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Michael Cravotta '85 reflects on his time at Brockport

by Zach Wagner - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 1st 2019 11:50 pm
Brockport alumnus Michael Cravotta returned to The College at Brockport for Homecoming Week to meet with students, faculty and staff. Cravotta recently created a scholarship in his name to share the same opportunities he had during his time at Brockport.
Brockport alumnus Michael Cravotta returned to The College at Brockport for Homecoming Week to meet with students, faculty and staff. Cravotta recently created a scholarship in his name to share the same opportunities he had during his time at Brockport.

In the wake of Homecoming Weekend, students and staff prepared for a weekend full of events and celebrations, welcoming back some of The College at Brockport’s cherished alumni. Among the many former Golden Eagles that made the trip back to campus was class of 1985 graduate Michael Cravotta. Returning after 18 years, Cravotta plans to provide students with more opportunities than he had as a student. 

Cravotta’s journey at Brockport started early for the Batavia native. Both of Cravotta’s parents also attended Brockport, giving birth to him while still enrolled at the college in 1962. 

“My first visit to Brockport was in ’62; my father met my mother and I was an early graduation present,” Cravotta said. 

When it finally came time for Cravotta to make his decision on where he wanted to continue his education, he already had a list of schools in mind, including University of Florida and Purdue University. Cravotta saw Brockport as a safety net, just in case the others did not work out. 

“I applied to a number of colleges: University of Florida because I thought it would be nice to be on the beach, Purdue University, a number of NCAA-type colleges,” Cravotta said. “Brockport was my safety college so to speak. I was accepted into a number of places, but they all had conditions.” 

Purdue University gave Cravotta a chance but told him he would have to go door-to-door looking for a place to live as housing was at full capacity. After some careful thought, Cravotta decided to give Brockport a try for a year to see where it could lead him. 

“When you start college you want to focus on college, not where you are going to live tomorrow,” Cravotta said. “So I actually decided for the year I’ll go to Brockport, then I’ll transfer; people transfer all the time.” 

After his first year, Cravotta realized Brockport suited him better than he previously expected. He became involved in organizations on campus like the Brockport Student Government (BSG) and The Stylus. He discovered he had all the resources needed at his disposal and had fewer students to compete with, giving himself a chance to shine. 

“I realized in my first year, [Brockport] was the perfect size for me to excel and still had all the resources to let me do stuff,” Cravotta said. “It was near Rochester, so that enabled me to do internships and I did four during my time at Brockport.” 

Through those internships, Cravotta was gifted with a job as a primary writer and designer with Burroughs Corporation, an advertising and marketing company. Throughout his career, Cravotta has held many positions, including working in personal relations as well as directing and creating ads. Both positions allowed Cravotta to travel to cities like New York and Los Angeles. 

“The fourth [internship] the boss told me when he chose me for the co-op, he said ‘I change my mind, I’d rather hire you,’” Cravotta said. “Now is that really what I wanted to do? Um no, I had a blast, I really enjoyed it, I stayed for two years. That lead to another job, everything I ever wanted to do is what led me to the next job.” 

Now at the tail-end of his career, Cravotta is reflecting on where it all began. He feels the opportunities he received at Brockport were special, and he is more thangrateful for all they have done for him. 

Today, he believes it is his turn to share the graditude, working with the college to create the Michael D. Cravotta ’85 Media Communications Scholarship. 

“I’ve been fortunate, I’ve been blessed and toward the end of my career I’ve realized Brockport had a big hand in what I’ve been able to do, and I’ve never really given back to the college what they’ve given to me,” Cravotta said. “Now I’m figuring it’s my turn to give back.” 

Brockport sophomore Shay Gauthier is majoring in Journalism and Broadcasting, with a double minor in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies, and is one of the two recipients who received the scholarship from Cravotta. When she found out she was selected for the scholarship, she was emotional, happy to be recognized for all of her hard work. 

“I cried, I’m not going to lie, in the sense that you work so hard to accomplish what it is you want to accomplish, to have that be validated in some sort of way is incredibly meaningful,” Gauthier said. 

Shelby Toth, also a Journalism and Broadcasting major and a senior at the college, was the second recipient of the scholarship. 

“Getting this scholarship means so much to me and was totally unexpected,” Toth said. “I loved that the scholarship had to go to a member of a media club [on campus], because we put so much into our organizations and to have someone recognize that is amazing.” 

Cravotta was able to help two students work toward that next step after graduation through his scholarship. In the future, Cravotta hopes to make more change in the Brockport community, while pushing more alumni to join in the movement.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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