Thursday, January 29, 2009

Siena Grad Becomes Oldest Army Lieutenant

Adapted from Army's story, available here.
FORT BENNING, Ga. Mike Finnegan might be the oldest first lieutenant to graduate from the Basic Officer Leader Course II at Fort Benning, Ga. At 53, he completed the end of course Army Physical Fitness Test Monday with a score of 295, completing 84 push ups, 66 sit ups and running two miles in 15:22.

But it took Finnegan 30 years to get there.

When Finnegan received his commission from Siena College in 1978, he asked for an academic deferment to go to law school. After his graduation from Pace University in New York, the Army was downsizing and serving on active duty wasn't an option, Finnegan said. After seven years of individual ready reserve, Finnegan received an honorable discharge.
"But I never served," he said. "My only active duty time was Airborne School in 1977. It didn't feel honorable."

During the Gulf War, Finnegan again requested active duty, but the Pentagon denied the request, he said. So when he retired as an investment banker from the Wall Street firm of J.P. Morgan in April, he talked with his family about the Army again."

Because this was my third attempt, my wife didn't really think I had much of a chance of coming back into the Army," Finnegan said. "So she said, go ahead, not thinking it could happen."
I found out I was going about it all wrong - I needed to ask to be recommissioned."
In May Finnegan, who has four securities licenses in addition to his law license, was recommissioned and branched to the Finance Corps.

"My wife doesn't understand why I would give up my freedom to start over when I've already struggled with establishing a career, but my daughter who is at Cornell said to pursue my dreams and my 16-year-old son said, 'Hooah - go kick ass. My son who is a freshman at Holy Cross agrees with my wife, so the family was split on my decision."

But 2LT Jason Isgrigg, Finnegan's classmate, said it was the right decision for the Army."
Mike Finnegan brings a lot to the table," Isgrigg, the honor graduate for Class 02-09, that graduated Thursday. "He has so many experiences from the outside world that are applicable to the military. He's a great asset to the military."

Assigned to the 77th Regional Readiness Command in New York, Finnegan said the BOLC III classes at Fort Jackson, S.C., are filled for fiscal 09. He has a class reservation for April 2010.

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Medicaid Inspector General to Speak at Siena

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Guest Blog: Tom Coohill Visits Haiti

Tom is a professor of Physics at Siena.
Thanks, Tom, for sharing your story:

It’s almost 2000 miles from New York; 50 years from my graduation from St. Michael’s DHS in Brooklyn; 3rd world versus super power; all black compared to all white; but similar is soo many ways. It’s The Sant in Port au Prince, Haiti, and has the same feel, spirit, and success that everything the Xaverian Brothers sponsor does.

I traveled to Haiti to visit Br. Harry Eccles in Hinche and was fortunate to be able to interact with the college students and visiting brothers at The Sant. Br. Harry and Br. Mike help oversee a house for a dozen to twenty college–age young men so that they can afford to attend university. The Xaverians help with funding but the house is now run by the men themselves a real fraternity. A short trip from where I was staying in PAP brought me to a modest house and nine of the men who live there. Brs. Mike, Larry and Matthew were visiting as well.

After introductions, each man gave a brief summary of who he was and what he was studying. They concluded with their “dreams,” which all involved practical service to Haiti and helping others share in the gift they have been given of a college education. It was quite touching and very informative. Such dedication in each and every student is soo rare these days. It was evident that the high standards, rigorous training, and interest in others, so central to the Xaverian mission, was instilled in each of them. No whining about being in a 3rd world county, having little money for extras, having to study hard. Each felt blessed and so they are.

We also got a chance to talk about science (I’m a Biophysicist) and they pumped me with insightful questions about ozone depletion (my specialty), global warming, medical physics, and American students. I’ve lectured around-the-world but have never had such a wonderful group, each and every one of them, milk me for so much information. These guys know their stuff and they want more. How inspiring.

My stay was only for 90 minutes but I haven’t stopped bragging about these gentlemen back here at Siena College. Every dollar given to them goes a long way and seeing how they care for each other and run The Sant, is truly remarkable. I recommend them to all of you and wish them all the best.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lecture Series Featured on Popular Capital Region Blog

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Peter Ellard, Ph.D. on WAMC's Rountable

Ellard discussed tonight's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture series. He was joined by Kate Jackett the Assistant Project Director of the Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute. Listen to the Podcast.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Students Together Opposing Prejudice Conference

On Friday January 16, over 800 people attended two events as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Siena College. The day kicked off with the fourth annual STOP (Students Together Opposing Prejudice) Conference where 190 students and 25 teachers from 19 Capital Region middle and high schools participated. The conference was filled with workshops where students discussed their own experience of prejudice and bias in their schools. Trained facilitators coached the students on how to recognize and defuse difficult situations as well as how to build communities of tolerance in their schools.

In the afternoon, over 600 children, parents and grandparents attended the annual presentation of the art, essays and poetry created by Capital Region school children describing Leadership in the 21st Century.

There were portraits of Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, police officers, doctors, teachers and ordinary people, too.

These events are designed to connect the larger issue of the civil rights movement with lives of the children of today. Both events serve as a kickoff for the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture on Race and Non-Violent Social Change, which will take place in the Marcelle Athletic Complex on Wednesday Jan. 28 at 7:00 pm. Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D. will speak on “Martin Luther King and (African ) American Leadership in the 21st Century.”

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Recycling Achievements

Thanks to Keith Volsky, Facilities for the information:

Siena recycled enough paper to save 27,000,000 sheets of newspaper or saved 2,200 mature trees from being cut down

Recycling efforts:

  • · Saved enough energy (kw-hr) to power 103 homes annually

    · Created enough landfill space for the disposal needs of 1000 people for one year

    · Saved enough gas to drive 86,800 miles (28 mpg vehicle)

    · Saved 907,000 gallons of water or enough fresh drinking water to meet the needs of 403 people on a monthly basis

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest Blog: Ray Boisvert in Southern France

Ray Boisvert, professor of of philosphy, is on sabbatical doing research for a book on philosopher-novelist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus. He has agreed to guest-blog from Provence, France. Enjoy!

L'investiture--the Inauguration
Tuesday 20 January 2009, a major day for Americans everywhere, including those of us who could not share in the great ritual at home. Fortunately, France is gripped by a kind of Obamamania. The major newspapers have had a string of front page stories about him. The same is true for magazines. And, piece of good luck for those of us who are far from home, one TV channel carried almost three hours of live coverage. By and large the commentary was uniformly favorable. The only negative notes (a "dose of reality" I’m sure they would say) came from American commentators, either on television or in print. They pointed to the reality of a divided U.S., a quick end of any honeymoon, and the challenge of governing within an adversary system.

Certain aspects of the ceremony drew the attention of French commentators. One was impressed by how the oath stresses defense of the constitution, a reminder of how we are a constitutional republic, committed to a set of ideals and rules which provide the country’s playbook, not just a land that blows with whatever happens to be the contemporary fad. One woman reporter noted, with satisfaction, how a particular camera shot framed Obama preceded by two powerful women, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Diane Feinstein. “It’s a new world,” she said. Another, reflecting on the campaign, pointed out how a standard post-debate scene in the U.S. would be inconceivable in France: when the candidates and their families mingle on stage and actually embrace each other. Another remembered Obama, in a speech, saying that the day he took the oath of office would be the day the rest of the world looked at America differently. "Yes, indeed,"was his simply commentary.

As far as the inaugural address goes, the French focused on several themes: hope over fear, embracing a renewed sense of responsibility in the face of contemporary challenges, and a general sense that it is time, once again, for Americans to roll up their sleeves and achieve common aims.The responsibility theme, according to a commentary in this morning’s Le Monde, breaks decisively with the Bush presidency which did not tend to emphasize responsibility and sacrifice, pretending that a country “could fight two wars abroad while cutting taxes at home.” The same writer proclaimed rather grandly that the election of 2008 “signalled the end of the age of conservatism in the U.S.” Perhaps the American “dose of reality” commentators would suggest waiting awhile before making so definitive a claim.

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2009 Study Tour to Costa Rica

A group of 12 Siena College students travelled to Costa Rica in January 2009 on a 10-night non-credit study tour with Deborah Kelly, assistant professor of management. In addition to experiencing the food, language and social interaction within a different culture, students learned about the global eco-tourism industry firsthand. The students, respresenting all three schools at Siena, participated in various eco-tourist adventures (such as horseback-riding, canopy zip-lining and riding a water slide through the forest.) They learned about the history, politics and economy of Costa Rica through various lectures. The group stayed in the Guanacaste (Pacific North) province of Costa Rica in an eco-friendly resort at Playa Panama.

They also took a day trip into Nicaragua, where they visited the Masaya volcano, the Santiago Crater and the city of Granada. While visiting Nicaragua, these Siena students participated in a service project at a Catholic Mission, delivering gifts of books and toys to children in a small, rural community in need. This is the third year that this study tour has been offered.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Siena Habitat House Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow

Siena College Partners with Habitat for Humanity
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Kick-off Spring Project

Capital District Habitat for Humanity will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 486 North Pearl Street in Albany on January 21st at 1pm.

Construction on the project – co-sponsored by Siena College and Prime Companies – will begin in the spring of 2009 by the non-profit developer whose mission is to assist low-income families achieve affordable homeownership. The build is called “SIENA House”.

Students, faculty and staff from Siena launched a fundraising campaign during the 2008 academic year. Students got creative with the campaign. For example, 12 students competed in a fundraiser for the title of “Mr. Siena”. In total, the school raised $17,500 which was matched by Prime Companies. In the spring, hundreds of students will begin volunteering on the Habitat House construction site to provide the labor necessary to construct the home.

"Siena's partnership with Habitat for Humanity reflects our Franciscan mission to educate our students to become responsible leaders in their communities and use their many talents to serve those in need. We consider this is an especially important project because it gives us another opportunity to help make a difference in the Capital Region," states Fr. Kevin Mullen '75, O.F.M., PhD., President of Siena College.

This will be CDHfH’s first house built entirely with the SIPS panels the organization will assemble itself at its headquarters. SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panels) consist of insulated foam pressed and glued between two outer layers of strand-board. These wall and roof panels are easier for Habitat’s volunteer labor pool to build with – compared to traditional stick construction. They are also much more energy efficient and will save the Habitat homeowners money on energy bills.

“Habitat is honored to welcome Siena College and Prime Companies to the list of sponsors who have made possible the dream of homeownership for 45 families who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage loan. This project returns our work to the North Albany neighborhood where we have built 15 homes since 2004 and is consistent with the College’s focus in this neighborhood. It will be a pleasure to work alongside the students, administration and faculty to build this home,” said Steve Haggerty, Executive Director at Capital District Habitat for Humanity.

Albany Mayor Jennings, County Executive Breslin and the President of Siena College will be guest speakers.

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Inauguration at Siena

Students, Faculty and Staff gathered to watch the Inauguration of President Barack Obama this afternoon.

Thanks to the Class of 2012, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy, Political Science Society, College Democrats, Democracy Matters, and Sodexo.

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School of Business Newsletter

What's the latest with our School of Business? Check out the new and improved School of Business Newsletter here.
Let us know what you think or just click to comment on this post!

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Winter Issue of Siena News Available Online

The NEW Siena News is available. Check it out here!

What did you think?
We welcome feedback. E-mail us at or start commenting below.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Prof on Capital News 9

Dr. Mo Hannah, prodessor of psychology featured on Capital News 9 for her research on domestic abuse.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Siena News

Check out the winter issue and let us know what you think.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Grad Makes Local History

Siena grad becomes first female city councilwoman in Watervliet, N.Y.
Check out the article here:

Congratulations, Ellen!

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