Jonathan Fiore, Advertising Manager
As most of the Utica College student body knows, President Emeritus Todd Hutton retired from his post at the conclusion of the last academic year.
Following that, UC named his successor – its first female president in Laura Casamento. While the true transition took place during the summer months, Casamento will officially be sworn in Sept. 23.
Prior to this, Casamento will again make good on her promise to continue many of the great traditions Hutton started during his tenure. The college will be celebrating an “Inauguration Week” in the days preceding Casamento’ s swearing in; a tradition that started 18 years ago with start of her predecessor’s term.
The week was planned by the Inauguration Committee, a group composed of: Director of Alumni & Parent Relations Mark Kovacs, Executive Director of Constituent Engagement Christine Kisiel Development Officer Kim Landon and chaired by Assistant Vice President of Constituent Engagement Trish Barone.
Barone, who previously worked alongside Casamento when she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer before becoming president, set a goal with the committee to develop a week to showcase what UC is and all of the amazing things it has to offer. However, the committee did not want to stop with just what the college had to offer. The committee thought it would be wise to include many of the things that the greater Utica area and its community had to offer as well, a logical addition given Casamento’s ties to the area.
“Let’s put it this way: I eat, sleep and breathe the Inauguration,” Barone said. “To say I am heavily involved with the planning is an understatement,”
She did not, however, take all of the credit for herself.
“Honestly, I have a wonderful committee, and could have never pulled this off without them. I am incredibly grateful to have such hard-working and dedicated colleagues,” Barone said.
Of the events to take place throughout the course of Inauguration Week, three of the biggest are the Campus Farmer’s Market, the Celebration of Utica Block Party, and of course, the Procession and Installation Ceremony where Casamento will be officially sworn in.
The Farmer’s Market, which kicks off the week on Monday, will include nine local area vendors offering a variety of goods ranging from organic vegetables and gourmet popcorn to cheeses and handmade soaps. The event will be hosted in the Strebel Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature vegetables grown within UC’s own community garden.
Junior Riya Burke felt extremely excited about the Farmer’s Market, in particular.
“As a commuter and Utica native, I love the fact that the college went out of its way to show off some of the great things Utica has to offer,” Burke said. “I can’t wait to see what the vendors have for sale and I’m excited to support our local businesses.”
On Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be the “Celebration of Utica” Downtown Block Party. The event will showcase the new Clark City Center by being held directly in front of it. Prior to the kick off of the party, there will be a t-shirt giveaway in Strebel to give students a chance to meet up and catch a bus downtown for the celebration.
Throughout the course of the party, Saranac beverages will be available, along with food from local area food trucks. Ricky Z’s All-Star Billy Joel Tribute Band will also provide entertainment.
Lastly, the week will conclude on Friday with the Procession and Installation Ceremony, where Casamento will be officially sworn in as president. The Inauguration Committee worked tirelessly to include as many delegates of the college as possible and also worked in UC Alumni Reps from the class years of ’49-’20, as a means of celebrating Utica College’s 70th Anniversary.
According to Barone, the committee envisioned student involvement. Two students will present the Institutional Charter to Casamento, one student will read an inaugural poem and another will sing the National Anthem.
Student Senate President Ann Ciancia will be at the inauguration and will march in the procession.
“I’m excited for the inauguration,” Ciancia said. “History will be made as she’s sworn in as the first female president of Utica College. As the Student Senate president, this moment inspires me to be an innovative leader like Casamento and to ensure that student voices are heard throughout the campus.”
In efforts to further bolster student involvement, the event will be live streamed and all Friday ground classes between 12:20 p.m. and 6 p.m. will be cancelled to give the campus community an opportunity to attend.