Graduate Success Stories

Onondaga graduates have a history of success.  Below are just a few of the thousands of graduate success stories. 

Kelly J. Burke, D.M.A. ’80, Music
Educator and Musician

After graduating from Onondaga, Dr. Burke earned bachelor and master of music degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and a D.M.A. from the University of Michigan. She is a professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

John B. Dau ’05, Humanities

John Dau is one of the former “Lost Boys” who fled the war-torn country of Sudan to find safe refuge in the United States. He is one of three people featured in the award winning documentary film “God Grew Tired of Us,” based on Dau’s book of the same title. Mr. Dau is president of the CNY American Care for Sudan Foundation and the Sudanese Lost Boys Foundation of New York, and has successfully raised funds to build a health clinic in his hometown in southern Sudan. He is a 2006 recipient of the Onondaga Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Helen M. Etherington, Ed.D. ’65,

Dr. Etherington began her career at Onondaga in 1970, and has served in several roles as professor, chair of the faculty, department chair and vice president for academic and student services. A past member of the Onondaga Foundation Board of Directors, she and her husband are the benefactors of the Helen and John Etherington Scholarship Endowment, which assists Onondaga students in attaining their academic goals.

Mark E. Tryniski ’81, Business
Business Leader

A former partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he spent 18 years, Mr. Tryniski joined Community Bank System, Inc. in 2003 and was appointed President and CEO in 2006. He holds a bachelor of science in accounting from the State University of New York at Oswego and is a certified public accountant. Equally committed to civic engagement and community service, Mr. Tryniski is a board member for several local non-profit arts and educational organizations.

Laurie Halse Anderson ’81

Renowned author Laurie Halse Anderson has written more than 20 books, short-stories and plays for children and young adults. Her works have won countless awards and regularly appear on the New York Times’ and other “bestseller” lists. Speak, published in 2000, earned her a National Book Award nomination, and was made into a movie appearing on Showtime and the Lifetime Channel. Through her frequent lectures at schools, libraries and community centers across the country, Ms. Halse Anderson continues to inspire generations of young readers.

Sharon A. BuMann ’75
Sharon BuMann began working as a professional sculptor in 1977. Specializing in terra cotta and bronze, Ms. BuMann’s expertise includes traditional fine art sculpture as well as architectural collaborations. Her works range in scale from miniature to monumental. Popularly known for her imaginative butter sculptures at state and county fairs in New York, Texas and Oklahoma, her public commissions, including the historic bronze monument “Jerry Rescue” installed in Syracuse’s Clinton Square, are widely hailed. Ms. BuMann’s personal works, held by private collectors and in galleries and museums across the country, have also earned widespread acclaim.

Wendy Faulkner ’72
IT Executive, Philanthropist

A world-class leader in the Information Technology field, Wendy Faulkner held executive positions with numerous companies including MONY and most recently, AON Corporation. She provided leadership to teams working in countries around the globe, and on September 11, 2001, she tragically lost her life in the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. Ms. Faulkner’s memory and her philanthropic spirit live on through The Wendy Foundation, which carries on her commitment to providing much needed resources to poverty-stricken children around the world.

Frank M. Malfitano ’67
Arts Advocate

Frank Malfitano is the founder and executive producer of the annual Syracuse Jazz Fest, the largest free outdoor jazz festivalin the Northeast. Mr. Malfitano is also the former director of Syracuse's Landmark Theater and Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, and the artistic director of the Annual Detroit International Jazz Fest, North America's largest free jazz event. As founder of the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS), Mr. Malfitano has established himself locally, regionally and nationally as a champion of music and music education, and a tireless advocate for the arts. His dedication to promoting jazz worldwide for the past 30 years has earned him numerous awards and accolades.

Gary W. Miguel ’71
Police Chief

During his more than three decades with the Syracuse Police Department, Gary Miguel has risen through the ranks from ‘street cop’ to the leader of a department of more than 500 officers. Appointed Syracuse Chief of Police in 2005, he is noted for his ability to bring police and the community together. Among Chief Miguel’s many achievements are 16 commendations for police excellence and two medals for heroism, conferred once for saving a fellow officer’s life.

Roberto Pratts Palerm ’88

A native of Puerto Rico, Roberto Pratts Palerm went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Cornell University, studied law degree at Georgetown University School of Law and received his law degree from Interamerican University. He has held a number of elected offices in Puerto Rico, including Deputy Mayor of San Juan, and at age 33 he became the youngest person ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. Now in private practice in San Juan, Mr. Pratts Palerm specializes in corporate law and consults with some of the largest companies in the world including Microsoft , Goldman Sachs and Boston Scientific. He continues to be active in politics, currently serving as Chairman of the Democratic Party of the United States in Puerto Rico.

Joy T. White ’94
Chemical Engineer

After earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University, Joy White embarked on her career as a Chemical Engineer with Proctor & Gamble, where she has since held increasingly responsible positions. Coordinating product development for several lines, she provides leadership across multiple company functions. From concept to design to market, Ms. White helps bring innovation to everyday products used in households across the country and around the world. Daughter of the late Ann Felton, Onondaga Professor Emeritus and Diversity Awareness Officer, Ms. White shares her mother’s commitment to community by volunteering with numerous civic and religious organizations.