Alfred University News

SUNY Chancellor John King returns to Alfred University as part of 64-campus tour

State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. returned to Alfred University on Friday afternoon, April 12, during his tour of the SUNY system. King also spent time in Alfred last spring as part of his visits to SUNY’s 64 institutions.

King met with Alfred University administrators, including Mark Zupan, president, Beth Ann Dobie, provost and chief operating officer, Gabrielle Gaustad ’04, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering and vice president of Statutory Affairs, Lauren Lake, dean of the School of Art and Design and Performing Arts Division, and Brian Sullivan, dean of Libraries. He toured facilities in the School of Art and Design and Performing Arts Division, the School of Engineering, and Scholes Library, which are part of the New York State College of Ceramics.

Gaustad talked about a joint project between Alfred University and the U.S. Army Research Lab to research forming and characterization of ultra-high temperature ceramic (UHTC) materials. The project is supported by $13.5 million in federal funding and focuses on conducting high temperature characterization of UHTC materials used in defense systems to improve performance. Scott Misture ’90, Ph.D. ‘95, Inamori Professor, materials science and engineering, serves as principal investigator for the research, much of which will be conducted in the Center for High Temperature Characterization (CHTC) at Alfred University.

Gaustad also discussed funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to support research into glass recycling initiatives. Among the projects included in that grant program are research into developing concrete strengthened with waste glass—which would significantly decrease the carbon footprint of concrete—and creating new ways to wash wine bottles to make them suitable for reuse, which would dramatically decrease the amount of glass waste going into landfills.

King heard about the National Casting Center foundry which will be located in the University’s former heating plant. The facility, funded with a combination of philanthropy—a $6 million gift from University Trustee Michele Cohen and her husband, Martin—$8.3 million in support from the SUNY Construction Fund. Once completed, the foundry will facilitate a number of art/engineering academic and co-curricular intersections, including programs focused on metallurgy and refractories and a number of student clubs (blacksmithing, forging, and bladesmithing among them).

Following the opening discussion, Gaustad and Lake led King on tours of the Inamori School of Engineering and School of Art and Design and Performing Arts Division, where King met with faculty and students. Sullivan led King’s visit to Scholes Library, where the chancellor met several members of the library staff and spoke with students in the library’s Special Collections. Throughout his visit, King engaged with students, discussing how they came to Alfred University, their academic pursuits, and their long-term plans.

The tour of the School of Engineering included a stop at the Ceramic Research, Education and Technology Enterprise (CREATE) Center, located on the first floor of the McMahon Engineering Building. The CREATE Center, supported by $7.75 million grant from the State University of New York, administered by the SUNY Construction Fund, houses a research facility focusing on the development of novel materials and scalable processes in the areas of additive manufacturing/3-D printing, high-temperature processing, and ceramic machining/finishing.

During his tour of the CREATE Center, King saw a demonstration of 3-D printing equipment, used by students in both the art and engineering schools. The chancellor heard from junior ceramic engineering major Jane Heffernan and senior art student Ben Deutsch about how additive manufacturing is utilized in their research and creative endeavors. King also met Erin Berry, a Master of Fine Arts student; Chao Liu, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering; and Erin Taylor, digital design and fabrication technician.

woman talking with man in suit and tie
SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. (right) talks with junior ceramic engineering major Jane Heffernan during King’s tour of the Inamori School of Engineering additive manufacturing labs.

King toured the X-Ray Refraction (XRD) Labs in McMahon, where Misture discussed the ARL-funded high temperature ceramic project and research into battery development. Among the students King spoke with was Olivia Gilbert, a senior materials science and engineering major and one of the University’s two 2024 SUNY Chancellors Award for Student Excellence recipients.

He also met Cooper Howard, PhD student in materials science and engineering; Molly Shibitov, a junior ceramic engineering major who is a full-time employee of Corning Incorporated; Yuxuan Sun, a ceramic engineering PhD candidate; Iva Milisavljevic, a post-doctoral researcher; and Allyson Campbell, a junior materials science and engineering major. Campbell, an Alfred native, transferred to Alfred from Rutgers University, where she was studying chemical engineering.

King spent time in Scholes Library’s Special Collections room, where he talked with student workers from a variety of academic backgrounds, including Zulaika Yusuff, a theater and global studies major; Jordan Annlee, a glass engineering science major, and Victoria Vice, an art major, both of whom are Herrick Library Public Services student worker; and Gio Kane, an art student who works in the Scholes Library archives.

The chancellor wrapped up his visit in Harder Hall, where he met Chelsea McMaster and discussed her upcoming MFA exhibition, “The Unbound Archives.” He also talked with senior Emilia Donenberg Smith, a physics and art double-major, who was preparing her senior BFA thesis exhibition. Smith is Alfred University’s other 2024 SUNY Chancellors Award for Student Excellence honoree and is a 2024 Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Award winner.