Celebrations include time capsule, art exhibit and new book

HOPEWELL — Several events are planned in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Finger Lakes Community College.

Highlights include the announcement of a time capsule, the release of a commemorative book, and an art exhibit featuring works by FLCC's first art faculty members and their students.

“FLCC was established to serve a dual role of preparing students for transfer to four-year schools and training the local workforce,” said President Robert Nye. “That is still our mission today. Our 50th anniversary event is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and how so many people have played such important roles in making our community college what it is today.”

The college began offering full-time credit-bearing classes on Feb. 1, 1968 in Canandaigua storefronts under its original name, Community College of the Finger Lakes.

The celebration, “From the Storefronts to Lincoln Hill: Celebrating 50 years at FLCC,” is a series of events at the main campus between 2 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1. All are free and open to the public. Visitors are asked to RSVP at rsvp@flcc.edu. (In the event of inclement weather, festivities will be rescheduled to Feb. 8.)

Events kick off at 2 p.m. with an exhibit opening and artists' talk, “Mentors and Mentees: Celebrating 50 Years” in the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34, first floor. Gallery Director Barron Naegel will lead a conversation with retirees Thomas Insalaco and Wayne Williams, for whom the gallery is named.

The exhibit features work by both professors and several of their students: Rand Darrow, Jeff Feinen, Peter Gerbic, John Lord, Don McWilliams, Bill Santelli, Jean K. Stephens and Debra Stewart.

At 3 p.m., student leaders will announce plans for a Student Corporation Time Capsule that will be buried on the grounds in May and opened in 2068 at the 100th anniversary.

Faculty, staff and alumni will share memories of the college's early years beginning at 3:15 p.m., followed by an opening reception for the gallery exhibit that will run until 6:30 p.m. with refreshments and live music by Zack Vaughn, a student from North Chili majoring in music recording.

The event also features the release of a full-color 50th anniversary commemorative book, “This Bold Decision: The Story of Finger Lakes Community College.” The title, a reference to the 1965 decision by the Ontario County Board of Supervisors to create the college, is taken from the inauguration speech of Roy Satre, the college's first president.

South Bristol Supervisor Arthur Hawkins led a committee of supervisors and citizens who studied the concept of sponsoring a community college. Hawkins made the motion leading to the vote.

The first board of trustees met in November 1966 to begin the process of finding space in downtown Canandaigua for classrooms, labs and offices, as well as hiring the first employees.

Satre was appointed the following April, and the board launched non-credit evening class in September 1967.

The first daytime for-credit classes began with 85 full-time and 125 part-time students.

A month later, in March 1968, Lincoln Hill in Hopewell was selected as the site for a permanent campus, but it would be seven more years before the main campus opened. The college's extended stay downtown led to the nickname “Storefront Pioneers” for the first faculty and students.

Events will continue Saturday, Feb. 3 with the Canandaigua Business Improvement District hosting a downtown Wine Walk from 4 to 7 p.m. with stops at some of the buildings that originally served as FLCC offices and classrooms. Tickets are $8 and may be purchased at the start of the tour at American Made store, 143 S. Main St.

Future 50th anniversary events include a Feb. 9 Vintners and Valentines winemakers dinner. Visit give.flcc.edu for more information and to register.

Details on a May 11 Welcome Home dinner will be posted in the coming weeks.

For additional information on the anniversary or the book, contact the Community Affairs Office at 585-785-1623.


FLCC 50th anniversary events at a glance

Tuesday, Feb. 1 

2 to 6:30 p.m.: Celebration with an art exhibit, time capsule announcement, book sales and memories of early employees and alumni, main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Hopewell

Saturday, Feb. 3 

4 to 7 p.m.: Downtown Canandaigua Wine Walk featuring locations that once served as FLCC classrooms and offices. Commemorative 50th anniversary books will be available at the Chamber of Commerce, 113 S. Main St.; American Made, 143 S. Main St.; and Mobile Music, 163 S. Main St. 

Friday, Feb. 9 

6 to 9 p.m.: Vintners and Valentines winemakers dinner; details at give.flcc.edu 

Friday, May 11 

Details forthcoming: 50th Anniversary “Welcome Home” dinner and ceremony to recognize employee and alumni contributions