Friday, 10 November 2017 10:10

SUNY Oswego Cutler Fund Boosted to $1 Million to Expand Student Opportunities

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Funding connections -- Additional donations by SUNY Oswego 1974 alumnus David Cutler have pushed the Cutler Public Justice Excellence Fund at the college to $1 million. The fund supports student conference and presentation opportunities, field experiences and speakers related to public justice issues such as Michele Gay (pictured), who founded the non-profit Safe and Sound: Securing Our Schools after her daughter was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy. Funding connections -- Additional donations by SUNY Oswego 1974 alumnus David Cutler have pushed the Cutler Public Justice Excellence Fund at the college to $1 million. The fund supports student conference and presentation opportunities, field experiences and speakers related to public justice issues such as Michele Gay (pictured), who founded the non-profit Safe and Sound: Securing Our Schools after her daughter was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy. Submitted photo

Donations by 1974 SUNY Oswego alumnus David Cutler have brought a fund to support the college's public justice program and student experiences to $1 million.

The founder and executive director of the Arapahoe Community Treatment Center, a residential community corrections facility in Englewood, Colorado, Cutler established the excellence fund for public justice in 2004 to help educate the next generation of leaders in corrections and law enforcement. Since then, he has infused the fund with additional gifts, most recently adding $500,000 to bring the endowed Cutler Public Justice Excellence Fund to $1 million.

His generosity has helped public justice majors with opportunities to advance their studies and careers.

Anna Jimenez transferred to SUNY Oswego to study public justice after watching crime shows and her father, a police officer with the Syracuse Police Department for 28 years, work a crime scene. But, the 2016 graduate said, it was an opportunity afforded her by the fund that helped her identify her career goals.

"Attending CJEANYS (Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State) changed my life," said Jimenez, a paralegal at Cummings & Lewis LLC in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She now has her heart set on becoming a criminal law paralegal in a defense attorney's office and then eventually a victim's advocate for children who have been abused.

"Prior to this conference, I had no idea what type of law I wanted to be involved in," she said. "There was one guest speaker in particular who opened my eyes to what I really wanted to do --become a victim's advocate. If it weren't for the Cutler Fund, I would not have been able to take part in the conference and would have missed out on the amazing experience and discovering my true passion."

Jaclyn Schildkraut, assistant professor of public justice, said the Cutler Fund currently supports several key projects each year:

* Student travel and fees to attend the CJEANYS conference

* A day trip for students to visit two correctional facilities in Central New York

* Presentation of outstanding freshman and senior awards at the annual Alpha Delta Omega honor society induction ceremony

* A popular lecture series that brings high-profile speakers to campus

"With one of the largest donor funds on campus, I believe that the Cutler Fund helps to distinguish us from our peers simply in how much we are able to do, virtually without restriction, for our students," Schildkraut said. "Any idea that we have that can be used to improve the quality of education and experience for our students typically is covered."

May 2017 graduate Collin Carr can attest to that. A public justice and political science double major, he was the first Oswego public justice student to attend and present his research at a national conference of the American Society of Criminology. Today, he is enrolled in Syracuse University's College of Law.

Junior Evelyn Sokolowski will begin her research assistantship in spring 2018, after having traveled to Boston last spring with 10 other public justice majors to study the historical development of the criminal justice system.

SUNY Oswego junior Ryan McHale hopes to follow in Carr's footsteps and present his own research findings at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in New Orleans, again supported by the Cutler Fund.

"My experience here at SUNY Oswego has exceeded my expectations," McHale said. "I have had great opportunities that I would not have expected from a school of our size. The programs and events supported by the Cutler Fund have really helped expand my horizons and have given me a greater understanding of our system."

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