Alfred University News

Alfred University honors two longtime employees at Board of Trustees Dinner, spotlights athletics

Two longtime employees—Mark Lewis, College of Business dean, and Mary McAllister, corporate secretary to the University—were recognized at Thursday (May 9) evening’s Board of Trustees dinner. The University’s athletics program, following the Saxon Hill Sports Complex groundbreaking ceremony held earlier in the evening, was also highlighted.

Lewis, a native of nearby Almond, came to Alfred University in 2010 as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business, following his retirement from the New York Stock Exchange, where he had served 13 years. Prior to the NYSE, Lewis spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1997 as a lieutenant colonel.

In 2012, Lewis was appointed interim dean of what was then the School of Business, and was named dean shortly after, when the School was restored as the College of Business. While Lewis is stepping down as dean, effective June 30, he will remain in his faculty position of associate professor of finance and analytics. An avid outdoorsman, he will continue to serve as steward of the University-owned Foster Lake recreational area.

“Mark Lewis personifies our three key strengths: intersections, mentorship, and inclusivity,” Mark Zupan, University president, commented. He noted a few of the College’s accomplishments under Lewis’ guidance: the addition of degree programs in Equine Business Management and Data and Business Analytics, and the development of new experiential learning opportunities. “It has been a joy to have Mark as a colleague.”

McAllister is retiring at the end of July after more than 24 years at the University—as executive assistant in the President’s Office from 2000-16 and as corporate secretary since July 2015.

Zupan cited McAllister’s “dedication, the long hours she puts in, and her winning attitude” in recognizing her for her service to the University.

woman and man standing by podium
Mary McAllister (right), corporate secretary at Alfred University, is shown here with Mark Zupan, University president, during Thursday’s Board of Trustees dinner. McAllister is retiring, effective July 31, following a 24-year career at the University.

“Thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed working with each and every one of you,” McAllister commented. “I will miss you.”

Zupan recognized the members of two search committees: for the College of Business dean’s position and for the associate dean’s position in the Division of Performing Arts.

The College of Business dean search committee includes Robert Stein, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Halil Zaim, associate professor of management; Theresa Gunn ‘’96, MBA ‘’98, associate professor of accountancy and associate dean, College of Business; and Angie Taylor, chief diversity officer. Trustees assisting in the search include Marianne Gaige ’80, Terry Galanis Jr., William Giles ’81, and Patricia St. George.

The Performing Arts associate dean search committee includes Brian Sullivan, dean of Libraries; Kevin Kolton Bradley, assistant professor of theater; Zach Hamm, Clinical Associate Professor of theater design and technical director; and Sarah Love, director of enrollment operations, Division of Enrollment Management.

During the dinner, the University showcased its athletics program at the dinner, screening a highlight video of the Saxons’ sports teams. Earlier in the day, ground was broken on the Saxon Hill Sports Complex, a $30 million athletics facility atop Jericho Hill in the town of Alfred. Construction on the facility— home to the baseball, men’s and women’s rugby, and men’s and women’s cross country and outdoor track and field teams, as well as a new field hockey team—begins early this summer and will be completed in fall of 2025. It is expected to increase student enrollment by 170 over the next six years and boost student retention efforts.

The $30 million cost of Saxon Hill will be supported by philanthropic giving which has exceeded $10 million, the threshold Trustees required before the project would gain final approval.

“Today is a momentous day,” Zupan said. “We as a University have challenges we deal with. What happened with Saxon Hill gives us great confidence. The team came together to realize this important goal.”

“What an accomplishment for the University,” said Lee James, a staff member for Congressman Nick Langworthy, representative of the 23rd Congressional district of New York State. “The (Saxon Hill) complex will be a keynote for years to come, for recruitment and for the entire area.”

Deb Steward, associate vice president for Student Experience, Athletics, and Recreation, spoke about some of the athletics program’s accomplishments over the 2023-24 year.

Nearly 500 student-athletes competed throughout the year, and more than 50 of them accumulated a perfect 4.0 grade point average. The department initiated an Athletics Academic Success Program, headed by Nicole Bernsen, the new director of the rugby program and head women’s rugby coach. The inaugural Saxon Day of Giving, held in March, raised $142,000 for athletics, with more than 1,200 individual gifts. Teams that won Empire 8 Conference championships were women’s tennis and women’s volleyball, while the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams earned a combined 10 individual and team Empire 8 titles. The cheerleading team competed in its first-ever national championships, and four members of the equestrian team competed in the national show.

Steward also noted that the softball team is in the midst of competing at the Empire 8 championship tournament at St. John Fisher, which runs through Saturday, the day of Alfred University’s commencement. Softball coach Luke Wesneski asked Steward if a short, 10-minute graduation ceremony could be arranged for his five seniors in the event they were still competing on Saturday.

“Mark (Zupan) rallies the troops, and we have a mini graduation in Galanis Arena,” Steward related. Zupan made some comments, and Carolyn Clark ’90, Board of Trustees chair, handed out certificates. “This is our Alfred University leadership; this is why I am here.”