Sunday, May 6, 2007

Letters from the Editor

Notable and Newsworthy: VIP Profiles Issue: 16, May 6, 2007

This week we bring a focus on the student body of SUNY Geneseo. With the Spring Semester coming to a close and graduation standing like a beacon of freedom at the end of the week, we wanted to take some time out for the students.

We feature a collection of male, Geneseo cross country and track athletes whom we live with at our respective quarters. From Ben, it is the upstanding gentlemen of the Sophomore Suite in Genesee Hall, while Joseph brings you part one of the "Seniors of 69" Second Street.

These are shorter profiles written to give you a taste of just a small group of the students at Geneseo.

Enjoy this week's VIPs, and remember to wear sunscreen.


Joseph Norman
SUNY Geneseo '08
Notable and Newsworthy

Life and Times of JWN

This past week marked the end of the "regular season" for the Spring Semester and the start of the "playoffs." After a quadruple header of classes on Tuesday, I took part in a two game series that spanned from Thursday to Friday.

In an away game at Newton Lecture Hall on Thursday, I dominated Principles of Financial Accounting in a grueling one hundred multiple choice showdown. Then I ventured back to the home course of Welles Hall on Friday afternoon (home of the English Department) for a meeting of the minds with William Shakespeare.

Unlike baseball, where you know the score at the end of the game, the verdict is still out on these two early postseason match ups. But, I feel pretty confident in my performance.

In other news, I organized a private mine tour of American Rock Salt with a local friend, Don Heit, Mine Foreman. This trip was put together primarily as a graduation present for one of the "Seniors of 69," James Tillapaugh. The lineup included a few other celebrity guest all-stars though, Ben DeGeorge, Ross Hunkovic, and Lindsay Quist-Chaffee (see above photo).

I also spoke on behalf of the Finance Club and Student Managed Investment Fund at the Spring Business Advisory Council meeting organized by the Jones School of Business. In addition, I ate at VIP President Dahl's home for an Admission's Ambassadors recognition dinner. It was a solid week of public relations and academic challenge.

My tip of the week is on public relations: If you want to get to know more people, speak in front of them. Make them want to know you. This is a lesson I learned from previous book recommendation, Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Black Book of Connections.

~ Joseph

Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath:

“Preparing for a Lifetime”

By: Joseph W. Norman

Bill Rodgers once stated, “To be a consistent winner means not just preparing one day, one month, or even one year, but for a lifetime.” Michael McGrath, a senior Accounting major at the State University of New York at Geneseo, has a poster with this quote on the wall next to his bed. For Michael it is something that symbolizes what it means to be active in life. He said, “It is a process of continuing to make more and more of yourself.” In his own pursuits, Michael has developed a lifestyle in which he consistently seeks to achieve more for himself in all facets of his life.

Michael currently resides at the fine household of 69 Second Street in Geneseo, with his fellow teammates on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. His interests throughout his twenty-one year life have varied, but he seems to have found a few things he is passionate about. After graduation he will be working for Tronconi, Segarra, and Associates, an accounting firm in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Here he will work and study for the CPA examination (Certified Public Accountant), an essential qualification for accountants.

Michael has two siblings, Mary, 19, and Jack, 23, who are all very close. Mary attends SUNY Geneseo and runs on the teams as well, while Jack attends the University at Buffalo. Jack first sparked Michael’s interest in running by getting involved with it himself at a young age. Watching his older brother compete, Michael developed an awareness of the sport and started to pursue it.

With a deep love of both baseball and basketball, Michael first started running to get into shape for these sports. Soon, basketball fell off the radar and Michael began to focus on cross country while continuing to play baseball in the spring. With some work behind the scenes by his assistant coach at Kenmore West High School, Michael started to be recruited by Geneseo Coach Michael Woods. After meeting with Woods, Michael decided he might be a good fit in the successful Geneseo running program. At Geneseo he has been extremely happy, and has certainly made an impact on his team.

In an emotional moment, he described one of his fondest memories at Geneseo, the Regional Cross Country meet his junior year. In a race when Geneseo was considered out of the running for an NCAA birth because of the strength of The College of New Jersey and the New York University squads (top two teams qualified for the NCAA Championship) Michael led a charge of seven Geneseo men who defied the odds.

Although Michael had no idea what was going on behind him, he still dug deep and fought through the finish. Upon completion of the race, when all the news he heard throughout the race was that the team was out of it and he had to fight for an individual spot, Michael found out that Geneseo nearly won.

He confesses, “When I finished, someone told me that we might have won the race and I couldn’t believe it: The guys behind me ran a hell of a race, a lot of people didn’t think our team could make it and looking back it really meant a lot to me.”

Something that irks Michael is people who sell them self short with thoughts of self doubt. “A lot of people out there have a lot of potential to be great, but they just do not see it inside themselves.” He urges people to believe in their abilities and not limit themselves with negative thought.

On to the lighter side of Michael, he loves a good cheeseburger, watching a Yankee game, and taking a nice nap. He sleeps about eight hours a night, but the cat naps during the day keep him going. “I’ll sneak a nap in whenever I can,” he joked. Although he admits to not reading enough, he said he enjoys reading running books and staying up on current events.

Michael defines success pretty simply: “It is doing something you enjoy and being happy with it and satisfied at the end of the day that you made a difference in someone else’s life or your own.”

He believes a good leader should be hard working, have the respect of the people they are leading, and have the ability to see weaknesses in them and have the humility to surround themselves with stronger people in those areas. Also, he attests that a good leader needs to be approachable and compassionate with who he or she leads.

To a new college student Michael says, “Understand that everyone coming in is in the same situation as you: therefore, relax and know that it is really not that big of a deal.” He continues, “You got into the college because you belong there. Do your best and believe in yourself.” The rest he believes will take care of itself.

Michael is a man who has truly enjoyed his college experience, from the classes, to the races, to the other extra-curricular activities he has been involved with (such as the Accounting Society, the Finance Club, and the Student Managed Investment Fund). Through his efforts he has stayed disciplined and worked hard to improve himself, modeling the Bill Rodgers’ quote that speaks to him daily from above his bed. “To be a consistent winner means not just preparing one day, one month, or even one year, but for a lifetime.”

Michael A. McGrath

SUNY Geneseo ‘07

B.S. Accounting

James Tillapaugh

James Tillapaugh:

Work Ethic and Discipline

By: Joseph W. Norman

James Tillapaugh is a senior Physics major at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Growing up on a farm in Cobleskill, New York, James learned the importance of work ethic and responsibility. These two characteristics have not only made him a successful academic throughout his first twenty two years, but also an accomplished athlete. Just a summer time soccer player as a boy, James got into running thanks to his older brother Mike’s influence. Now, the sport has brought him much fulfillment and has created some of his lasting memories at Geneseo where he runs Cross Country and Track and Field.

CDS Tillapaugh, the family farm, is run by James’ father, mother, and uncle. When speaking about growing up on the farm, James said, “It was fun as a kid because you always had somewhere to go after school.” James, his brother, and his cousins would fish in the farm pond, build forts, and run around in the woods. The farm also turned out to be a bit of the inspiration for James’s academic pursuits of physics, mechanical and agricultural engineering. After graduation, James will attend Penn State University to study Agricultural Engineering.

James said that being on the farm always meant there was something that needed to be fixed. He quipped, “When the tractor is sitting in the middle of the driveway, you know something is wrong.” Throughout his life he used opportunities like this to learn how all of the machinery worked. Now he is at a point where he can problem solve these mechanical issues on his own. “Living on a farm you are expected to get your work done,” James states. When something breaks, it needs to be fixed, otherwise the business suffers.

The demands of the farm lead to a disciplined lifestyle for James, but he balances it by spending time with friends, participating in athletics, and occasionally watching some television (more at home than at school). James enjoys a few T.V. programs such as The Simpsons, The Office, and Home Improvement. Watching Nascar is another hobby for James as he occasionally takes a day off from the farm to attend a live race in the Pocono’s with his family.

In James’ spare time, he also enjoys reading farming and agriculture publications and can often be found with the used tractor and farm equipment magazine, Fastline. He sleeps between eight and nine hours a night, his favorite foods are pork chops and his mother’s meat loaf (although he did not like it as a child), and his favorite candy bar is the infamous Butterfinger.

In high school at Cobleskill – Richmondville, James was Valedictorian of his class of around 150 students. Also, he was New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Champion in the 800m run amongst C-D sized schools. He has extended this success into his college career, locking up a variety of academic awards and championship runs. His personal record of 1:53.37 in the 800m is amongst the top times for this event in his collegiate region. To James, it is not necessarily about the competition and winning. He states, “It does not define me that I have to go out and win something: It is more, I want to prove to myself that I can do it.”

This humble attitude describes the soft spoken James Tillapaugh with great accuracy. As captain of the Geneseo Cross County and Track and Field teams, he is a quiet leader that can always be counted on to get the job done. He saw this style of quiet leadership modeled by his father throughout his life on the farm. James believes an attribute of a good leader is a strong knowledge base in the task at hand and confidence in what one is doing. He reflects, “You cannot have someone telling you what to do, when they do not even know what they are doing.”

James has a consistent attitude with every activity he gets involved with and it stems from this: “When you get a job, it is your job to do and you should work on it until it is done,” he says. This approach to life has helped make James the strong, humble, reliable leader that he is today amongst his peers. Although he does not see himself as a good manager, particularly in terms of running the business end of the farm, he does have the work ethic to keep the fields plowed, the hey in the barn, and the cows milked.

This passion for farming may bring James back to CDS Tillapaugh after his tenure at Penn State, but he does not like to predict the future. Success to James is not about making “millions or billions of dollars.” Rather, he states, “Success is doing what you want to do and being content with what you have.” Reflecting on a universal truth in society, James said, “People always say they want more than they have, but you just need to be happy with what you have already got.” This principle will no doubt keep James content with his pursuits.

James A. Tillapaugh

SUNY Geneseo ‘07

B.S. Physics

Penn State University ‘09

Agricultural Engineering