reflections: colleague reflections

B. Hilfiger

Professor Alison Wolfe has been hosting Elmira College students on visits to New York City. I have had the pleasure to be one of the stops included in their many visits to various businesses and corporations in Manhattan.

I work for my brother, Tommy Hilfiger, a fashion designer, as Director of Community Affairs. I enjoy this part of the fashion industry and have developed an outreach program that allows me to work with many colleges, high schools, fashion camps, as well as charitable organizations.

Every November either right before Thanksgiving or directly after, Professor Wolfe arrives with several well dressed, professional and prepared students. They are the most well behaved group of students! Many times they are here almost a full day, enjoy lunch and hear the history of the company. They’re quite interested in the story of Tommy Hilfiger starting his career in Elmira, when he was 17 years old, and still in high school. I like telling them the Elmira hockey arena is now on the corner where Tommy’s People’s Place Store began in 1969!

Some of our merchandisers, designers, production, marketing people and various other employees present “their job description” to the students. These sessions often times generate many questions and many good stories of how and where different employees’ careers were started! Another favorite part of the tour is a trip through history in our archives…called Tommy’s Closet. It is in here that the rock n roll clothing, vintage pieces, fashion show looks and special auction items purchased over the years by Tommy (kept under lock and key) are housed in a unbelievable way.

I have developed a very rewarding and wonderful friendship with Alison. Furthermore, our working relationship and tremendous cooperation on pre-planning and post planning of the academic events has been professionally gratifying.

Each year I look forward to the “Elmira College Day” at Tommy Hilfiger. It’s like having a little bit of my beloved home of Elmira with me for a day.

Betsy Hilfiger
Director of Community Affairs for the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation 
Tommy Hilfiger Corporation

A. Ogunwumi

My earliest reflection of Alison Wolfe dates back more than a decade ago. I met Alison while actively recruiting her to work for Corning Incorporated in Marketing. I asked Alison in the preliminary interview what she did well and her response was, ‘Everything I put my heart and mind to do.’ Alison spoke with such determination, sincerity and focus that I believed her and recommended her for hire. That was about 15 years ago and Alison’s life and track record are evidence of ‘a heart and mind’ that are focused on achieving and inspiring success. Whether Alison was developing strategy for the International team at Corning Incorporated’s Science Products or for Steuben divisions, she was focused, tenacious, committed and successful.

Alison has a passion for success like none other. She brings an extraordinary ability to envision, problem solve, create and innovate. Alison is a change agent and ‘lightening rod’ for excellence. Her marketing brilliance is demonstrated through innovative programs and services developed while at Kaplan, Corning Incorporated and now at Elmira College. Alison’s ability to take abstract concepts and make them ‘real’ through experiential learning has impacted the lives of students and colleagues alike.

Through numerous community and board affiliations, she is a conduit for collaboration and positive resolution. Alison is always willing to contribute and help out. Alison has single-handedly donated hundreds of hats and mittens to Head Start children in need; delivered furniture for repair for a new micro economics project and been the inspiration to business and marketing leaders world-wide.

Recently, I spoke with a colleague from the foundation of an international company. Her comments provide a summary of my reflections on Alison Wolfe:

“Alison came to NYC with a group of students from her Marketing class. We really had a wonderful time. Our team learned as much as the students. How can you refuse Alison Wolfe? You have to be a part of it….whatever ‘it’ is that Alison is doing. She gives so much and impacts so many.”

Alison Wolfe has a ‘heart and mind’ for success and inspires learning and growth in us all.

Andrea J. Ogunwumi
Chief Executive Officer
Economic Opportunity Program, Inc. Chemung and Schuyler Counties
Part-time Instructor, Elmira College, Dept. of Business and Economics-General Business Management
Board member, finance and audit committees-Chemung County Library District; Wyoming Children’s Home
Pastor, Ogunwumi Ministries-The Alliance of Prayer
Member of national and international organizational development, human resource and management associations

D. Ackley

There are no words to fully express the deep gratitude that the 
Corning Area Chamber of Commerce has for Elmira College, you and your marketing endeavors!

On behalf of a very grateful Corning Area Chamber of Commerce and Board of Directors, I extend a heartfelt thank you for the opportunity to spend time with Professor Alison Wolfe and the Elmira College marketing students to create a Corning Chamber marketing plan.

Elmira College is to be commended and should feel extremely proud of their continued commitment to academic achievement and excellence. The Chamber staff, Board and Chamber businesses were both impressed and refreshed by the students’ level of professionalism, conduct, resourcefulness and talents. Because of the students’ exhaustive time, energy and efforts, the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce now has the necessary foundation on which to build a true organizational marketing plan and budget … a “luxury” not otherwise affordable through our non-profit resources.

I would be very remiss if I did not also applaud Professor Alison Wolfe for her deep dedication, expertise and gracious consideration of the Corning Chamber as her class marketing project. It was very easy to see that Professor Wolfe is very highly respected by her students and through her high level of expectations, has provided these young men and women with the necessary tools to become successful and valuable business assets … assets which I am hopeful will be enjoyed in our area!

Prof. Alison Wolfe’s personal commitment to the Corning community provided us with a generous opportunity to partner with Elmira College that enabled us to reap the rewards of your expertise and the efforts of your marketing students. Through this incredible college project, the Chamber was able to receive a new perspective and an eye-opening experience to determine who we are and where we want to go. I cannot tell you how invaluable the team information will be as we begin the process to incorporate the students’ ideas, goals and recommendations into the strategic plans of this organization. This is vital information that will help us strengthen our image, strengthen our mission to help businesses succeed and ultimately strengthen our future sustainability.

Meeting Professor Alison Wolfe and working with your students gives refreshing confidence that the future of our world is indeed in very good hands. Thank you for helping the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce … and thank you for Professor Wolfe’s dedication as an educator!

Thank you for this unique opportunity and experience … thank you for your continued support and thank you for all that Elmira College does for our communities.

Very gratefully yours,

Denise K. Ackley
1 W. Market Street, Suite 302
Corning, NY 14830

G. Parkhouse

I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a professional overview of Professor Alison Wolfe’s contribution to Elmira College. I propose to limit myself to comments on two areas of her work with which I believe I am more familiar than any other member of the faculty. One is the matter of Business Administration International Business (BAIB) internships, and the other the Term III Humanities course covering history and culture of United Kingdom.

One of the degree requirements for all students pursing the Business Administration International Business (BAIB) major is the completion of an internship usually undertaken at the end of the Junior Year at Elmira College. This is not the same kind of activity as a normal career-related internship (FEX4510). First of all, it is undertaken all at once, normally in a single period of six-eight weeks outside term time. Secondly, a student of US nationality is required to either undertake the internship abroad, or to work in the US for a foreign corporation or the international arm of a US corporation. The responsibility for equipping students with an internship fell to me, as the Professor of International Business, and I can say that it was very demanding of my academic duties, since suitable opportunities were always difficult to find. Upon my retirement from Elmira College, Professor Wolfe became the interim faculty member for the BAIB internships. Professor Wolfe undertook this position for three years as a service to the college, in addition to her normal workload. In willingly stepping into this position, Professor Wolfe did an excellent job of advising International Business students, networking and searching for international internships for the Elmira College students, educating students on the BAIB process, and organizing BAIB workshops.

Professor Wolfe first participated in the Term III UK Humanities course, which I had been offering single handed ever since 1987, in the 2005-2006 academic year. Although Elmira College had asked me to continue to teach the course after my retirement, they wanted to provide for continuity against the day when I might give it up, and so were looking to have another faculty member associated with the course. I proposed to Dr. Steven Coleman that Professor Wolfe would be an excellent choice, and so it came about that for one year she observed the course, and for the following year became the course co-instructor, in which capacity she continues.

To effectively teach this course the way it is structured requires a knowledge of the salient aspects of British history from American Independence to the end of WWII, the ability to meaningfully introduce students, by means of interesting lectures, field trips and excursions, to places of historical and cultural importance in the UK, and an appreciation of, and ability to pass on to students in a way that means something to them, a broad range of major aspects of British culture and way of life, such as the political system, the role of the monarchy and the Church of England, the education system, etc. For someone like myself, who grew up in the British environment, the basic knowledge of these aspects comes fairly easily; it is not so easy for a person for whom Britain is a foreign country which they may only have known as a visitor.

I could not be more pleased with the way Professor Wolfe has risen to this challenge. She shares with me the lecture time devoted to historical developments. She has heightened student participation and involvement through the introduction of “celebrate your knowledge day” quizzes, student presentations on individual research projects which the course requires, and has made the course more manageable for students by researching, and selecting, a new textbook on British history. She has taken over my former sole responsibility for students’ preparation for their time living in London by developing a detailed course syllabus, daily course learning objectives and outcomes, detailed daily travel schedules, and a comprehensive checklist course manual for the overseas trip and by being readily available to deal with their concerns and questions. She also handles all the student applications, student 1:1 meetings, and the formal presentations at Parents’ Weekend and Open Houses.

In the UK, she is located close by the students, and is thus available to give on-the-spot guidance and counsel as needed. She has initiated an annual “afternoon tea” event, where students experience this traditional British ritual, and has organized trips to Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Professor Wolfe has a keen interest in British culture, and does much exploring of London and its cultural riches. She is energetic and well-organized, and gifted with a keen enthusiasm for whatever may be the activity in hand. This serves, in turn, to enthuse the students and to make the visit to United Kingdom an exciting adventure for them as well as a good learning experience; the student course evaluations regularly reflect a very high level of satisfaction on the part of the student participants. I am confident that, at such time as I cease to be involved, this course will be in very capable hands under Professor Wolfe’s leadership.

Professor Gerald C. Parkhouse
Corning Glass Professor Emeritus of International Business
Elmira College
· Christ Church, Oxford University, United Kingdom
· Boston University, Massachusetts
Alum websites:

P. Dann

Reflection, Prof. Alison Wolfe’s MKT4000 Marketing Planning Class

The Science & Discovery Center (SDC) Board was deliberating over the best use of limited resources to engage young students in science and technology. To get an unbiased opinion, they invited Elmira College Marketing students to come up with a plan in their 2005 spring semester.

History: In 2004 the Science & Discovery Center (SDC) moved from the Arnot Mall to form a collaboration with the Wings of Eagles Museum. The SDC had dual programming from the outset: 
– Drop-in Center with interactive science, math and technology experiences for children and families
– Outreach science, math and technology – all developed and taught by professional educators to enhance New York State curriculum
The Wings of Eagles Museum, with an extensive aviation collection, moved from Geneseo to Elmira in 1988; it sits next to the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.

Plan: Invite Elmira College marketing students to create a plan for the newly formed Wings of Eagles Discovery Center (SDC &WOE).

Marketing Objective: To create a major family attraction in Chemung County.

Process: In 2005, January-April, fourteen Elmira College senior students developed a plan, after four meetings at the center to collect data. In April, three teams submitted written marketing plans and made oral presentations to attendees from the combined organization.

Results: The students were very professional throughout this process and opened the doors for further strategic analysis by the SDC Board and staff. A professional museum consultant was engaged in 2005 and the SDC drop-in center at WOE was closed on 12/31/05 in order to focus all their resources on school-based science, math and technology educational programs meeting New York State standards. In the last two school years, the Center has reached over 20,000 students each year.

This was a very rewarding experience for the SDC Board and staff, as well as the Elmira College students.

Respectfully submitted,

Patricia T. Dann
Executive Director of the Science & Discovery Center

Patricia Dann’s bio: As Executive Director of the Science & Discovery Center, Patricia Dann took the concept of teaching the basic principles of science in an entertaining manner and translated it into an actual facility. The program evolved into an outreach only, inquiry-based program offered to regional schools, that includes a fully equipped mobile science laboratory. For eighteen years, she owned and operated a prestigious retail boutique. During this time she completed seven six-week projects in underdeveloped countries for the International Executive Service Corp. Formerly she was the Director of the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY. Currently she is a member of the American Association of Museums and consults with small museums through their Museum Assessment Program. A graduate of Simmons College, she is on the Board of the Corning Museum of Glass and has served the community in many volunteer capacities.

Questions or comments:
SDC Web site:

P. Thompson

Professor Wolfe has a passion for teaching. Her passion is reflected in a student-centered approach, spending many hours outside of class supporting and challenging her students to achieve academically and to develop as well-rounded individuals. Professor Wolfe is a true professional and great role model!

Her personal experience in the corporate world adds a broader dimension to her classroom instruction and facilitates networking for student internships and post-commencement career opportunities.

Professor Wolfe recently accepted the position of Faculty Athletics Representative, a Presidential appointment required by NCAA membership. Her professional and personal characteristics make her the perfect fit for her role as liaison between the student-athlete and the faculty. Without a doubt, her involvement will enhance the Elmira College student-athlete experience!

Patricia Thompson ’75
Vice President of Athletics and Health Services
Elmira College

J. Kather

Although Professor Alison Wolfe teaches business and marketing courses, I know her best as a student in my photography, graphic design and video art classes. She is a model student, demonstrating her passion for creating and appreciating all forms of art. I know she continues to utilize skills learned in these courses, as each holiday season I receive a card that she has thoughtfully designed.

The health of the arts on the Elmira College campus owes much to Professor Wolfe’s interest in this area. As the Chair of the Arts & Lectures Committee, she has continuously supported artist lectures and exhibitions by promoting and attending these events on campus. She weaves art into all of her classes and volunteer work. For example, she has students analyze web design for businesses through the artist’s eye by organizing panels of artists and web designers. I have seen her encourage students by soliciting artwork from them to offer at auction in order to make money for one of her favorite charities, Habitat for Humanity. She is always looking for ways to make art a part of everyone’s everyday life.

Mentoring Elmira College Term III students in England has become an important contribution of Professor Wolfe. Co-teaching with British Professor Emeritis Gerald Parkhouse has made for a dynamic duo as they tour legendary English institutions such as Oxford University and the British Museum with students. The popularity of this trip is testament to the collegiality between professors in offering a challenging and fun trip for students.

In summary I would simply say that Professor Alison Wolfe is a person who makes Elmira College a special place to be. The world of the arts definitely sees her as the kindest of benefactors.

Jan Kather
Photography & Media Artist
Elmira College

R. Geary

My position requires that I interact with regional businesses, agencies (non-profits) and Chambers of Commerce. Invariably during my encounters with these folks they will mention specific needs that they might have, often relating to marketing. In turn I will bring the request to Professor Wolfe to see if there might be a way that one of her classes could assist the business or agency by incorporating the need into her course as a class project. Alison is very open and responsive to this community partnership and as a result has completed several real-life marketing projects in the region that have had a positive impact for the business or agency. It has been a win-win situation for the students, the College and the community!

Raymond R. Geary
Dean Continuing Education and Graduate Studies
Elmira College

S. Carboni

I remember the very first time Alison walked into the Office of Continuing Education and Graduate Studies. She had responded to an ad for an adjunct instructor to teach Marketing Research in the evening for the Continuing Education Department for the Fall 2002 Term. From the minute she walked into this office, I knew she would do great things for our students. Her knowledge about marketing was amazing and her ability to put everyone at ease speaking about her experiences and strategies convinced everyone that she would be an asset to Elmira College. We knew she had a very busy job, yet she assured us that she had always had a love for teaching and could easily add teaching a course to her schedule. She makes each person she comes in contact with feel like they really matter to her. It has always been a pleasure to interact with Alison. We have become friends as well as colleagues and I consider her friendship a gift.

Susan Carboni
Secretary to the Dean of Continuing Education
Elmira College

K. Brown

Alison has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent and demanding teacher. She sets very high standards for her students and provides the support necessary for conscientious students to be successful in the courses she teaches. In addition to the classroom experiences she provides, Alison routinely offers her students opportunities to hear guest lectures from professionals in marketing and meet off-campus with marketing executives and members of their teams.

Professor Kathleen Brown
Professor of Accounting
Chair, Business & Economics Division, 2007 -2010
Elmira College

H. Hall

It has been a great pleasure working with Alison over the past few years as a Habitat for Humanity Board colleague. I have seen many board members come and go over the past few years and none have had demonstrated the spirit of the Habitat for Humanity organization as much as Alison. Before making a decision she has consistently paused and asked the hard questions many of us had failed to consider. She has always been the first to say “thank you” to those who have helped us in our mission. As the rest of the board contemplated a special event, Alison formed a community committee, developed realistic goals, and implemented our “Hammer It Home” Event. She used her marketing skills when the event seemed to be faltering, and with determination, brought it to a very successful conclusion.

Alison has brought international goals to our local chapter. Through her volunteer work throughout the United States, she has brought knowledge and experienced-based ideas to our Board. Alison’s motivation is clearly in the true spirit of the faith-based idea of helping one’s neighbor, whether the neighbor is in Corning, Mississippi, or West Africa. She is a great team player. When a dispute arises, Alison uses good judgment and diplomacy to achieve resolution.

The area is very fortunate to have a person of Alison’s intellect, compassion, and energy willing to serve our support organizations.

Harold Hall
Retired Superintendent
Active board member, Southeastern Steuben and American Red Cross

R. Marchesani

Principles of Marketing (MKT2250): The Lesson’s Content. Opening the lesson with an agenda on the board, Alison made extensive use of a very slick PowerPoint presentation. The lesson’s content was the interpretation and use of marketing to sell a product or service. The PowerPoint presentation clearly explained each aspect of the material in the lesson, and served as Alison’s instructional backdrop. The lesson dealt with segmentation of the market with specific references to online advertising. Using these references, Alison demonstrated how corporations target their markets as to age, income, interest, and geography.

Principles of Marketing Class: The Lesson’s Delivery. Alison’s evenly-paced delivery was confident, succinct, clear, and directional. She uses no superfluous words or affectations. Each sentence was crafted either to evoke responses from the class, or present information pertinent to the concepts being taught. She called on students using their names and listened while they responded. If a student didn’t know the answer, Alison transitioned to another student without demeaning language or a disappointed tone in her voice.

All students were attending throughout the entire lesson without a single indication of drifting or disengagement. She gave them brief tasks in which the class eagerly engaged, and then commented on their work. Her enthusiasm for her topic was constantly reflected in her movement about the room, her comments regarding the material being taught, and her responses to student comments and questions.

What I found quite amazing was that outside the window of Harris 2, road construction was offering a keen competition in both sight and sound. The fact that not one head turned to watch the show on the road, and that their attention was completely with the lesson in the room, indicated that Alison won the contest.

Forty minutes into the lesson, she divided the class into groups to work on a dependent practice segmenting a market. She circulated throughout the room helping and listening to each group. Fifteen minutes later she pulled back together and asked the groups to share. She constantly complimented them on their work and pulled them back to the key concepts in her objectives.

My Reflection. I found myself caught up in the lesson’s material and consciously felt the dynamic of Alison’s teaching. In my years of experience with teaching and learning, I can say with some level of expertise, that Alison is one of those teachers who has a natural understanding of the balance of instruction. She has outstanding timing in the presentation of her material, and the ability to read student participation. Most importantly, there is no appearance of egocentrism in her demeanor, a common fault of many teachers who tend to have students focus on their (the teacher’s) needs over those of the students. Alison’s focus is obviously student-directed.

A review of Alison’s syllabus reveals an extensively detailed blueprint for the course which provides her students with clear information on how to be successful. Additionally, her worksheets are detailed, orderly, and pertinent to the material being taught. Also, there is a great deal of teaming and interactive activity that is conducive to the learning process.

Her Profession and Leadership. Alison is a very active member of the college community. Her involvement in both faculty and student functions began within hours of her association with the college and has always proven to be beneficial. In the winter 2005 Term, Alison had her marketing class prepare a marketing report for the Wings of Eagles Museum. She organized this project with the greatest of diplomacy and specificity, and supervised a well-documented and well-presented report by her students.

Additionally, Alison has always been willing to contribute her time and money to a variety of student and faculty fundraisers. She is very active in Habitat for Humanity and has given a great many hours to its success. Her résumé is deep and broad, reflecting an active and involved professional who is an asset to her profession and to Elmira College.

I commend Alison for her energy, creativity, and hard work in working with the college community.


Dr. Richard Marchesani 
Professor of Education (retired) who teaches part-time at Elmira College  
Author of educational textbooks, e.g.

G. Westacott

The Japan (research) study experience was an opportunity for Alison to grow and she took advantage of it to develop a global perspective. She has a firm grip on the reality of the world of business, and promises to make excellent contributions.

As an individual, Alison is congenial and attentive to those with whom she works. I feel that I can trust her with any kind of assignment. She exhibits high energy and an ample capacity for work.

Alison has vigorously worked in management and in teaching marketing, exhibiting adventuresomeness to explore her talents. I remain favorably impressed by her energy and professional quality. In short, I think she is a top-notch person who will be an outstanding member of any organization she chooses to work with. Simply put, Alison is a neat person.

George H. Westacott, Ph.D.
Retired Professor of International Business
Associate Professor Emeritus of Management
Binghamton University
Alison Wolfe’s mentor at Binghamton University

C. Kciolek

Alison has a vivacious personality and is diligent, organized, hardworking, and determined to succeed in anything she undertakes. . . . With her effective teaching experience and her success in the business world, Alison, in my opinion, is an ideal person in the academic role.

Rev. Charles J. Kciolek, C.S.C.
Director Academic Advisement and Student Development and Professor of Accounting
King’s College
Alison Wolfe’s mentor at King’s College

C. O’Hara

Alison taught a variety of Marketing courses at King’s College and very clearly demonstrated her mastery of a wide range of topics within the Marketing discipline. . . . Her ability to communicate this information to the students was also very commendable.  
In addition her enthusiasm was noted by all the students.  
Quite simply, she loves to teach, and it shows!

Cheryl O’Hara
Presently, Owner, The Dinner Angel
Marketing Professor, 1979 to 2006
King’s College
Alison Wolfe’s mentor at King’s College