SUNY Orange Foundation Recognizes "Excellence in the Arts" Awardees

The SUNY Orange Foundation recently recognized “Excellence in the Arts” when it hosted its 10th Leadership Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 14 in Orange Hall on the College's Middletown campus.

About the winners:

Focus Media, Inc., awarded Leadership in Business by the SUNY Orange Foundation, was founded in 2002 by president and CEO Josh Sommers, is one of the largest public relations and advertising agencies in New York State, outside of New York City. With a staff of more than 20 professionals, Focus Media is a multi-faceted communications organization specializing in public relations, crisis communications, marketing, business and sales strategy, advertising, market research, design, search engine marketing and web development.

Focus Media represents many client-partners, including Empire Resorts, Suez, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Orange Regional Medical Center, Walden Savings Bank, Elant, Ulster County Tourism, Mt. Vernon City School District, MetroVac, Aurochemical, Villa Roma Resort, Orange County Tourism, Rockland Business Association, Construction Contractors Association, Orange County IDA, Catskill Regional Medical Center, and many other prominent organizations.

Storm King Art Center, awarded Leadership in Community, is celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks. Storm King Art Center has welcomed visitors from across the globe for 50 years. Its pristine 500-acre landscape of fields, hills, and woodlands provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, spanning the years from post-World War II to the present and including a number of specially commissioned site-specific works.

The nonprofit center was founded and opened to the public in 1960, thanks to the efforts of the late Ralph E. Ogden and H. Peter Stern, co-owners of the Mountainville-based Star Expansion Company. Although Storm King was originally envisioned as a museum devoted to the Hudson River School, by 1961 its founders had become committed to modern sculpture.

Under John Stern’s leadership as president over the past eight years, Storm King has tripled its attendance, expanded the board, created a strategic plan, recruited talented new senior staff, developed new sources of income, opened a cafe and bike rentals, expanded education and public programs, and organized its first off-site public art exhibition.

Dorothy Dwyer Szefc (class of ’81), Leadership in Education awardee, has been serving as the cultural affairs coordinator at SUNY Orange for the past 16 years. Szefc has organized and grown the College’s robust program of lectures, concerts, master classes, poetry and writing readings, stage and children’s theatre performances, films, and exhibits for two campuses.

Szefc has served on the boards of directors/trustees of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Orange Orchestral Society, and the Orange County Arts Council, chairing its Arts Awards Committee. Additionally, she was a member of the Executive Council of Music in the Mountains at SUNY New Paltz and the Contemporary Arts Alumni Advisory Board at Ramapo College, as well as the Orange County Citizens Foundation Exhibit Committee. She was the first female president of the Middletown Babe Ruth Baseball League.

She continues to help and encourage individuals and groups, particularly in the arts. Szefc has been a volunteer in many capacities, including chairing two balls benefitting the American Heart Association. She has curated and installed hundreds of fine and folk art and historical and timely exhibits, originated the Orange Classic Festival Art Show, and worked on many facets of community events such as the Star Spangled Spectacular and Orange County Day.

Matthew Dorcas (class of ’98) is an award-winning entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in old and new media. He has been singular in his commitment to both quality and community, dedicating years of hard work to bring world-class marketing and media to New York State.

In his current role as executive vice-president and partner at Clutter Studios, Beacon, N.Y., Dorcas is an integral player in the sales and operations of the full-service marketing agency, the magazine and web publishing division, the monthly activities of the Clutter Gallery, toy production and the annual Designer Toy Awards.

From the 2003 Grand Prize in Creative Commercial Production for the Cable Advertising Awards to the several Telly awards over the years, Dorcas  is known for excellence. He produced an award-winning short film with Maya Angelou and has won two silver Telly’s for his work with the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges.

And, Tony Meola (Class of ’74) took home the Edward A. Diana Alumni Leadership Award. Meola became interested in sound at an early age. His appreciation for music and the way it’s made was greatly impacted by the hours he spent practicing his clarinet and performing with school music ensembles.

Starting with Lincoln Center Theater’s acclaimed revival of Anything Goes, directed by Jerry Zaks, Tony’s list of Broadway smashes is dazzling: “Guys and Dolls,” “She Loves Me,” “Five Guys Named Moe,” “Smokey Joe’s CafĂ©,” “Shogun, the Musical,” “A Grand Night for Singing,” “The Red Shoes,” “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public,” “A Christmas Carol” (at Madison Square Garden), “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” “Company,” “Moon Over Buffalo,” “The King and I,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Juan Darien,” “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” “Steel Pier,” “The Lion King,” “The Sound of Music,” “High Society,” “Footloose,” “The Wild Party,” “Copenhagen,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Laugh Whore,” “The Ritz,” “Pal Joey,” “Lysystrata Jones,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” and “Wicked.”

He received the Drama Desk Award for his work on “Lion King” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” and was nominated for the 1998 American Theatre Wing Design Award for “The Sound of Music.” While a student at Ithaca College, he secured an internship at the New York Shakespeare Festival, which was developing an unusual musical that would become “A Chorus Line.”

The SUNY Orange Foundation was established as a non-profit corporation in 1987. The mission of the Foundation is to generate funds and build resources to enhance learning opportunities for students and the community. During the 2015-16 academic year, the Foundation expects to award more than $320,000 in scholarships to help deserving SUNY Orange students.

Photo: provided.