I attended Orange County Community College, commonly known as “OCCC" and after graduating with an AS in Business Administration, I went on to SUNY Empire State College to complete my BS In Business Administration while also beginning my career in the banking industry. I worked for many years in banking in both the branch retail area and as a commercial credit analyst and manager. Many of the accounting basics that I learned at OCCC were applied to those banking jobs and I found that I got the most satisfaction from the jobs involving accounting and financial analysis. I always wanted to go back to school to further my accounting education and to prepare for a Certified Public Accounting designation. I had the opportunity to attend classes at SUNY New Paltz when I was home with my school age children. I earned a second BS in Accounting and took and passed the series of CPA exams to earn my CPA license. I started my career in public accounting in 2001 and am currently employed by JGS, CPA’s as a manager where my responsibilities include work in the areas of audit, tax, accounting, and consulting. My job is very challenging and there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Two of the audit projects that I have worked on was to prepare the audits for SUNY Orange Foundation and The Orange County Community College Association, Inc. I have recently been asked to be a member of the audit committee for the SUNY Orange Foundation. The audit work, and working with the College and the Association staff, has brought me full circle in my SUNY Orange experience. I am grateful for the confidence and business and accounting basics that I received from my early college experience at SUNY Orange.
Class of 1974
"In 1972, there were few nursing programs that offered credit for having been a licensed practical nurse prior to pursuing a degree to become a registered nurse. OCCC was one of the few. Hence, I left my home in Connecticut and made the drive to Middletown and was never disappointed. From day one, everyone I met welcomed and supported me, especially the nursing faculty and Mr. George Shepard, Dean of Students. With a scholarship in hand, I ultimately graduated with high honors and since then have received my bachelors and master’s degree. I have been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed a nursing career that spans over four decades the majority of which time I practiced as an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist. My fortune also includes having had opportunities to lecture in 45 states and 17 countries, authoring more than 300 publications and four books, and being the recipient of numerous honors from the Oncology Nursing Society. I am a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and in 1998, was honored to be the first nurse to receive the Alumnae Award from OCCC. Yale University, my graduate school, also bestowed on me their Distinguished Alumnae award. Over the past two years, I have spent time with the program ‘Health Volunteers Overseas’ teaching oncology, palliative and hospice nursing in Bhutan, Vietnam and Honduras. Additionally, I have traveled to remote western Kenya helping to establish the first in-patient hospice in that country. My book for family members entitled, "The Caregivers Companion" will be in print in 2020. I feel the confidence and conviction that have characterized my career has strong roots to my basic nursing education at OCCC. Forty five years later, I still think of OCCC fondly. Being there was a joy."
Class of 1975
“I think I was truly blessed with an outstanding educational experience at SUNY Orange. Even at the time I graduated in 1975 I didn’t realize how special it was. Those 2 years gave me the foundational tools I needed to transfer to Cornell University to complete my bachelor’s degree, and then to attend the highest ranked environmental engineering graduate program, at Stanford University. My subsequent professional career path included managing several multi-million dollar environmental restoration projects around the nation and creating engineering solutions for Silicon Valley companies. Some years later, and with a J.D. in environmental law, I was able to work on energy law and policy in California, and to work for California's Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Brown, heading the largest utility customer advocacy organization in the U.S. I owe so much to the outstanding educators I had at SUNY Orange. Of my school experiences, SUNY Orange ranks at the top. My SUNY Orange teachers were passionate about teaching and it showed. And they personally cared about the students, and that showed too.”
Class of 1979
Dr. Francis McCabe
"SUNY Orange provided me with the baseline skills for a passion for lifelong learning, as well as friendships that encouraged me to continue to learn and grow. I was the only child/member of my family to attend college and my life has been so much better because of education. I was accepted after graduation to SUNY Buffalo for Business, Northeastern University and MCPHS University (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy then) for Pharmacy. I received acceptance at all three and chose MCPHS University Boston for Pharmacy. I've had a great career in Community Practice, Industrial Practice (Sales and Sales Management) and most of my career in Hospital Practice. I am now the Pharmacist in Charge for St Joseph's Wayne Medical Center in Wayne, NJ championing in excess of $6 million in pharmacy upgrades for St. Joseph's Health (St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ and St. Joseph's Wayne Medical Center, Wayne NJ). Blessed with two wonderful children, one a graduate of UMass-Dartmouth and the other a graduate of Purdue University. The passion for learning extends to generations! Oh, by the way what a bargain tuition was back then....my, how times have changed since then!"
Class of 1970
Melinda Catherine Moore Stephani & Martin Paul Stephani
My husband and I have lived in sunny Apex, NC for 22 years. We met at Orange County Community College and were married in December of 1970 at the Warwick Methodist Church. Dr. Emmanuel Rosenblum, Dr. Emil Domac and everyone's favorite in the student union, Molly Kaplan, were all part of our witnesses at our wedding. We will celebrate our golden wedding anniversary this December! I went on to New Paltz while my husband Marty entered the work force. He eventually fulfilled his dream of becoming a New York State Trooper and retired after 26 years on the job. I became a secondary school teacher of Social Studies and English, earning my MSEd at New Paltz and then going on 10 years later to earn a CAS/SDA, serving as a school administrator. I spent time as a school business administrator, a high school assistant principal, and as a curriculum specialist in secondary social studies. We loved Orange County Community College and speak often about our time there. We met in Emil Domac's class on History of Western Europe. We felt that our time there gave us a great background. We have 2 sons, 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter, all in other states. Thanks to Orange County Community College for the great education that led to happy and productive lives!
Class of 1974
Peter A. Poccia, RN
In 1969, I returned home from Viet-Nam. I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman attached to the Marine Corps. I never saw the Navy or a ship; I was intensively trained in medical/nursing care and then trained to be a Marine. During the Tet offensive of 1968, I was the operating room supervisor of 1st Hospital Company, 1st Marine Division, a MUST (aka MASH) hospital. Horror beyond your imagination; most folks have no point of reference. I was discharged in largely one piece in 1970 and attended OCCC from 1972 until I graduated in 1974 with an AAS in Nursing. My nursing career gave my life focus and direction and has served me well; I sincerely hope I've served my patients well. Upon graduation, I moved to Greenwich Village, NYC and practiced as an RN in ORs, cardiac perfusion, intensive care private duty and, for most of my career, in NYC ERs. I retired in 2009 from ER staff, Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC and moved to Saugerties, NY, where my dear wife and I founded NYS’s first Cohousing community. We live there, happily, with 18 other families (www.cantinesislandcohousing.org). In 2011, Hurricane Irene destroyed large sections of upstate NY. The Red Cross was recruiting in nearby Kingston and, after the presentation, the presenter, after noting that I signed in with RN after my name, walked right up to me and the conversation went as follows: (You're a nurse?) Yes. An RN. I was a corpsman in Viet-Nam, completed college and nursed in ORs and ERs in NYC for many years. (And you have time to volunteer?) I'm retired; I have lots of time. (Are you married?) Eh....well.... yes. (You had better call your wife and tell her you won't be home for 2 weeks. I can speak to her and corroborate). My wife, my partner, Susan, was a pediatric visiting nurse (RN) in the poorer sections of NYC for many years. Her response was, "Now take care of yourself and be careful; remember you're not a spring chicken anymore." I didn't get home for 3 weeks. Since that time, the Red Cross has been inviting me to disasters all over the US and Puerto Rico. No, I'm not a workaholic; I try to live a balanced life. My life in nursing has been so tremendously rewarding and my education at OCCC has made it all possible.
Class of 1978
“Since finishing my education in the early 1980s, I have been working as a Park Ranger and Librarian for the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. My education at SUNY Orange between 1978 and 1978 under its dedicated faculty prepared me for my career in the field of history. My tie to SUNY Orange has been further strengthened over the years by the wonderful foreign trips organized by the Global Studies Department under Professors, Emil Domac, Demos Kontos, and Paul Basinski. You are never too old to learn with the dedicated faculty of SUNY Orange and their concern for all students past and present.”