Be distinguished!

by Cara Bas

FM students, staff, alumni, and featured guests gathered at the Johnstown Holiday Inn for the 9th Annual Distinguished Alumni Celebration and Scholarship Recognition Dinner, Nov. 20.

Distinguished Alumni Awards went to Susanne Guttenberg, class of 1977, and Dave Northrup, class of 1966.

Guttenberg received a nursing degree, and began working at St. Mary’s Hospital shortly after graduation. She went on to become the owner of River Ridge Assisted Living in Amsterdam.

Dave Northrup began at FM and then earned a bachelor’s at SUNY Albany and a Master’s at University of Rochester. After retiring from a 30-year career as an English teacher, Northrup writes fiction and nonfiction about the Mohawk Valley.

Photo submitted by Amy Radik of scholarship winners posing for photos.

“I am fortunate to have been an eyewitness to the humble beginnings of the school. The first year FMCC occupied only one building, and that was the former Johnstown High School,” Northrup said. “FM is the only community college in New York State whose name signifies its purpose in serving the populations of two counties – Fulton and Montgomery. Education as a shared experience serves me well. It informs the fiction and nonfiction about this area that I write today.”

FM Student scholarship recipients were invited to dinner. Business major, Odalis Roche delivered an inspirational acceptance speech.

Photo submitted by Amy Radik of scholarship recipients and teachers sitting for the meal.

“I have learned how to network, and what it means to engage in a professional setting. This is my second year at FM and I have taken control of my independence,” Roche said.

“The Gateway’s” Winnie Blackwood and Catherine Hladik were among scholarship recipients who attended.

Another highlight of the dinner was a raffle. The prizes were eight different lavish gift baskets. Blackwood won a Yankee Candle Christmas basket, and Hladik won a Vera Bradley basket.

“We bought about 20 tickets!” Blackwood said.

Some students were chosen for scholarships, others applied and won. Financial aid coordinator Becky Cozzocrea explained the process, “I try to place as many applicants as possible into scholarships they fit into – based on need, merit, major, high school, or location. If I haven’t filled all of them, and no applicants are left, then I try to match students with the best-fitting scholarships.”

Scholarship applications are accepted between February and June. For more information please visit

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