader committed to women’s rights and freedom of expression. She cares deeply about her commitments, and she challenges us to overcome our fears. Her presence is sure to be compelling, provocative and motivational.”

Representing an alumni association with more than 50,000 members and five regional councils, Ferdinand Alvaro, class of 1975, will also address the gathering.

Alvaro, a senior partner with one of the leading minority-owned law firms in the United States, Fitzhugh, Parker and Alvaro, is dedicated to resolving complex legal problems exclusively for corporate clients through aggressive representation in the areas of environmental law, employment law, product liability, personal injury and general corporate litigation.

photo by Ken BachThe student speaker is Sophia Tamezrian. She is one of six children raised by a widowed mother in war-torn Beirut, often studying by candlelight. She came to America and worked for the United Nations (U.N.) before pursuing her degree. “I believe in the missions of the U.N.,” she said, “and the work they do that benefits people of the world, especially during time of humanitarian emergencies.” She plans on returning to work at the U.N. after graduation.

At 44 years old and with 20 years worth of interruptions to her education, Ms. Tamezrian graduates with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in accounting with minors in both economics and finance. She plans on eventually becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and obtaining a masters and doctorate degree in accounting.

When asked about her speech, the Brooklyn resident says it will focus on “my strong belief that education is the key both to personal and professional advancement.” She also says that education is a “crucial component” to creating and maintaining peace.

“I am always proud to hear about the lives and accomplishments of our alumni,” Dr. Springer said, “and I am inspired by the galvanizing determination of our students as they discuss their education and goals. Commencement is yet another step forward in their continuing journey of improving their lives, careers, and ultimately, the world.”

The event’s invocation will be performed by Reverend Bhante Kodanna, Staten Island Buddhist Vihara.

Departmental exercises begin immediately after the college-wide commencement. A reception in the Campus Center for graduates, their guests and the college community will follow the departmental exercises.

For more information, visit: www.csi.cuny.edu.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you plan to attend or send a representative, you must contact Ken Bach at (718) 982-2328 to arrange access and parking.

CSI Golf Outing Fundraiser

The College of Staten Island (CSI) Foundation will host its fifth annual “CSI Alumni and Friends Golf Outing” on Friday, May 6, at Staten Island’s South Shore Country Club in Huguenot.

The ticket price of the golf outing is $175 and includes green fees for 18 holes of golf, use of a cart, beverages on the course, breakfast and a deluxe barbecue lunch.

Breakfast and registration will begin at 7 a.m. with a shotgun tee-off following at 8 a.m.

All proceeds will benefit the CSI athletics department, scholarships and undergraduate research opportunities that will help prepare CSI students for continued success after graduation.

John Mazza, president of Adak Contractors & Consultants, Annadale, is chairing the event. Involved with the CSI Foundation for four years, Mr. Mazza was also last year’s golf outing chair.

“Your participation and sponsorship are solid investments in our students and our community,” said Mazza. “From personal experience as a CSI golf outing sponsor, I am proud that my support helps so many deserving students pursue their educational goals.”

Mr. Mazza and his firm are noted for volunteering their services to various foundations, such as the GRACE Foundation and Eger Nursing Home. He is currently president of the North Central Kiwanis and was voted Kiwanian of the year 2002-2003. The Tottenville resident and his wife, Jodi, have three children.

The golf outing event will feature extraordinary giveaways, awards and prizes, a silent auction and raffle drawings.

During the deluxe barbecue luncheon following the round of golf, Freeman McNeil, former New York Jet running-back, will make a guest appearance. He will be available for photo opportunities. Marty Lyons, his former teammate, also is expected to attend and play as part of a foursome.

Following lunch, a silent auction with various items up for bid will be provided by Unique Memorabilia. Items will include a golf cap worn by Mickey Mantle obtained from family estate auction accompanied by a signed 8×10 photograph, an authentic Giants stadium seat signed by numerous New York Giants including Phil Simms, Steven Baker, Lawrence Taylor, and Tikki Barber, and a NY Yankee’s pinstripe jersey signed by nine Yankee stars
including Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, and Gary Sheffield, in addition to other items from numerous celebrities.

The grand raffle prize is a two-night, three-day trip to the Howard Johnson Oceanfront Plaza Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland. The prize includes three rounds of golf for two players. Other raffle prizes include four field-box tickets, stadium club passes and a preferred parking-pass to a home game at Yankee stadium, and a membership to the New York Sports Club (NYSC).

For additional information and reservations, call the CSI advancement office at (718)982-2365