MVCC 75th Anniversary

Over its 75-year rich history, Mohawk Valley Community College has provided the tools for students to learn, succeed and become productive, contributing members of society. The following is just a snippet of what the last eight decades of community college education has meant to so many successful alumni.

Professor Abdoo '51

Professor AbdooProfessor Abdoo '51 is a graduate of the NYS Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences at Utica, the forerunner to MVCC. He also held degrees from Utica College and Syracuse University. He joined the Institute as a faculty member in 1952. On May 31, 1970, Professor Abdoo of the Electrical Technology Department was the first MVCC alumnus to be selected as an MVCC Alumni of Merit. He was presented with the award during the annual May graduation ceremony. To this day, scholarship in Professor Abdoo's name is presented to Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical Service Technician students

Dr. Marshall Jones '62

Dr. Marshall JonesDr. Marshall Jones '62 earned his associate degree in Mechanical Technology from MVCC in 1962 (back when it was Mohawk Valley Technical Institute) and is a General Electric engineer who holds more than 50 U.S. patents and is recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the field of laser material processing. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his pioneering work on industrial lasers, joining the ranks of innovation giants such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers. Additionally, in 2021, Jones was elected as an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Michael Briggs '63

Michael BriggsMichael Briggs '63 graduated from MVCC with a degree in Retail Business Management. An MVCC Alumnus of Merit Award recipient, Michael played intercollegiate baseball at MVCC with Robert R. Jorgensen as his coach. Briggs is a retired regional manager and vice president for United Parcel Service and has contributed generously over the years to the MVCC Foundation. Briggs is a longtime supporter of MVCC through an endowed scholarship fund in his name and numerous other gifts. Through his personal philanthropy and advocacy on behalf of MVCC, Briggs catalyzed more than $5 million in private-sector donations which helped elevate the concept of the Jorgensen Center into a showpiece athletic practice and performance center for the MVCC students of today. It was Briggs' suggestion that the Center be named in honor of Robert R. Jorgensen, the longtime coach and athletic director who led the MVCC Hawks from humble beginnings to national prominence. In honor of Briggs' continued support, the MVCC Fitness Center in the Jorgensen Center was named the "Mike Briggs Fitness Center," as a sign of his lasting positive impact on MVCC athletics and all MVCC students.

Hal Cramer '69

Hal CramerHal Cramer '69, Engineering Science, rose to become President of ExxonMobil's Downstream Fuels Marketing division. For the 2011 MVCC Alumnus of Merit, receiving his associate degree from Mohawk Valley Community College is what made his success story possible. "It's my MVCC education that gave me the important start to my adult life," Cramer said in 2011. "MVCC not only provided me with a sound curriculum, it taught me how to learn." Cramer grew up in Utica, graduated from Utica Free Academy, and worked at Utica Sporting Goods before choosing to begin his higher education at MVCC. Cramer says he didn't know much about engineering, either, until he met a civil engineer for the City of Utica who told him that "engineering is really cool stuff." "It's so true," Cramer said. "Math, science and technology are the forces behind your iPhones, cell phones, and iPads. All of this technology was developed by American engineers." Inspired, he studied engineering at MVCC. From MVCC, Cramer went on to receive a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from SUNY Albany. He was hired by Mobil in 1973, and has held a wide range of management assignments with Mobil operating divisions in the United States and abroad. Prior to Mobil's merger with Exxon, Cramer was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Mobil Oil.

Frank Giotto '71

Frank GiottoFrank Giotto '71 is president and founder of Giotto Enterprises, a group of seven companies united by common ownership, which provides consistent manufacturing leadership, quality and value for the fiber-optic industry. The "flagship" company of Giotto Enterprises is Fiber Instrument Sales, Inc., established in 1985 and located in Oriskany, NY. Fiber Instrument Sales, Inc. has grown to be a leading distributor and manufacturer of hundreds of fiber optic products including cable assemblies, connectors, and test equipment. The company serves customers throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Mr. Giotto has received numerous honors including the Utica College Alumni Achievement Award (2006), the Mohawk Valley Community College Alumnus of Merit Award (2002), and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst and Young (2001). FIS was named the Business of the Year by the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2001, and Giotto himself was named "Businessperson of the Year" in 2012. Giotto's business achievements have been chronicled by national news media, including CNN, NBC and the New York Times, all of which have featured his invention for travelers, "The Mini Motel," also known as "The Sleep Pod."

Dr. Nancy Pattarini '75

Dr. Nancy PattariniDr. Nancy Pattarini '75 serves as a shining example of the power of an MVCC education. From her beginnings as a student in MVCC's Advertising and Production Program, she has built an inspiring career as President and CEO of a global communications firm. As CEO of the Paige Group, she has continued to attract, employ, and promote many MVCC and other local graduates. She says her interests kept evolving as a student, but she was continually nurtured by MVCC's faculty and community. In her own words: "Thankfully, I received great encouragement and assistance to continue learning"... "I was able to fine-tune my interests thanks to the mentoring of MV faculty, staff and classmates. She went on to receive her B.S. in Public Relations, M.S. in Communications Management, and her Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution Studies.

Denise DiGiorgio '76

Denise DiGiorgioDenise M. DiGiorgio '76, Liberal Arts & Sciences, began her career at MVCC in 1978 as a temporary employee and retired in 2011 after serving as vice president for student services and dean of students for 13 years. Denise is the foundation of MVCC's Division of Student Services and was integral in creating or advancing programs for student success and completion, including Adult Student Services, Disability Services, New Directions, and several opportunity grant programs. She also had a hand in making the campus safer. After the 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech, Denise had the foresight to establish the Behavioral Evaluation Response Team (BERT), designed to streamline all communication on student behavior that would help recognize patterns requiring intervention. She was also among the first to bring MVCC into the information age, leading the development of the College's first website and online registration system. Additionally, her leadership was critical to the growth, development, and success of MVCC Athletics. Without her guidance and support, the Hawks would not be soaring as high as they are today.

Greg Evans '79

Greg EvansGreg Evans '79, president of Indium Corporation, joined the company in 1981 as an applications engineer and has served numerous roles throughout his career. He quickly earned the role of Product Manager at the company's Electronics Chemicals Division where he oversaw the development and global marketing of a successful line of surface mount technology electronics assembly materials. In 1996 he was appointed to his current role as President of Indium Corporation. In this role he oversees the company's global activities, including 700 employees, 11 manufacturing facilities, and numerous field offices. Mr. Evans was selected as MVCC's 2013 Alumnus of Merit Award winner.

Stephen R. Zogby '82

Stephen R. ZogbyStephen R. Zogby '82, Business Administration, is executive vice president of Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc., a New Hartford insurance agency. He has served at the agency for nearly 30 years helping clients in Central New York manage their business insurance risk and their car and home insurance. It's important to Mr. Zogby that he lives in the community he serves as he understands the unique insurance challenges faced by people living in the Mohawk Valley. Mr. Zogby is a strong supporter of MVCC both professionally and financially, serving on the Foundation Board for 13 years and most recently as the organization's President.

Rob Angelicola '82

Rob AngelicolaRob Angelicola '82, Retail Business Management, is principal and vice president of roi Office Interiors, a company he founded 26 years ago. Roi is a design-focused commercial furniture dealer with four locations in upstate New York serving Albany, Syracuse, Utica/Rome and Ithaca. roi helps organizations create budget-friendly, attractive, efficient workplaces that enhance productivity and attract great employees. Mr. Angelicola has served on the College's Foundation Board for eight years, most recently as a member of the Nominating Committee. Angelicola has also been a long-time donor to MVCC's Alumni Annual Fund and other College initiatives.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. '84

Anthony J. Picente, JrCounty Executive Anthony J. Picente '84, Criminal Justice, began his career in public service in the Oneida County Department of Social Services where he became acquainted first-hand with the power government has to solve problems for the people of the community. Prior to becoming Oneida County's longest serving county executive, he held positions under former County Executive Raymond Meier, in the New York State Department of Labor and Empire State Development Corporation. Mr. Picente has been a consistent champion of public-private development initiatives. He worked closely with the Governor and regional economic development leaders to pre-permit a microchip manufacturing site and create incentives to attract global manufacturers in the nanotechnology industry, which ultimately attracted CREE/Wolfspeed to Oneida County.

County Executive Picente has been a long-time supporter of MVCC by including funding in the county budget for major projects, such as the expansion of the Jorgensen Athletics/Events Center in 2011. Mr. Picente has also supported MVCC in its high-profile effort to join the national Achieving the Dream Network and maintains a close relationship with the college by participating in various events. A visionary in tune to the ever-changing needs of the workforce, Mr. Picente continually committed to assisting MVCC with new training programs that will prepare the local workforce for the up-and-coming industry.

Picente was named an MVCC Alumni of Merit in 2008. In 2014, he was elected president of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). He is also a past president of the New York State County Executives Association.

Troy Little '96

Troy LittleTroy Little '96, Accounting, was a member of the New York State Police for 22 years and retired at the rank of captain. He now serves as Director of Law Enforcement programs at MVCC, a position he has held since 2013. In that time, he has worked to improve the program to ensure that students are prepared for a career in law enforcement by enhancing the fitness program, adding increased assessment measures, increasing role-play scenarios, adding a dedicated tutor, including class visits to the library, and teaching students how to cite and list references, paraphrase, work as a team, study, and manage their time. Little also has adapted the program to meet the changing landscape of policing with a greater focus on the use of force and procedural and racial justice.

Mr. Little has been recognized for his achievements with several honors, including the MVCC Heart of the Hawk award and the College Educator Award from the Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley. Little holds a bachelor's degree in business from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla., and a master's degree in criminal justice from the University at Albany. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University at Albany, and his research focuses on improving graduation rates for men of color at community colleges. Little has also served as the Town Justice for the Town of Whitestown since January 2019.

Evon Ervin '97

Evon ErvinEvon Ervin '97, Human Services, serves as Deputy Director of the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency. She has been an outstanding role model who is quick to reach out to students and share her personal journey. Mrs. Ervin has overcome the challenges of growing up in a low-income neighborhood, has struggled with a disability, and the trials of single motherhood-- all while balancing education, work and family. In addition to service as an inspirational speaker at MVCC's events and graduation, Evon is also a member of the Alumni Association, which plays an important role in keeping alums connected to the College and supporting the next generation of students. Mrs. Ervin was named the MVCC Alumna of Merit for 2015; received a Community Service Award from the NYS College Trustees Association in 2016; received the Salute to Outstanding Women Human and Public Services Award from the YMCA in 2014; and in 2008 received the Women of Worship: Deborah Award recognizing leadership & wisdom. In her service both to Mohawk Valley Community College and the broader community, Evon Ervin has consistently demonstrated the dedication and drive of a true leader.

The Plumley Family (various years)

The Plumley FamilyThe Plumley family name has been synonymous with success and growth at Mohawk Valley Community College from the days when the late John D. Plumley was Oneida County Executive. His wisdom and understanding of the importance of higher education has helped secure the funding which allowed MVCC to develop its Rome Campus. The John D. Plumley Science and Technology Complex was named in his honor and dedicated on October 11, 1991. That same dedication has been passed on to the next generation as five of his seven children are MVCC alumni.

Judy Plumley '73

Judy Plumley '73, went on to become a successful attorney and partner of the law firm Rapke and Plumley, LLP., in Rome. She attended Russell Sage College where she earned a B.A. in Political Science and completed her M.A. in Legal Studies at Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She returned to Central New York, where she earned her Juris Doctor of Law from Syracuse University. She is active in the community, acting as president of the Oneida County Bar Association, holding a seat on the Board of Directors for the Rome Family YMCA and the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce.

Joel Plumley '74

Joel Plumley '74, is a licensed Engineer in New York and Pennsylvania as well as president of Plumley Engineering, P.C., which has offices in Rome and Baldwinsville. Along with holding a Civil Technology degree from MVCC, he went on to complete work on a B.S. in Civil Engineering at Syracuse University. Along with being past vice-president of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, he has held the position of president of the N.Y. Association of Consulting Engineers, director of American Society of Civil Engineers and chairman of the N.Y.S. ACEC Standards of Practice Committee. His firm also provides Pro Bono engineering services for not-for-profit groups.

Joanne Plumley-Karboski '76'

Joanne Plumley-Karboski '76, majored in Criminal Justice at MVCC and went on to Oswego State University (SUNY at Oswego) where she earned a B.A. in Public Justice. She is currently the Director of Contracts at Harden Furniture Company, Inc., in McConnellsville. She is very active within the community while volunteering her time at the Camden Food Pantry, Camden AYSO and the Camden United Methodist Church. She also dedicates her time to the Queen Village Nursery School and the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce.

John Plumley '81

John Plumley '81, earned an A.A.S. in Surveying from MVCC is a licensed Land Surveyor in New York State. He went on to become founder and president of J.D. Plumley Land Surveying. He also volunteers his time to a multitude of community organizations, offering his knowledge of his profession.

James Plumley '83

James Plumley '83, focused his studies on Media Marketing and Management at MVCC before going on to complete his B.A. studies at Oswego State University in Communications. He is currently president and CEO of Carpenter's Paint and Hardware as well as Carpenter's Maytag Home Appliance Center. He is a member of the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce and holds a seat on the Board of Directors for the Cluster 13 Housing Program.

Pawsansoe Bree '13

breePawsansoe Bree '13, International Studies, is a grants manager for Partners Asia (PA), a non-governmental organization which is based in Thailand. PA is an American organization that supports locally based organizations and local leaders along the border of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). The organization believes that locals are true leaders in any development work in their community, and supports refugees, migrants, internally displaced people, and asylum seekers who are working on projects related to education, research, health, community and sustainable development, genders, women, advocacy, and others. Paw normally visits local communities across Thailand and learns about their work, as well as helps them network with donors, academia, and resources beyond their own community. She also supports these individuals and communities with technical skills such as grant writing and reports and helps with processing grants from the U.S. and their local partners in Thailand. Her favorite part of her job is when she gets to visit local communities, learn about their projects and listening to their stories.

Paw came to Utica in 2008, after 13 years in the Nu Po Refugee Camp in Thailand, where she and her family lived after being forced out of the Karen State of Burma. They were not allowed to leave the camp, which consisted of small bamboo houses with no electricity or running water, and very limited connections to the outside world. She started taking English as a Second Language at MVCC, which prepared her for her courses in International Studies. As she prepared to graduate from MVCC in 2013, Paw won the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, a selective award for the nation's top community college students. The scholarship enabled her to pursue her bachelor's degree in International Relations at Hartwick College, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in such places as South Africa, Thailand, Chile, Jordan, Nepal, and Cuba.