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Historical Society Hosts Lecture on Local College Leaders

Dr. Frank Cavaioli spoke about the leaders who shaped Farmingdale State.

Emeritus Professor Dr. Frank J. Cavaioli spoke about four leaders who shaped for the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society at Village Hall this week.

His lecture, which was a preview of his book dedicated to Farmingdale State College's centennial celebration next year, covered the struggles of the leaders to transform the institution. His research is based on historical findings and one of his 11 published novels "State University of New York at Farmingdale."

The four historical figures discussed during the presentation were Farmingdale State directors Albert Johnston, Charles Laffin, Halsey Knapp and President Frank Cipriani, who all worked towards the school becoming a four-year college in 1993, the introduction of technological courses, the end of the agricultural education program in 1957 and the school becoming officially charted in 1948.

"Farmingdale State opened in 1916 and only started as a glorified high school that specialized in agriculture. In the past Presidential election they kept using the word change. That word is a constant theme for Farmingdale," Cavaioli said.

Many of the names of the buildings of the campus are named after these four leaders, like  Knapp hall, whom Cavaioli credits as the man who saved the school. But Cavaioli credits Laffin, the college's first president, as the man who ultimately transformed the school's academics to where they're now.

"He was the beginning of the first technical division. He saw society and educational needs were changing, that technical education should be more advanced and that the demographics of Long Island were changing," Cavaioli said.

Although Cavaioli, who was a political science and history professor at Farmingdale State for 23 years, said he considers the state campus to be of great caliber, he does think it needs to be better maintained.

"It is here to stay. It's permanent. We have the political leaders we need to keep it there. We have a beautiful campus but it needs to be maintained. It is sad to see. Walk around the campus and look at the halls, they should be preserved. They're falling apart," Cavaioli said.

Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society Trustee William Johnston enjoyed the lecture and praised the speaker.

"Dr. Cavaioli brought honor to himself and the entire campus. He brings the human factor, reflects the times and shows how they can effect academic history as well," Johnston said.

The Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical society has two upcoming events. On Memorial Day the society will unveil the new second World War monument dedicated to 35 Farmingdale veterans that will be placed in the Village Green.

"The parade is an annual tradition but this year is a little more special. We are going to be dedicating this monuments to the veterans of Farmingdale. It will be a great learning tool," Johnston said.

The Strawberry Festival will be also be happening on June 5 at the Village Green in which two scholarship will be awarded to Farmingdale High School seniors and live music will be performed. "It is a thank you to all that have donated to the memorial," Johnston said. "Come with us and enjoy the beauty of the spring time."

To learn more about future events held by the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society visit their website at: www.fbhsli.org.

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