SUNY Cobleskill recognized five of its community members at this year’s Coby Family Weekend, adding three names to the Wall of Fame, and awarding two alums for their professional achievements and community service. Awards and recognitions were given during the weekend’s Golden Grads & Alumni Awards Brunch, celebrating the “Golden Grad” Class of 1973.
2023 Wall of Fame Inductees:
Mark Finney ’84 was an alum and cherished member of the SUNY Cobleskill community who passed away this year, leaving a cherished legacy. Finney enjoyed a career as a teacher in Delhi, New York, and later in Little River, South Carolina. Upon his retirement from teaching, he returned to his hometown of Cortland in 2008, quickly reconnecting with his alma mater. When he stopped by the College’s booth at the New York State Fair, Mark set on a 15-year journey as a member of the Cobleskill Campus Childcare Center Board of Directors and the Alumni Association Board, to which he served in various capacities, including President and Secretary. Mark became synonymous with the College’s presence at the State and County Fairs, giving freely of his time to support recruitment efforts. Over those years, Finney estimated that he volunteered more than 1,200 hours representing the College at these fairs.
Dr. MacDonald John Holmes served as the College’s Dean of Agriculture from 1988 to 1997 and as Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1997 to 2002. Prior to Dr. Holmes’ career in academia, he built the Cobleskill Veterinary Clinic with his uncle, Dr. John Holmes, where he practiced veterinary medicine for 27 years. He considered himself truly fortunate and humbled to have had two rewarding careers in which to further the fields of agriculture and education. Throughout his life, Dr. Holmes served numerous community and professional organizations. He was a 50-year member of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties, President of the Cobleskill Board of Education, and Board President for the Community Hospital of Schoharie County. A beloved servant to the College and to the Town of Cobleskill, Mac passed away in August at the age of 86.
Dr. Olive Scott served as SUNY Cobleskill’s first female Provost, helping introduce the College’s first bachelor’s program after taking the role in 1987. Under her stewardship, the College developed new academic degree programs with a vision toward present and future workforce needs and opened an ambitious partnership with John Deere. On June 30, 2008, Dr. Scott was appointed chair of the SUNY Cobleskill College Council by Governor David Paterson, a role she held until 2019. During this period, she was instrumental and guided the College with a steady hand, working with campus leadership to navigate the major shifts across the higher education landscape, including chairing the college presidential search in 2015. Dr. Scott’s legacy is all around us today, in every program, and every inch of our campus, with service and dedication that is unparalleled.
SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio, Ph.D., said, “The Wall of Fame honors remarkable individuals who have made indelible contributions to our community. It serves as an inspirational beacon for current and future generations and underscores the values of excellence, commitment, and leadership that this College holds dear. Our 2023 inductees remind us of the potential for greatness within each of us and the profound impact we can have on our communities. The Wall of Fame thus becomes a living testament to the power of dedication and serves as a source of motivation for all who encounter it. In essence, it encapsulates the rich history and promising future of SUNY Cobleskill.”
The College’s Alumni Association bestowed its annual awards at Coby Family Weekend. Award recipients demonstrate an ongoing commitment to professional achievement and community involvement.
2023 Alumni Awards Honorees:
Nicole Gisondi ’20 was honored with the 2023 Rising Alumna Award. Since graduating with a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology, Gisondi went on to earn her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with a focus on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. With her lifelong passion and undeniable drive to help others, Gisondi is now a Licensed Therapist with CNY Mental Health Counseling in Syracuse, helping clients overcome anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, grief, and loss. Gisondi uses her knowledge and talent to give back to her alma mater by partnering with the campus Wellness Center and offering compassionate and relatable remote counseling to current SUNY Cobleskill students. Many of our students have come to find their voice through Gisondi’s guidance.
Guy Rob Scott was recognized as the 2023 Outstanding Alumnus. Scott earned his Associate’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife and his academic journey later took him to Utah State University for Environmental Science, Syracuse University for a Master’s in Public Administration, and certificates from UCLA and Harvard Business School. Scott now serves as the CEO of Blue Eagle Strategies, a management consulting firm in upstate New York. He’s worked in business consulting for 15 years, also having 22 years of experience in the utility industry, holding several national leadership roles with Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Arcadis, and NRG, and National Grid. has been a Wish Granter with Make-A-Wish of Central New York for 15 years and has been a member of its board of directors for six.