Alumni Spotlight - Class of 1960-1969

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Class of 1961

Thomas Peterson

I graduated from Monroe-Woodbury High School in 1959 where I had been a C- student.  Thanks to the faculty at Orange County Community College, I found not only myself, but a love of learning. There, I was a straight A student and won the Social Science Student Award at the 1961 graduation.  At that time, I was the first student to transfer to an Ivy League school (Columbia). I served 12 years as an administrative assistant to Janet Reno – the former Attorney General of the United States and then became a Circuit Court Judge in Miami where I served for 25 years. I am now retired.   In 2017, I received the Florida Bar Criminal Justice Lifetime Achievement Award. I owe those successes to Orange County Community College and the impact it made on my life from 1959-1961.

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Class of 1967

Jay Herres

Jay was an art major at Orange County Community College.  After graduation he went on to continue his education at the Maryland Institute College of Art and received a BFA in painting.  In his own words, “Orange County Community College’s art faculty was fantastic!  I have been painting and drawing ever since and have shown in many Tampa Bay Art Galleries.  I am currently working on oil paintings and drawing and looking forward to future shows.”

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Attended 1961

Paul Smith

After challenging out of both the geometry and algebra regents exams (99 and 95) my father told me I should take calculus.  This was in 1961 when I was a sophomore at Minisink Valley. He told me to sign up at Orange County Community College; that it didn't matter that I was only a sophomore, since there were no other math courses offered at Minisink at that time. My application at the College was accepted. I took first term calculus that summer, one night a week for 3 hours. This was my first exposure to anything difficult in schooling.  I got an A in that course, as well as advanced calculus and physics 101&102. This was a huge step up in my education, and served me well when I got into Cornell.  It was the challenges I experienced at Orange County Community College that enabled my acceptance into medical school after only 3 years at Cornell. I went on to have a 40 year career as a trauma surgeon. I continue to work as a consultant doing in home health assessments for Medicare.  Having Orange County Community College available to me was a GREAT benefit! 

Class of 1966

Arthur Stegen

At my induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame, I began with an apology to those in attendance for having to reprise those who spoke before me, since we shared similar stories. I was an average high school student who loved running and skiing, but had no especially strong sense of my future after graduation. With limited resources, I considered the military until a former high school teammate encouraged me to come to Orange County Community College and join him on the cross-country team. I found success with the team, as well as academic encouragement from my advisor who helped me assess and find my interests in foreign languages and history, to develop the focus and skills that led to becoming the first college graduate in my family.  I received an athletic scholarship for running that led to an undergraduate degree and eventually two graduate degrees. In my second year of teaching high school French (1970), I was drafted into the U.S. Army. Following Basic Training, my assignment to the Defense Language Institute as a language instructor was cancelled and I was sent instead to the U.S. Army Modern Winter Biathlon Training Center in Alaska.  They had discovered my running and skiing background. Biathlon is the modern Winter Olympic sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship that had originated in Scandinavia. This army assignment was responsible for the exciting international sports competitive experience that included representing the U.S. in four World Championships, including one in the former Soviet Union. Following three years of living in Europe, studying language in France, and sport coaching in Norway, I became the coach for the U.S. Biathlon Team and the 1980 Olympic Biathlon team. I was later recruited back to the military and served a 26-year career as the U.S. Armed Forces Biathlon team coach and administrator and was awarded the army’s highest non-combat award for writing the U.S. Army manuals for training and coaching biathlon. During that career I traveled the world for competitive events, including the United States, Europe, and Asia, and from the Artic north at Inuvik, Canada to Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina. I was inducted into the New York Ski Racing Association and the U.S. Biathlon Hall of Fame. I have served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Biathlon Association since 1984. One of the most important accomplishments for which I am proud was introducing women to the sport in 1980 and seeing the U.S. Women’s Biathlon team win medals at the first Woman’s World Championships in 1984. After retirement from teaching and the military I published my second book about biathlon in August 2019. The first, Biathlon, published in 1979 was about the sport while the second, Unique and Unknown, the Story of Biathlon in the United States is a more complete history. I was awarded the Ullr Prize by the International Ski History Association in March 2020 with the presentation of that award to be made at Sun Valley, Idaho in December 2020. I am frequently reminded how important those two years as a student at SUNY Orange prepared me with the confidence, skills, and memories for a lifetime. I developed life-long friendships with a few classmates and teammates whom I often share the memories we made together during the two years we learned and grew as students.

Class of 1966

Charles Hughes

I attended Orange County Community College starting in January 1963, changed majors after a year, and so was there for three years.  I lived in a rooming house right next door to the ornate stone old college building (Morrison Hall) on Grandview Avenue.  While I was at Orange County Community College one of my roommates asked if I wanted to learn how to take pictures and develop film. His dad was a weekend photographer and I said yes. My second year I was photo editor at the Citadel and worked on the yearbook and the following year I was co-editor of the Citadel and yearbook.  I have many fond memories of those years! I was in the US Army -  Vietnam from 1967-68. I began as a reporter in the newspaper business in 1969, worked for the Middletown Times-Herald Record in 1973, went on to be managing editor of The Evening Tribune in Hornell, NY, changed careers in 1983 and went to work for Steuben County Sheriff's Department in NY where I retired as a Division Commander in 2010. The skills I learned in photography classes at Orange County Community College I used as a combat photographer, newspaper photographer, and crime scene photographer. I operated my own photography business on a part-time basis starting in 1974 and did commercial work and weddings through 2003. Having a life-long interest in modified cars, in 1978 I started free-lancing for magazines by photographing hot rods and customized cars and trucks and writing the feature stories on how they were built, and continue to do so today. I have had more than 170 photo-features published in more than 15 different magazine titles. For nine years I served on the Canisteo NY Village Board of Trustees, seven as a trustee, and two years as Mayor. We moved to Burlington, North Carolina 10 years ago to be near our two daughters.

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