FMCC event honors trio of distinguished alumni
JOHNSTOWN The Foundation of FM on Friday will honor three people who graduated from Fulton-Montgomery Community College and went on to successful careers.
Honored with the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be Alexa Barnoski Serfis, Class of 1986; Steven Serge, Class of 1993; and Albert Turo, Class of 1972.
Amy Radik, coordinator of public relations and marketing at FMCC, said the event is in its sixth year and has honored 18 people to date. “We know that out of 24,000-plus graduates of FMCC, there are thousands who are successful,” she said. “We wanted to highlight their success and show that they got their start at FMCC and show where they have taken their studies.”
Recipients receive plaques and have framed pictures placed in the foundation’s office.
Radik said more than 20,000 FMCC alumni are invited to nominate candidates annually for the honor. A committee selects the recipients.
“We get 10 to 30 nominations per year. This year, we had 20,” she said.
The nomination form lists qualifications for the award as success in employment, community activities, continued education and other accomplishments.
The dinner also recognizes FMCC students who have received scholarships, as well as people who made the scholarships possible.
Here are profiles of this year’s recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Awards:
• Serfis earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from FMCC in 1986. She subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from SUNY Oneonta and both a master’s and doctorate in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Serfis has been a chemistry professor at Saint Louis University for 18 years. She has an established research program in biophysical chemistry, and many of her students have co-authored peer-reviewed publications. Her leadership roles include serving as director of pre-professional health studies, director of advising for the medical campus and as associate dean in the graduate school. In the St. Louis area, she has developed a chemistry program for Girl Scouts, which involves forensic science activities for their “Interest Project.”
• Serge graduated from FMCC in 1993 with an associate of applied science degree in business administration and management. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Cortland, graduated from the Advanced Management Institute through the YMCA of the U.S.A. and also earned a senior director certification. Since 1995, Serge has served as the chief executive officer for the Fulton County YMCA, where he oversees an annual budget of $2.8 million and an endowment of $1.5 million. He was the recipient of the National YMCA’s Association of YMCA Professionals’ educational scholarship, which financed his FMCC studies. Serge is the two-time recipient of AYP’s National Award of Administrative Excellence. He also earned Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the Glove Cities Rotary Club, the club’s highest honor. Serge serves as both a member and officer of the Johnstown Hospital Foundation Board and the Wells Nursing Home. He is past club president and current board member for the Glove Cities Rotary Club and belongs to both Pine Brook Golf Club and Royal Mountain Ski Center.
• Turo graduated from FMCC in 1972 with a liberal arts and sciences general studies degree and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in math education from SUNY Potsdam. His past careers included math teacher and assistant principal at St. Anne Institute in Albany; a sales representative at Sofco; and executive director of Catholic Charities in Amsterdam. Currently, he is vice president of planning and development at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam. He serves on the St. Mary’s Healthcare Foundation board and its advisory board, the Albany Diocese Commission on Aging, the Albany Diocese Peace and Justice Commission, the advisory board for the Amsterdam Homeless Shelter, is past president of Amsterdam Rotary, and was co-chair of Amsterdam Rotary’s Variety Show for 10 years.
The awards dinner will be held at the Johnstown Holiday Inn. Cost to attend is $50 per person. To make a reservation, or for further details, contact the Foundation’s office at 736-3622, ext. 8020 or 8021.