Spring/Summer 2024

When he came to Morrisville as assistant professor of environmental & renewable resources in 2019, Mohammadali Azadfar had a dream — and a plan. Azadfar — ‘Ali’ to most who know him — was thrilled with the opportunity to teach in the wood products technology and residential construction degree programs. His plan started with fundamental instruction for the students in his classes — and grew beyond measure with the addition of industry research in his courses.
From a simple knock at the door to knocking on the door of greatness.  From “arriving with nothing” to leaving with everything. From honoring previous Mustang legends to now becoming one.  Those were just some of the memorable storylines highlighting the SUNY Morrisville Athletics Wall of Fame Class of 2023, which honored seven Mustangs:
Country music bounces non-stop off the concrete bleachers in the cavernous Syracuse Coliseum as the show ring gate swings open and the announcer crackles to life. “Here’s draw number 20, back number 591, Holy Cannoli Katie and RE Sears.” The chestnut mare jogs into the center of the ring and, with nearly invisible cues from Sears — a tap on the neck, a touch of the spur — spins four times to the left, four to the right.
This past summer, the SUNY Morrisville Athletics Department decided to make a bold move. Needing to replace the turf playing surface of Drake Field for the first time since 2006, what set the project apart was the installation of a one-of-a-kind black turf. The move went viral, as the reveal of the new turf instantly captured global attention, with coverage from prestigious sports outlets such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN to global features as far as Mexico and Europe en route to reaching more than 50 million viewers on social media worldwide.
Chris Pelrah ’06 and his wife were hiking in the Adirondacks when they came upon a forest ranger heading out to check on a complaint.    “There was some bear activity with people camping in the High Peaks area and the bears were getting into people’s food,” Pelrah said. “I remember the feeling I got — of the ranger helping others — and doing so outdoors. It was an interaction that changed my life.”
Doyen “Dolo” Grant’s past is always present in his professional life. Hanging on the wall of Dolo’s Fitness — a gym Grant ’09 owns and operates in his hometown of Canarsie, New York — is a dark green SUNY Morrisville football jersey. When his gym opened in 2019, the former Mustangs football captain and star wide receiver had his No. 9 home uniform, flanked by two action photos, mounted in a customized black frame. 
As most of you journalism (J-grads) now know, Dan Reeder, 74, former Morrisville journalism professor, died Sept. 20, 2023 from complications of lung cancer. In June, Dan and his wife, Janet, relocated from his beloved Lawrence, Kansas, to Texas, to be closer to their son, Tim.
When Bret Bossard ’02 and Luke Huysman ’03 were students at SUNY Morrisville, they supplemented their classwork with internships at Barbland Dairy, which began as a potato farm in the 1950s before transitioning to beef and then dairy.  Two decades later, they are co-owners of the farm with two other families, milking 4,000 cows daily and managing 10,000 acres across Central New York. More than 80 employees are part of the enterprise, including a number of Morrisville alumni and interns.
Nova Cadamatre’s time at SUNY Morrisville is etched in her memory. She lived on campus with a roommate before moving to a cozy attic apartment in a house off Route 20 and she appeared in musical theater productions of “Cabaret’’ and “Godspell.’’ The South Carolina transplant recalled the connection she instantly felt with her fellow horticulture classmates. And then there was the paper on grape diseases she wrote for a plant pathology class. It was pivotal — life-changing, really — as it fueled her interest in and passion for wine and viticulture and set her on her career path.