Marking 20 years since 9/11
UNION ALUMNI WE LOST
Thomas W. Duffy '71
Thomas W. Duffy '71, of Pittsford, N.Y. (B.S. in mechanical engineering with an M.S. from Rollins College). A class agent and active alumnus in the Rochester area, Tom was a member of Delta Upsilon, the football team, and Block U. A senior vice president of Marsh, Inc., a risk management insurance and employee benefit consultation company that works with the energy industry, Tom was on the ninety-ninth floor of Building 1 of the World Trade Center for an appointment the morning of September 11. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and sons Jason and Ryan.
Andrew A. Fredericks '83
Andrew A. Fredericks '83, of Suffern, N.Y (B.A. in political science). A member of Phi Sigma Kappa and an admissions volunteer, Andy was one of the New York City firefighters who was in the World Trade Center when it collapsed. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Suffern on Oct. 8. Survivors include his wife, Michelle, and two children, ages nine and five. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the NYC Firefighters Burn Victims Centers.
Don J. Kauth '74
Don J. Kauth '74, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y (M.S. in industrial administration, M.B.A. '78). Born in Utica, Don received a B.A. from Siena College in 1972. He taught at Union and Siena, had a private CPA practice, and served as director of education for the New York State Society of CPAs in New York City. Don was also a bank analyst for First Albany, Key Bank, Alex Brown, and, at the time of his death, for Keefe, Bruyette and Woods in New York City. He served on the board of directors of the Saratoga Youth Hockey League. Survivors include his mother, Winifred R. Kauth, of Utica; two sons, Matthew, of Tacoma, Wash., and Patrick, of Saratoga Springs; two daughters, Kathleen and Cecilia, both of Saratoga Springs; a brother, Brian, of Syracuse; and four sisters – Ann Ferris, of Remsen, N.Y.; Mary Grossi, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Denise Brady, of Detroit, Mich.; and Vanessa Graham, of Ilion, N.Y.
Alexander R. Steinman '91
Alexander R. Steinman '91, of Hoboken, N.J. (B.A. in economics). Alex was a partner and vice president in the equity sales division of Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of 1 World Trade Center. He had worked there for about six years and was happy to have had several alumni/friends as clients. He and his wife, Tracy, had been high school sweethearts and would have celebrated their seventh anniversary on Oct. 9. At Union, he was a member of Psi Upsilon.
REFLECTIONS & REMEMBRANCES
David R. Harris, 19th president of Union College:
As 2000 drew to a close, I was the father of two young girls. I knew that terrorism was a reality, but I had no idea how close the threats were. We could not know how much our character would soon be tested.
By the end of 2001 I had witnessed some of the most despicable and most heroic acts ever to take place on American soil. I was still dad to two young girls, but my false sense of security had been shattered. Nevertheless, the lessons I tried to teach our girls and the character I tried to model were unchanged. We persisted in pursuit of a more perfect Union.
Aidan Kask '23, mechanical engineering major
When I was younger, I knew 9/11 as the day I was born and celebrated it like any other kid would celebrate their birthday. As I grew up, I learned more about the devastating effects on thousands of people, including my mother, Janet, who was pregnant with me at the time and ran for her life to get out of the Battery Tunnel, which was filled with smoke, debris and fumes. My mom’s concern for safety was focused on the two of us when an EMT told her she lost her baby – me – after having just run nearly two miles through the tunnel from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Throughout the years, watching and learning about the unspeakable destruction and terror that happened on Sept. 11 changed my perspective about the day that used to simply be a birthday. Now, it is both a day of celebration and remembrance of what happened 20 years ago. (
Ann Fleming Brown, director of Admissions:
On Sept. 11, 2001, before dawn I left Schenectady and set off to visit high schools and offer information sessions in Connecticut. Union on the road! The radio announced that it was "911 Day," dedicated to celebrating first responders. Later in the morning, near New Haven, signs streamed messages that all crossings to New York City were closed. Listening to news radio, I learned in snippets that there had been a serious attack on the towers. I stopped at two schools, where students and administrators were worried and unsure about how best to proceed. The planned evening program was canceled, and I joined other travelling admissions colleagues for dinner. Being together helped us begin to process the fear and sorrow of the day.
In the following weeks, worry about what could happen was my first thought every day. I traveled to New York City that fall and visited schools. I cried when I saw all the SUVs on the West Side Highway being stopped and searched. In New York, there were walls of flowers near all the fire stations. Each day, pedestrians stopped to thank police officers for their work. In Grand Central Station, families posted pictures and descriptions of missing family and friends. There was sadness everywhere.
What I learned: Hold your family close, do the important things, appreciate each day.
Matt Milless, assistant dean of students:
I had a cellphone, and I remember loaning it to my students. So many were from the city, and most didn’t have cellphones then. I remember watching students dialing New York City numbers over and over, and getting busy, busy, busy signals. Lines were gridlocked. The students were in shock, and we tried to help them cope and understand something we couldn’t understand ourselves. I remember one student walking into the Dean of Students Office, telling us she had a family friend she couldn’t locate and breaking into tears. The friend, a firefighter, ultimately perished that day. Another student couldn’t find her mother, who also tragically died on 9/11. Several of us went to the funeral. Those two students, especially, have a special place in our hearts.
Kate Schurick, dean of first-year students:
It was almost time to have my weekly one-on-one meeting with Matt Milless, when he came to my office and told me that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. We went across the hall to Room 308 and turned on the TV and watched the second plane crash. We both realized this was no accident. I really don't remember what happened immediately following these events; it’s a blur. I do remember checking on students who were from that area and learning that one of our colleagues was headed to the city to find his brother, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.
I specifically recall gathering outside in front of Reamer around noon when a student who had gone to the city to get some paperwork for his upcoming term abroad returned to campus. We were quite worried about him and relieved to see that he’d safely returned to campus. At the end of that day, we met in Old Chapel, where students were invited to congregate, talk, sit quietly, use our phones if need be, and feel safe. It was very somber.
Nick Famulare '92, principal gift officer, College Relations:
I was director of Alumni Relations at the time, and there were so many calls to the Alumni Office that day. With cell service being down in much of the greater New York City area, Union moved quickly to set up a check-in page for alumni to let us know they were OK. It was incredible what we were able to do in 48 hours. Over 4,000 alumni participated. Partnering with Dining Services, we also initiated a Message in a Bottle, where members of the Union family could purchase a bottle of water and write a message to a first responder or rescue worker. More than 7,500 bottles were sent. It was amazing to see how quickly the Union community came together to provide a service to the Union family and support those who were at Ground Zero.