As part of its Spring Honors and Awards Ceremony Tuesday, March 26, St. Bonaventure University recognized 47 employees who are marking employment anniversaries or retiring.
During the employee recognition portion of the ceremony, individuals with 10 years of service and up were recognized, with those reaching 25 years of service and retirees receiving special recognition. This year, three employees were recognized for 25 years of service: Romy Knittel, Robin Valeri and Jerrold “Jerry” Wolf.
Romy Knittel is a lecturer in the Department of Biology.
She is the instructor for the Biological Science I and II classes, which are foundation courses for science majors and “one of the most important classes for our science students,” says School of Arts & Sciences Dean Dr. David Hilmey.
Knittel is the budget officer for the Department of Biology and participates in the search process for departmental hiring. She is also an active orientation mentor and joins with a department colleague to welcome the new freshman class and their families each summer to discuss the basics of the academic schedule and requirements of the major.
In addition to her departmental duties, Knittel was also the environmental compliance officer at the university for a number of years, managing regulated waste streams (hazardous waste, universal waste, regulated waste, and electronic e-waste) and ensuring the university’s compliance with state and federal environmental regulations.
Knittel earned a B.S. in biology from Bucknell University and an M.S. in plant pathology from Pennsylvania State University.
Prior to joining the faculty at St. Bonaventure, Knittel was an adjunct faculty member at Alfred University, a research assistant and laboratory manager at Princeton University, and a biological technician at Cornell University.
Off campus, Knittel enjoys spending time at her home and in her garden.
Robin Maria Valeri, Ph.D., a native of Rhode Island, was graduated with a B.A., cum laude, in psychology from Cornell University. She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Syracuse University.
Valeri joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor in 1994. She was named associate professor and granted tenure in 1998, followed by promotion to professor in 2006.
Valeri’s current research focuses on the manifestations of hate and terrorism in our culture. She brings a social psychological perspective to understanding hate groups and terrorist organizations, including their use of the internet and social media as a recruitment, communication, and propaganda tool.
Valeri is co-editor of the books “Terrorism in America” and “Hate Crimes: Victims, Motivations and Typologies,” published in 2018, and “Skinhead History, Identity and Culture,” published in 2017.
She is also the author or co-author of several book chapters, including “Sticks and Stones: When the words of hatred become weapons,” published in “Global Perspectives on Youth Gang Behavior, Violence, and Weapons,” and “Masculine Identities within the Skinhead Movement,” published in “Advances in Sociology Research.”
Valeri has presented papers and posters at dozens of psychology, criminology, and intelligence conferences, including a presentation “Assessing the Human Threat to Members of the Fire Service” at the 2018 NY State Intelligence Liaison Officer Conference and “In their own words: Examining ISIS’s View of Women” at the 2018 American Society for Criminology Conference.
In addition to her academic work, Valeri has served in a number of leadership roles on campus, including as chair of the Department of Psychology, chair of the Institutional Review Board, chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Sciences, and associate director of the Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program.
Additionally, she has served on several search committees, including the Presidential Search Committee that led to the hiring of President Dennis DePerro. Valeri is married and has three canine companions.
She is a committed community volunteer, serving on the Cuba Library Board of Trustees, most recently as its president, and is a volunteer firefighter for the Cuba Fire Department. Valeri is the 2017 recipient of the department’s Firefighter of the Year Award. She is a nationally certified fire investigator and a member of the Allegany County Fire Investigation Team.
Valeri is an avid endurance athlete, impressively completing three Ironman Triathlons and is a finisher of the challenging 100-mile cross country Canadian Ski Marathon. Valeri also enjoys rowing, canoeing, snowshoeing, and hiking.
Jerrold “Jerry” Wolf is a maintenance mechanic groundskeeper/crew chief in the Facilities Department at St. Bonaventure.
Wolf’s first position at the university was in the paint shop, where he worked for four years prior to being named to the grounds crew.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Allegany, Wolf said he has always loved the outdoors. So when the grounds crew position opened, “that was more to my liking.” As a member of the grounds crew, one of his favorite duties was mowing and taking care of the athletics fields.
Wolf was promoted to crew chief in 2015. The university has five groundskeepers in addition to Wolf, whose responsibilities include mowing lawns, planting trees and flowers, plowing snow, and cleaning up after storms.
Throughout his tenure at SBU, Wolf has also worked with the Office of Safety and Security as a security guard at basketball games and special events.
Wolf is a graduate of Allegany Central School and Alfred State College, where he earned a degree in business data processing. He worked in the computer field before joining the university community.
Wolf has several professional licenses: He is licensed in the state of New York for asbestos removal and is the campus Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO). The latter has made him the first responder for nuisance calls regarding bats, skunks, woodchucks and other wildlife, and has earned him the nickname Batman.
Wolf is also a member of the Campus Conservationists, working with our students on environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Wolf has two children, three grandchildren and a fourth grandchild on the way.
He attends St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allegany.
During the warm weather months, Wolf enjoys gardening and landscaping at home and bopping around town on his scooter.
Other employees who marked milestones were:
Retirees: Elizabeth “Betsy” Cashing (School of Education), Carol Fischer (Accounting), Jean Francois Godet-Calogeras (Theology and Franciscan Studies), Debby Mooney (University Ministries), Craig Sinesiou (School of Education)
40 years of service: Steve Andrianoff (Computer Science), Alva Cellini (Modern Languages)
35 years of service: Barry Gan (Philosophy), Ted Georgian (Biology), Bernie Vossler (Cemetery)
30 years of service: Ann Hurlburt (Student Affairs)
20 years of service: Oleg Bychkov (Theology and Franciscan Studies), Daniel Donner (Technology Services), Darryn Fiske (Athletics), Diana Lawrence-Brown (School of Education), Steven Mest (Athletics), Laura Peterson (Visual and Performing Arts), Leigh Simone (Modern Languages), Christopher Stanley (Theology and Franciscan Studies), Michael Threehouse (Athletics), and Stephanie Vogel (Psychology)
15 years of service: Brian Beckman (Facilities), Christopher Brown (Student Success Center), Diane Frick (University Advancement), René Hauser (School of Education), Michael Kramer (University Advancement), Jess McFall (Facilities), Rhonda Monahan (Athletics), Lauren Newcome (Technology Services), Wayne Oonk (Technology Services), Jill Rohl (Financial Aid), Colleen Sandburg (Purchasing), Jennifer Skroback (Quick Center for the Arts), John Stevens (Management Sciences)
10 years of service: Michele Arnold (Friary), John Brewer (Safety & Security), Daniel Ellis (English), Seth Johnson (Athletics), Michael Jones-Kelley (School of Communication), Gregory Privitera (Psychology), Willy Rotich (Physical Education), Claire Watson (Public Health), Loriann Yardman (Academic Affairs), Xiao-Ning Zhang (Biology)
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