Face to Face

Some 75 years after Le Moyne’s founding, two members of the College’s inaugural class reflect on what life was like for the earliest Dolphins.

Kathy Elliott ’51

One True Constant

When I entered Le Moyne College in 1947, I had no idea what to expect. What I found on the first day was a warm and welcoming experience. Father Joseph Beglan ringing the bell to call us to classes. Father Francis Fallon knowing everyone’s name on sight. There was a sense of belonging that only increased through the years; there was a structure that only added to that feeling of belonging. The Jesuits were great teachers and they seemed to be happy to be there.

I credit Le Moyne for putting me on a path that sustained me throughout my life. The Jesuits imbued us with a sense of purpose: that it is incumbent upon us to share in the bounty of God. That purpose has remained with me all through my life. Father J.J. O’Brien once said that the people who would come after us would never understand why we love Le Moyne so much. And it’s true that I love Le Moyne to this day. I love her for the education I received, for all the activities I participated in, for connecting me to my husband, and for all the fun we had.

As much as the College grows and develops, there is one thing that remains constant. She cares about her students and who they become.

Kathy Elliott is a member of Le Moyne’s inaugural Class of 1951. She married fellow Dolphin Charles Elliott ’52, M.D., and she worked as a marriage and family therapist.

Dan McNeil Jr. ’51

To Nurture, Transform and Inspire

As I reflect on the 75th anniversary of Le Moyne’s founding, I am struck by the central role the College played in my life and formation. It was at Le Moyne that I truly learned how to interact with other people – to listen to them, to understand them and to meet them where they are. Those are crucial lessons, and I rely on them regularly, both personally and professionally. Through the years I’ve come to appreciate and understand that while life is not fair, we as individuals can be. We can model the Jesuit mission of being “men and women for and with others” simply by treating others the way we want to be treated.

Le Moyne’s story is closely woven into my family’s. My son, Dan III ’77; daughter, Mary, MBA ’08; granddaughter, Lauren Davis ’08; and grandson, Brent ’21 are all alumni of the College. While I don’t know what the next 75 years will hold for Le Moyne, I hope and pray that it will continue to nurture, transform and inspire generations of reflective leaders, and that it will grow and evolve to meet the needs of a dynamic, ever-changing world.

Dan McNeil Jr. ’51 is a member of the College's first graduating class and president of McNeil Development Company in Cortland, N.Y.

Faculty Angle

We asked faculty members to offer their insights into Amazon’s decision to open two new facilities not far from Le Moyne – a distribution center in Clay and a last-mile delivery facility in DeWitt.

Matthew Loveland, Ph.D.

Teaches Urban Politics, Social Activism, and Public Administration

It’s hard to deny the convenience of having anything you want delivered to your door. But a record just left on my steps was not the one I ordered. Amazon is not perfect. It’s full of contradictions. I could have (should have?) shopped at the local record store. Now that Amazon is in town, making it even more convenient, will the familiar faces at the record store lose their jobs, becoming gig workers delivering packages as a side-hustle? There’s a very good chance that the greater convenience will only make it harder for other local businesses to compete. That said, the Syracuse area has been in need of good economic news for a long time, and the construction and permanent jobs certainly will benefit many in our community. If Amazon commits to offering quality jobs and a living wage, then its presence in Central New York won’t be all bad.

Margie Ierlan, Ph.D.

Teaches Green Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Marketing Management

The expansion of Amazon into Central New York will bring a necessary boost to the area’s job market and economy. Syracuse continues to have one of the highest levels of poverty in the United States, thus, the 1,000 jobs that Amazon plans to create will aid in alleviating some of the region’s problems. The further impact of this venture lies in the programs and benefits that Amazon will offer to employees, as well as the efforts of local governments to ensure that these programs are in place and enforced.

It is my hope that Amazon will also initiate programs that will impact not only employees but all of Central New York to rise out of economic despair. Amazon has a strong history of engaging with communities and my hope is that it would encourage employees to get G.E.D.s, create scholarships for their children to go to college, and offer other benefits that will raise the education level in Central New York, which will increase the likelihood of success and reduce the reliance on government programs.

Cliff Donn, Ph.D.

Teaches Introduction to Criminology, Conflict Resolution, and Criminal Justice Systems

The natural hope for the expansion of Amazon into the Syracuse area with a distribution center and a warehouse is that it will provide new opportunities for employment and it will increase the tax base in our community. It could potentially also reduce the time for Amazon deliveries in the nearby area. However, there are several potential downsides. For the communities where the facilities are located, there is the possibility of increased traffic congestion. Another downside is that communities often “give away” most of the tax revenue for a long period of time in order to attract such employers. In addition, given its recent behavior, Amazon appears to be an anti-union employer, which could place downward pressure on wages and benefits in the community.

Caitlin Esposito, O.T.D., O.T.R./L.

Teaches Occupational Therapy Practice in Mental Health and Professional Reasoning

As an occupational therapist, I don’t find people jobs, but I do help them gain or keep the skills necessary to participate in desired “occupations,” those things they need, want or are expected to do every day. The inability to participate in an occupation can have a direct impact on their quality of life. Just finding a job, however, should not be the only consideration as many come with risk factors posing potential threats to overall health and well-being. The jobs coming to Central New York through Amazon can be a great opportunity, but may also come with long hours, repetitive task demands, and limited personal interaction that could lead to physical and mental injury. As an O.T., I would work with companies like Amazon and their employees to limit these risk factors and prevent adverse work situations. Through the use of ergonomics to prevent work-related injury, work hardening to prepare employees for the physical demands of their roles, or education and training in stress management, O.T.s can promote health and well-being as well as improved quality of life.