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Morrisville State College Journalism Department Publishes Book on Forty-Year History

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.— Throughout the past 40 years, graduates of Morrisville State College’s journalism technology program have taken their places in the world as reporters, photo and broadcast journalists, and in advertising and public relations agencies, covering the world’s greatest news and events.

Now they are telling their own stories.

Alumni have compiled their memories of Morrisville State College’s journalism technology program into a book, In Our Own Words.

The book chronicles the 40-year history of the college’s Journalism Department with stories authored by Morrisville State College alumni, faculty and staff. Some of the chapters are devoted to their accomplishments and the influence Morrisville State College has had on their lives, while others tout a program known for its dynamic professors and hands-on classroom and laboratory experience.

Edited by three alumni, Nancy Cardillo, class of ’77, Frank Eltman, class of ’78 and Jim Johnson, class of ’78, the book is dedicated to the professors who established the program and to those who teach its courses today.

Publishing assistance was provided through Log Cabin Books, owned by Brian McDowell, assistant professor of journalism. All profits will go to the Journalism Department to fund scholarships and other initiatives.

“When Jim, Frank and Nancy came to me, I thought it was a great idea,” McDowell said. “It fit perfectly in with our 40-year reunion last July, where we began to solicit stories from the alumni. Nancy (Cardillo) gets the credit for the idea, and all three of them get the credit for all the hard work—editing, layout, and general dedication that got this book ready for the press. They’re all great friends of the program, and I was honored to have the chance to work with them.”

“We really wanted to have something special to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the journalism program,” Eltman said. “Since we all continue to write as part of our careers, we thought a collection of alumni writings would be an appropriate project.” Eltman is the Long Island correspondent for the Associated Press.

Throughout the 40-year history of the program, the Journalism Department has set the standard for producing college students who excel in reporting, editing, photography, publicity and broadcasting.

More than 1,500 students have graduated from the program. Among them are three Pulitzer Prize nominees and hundreds of others who have won awards for writing, reporting, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, marketing, and all other areas of public communication.

They’ve interviewed and written stories about big names like Billy Joel and Yoko Ono, covered the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, interviewed and photographed prominent political figures and business leaders and worked beside some of the greatest in the business.

Though their post-Morrisville experiences are divergent, one thing remains the same¬—graduates credit their accomplishments to the two years they spent in the journalism technology program at Morrisville State College, a program which prides itself on establishing a family-oriented atmosphere where students have the support and learn the skills they need to become leaders in a variety of media careers.

That atmosphere was created by professors Jerry Leone, founder of the program, and Neal Bandlow, now both retired, and has carried through the program today.

Professors’ passion and ability to teach with magnetic, contagious enthusiasm helped students flourish in turn, and placed them in the forefront of nearly every journalism graduate’s success stories.

“Each of them gave me a different reason to love writing,” Cardillo said. “To be passionate about whatever career path I chose, to maintain a high degree of integrity, honesty and creativity, as well as compassion and to have fun earning a living.” Cardillo owns More than Words, in Buffalo, NY, an ad agency that focuses on writing.

“The professors in the Morrisville journalism program gave me the confidence to tackle just about any obstacle that was placed in my path,” Johnson said. “They prepared me to be resourceful, resilient and to be prepared to make sacrifices for the craft that I loved.” Johnson is the executive director of Companions in Courage Foundation, a charitable organization founded by NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine, which raises funds to build interactive playrooms in children’s hospitals throughout North America.

Many journalism graduates cite the hands–on experience they received through the college’s production labs as the “backbone” of the journalism program. Labs gave them opportunities to explore various communication careers in settings that mirror real–world industries. Production lab options include The Chimes, the campus newspaper and online news site; photography, and WCVM Media, which includes WCVM–AM 1580 “The Vortex”; WCVM Cable Channel 4; and the latest addition, WCVM–TV “DigiWiz.” Each entity offers students vast opportunities to learn and practice student media management strategies, media business operations and media production skills.

Even students whose careers went a different way have said they still use skills they honed through Morrisville’s journalism technology program—like the importance of deadlines and how to interview, research and edit.

Alumni have forged a loyalty and devotion toward the program, many keeping in touch with their professors decades later, while professors still provide guidance to former students, taking pride in graduates’ work and cheering on their accomplishments.

Now there will be even more stories to tell with students planning to enroll this fall in the college’s latest bachelor degree program, journalism & communication for online media. A bachelor’s degree in videojournalism could also gain state approval this year.

To purchase a copy of the book, In Our Own Words, visit

Morrisville State College offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options with eight new degrees being offered this fall: entrepreneurship and small business management, B.B.A.; nursing, B.S.; science, technology, and society, B.S.; journalism and communication for online media, B.S.; horticulture business management, B.T.; human performance and health promotion, B.S.; criminal justice, A.A.S. (Norwich Campus only); and human services, A.A.S. (Norwich Campus only).

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.