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Alumni Association fosters relationship with Brockport community

by Kari Ashworth - News Editor
Tue, Oct 1st 2019 11:00 pm
The Alumni House received a renovation over the past few years. The new and improved Alumni House officially opened on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Community Garden Reveal with plenty of alumni present, including the donors of the project.
The Alumni House received a renovation over the past few years. The new and improved Alumni House officially opened on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Community Garden Reveal with plenty of alumni present, including the donors of the project.

Among the many Homecoming Weekend celebrations at The College at Brockport was the Alumni House Community Garden Reveal. The Alumni House, which is located at 142 Utica Street, received an update over the course of the past two years, including a garden and patio area along with a new back porch. 

Director of Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the Brockport Alumni Association, Kerry Gotham and President Heidi Macpherson, Ph.D. led the ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 28. 

Gotham discussed the value of keeping different aspects of the college updated. 

“The heritage and the history of this place is remarkable,” Gotham said. “And it’s certainly a labor of love for the advancement team and the college because this is one of our most treasured features on this campus.” 

Originally home to the president of the Normal School, the Alumni House has been a faculty lounge and at one point it had a diner in it. Now, it is used for meetings, celebrations and receptions. 

Rosa LaSorte Rich was the main donor of the project. She had developed the idea when she served as the substitute advisor for the class of 1966. 

“Every year the classes decide what they want to do for their 50th year, usually they do a scholarship,” Rich said. “So the question came up, ‘what scholarship do you want to do,’ and I said ‘you know, there’s enough scholarships; we should do something for the college.’ And as we talked, I came up with this idea of the patio.” 

The patio is much more than what she envisioned. Rich would love to see the patio utilized by the community. 

“What I would like very much is what we’re doing today,” Rich said. “And it’s a community, so I want people in town… [to] sit down and relax and have a cup of coffee or whatever, just read. One day when [the renovations were] just started…there was a woman who was sitting with her two children, and she was just sitting and relaxing. I said ‘that’s, that’s what it should be.’” 

Mary ’85 and Paul ’86 Auersperg also made a donation to the Alumni House. The new back porch, which used to be a shed, has a plaque dedicated in their honor. 

“Rosie [LaSorte Rich] really started it, and then we came in behind to help her, to help finish the projects off,” Paul said. 

Both Mary and Paul admit they did not really know about the Alumni House as students. 

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it was used much back then that we were aware of,” Mary said. 

“And this side of Hartwell Hall, the campus always kind of ended on that side of Hartwell Hall, right?” Paul said. “Because all the classes are there and all the activity, and if you came into Hartwell, you came into the back. So I love the fact that we’re starting to, you know, put a focus on this side of Hartwell Hall; it’s so pretty here. So I hope the students get to use it.” 

Additionally, the front porch was renovated and a plaque dedicated to Sal Salorenzo ’61 is displayed on it. President of smartDESIGN Architecture Ed Smart worked on the project. 

President Macpherson explained the renovations synced with the college’s strategic plan. 

“We are building a better Brockport every day, every year, every moment on this campus,” Macpherson said. “Sometimes building a better Brockport means we put up a residence hall called Eagle Hall and we have 263 students living in a beautiful space. Sometimes building a better Brockport means we create an Academic Success Center that draws together the opportunities for our students to be successful and helps them understand and reach their goal. But other times building a better Brockport is all about building community. It’s all about building space to have people to be together, to celebrate and recognize what happens when we talk, when we spend time together, when we sit in nature and when we reflect on the history and the heritage of this place, this college, that everything is meant to all of us.”

Photo of the Week

Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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