Adam James McCarey '98
As a soon-to-graduate High School Senior, with few options based on my less than excellent grades, I attended SUNY Orange as my big sister Kimberly '91 did four years before me and as my mother Barbara '85 did as an adult with two young children. Since I was not as well prepared as my honor roll sister or single mother was, I had to enroll in a remedial writing class during my first semester. Embarrassed and regretful of not working harder in High School and only after a few years passed, did I see my rocky start at SUNY Orange as a blessing. I excelled and ultimately graduated in December of 1996 with an Associates in Science degree. I then transferred to SUNY Albany with every credit being accepted and graduating with a Bachelors in Arts degree in Biology with minors in Math, Chemistry, Physics, and English. My path led me through working as an EMT with Mohawk Ambulance in Albany NY, a Chemist at BMS Clairol in Stamford CT, a Professional Firefighter IAFF 1027, NYS Code Enforcement Official, Teacher, to my favorite two jobs, a Husband and a Father. I was hired by the City of Middletown in 2000 as a Professional Firefighter and was promoted to Fire Inspector in 2009. I believe that giving back to the Community’s that we live and work in are crucial. I sat on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pastoral Advisory Council, am a member of the City of Middletown Enlarged School District Safety Committee, Chairman of the City of Middletown Republican Committee, any many more community involvements, and currently sit on the SUNY Orange Foundation as a member of the Board of Directors. I started at SUNY Orange with the mind-set that I am lucky that OCCC took me in as a student, and look back today, a few years after paying back my student loans, with a large debt of gratitude that needs to be paid back with interest. SUNY Orange not only prepared me for the seamless transfer to a 4-year University but prepared me for life. I now live in the Town of Mount Hope, NY with my amazing wife Ashley and our two daughters Addison Rose and Amelia Grace and hope that they will be able to see that a local Community College is what changed my life. I am proud to add that I am a member of the SUNY Orange Foundation and the new Alumni Committee Chairman. Being an advocate for such a great organization is a fitting honor.
Linda Nilon '94 & '96
I attended SUNY Orange right out of high school and earned an Associate in Arts degree in Accounting in 1994. I started part-time with a local bank after graduation and was promoted to a full-time position doing accounting work for their trust department. The degree I earned played a large role in obtaining the position. It wasn't long before the creative side of me had the urge to go back to school for my real passion which was, and still is, art. I enrolled again in SUNY Orange and earned a second Associate in Arts degree in Art in 1996. It was in my first Art History class, taught by Susan Slater-Tanner, that I realized I wanted to go further. I continued my education and went on to earn a BA in Art History (minor in Museum Studies) at SUNY New Paltz. Both degrees from SUNY Orange were pivotal in the learning and discovery of myself. Although I did not get a job with a museum I went on to start a business doing furniture upholstery and interior design and the art background played a huge role in my day to day inspiration. Most recently I've decided to pursue my MS in Child Psychology - it's never too late to reinvent yourself. The first class I took was a prerequisite I needed and I took that class at SUNY Orange this past fall. I started at SUNY Orange, went back in my mid 20's to make a change and now in my 40's to evolve even further. SUNY Orange has been a constant in my life and I'm grateful for their curriculum, well rounded classes, and first class professors.
Mystina Vogel '98
When I first walked onto the campus of SUNY Orange almost 25 years ago, I had no idea my time there would be such a wonderful transformation. The two years of study, along with my involvement in Student Government and S.A.D.D., not only provided a wealth of educational knowledge, it ultimately provided me with valuable experience for navigating my adult-life. SUNY Orange gave me the tools to "grow up," and a hunger for success and self-accountability. It truly laid the figurative cornerstone of what has turned out to be a life and career I am very proud of; one that far surpassed the dreams & ambitions of my younger-college-aged self. All these years later, I now have my own successful business, a happy marriage, and three daughters I adore & am very proud of. Notably, my first-born just completed her own first year of college. Unlike me, she decided on a university four hours from home and on-campus living. This has given me a renewed appreciation for not only the financial value SUNY Orange provided me, but also how it prepared me so well for my subsequent tenure as a continued undergraduate and graduate-level student. As a bonus, during my first semester at SUNY Orange, I was befriended by another student, Dani. She & I became fortified "adults" together during our college years and have been best friends ever since. In 2008 I left Orange County NY to relocate to Upstate SC, and in 2011 that college best-friend followed suit and relocated 10 minutes away from me. We still get together as often as life permits, just like we did back in our college years. Our shared history is a welcome comfort among the strain that comes with building a dynamic life. Thank you SUNY Orange for empowering me and being the launch-pad for my success. More than two-decades later, I still remember you so fondly.
(Photo - Dani & I, enjoying time together just prior to the pandemic)