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Rotary hears from SUNY Fredonia’s first female president, holds annual dinner

January 2, 2013
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Out of the past came none other than the inimitable Mae West, portrayed by guest impersonator Alice O'Grady, to tell a bit of her experiences at a recent Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club meeting.

No one thought it unusual to welcome a "woman known by all" for her outspoken view of life. For instance, someone said to her as she was introduced, "Goodness, Ms. West, your diamonds are so beautiful." O'Grady responded as West, "Goodness had nothing to do with it, Dearie." That was Mae West.

West lived her life as she pleased, particularly during the Roaring Twenties, when life was rather free and unrestricted. One of her greatest shows was on Broadway in the hit, "Diamond Lil," which was full of double entendres.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Dr. Virginia Schaefer-Horath, left, the new president, and first female president, of SUNY Fredonia visited the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club and talked about her plans for the future. She was introduced by club member Patty DiPalma, right.

A vaudeville performer, playwright, Broadway sensation, movie star and sex goddess, perhaps one of West's most well known comments was "Why don't you come up and see me sometime, when I've got nothing on but the radio." Mae West was born in 1893 and died at the age of 87 in 1980 in Los Angeles.

O'Grady is also well known in Chautauqua County for her impersonation of Eleanor Roosevelt.

New SUNY Fredonia President

Dr. Virginia Schaefer-Horath, the new president and first female president of SUNY Fredonia, visited the club and talked about her plans for the future.

Introduced by club member Patty DiPalma, Dr. Horath talked about "A New Era for Fredonia." Her major objective is to promote awareness among students about the world.

"Many haven't had exposure to the world," she said, noting students must find this information for themselves as opposed to a professor telling them.

Welcoming more students from around the world to SUNY Fredonia would extend students' "learning" experience. In addition, Dr. Horath would like to see more students experience visiting abroad.

Motorcycling is good, but take caution

Westfield-Mayville Club member Don Dowling talked about, "the joy of freedom when you're young and ride alone the first time" on a motorcycle.

A long-time cyclist, he also cautioned anyone who might be considering this popular means of transportation. Most important, Dowling said, is safety, citing a number of happenings that have and can occur. The biggest numbers of accidents occur when motorists pull out in front of a motorcycle. Additionally, turning too fast is most dangerous.

Dowling is sold on safety, particularly, "all the gear - including a helmet - to be worn all the time." He described the equipment needed not only for the operator, but also to be found in the motorcycle.

Annual dinner

The end of the year was an occasion for club members to celebrate the old and anticipate the new by gathering for their annual dinner.

Held at Quagliana's Bark Grill in Westfield, the group enjoyed a musical treat sung by Westfield Academy and Central School's award-winning chorus directed by Kent Knappenberger. Looking forward to 2013, the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club's theme will focus on "Peace through Service."



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