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Alumni Board Makes Selections

Contributed by Graham Stewart on 03/03/03 

At its February meetings held in New York City, the Alumni Association board of directors selected five alumni and a former staff member for recognition at its awards ceremony held during Alumni Weekend, May 31, and elected three new members to the board.

We encourage all members of the Ithaca College community to make nominations for these awards and for membership on the board. Criteria and nomination forms can be found on line at the alumni website, For more information, contact Graham Stewart, Director of Alumni Relations at

The board recognized the achievements and contributions of five alumni and one former IC staff member with its 2003 awards.

David i. Stewart '67

Distinguished Alumni Award

Frank l. Battisti '53

Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Eslinger

James J. Whalen Meritorious Service Award

Lisa M. Betrus '93

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Philip de Blasi '93

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Eric Jordan Young '93

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Also, three new board members will begin three-year terms on the board beginning this June:

  • Cynthia Vita Vogel '77
  • Craig S. Evans '84
  • Jennifer A. Ohlbaum '97, '98

We look forward to having them assist us in guiding our alumni programs and services for the years to come.

Some details about these award winners and elected board members are below.

2003 Alumni Association Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award
David I. Stewart '67

David Stewart, the former director of community relations and assistant to the vice president for university relations at Cornell University, has served Ithaca College in numerous important roles. He is currently a member of the College's board of trustees, and formerly served as alumni trustee, as well as member of the Alumni Association board of directors where he was chair of the membership committee. He also is a Career Network Volunteer and a Friend of Ithaca College. An active local volunteer, David serves on numerous local, regional, and national community and professional boards and committees.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Frank L. Battisti '53
Music Education

Frank Battisti is one of the most respected champions of music for winds in America. He is past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and his articles on the wind ensemble, music education, and wind literature have been published in many national and international journals. He has conducted professional, university, and school wind bands and ensembles throughout the world and for 30 years he has conducted the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Founder and conductor emeritus of the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, Battisti also founded the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the National Wind Ensemble Conference. He is the former director of bands at Ithaca (N.Y.) High School and a former faculty member and conductor at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, Harvard University, and Ithaca College School of Music. He received an honorary doctorate from Ithaca College in 1992.

James J. Whalen Meritorious Service Award
Roger Eslinger

Roger retired from the College in 2002, but his distinguished record of service to the campus, and positive impact on the lives of students is legendary. As a 30-year employee of Ithaca College, he helped shape the Campus Center and Student Activities programs at Ithaca to a point where they are the envy of other colleges and universities. His dedication and hard work, all in support of the student experience at IC, benefited the thousands of students who, over the years, called the campus center "home." Above all, he dedicated his time, talent, and energies to enabling students to develop their full and true potential as leaders and citizens.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Philip de Blasi '93

Phil graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English literature. Afterwards, he studied film at New York University where he wrote, directed, scored, and produced two short films. His thesis film, Autumn Dreams, appeared at numerous film festivals and is being shown at two premiere internet sites, and Philip studied music theater composition and writing at the advanced BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop ( Under the tutelage of Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic), he composed and wrote the libretto to Frankenstein: a New Musical. He has also sold two screenplays - Red Hollow, a supernatural thriller, and most recently, The Crossing, purchased by New Line Cinema.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Lisa M. Betrus '93

Lisa is currently the CEO/administrator at Valley Health Services, and, when she took the position in 1995, was the youngest licensed nursing home administrator in New York State. Besides implementing numerous groundbreaking programs, Lisa was recently awarded a Caring for the Community Partnership grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and was 2002 recipient of the Mohawk Valley "40 Under 40" award. Lisa helped create the Community Care Alliance, is an executive committee member of the Herkimer County Rural Health Network and is on the boards of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, and the Central New York Community Arts Council. Lisa has returned back to Ithaca annually since graduation as a guest lecturer and Alumni Advisory Committee member for the health services administration department at IC.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Eric Jordan Young '93

Eric has been an active performer since graduation, and put his dancing -- and skating -- feet through their paces. On his first audition, he was selected for the national tour of Dreamgirls.

After the tour, he strapped on his roller skates and headed into the Las Vegas production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, where he remained in the cast until 1996.

He then went on to perform in the first National Tour of Ragtime, and has since returned to New York to perform in Seussical, Chicago, and Ragtime. He returned to Ithaca in 1996 as guest choreographer for The Good Times Are Killing Me.

New Directors of the Board

Cynthia Vita Vogel '77
School of Humanities and Sciences/ Psychology

Cindi, a psychology graduate, is a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc. in Greenville, South Carolina. From 1985 to 1991 she served as director of the College's Alumni Relations Office. As an undergraduate, Cindi was a member of the Egbert Union Staff and has continued her volunteer connection to IC, assisting in fundraising efforts and speaking in classes.

Craig s. Evans '84
School of Music/ Music Education

Craig is assistant to the superintendent of the Ithaca City School District, and serves on the board of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and is president-elect of the Friends of Ithaca College. As an undergraduate, Craig was a member of the College's string orchestra, choir, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Mu Alpha.

Jennifer A. Ohlbaum '97, '98
School of Communications/TV-Radio

Jennifer Ohlbaum is the regional manager for Kaplan test prep in Ithaca, NY. Jen is a Career Network volunteer, was an alumni club leader in the Boston area, and served as reunion committee volunteer for her class's fifth reunion in 2002. At IC, Jen was a staff member for the Ithacan and ICB-TV, a member of Hillel, and member of the President's Host Committee.

Contributed by: Graham Stewart

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