The SUNY Cobleskill Alumni Association has established awards in several categories to honor those alumni who bring distinction to themselves and to their alma mater through outstanding personal and professional achievements. These individuals represent just a few of the thousands of SUNY Cobleskill alumni who contribute in countless ways to the College, their communities and their professions. The Alumni Awards ceremony is held during Coby Family Weekend (Homecoming).
Bob Sutherland’s longstanding dedication to SUNY Cobleskill is felt both on campus,
where he provided expert instruction in the Plant Science Department, and internationally,
as the coordinator of countless study abroad opportunities for students. For the last
10 years he has managed Mohican Farm for The Clark Foundation, spearheading sustainability
initiatives that have led the Farm to recycle more than one million pounds of food
scraps and green waste since 2010. Bob is a member of the Otsego Lake Association’s
Board of Directors, supports “Kid Garden” at Cooperstown Elementary School, and played
a leading role in planning the development of a county-wide composting facility in
Doug Hazlitt is the owner and operator of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, one of the largest
and most popular wineries in the Finger Lakes Region, and producer of multiple acclaimed
labels, including “Red Cat.” Doug graciously donates a significant portion of his
time and wine to several non-profit organizations throughout the Finger Lakes, for
fundraisers, dinners, and auctions. Each year he and his winery pitch in to raise
money for Seneca Santa, a non-profit organization that provides gifts to families
and children residing in Schuyler County. An avid restorer of wood schooners and sailboats,
Doug continues to balance leadership positions in both his industry and community.
Christy joined the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center as an assistant teacher
shortly after graduating from SUNY Cobleskill in 2009. She continued to advance in
her career and industry by attending early childhood conferences and expositions,
and helping the Center earn national accreditation. She subsequently assumed the position
of lead preschool teacher. In 2017, she became director of the Cobleskill Campus Child
Care Center. Her ties to the College’s Early Childhood Department also include an
adjunct teaching position, supervision of practicum students, assistance with Early
Childhood Club activities, and membership on the Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Recently, she has collaborated with Dr. Gail Wentworth on “Generations Together”-
a caregiver respite program for our community.
Jeremy serves as Associate Director of 4-H Youth Development for University of Arizona
Cooperative Extension. Previously, as a Regional 4-H Youth Development Specialist
and County Program Director with University of Missouri Extension, he tripled the
size of the three-county 4-H program, and implemented strategic initiatives to help
diversify program membership. His work often intersects with community service efforts;
Jeremy is a co-founder of Virginia Tech’s Students for Cultivating Change (S4CC).
The organization fosters inclusivity among LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, while seeking
to advance the awareness and presence of this LGBTQ+ individuals within the industry.
A recipient of SUNY Cobleskill’s Outstanding Student Award in 1984, Mark taught school in Delhi, New York, and then in Little River, South Carolina. He returned to the Cobleskill area in 2008 and immediately took on a host of volunteer roles. He served as President, then Secretary, of the SUNY Cobleskill Alumni Association Board of Directors. Among the many College-related activities to which Mark has dedicated his efforts, his role as Fair Coordinator from 2014 to 2017 is of particular note. He estimates he has spent more than 1,200 hours at the SUNY Fair Booth, welcoming fairgoers and “spreading the word” about all that SUNY Cobleskill has to offer.
Steven began his professional career with great success in education administration. Compelled to pursue his lifelong dream of working in television and film, he enrolled in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Steven broke into the television and film industry as a staff writer at Freeform in 2016. Around the same time, he was accepted into the Writers’ Guild of America, West. Producer Ryan Murphy discovered Steven and offered him an invitation to collaborate with him on a new FX series, “Pose.” The show is set in 1986 and examines life and society in New York City. Steven cites his education at SUNY Cobleskill on his long list of accomplishments.
Doug has built a highly successful logging business in Sharon Springs, New York. He credits his ability to maintain and repair the sophisticated equipment his business relies on to the education he received at SUNY Cobleskill. More than willing to regularly share his knowledge with our current students, Doug also hosts an annual field trip to one of his logging sites so that students can get a first-hand view of forestry equipment in action.
Pierce is currently a Sales Management Trainee for Great Plains Manufacturing. In his current position Pierce creates product and pricing comparisons, and provides dealer development planning and sales analysis. Pierce also manages various inside websites to help the flow of information as well as works with inside sales to understand the work flow of receiving orders and to help improve the process. At SUNY Cobleskill Pierce was a Senior Resident Assistant and a Student Ambassador. He was also on the Dean’s List and served as President of the National Agri- Marketing Association. Pierce is currently Vice-President of the Alumni Association.
As a student, Roy was President and Vice-President of Student Government, as well as a Student Ambassador leading campus tours for prospective students and their families. He was the student representative for the Faculty Student Conduct Board, President of Epsilon Pi Tau, a Scholastic Honors Society member, President of the Vroman Hall Council, and Treasurer & Secretary of the Ag Engineering Club. Roy maintained a 3.43GPA and upon graduation took a position with Monroe Tractor as a Precision Product Specialist.
Olive is Chair of the SUNY Cobleskill College Council, to which she was appointed
in 2008 by then-governor David Paterson. She is an active member of the Rotary Club
of Cobleskill, and became the first woman director of District 7190 in 1995, as well
as one of eight first woman directors of Rotary globally. She has served on the Board
of Directors of the Schoharie County Arts Council, the Bassett Hospital of Schoharie
County Auxiliary, and been active with the Iroquois Indian Museum.
Christopher Knight earned an associate degree in Science Laboratory Technology from
SUNY Cobleskill in 1973 before continuing to Cornell University and eventually earning
a Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition from Purdue University.
In his distinguished career, including 10 years with Monsanto Co. and 25 years with Novus International, he led a global research and development organization that conducted proprietary research on three continents as well as collaborative research with more than 50 universities around the world. He developed and patented methods for quantifying availability of ALIMET® Feed Supplement and led the development, USDA-regulatory approval, and commercialization of ADVENT® Coccidiosis Control, a vaccine for broiler chickens.
Knight also developed and implemented a competitive graduate scholarship and internship program to support Ex-US graduate students in animal nutrition and health. From 2006-2015, he provided more than 300 scholarships and approximately 80 eight-week internships at Novus Research Headquarters in St Charles, Missouri for students from universities in China, Thailand, Spain, India, and Bangladesh.
He has published about 40 peer-reviewed publications, meeting proceedings, and patents. He currently advises on agriculture-based innovation and entrepreneurship at The Yield Lab.
Knight serves as a Trustee for the Poultry Science Foundation and the Missouri College Fund as well as being an active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ladue, Missouri.
Victoria Gerlach Kleinberger graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with her associate degree
in Early Childhood Education in 2007, then earned a bachelor’s degree and finally
a master’s degree from the College of St. Rose.
Kleinberger has worked as a Special Education teacher in the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District for the past four years. She also coaches varsity Track and Field, Modified Girls Soccer, and the school’s Odyssey of the Mind team, as well as coordinating WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) and coaching Running Club. She is also a member of the Educational Support Team, the Athletic Participate Committee, and the Sunshine Club.
Before joining CRCS, Kleinberger worked at Bright Choice Charter Middle School for Boys in Albany where she taught fifth and sixth grade social studies and science, as well as servicing students with special needs.
Donald Humphreys graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in 1966 with an associate degree in
Animal Husbandry. After graduation, he returned to the family farm in New Hartford,
New York. Over the next 50 years, he rose through the ranks of management, assuming
the Vice Presidency in 1985.
At the time of his graduation, the farm consisted of a 50-cow dairy herd and a cash crop operation of beans, seed potatoes, corn, and wheat on about 250 acres of land. Under Humphreys’ visionary leadership, the farm has expanded to a multi-million-dollar enterprise covering more than 2,500 acres of green beans, soybeans, wheat, corn, hay, and barley. The Humphreys Farm received the prestigious Century Farm Award from the New York State Agricultural Society in 2012.
Humphreys has served on the Board of Directors for Oneida County Farm Bureau, including as president from 1991-1994. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Upstate Growers and Packers Association.
A few years after graduating from SUNY Cobleskill, Humphreys married his wife Luana. They have raised three successful children and are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren.
Daniel Dzen graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Business Management
degree in spring 2017. He was active with the Agricultural Business Club, serving
as President in his senior year.
Following Commencement in May, Dzen began a summer internship to formally complete his degree. He plans to pursue a career as a firefighter to dedicate his life to serving others. He has served as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown since he was 14 years old.
Dzen grew up as a fourth-generation farmer in South Windsor, Connecticut. His family has grown tobacco, potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and more. Today, the family operates a choose-and-cut-your-own Christmas tree farm and raises reindeer, as well as producing summer fruit crops.
While still in high school, Dzen founded his own gourmet, non-GMO popcorn business and began selling his product at farmers’ markets. It took off quickly, and he know wholesales to grocery stores and specialty shops. Today, his popcorn is carried in nearly 50 retail stores throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. It is the largest popcorn grower/processor in Connecticut and one of the top three in New England.
Earl and Carolyn both hold degrees in Agricultural Business and Agricultural Business
Management from SUNY Cobleskill. Carolyn now manages Morrison’s Feed Bag, a family-owned
and operated pet, farm and garden supply center, and Earl serves as vice-president
of Morrison’s Custom Feeds in Vermont.
Earl grew up in the family business, Morrison’s Custom Feeds, with a particular interest in machinery and feed manufacturing. He joined the company full-time in 2005 after graduating from SUNY Cobleskill and now manages the feed mill, working closely with farmers across Vermont.
Carolyn moved to Vermont after graduation to start a career in dairy nutrition and grow a herd of meat goats. She joined Morrison’s Feed Bag as business manager when it opened in 2007, and married Earl a year later. The couple continues to give back to SUNY Cobleskill through annual donations to the College Foundation.
Easton Murray is pursuing her bachelor degree in Agricultural Equipment Technology
at SUNY Cobleskill. She is active in the Collegiate Farm Bureau and Agricultural Engineering
Club, among other things, as well as playing softball and serving as student ambassador.
Easton has received numerous accolades in her time at SUNY Cobleskill, including the Paul H. Scholten Memorial Scholarship, Future Farmers of America Empire Degree, and District Star Award. She has served as President of the Future Farmers of America chapter, SUNY Cobleskill Student Ambassador, teacher’s assistant and member of several College clubs. She also plays on the SUNY Cobleskill Fighting Tiger’s Softball team and is a tutor for the Agricultural Engineering Department.
This year’s Honorary Alumnus, named by the Alumni Awards Committee, is New York State
Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. For the past 20 years,
Ball has owned and operated Schoharie Valley Farms and the Carrot Barn while serving
on a number of agricultural and community boards and organizations both locally and
at the state level.
Ball, a New York native, began his career in agriculture at a vegetable farm in Rhode Island at age 18. Twenty years later, he moved back to New York to own and operate Schoharie Valley Farms, which includes 200 acres and produces a wide variety of vegetables, small fruit, and greenhouse crops.
He was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2014.