2024 Recognition Celebration Honoring Chancellor's Award Recipients, Retirees, and Employee Achievements
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2024 Recognition Celebration Honoring Chancellor's Award Recipients, Retirees, and Employee Achievements

Published: May 23, 2024

Image of Retirees with President Dupee
Retirees with College President Daniel J. Dupee, II (middle): (l-r) Courtney A. Bauer, senior secretary, Karen J. Freeman, special assistant to the president, Kerry A. Young, associate vice president of human resources, Deanna L. Lothrop, coordinator of CSTEP, Tricia M. McBride, technical specialist, and Kimberly S. Stearns, secretary. Unavailable for photo: Michael J. Babcock, associate professor, Suzanne M. VanEpps, senior account clerk, and John W. Wagar, assistant building maintenance mechanic. 

Jefferson Community College (JCC) held its Annual Recognition Celebration on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The College observed nine faculty and staff retirees and honored the achievements of faculty and staff including: SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipients, those reaching milestone years of service to the College, continuing appointments, promotions, and a sabbatical. Additionally, the 2024 Spirit of Jefferson Award recipient was announced. 

Retirees are Michael J. Babcock, Deferiet, associate professor, Courtney A. Bauer, Watertown, senior secretary, Karen J. Freeman, Black River, special assistant to the president, Deanna L. Lothrop, Chaumont, coordinator of CSTEP, Tricia M. McBride, Black River, technical specialist, Kimberly S. Stearns, Rodman, secretary, Suzanne M. VanEpps, Dexter, senior account clerk, John W. Wagar, Watertown, assistant building maintenance mechanic, and Kerry A. Young, Watertown, associate vice president of human resources. 

Babcock retired from Jefferson in May from the position of associate professor. He taught a variety of chemistry courses as well as courses in math, physical science, and physics. Over the course of his 30-year tenure, Babcock served on numerous campus committees and chaired both the Campus Life Committee and Academic Affairs Committee twice, two periodic program reviews, and the Social Cultural Committee.  He served as a member of the College Recognition Committee and had the honor of announcing the first Thomas W. Myers Award for Co-Curricular Service. Babcock participated in National Chemistry Week activities and was the primary photographer to document Super Science Saturday. 

Jefferson alumna Bauer joined Jefferson in 1988 as a typist. She spent 23 years as secretary to the business division and has served as senior secretary to the most senior leader in student affairs since 2012. Bauer is retiring at the end of May after nearly 36 years of dedicated service to Jefferson. She has taught as an adjunct instructor for office technologies courses, served on two Presidential Search Committees and co-chaired the Inauguration Committee for retired President Carole A. McCoy, and served as president, vice president, secretary and negotiating team member of the Educational Support Professionals union. Furthermore, she served on the Commencement Committee and Financial Aid/ResLife Workgroup, along with many others. Bauer volunteered as a member of the faculty-staff choir, the College’s Relay for Life team, JCC Alumni Association, and American Association of University Women. In 2009, she received the first ever Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. She was recently honored in April with the 2024 Phi Theta Kappa Outstanding Staff Member Award given by the student body. 

Freeman joined Jefferson in 2005 as the College’s public information officer and marketing director. In 2015, she was appointed assistant to the president, a position that includes serving as secretary to the Board of Trustees. In addition, Freeman served for two years as senior director of government affairs and public relations, and since 2020 has served as special assistant to the president. She assisted the Board of Trustees with two presidential searches and inauguration activities for three presidents. Freeman has worked for five of the College’s seven presidents. Over her 19-year tenure, Freeman has served on or chaired a number of campus committees including, but not limited to, the Commencement Committee, Recognition Celebration, Strategic Planning Committee, Middle States Steering Committee and workgroups, an Adult Learner Taskforce, Communications Committee, Emergency Planning workgroup, and the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. She helped lead the College through a website redesign and rebranding, establish a presence on social media, and plan numerous groundbreaking and ribbon cutting celebrations involving campus and community. Freeman is a member of SUNYCUAD (Council for University Advancement and Development), the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations and SUNY’s Government Relations workgroup. In the community, Freeman is president of the Board of Directors for New Day Children’s Center, a member of the Carthage Athletic Booster Club Board of Directors and served for 13 years as Champion Town Justice. Freeman will retire in July. 

Lothrop first joined the College as a part-time retention specialist in 2012. Since 2016, she has served as the full-time Collegiate Science Technology Engineering Program (CSTEP) coordinator. Lothrop collaborates with colleagues in an annual professional etiquette seminar for students; she is a frequent volunteer for the College’s Food Pantry and a leader in the Pantry’s annual Thanksgiving basket distribution to students. She serves on many committees, among them, the Campus Life Committee, Commencement Speaker Audition Committee, Diversity Task Force, and served on the Strategic Planning Committee. She is also an adjunct instructor in early childhood for SUNY Potsdam. More recently, Lothrop was selected as co-chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Steering Committee. In the community, Lothrop is president of the Lyme Central School Board, a member of the Board of Directors for the Lyme Community Foundation, and also New Day Children’s Center. She was recognized with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 2023. Deanna will retire in June. 

Jefferson alumna McBride joined the College in 2002 as a data entry machine operator and retired in March from the position of technical specialist within enrollment services. McBride was responsible for creating and maintaining the master class schedule and served as the primary contact for academic offices. She was also the liaison for Army registrations and distance learning courses offered at high schools. Over the course of McBride’s 20 year tenure, she was a part of several key technological initiatives including a student information systems conversion and the transition from microfilm to digital credentials. McBride served on the Judicial Board of Review and the Campus Life Committee. 

Jefferson alumna Stearns joined Jefferson in 2000 as a typist in the financial aid office and she retired in September 2023 from the position of secretary to the liberal arts division. During her 23-year tenure, Stearns served in several leadership roles including as president of the Educational Support Professionals (ESP) association for more than ten years, chaired the College Recognition Committee,    Campus Safety Committee and the Judicial Board of Review. She represented her ESP peers on the 2016-1017 Presidential Search Committee that brought the College’s sixth president to campus. More recently, Stearns served on the Standard II Workgroup assisting with the College’s self-study for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visit. In 2019, Stearns was recognized with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Classified Service.  

Jefferson alumna VanEpps joined Jefferson full time in 1995 as an account clerk in the financial aid office and retired in February from the position of Senior Account Clerk after 30 years of service to the College. During her tenure, VanEpps was instrumental in the merging of three offices into an enrollment services one-stop shop to better serve students. Furthermore, she was an implementation leader when the financial services office converted to a new student information system. She was a long-time member and treasurer of the JCC Women’s Organization, and volunteered for several campus and community organizations including Relay for Life and Watertown Urban Mission. She was a member of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals and was designated a Certified Educational Office Employee. She was recognized with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service in 2018. 

Wagar joined Jefferson in 1987 as custodian in the facilities department. He is currently an assistant building maintenance mechanic and will retire at the end of May after 37 years of service to the College. While much of Wagar’s work took place in the evenings during the second shift, his work was integral to keeping the College’s campus grounds beautiful and buildings in top notch shape. Wagar was key to keeping the campus open during the winter months by plowing the roadways and clearing the sidewalks once students and staff departed campus. Additionally, he worked to set up and tear down athletic events. Wagar was involved with the rebuilding of a fire pump on campus, which saved the College thousands of dollars, along with the fabrication and rebuilding of the two dump boxes on the Kubota tractors. 

Jefferson alumna Young began her career at Jefferson in 1990 as a stenographer. Her progressive path at the College includes assistant to the dean of administration and finance, director of administrative operations, executive director of finance and human resources and then to her current role as associate vice president of human resources and Title IX coordinator. Young has served on numerous campus committees and played integral roles in strategic planning, employee training, negotiations, the student information system conversion, campus safety, faculty/staff recognition, and creation of the College’s first diversity plan. In addition, she has taught as an adjunct for both Jefferson and SUNY Potsdam. Young has served in leadership roles with the North Country Human Resources Association, Jefferson-Lewis School Employees Healthcare Plan Board, SUNY Human Resources Director’s Association and SUNY’s Business Officer’s Association. In fact, she helped form and served as president of the NYS Community College Human Resources Professionals Organization. In the community, Young has served on the Board of Directors for WPBS and the American Association of University Women. She is currently treasurer of the Samaritan Auxiliary Board of Directors. Her contributions to the College and the community were recognized with the Professional Achievement Award from the College’s Alumni Association in 2018, and with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 2019. Young will retire at the end of May after 34 years of service to the College.    

SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipients are Michael B. Avery, Sackets Harbor, professor of English, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service; Andrew N. Draper, Watertown, assistant professor of mathematics, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Dean R. Dyer, Adams, instructional technical specialist, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; Beverly M. Norton, Watertown, secretary, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service; and Kelly Rusho Boyer, Clayton, adjunct instructor of lab sciences,  Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. 

Avery joined the College in 2008 and earned the rank of full professor in 2023. He served as English Department Chair for four years, and served on the Campus Life, Academic Standards, Retirement & Recognition and Nominating committees of the College Senate. Most recently, Avery was editor of the College’s self-study report for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Avery served as coordinator of the Honors Program for three years, editor-in-chief of the Black River Review journal, and faculty advisor to a variety of student clubs ranging from the Fitness and Recreation Club to the Writer’s Club. An avid musician, he frequently joins members of the JCC Music Club during open mic sessions. Avery holds a certificate of advanced study in college teaching from SUNY Potsdam, master of arts in English from California State University, bachelor of arts in English from University of California at Berkeley, and an associate of arts in multi-disciplinary studies from De Anza College.  

Draper was an adjunct instructor before becoming a full time math faculty member in 2017. He teaches a broad variety of courses, from developmental to upper level, and excels in all types of delivery methods ranging from in-person to asynchronous/synchronous and hybrid modalities. He has served as research coordinator for Jefferson’s renowned Center for Community Studies since 2022. In this role, Andy trains students to carry out research surveys, which provide them with invaluable hands-on, real-world learning experiences. Draper serves on a variety of campus committees and is the College’s representative to the New York State Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges. Draper holds a master of arts in mathematics education in grades 5-12 from Western Governors University and a bachelor of arts in adolescence education - mathematics from SUNY Plattsburgh. 

Dyer has served as instructional technology specialist since 2000. A Digital Learning Environment (DLE) expert, Dyer is the College’s project manager on the recent conversion to the DLE platform Brightspace. Dyer trains and supports faculty in the design, development and implementation of online courses. In 2020, he was instrumental in the College’s rapid transition to fully remote learning at the onset of the COVID pandemic. He has also served as the College’s representative on the SUNY DLE Campus Implementation workgroup and SUNY Online Helpdesk Advisory Committee. Additionally, Dyer is an adjunct instructor for several computer courses, participates in campus governance, and has served on a variety of committees. He holds a master of science in education in instructional technology and a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and 7-12 chemistry education from SUNY Potsdam. 

Norton joined the classified staff at Jefferson in 2008 and has worked in student-facing offices throughout her 15-year tenure on campus. She currently serves as secretary in the student support services area, which includes all access/opportunity programs, veterans’ services, career planning, accommodative services, and testing. Norton builds rapport with students easily, whether assisting them with accessing needed services or training them to work in the office. She takes the time to ensure they are learning skills that will be used long after they leave Jefferson. 

Rusho-Boyer has taught at Jefferson since 2003 primarily for the zoo technology program including three different biology courses along with several animal management courses and clinicals. She is creative with developing practical and applied experiences to assist with student learning. She represents the College at educational events at public schools and Zoo New York, and she has chaperoned field trips to zoos in New York and Canada. Rusho-Boyer holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology from SUNY Oswego and associate of science degree in zoo animal technology from Sante Fe College.

The Spirit of Jefferson Award, established in 2011, recognizes a campus team that exemplifies cooperative effort and achieves exemplary results. The 2024 Spirit of Jefferson Award was presented to the Inauguration Planning Workgroup. The Presidential Inauguration is a tradition for the College and an exciting time as the College embraces a new beginning. When the event was postponed from fall to spring due to unforeseen circumstances, members of the Inauguration Planning Workgroup handled the massive undertaking with poise, thoughtfulness, and professionalism. As a result of their hard work and tenacity, President Dupee’s Inauguration was a memorable event that won’t soon be forgotten. Past recipients of the Spirit of Jefferson Award include the JCC Women’s Organization (2011), Science Division ~ Super Science Saturday (2012), Library Learning Center (2013), JCC Relay for Life (2014), EverGREEN Committee (2015), North Country Community Cup Team (2016), Chaos Patrol (2017), Facilities Team (2018), National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Team (2019), JCC Campus Community (2020), JCC Food Pantry (2021), Return To Campus COVID Committee (2022), and Cannon Threads Closing Closet (2023).  

Jefferson Community College recognized these current employees for milestone years of service:   

Five Years: Mallory M. Jackson, Woodville, Gillian S. Maitland, Watertown, Rose M. Soluri, Watertown, and Kathy Tucker, Adams

Ten Years: Robin R. Booth, Cape Vincent, Shawn M. Maloney, Belleville, Chelsea R. Marra, Clayton, Edie A. Roggie, Croghan 

Fifteen Years: JoLynn Fiorentino, Watertown, Wesley L. Hissong, Canton, Cynthia E. Lonsbary, Carthage, Brian S. Topping, Sackets Harbor

Twenty Years: Heather N. O’Brien, Chaumont, April L. Parris, Gouverneur, John J. Thomas, Dexter

Twenty-Five Years: Joshua A. Dickinson, Harrisville, Robyn M. Rhyner, Sackets Harbor, Oliver G. Youst, Watertown

Thirty Years: Donna M. Stevenson, Chaumont, Suzanne M. VanEpps, Dexter

Thirty-Five Years: Jack N. Donato, Watertown, Jerilyn E. Fairman, Watertown, Michele P. Gefell, Watertown 

Image of SUNY Chancellor's Award Recipients
SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipients (l-r): Beverly M. Norton, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service, Andrew N. Draper, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Michael B. Avery, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, Dean R. Dyer, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, and Kelly Rusho Boyer, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching with President Daniel J. Dupee, II.
Image of Employees, 25 Years of Service
Honored for 25 years of service to the College (l-r): Joshua A. Dickinson, associate professor, Robyn M. Rhyner, director of financial aid, and Oliver G. Youst, professor. 
Image of Employee, 30 years of service
Honored for 30 years of service to the College is Donna M. Stevenson, professor. Unavailable for photo: Suzanne M. VanEpps, senior account clerk.
Image of Employees, 35 years of service
Honored for 35 years of service to the College (l-r):  Jack N. Donato, professor, Jerilyn E. Fairman, provost, vice president of academic and student affairs, and Michele P. Gefell, coordinator of career planning and placement.

Image of Spirit of Jefferson Award recipients
2024 Recipient of the Spirit of Jefferson Award - Inauguration Planning Workgroup (l-r): April L. Parris, assistant building maintenance mechanic, Karen J. Freeman, special assistant to the president, Benjamin G. Foster, executive director of the JCC Foundation, Adrienne M. Demiceli, secretary, Gillian S. Maitland, director of marketing and communications, Kerry A. Young, associate vice president of human resources, and Michele P. Gefell, coordinator of career planning and  placement, with President Daniel J. Dupee, II. 



Story by:

Pamela Dixon

Additional Information:

Public Relations Department, Jefferson Community College, (315) 786-2392, Email Public Relations

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