The Alumni House is a three-story dwelling, personalized by its charming wooden arches and contoured decorative lines.
The building offers an enchanting appeal with a front wrap-around porch as well as back and side porches. Interior restorations have helped to enhance the architectural beauty of this house.
Raye H. and Beatrice K. Conrad Room
Located on the first floor, to the west of the James M. Edmunds Foyer, is the Raye H. and Beatrice K. Conrad Room. Furnishings in the room include a variety of contributed items. Each window is draped with swag valances and jabot curtains. Hung from the walls are plaques noting winners of prominent Alumni Association Awards as well as a postcard of the Normal School provided by Mary Brei Duryea ’64. Covering the floor is a carpet donated by Lillian Dodd Berg ’36. A six-piece furniture set, previously belonging to Principal Alfred Thompson during the 26 years he served, provides seating in the room. At the request of Fletcher and Alice Garlock, the Western Monroe Historical Society donated the set. The room also contains a Grandmother’s clock crafted by Ed Nihiser and a small table donated by George Rich ’54.
Raye H. and Beatrice K. Conrad were both significantly involved in SUNY Brockport. At Brockport, Raye served as a professor of education, chair of the Educations Division, dean of students, director of admissions and the dean for certification. His wife, Beatrice, was a nurse at the College’s Campus School and also at the Brockport Central Schools.
Eric M. Steel Room
The Eric M. Steel Room is located on the first floor. This room has been designed to parallel the 20th century period of the house. During renovation, a wall was removed to create a larger space. Valances compliment the curved structure of the windows. Various photos are displayed throughout the room.Two settees, two large upholstered chairs and a beige chair provide some of the seating in the room, all of which were gifts of Florence Remsen Wage ’30. Two side chairs donated by Michael Roche ’59 and a rocker, contributed by A. Bruce Schlageter ’47, offer additional seating. Other furnishings include an armoire to house a television and VCR, green vases of the Ching Dynasty and a Capen piano.
Eric M. Steel was born February 11, 1904, in Paisley, Scotland. In 1942, he was selected to be professor of English and French at SUNY Brockport. At Brockport, Steel was the first chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, director of the Dramatic Society, and founder and director of the French Choral Club. He also was the coach of the varsity tennis team and the individual who launched Brockport European study tours. Dr. Steel retired from SUNY Brockport in 1974.
Orlo L. Derby Room
The Orlo L. Derby room is located on the first floor. Lace curtains drape the windows, similarly to those used in the two front rooms of the main level. A corner cupboard provides an area to shelve memorabilia. Some of the pieces displayed in the cabinet include a bust of a child donated by Wayne Dedman; a citation for Brockport Alumni Association’s efforts in restoration; and manipulative math material by Professor Burlingame, c. 1870s. The Duncan Phyfe dining table and seven chairs occupy a large portion of the room. A mahogany empire chest of drawers, gift of Mary Lee McCrory, College Head Librarian 1938 – 62, provides another area to display framed pieces.
Orlo L. Derby, emeritus, taught in the Syracuse and Tully Public Schools and at Cortland State College prior to coming to SUNY Brockport in 1941. Shortly after his arrival, he left to serve as an officer in the United States Army. Following World War II, Derby returned to Brockport, where he worked in the Department of Education until his retirement in 1974. In 1979, Derby funded a scholarship to be awarded to a prospective teacher who has exhibited qualities important to the teaching profession. He has generously contributed to the Alumni House Restoration Project, has served on the Alumni House Committee, and is a recipient of the Honors for Outstanding Service Award.
Helen J. Rich Kitchen
Located on the first floor, and directly accessible through the back porch, is the Helen J. Rich Kitchen. The kitchen, along with the pantry and powder room, were the first rooms to be restored and modernized. A hand-stenciled design on the curtains is a replication of the wall stenciling uncovered during restoration. On the wall hangs a clock donated by Ed Nihiser. The cupboards were donated for the restoration by John Deats ’80.
Helen Johnson Rich, a lifelong Brockport resident, opened her home to students when housing was a critical need. After raising six children of her own, she continued to support and help other students as they completed their college education. This memorial pays tribute to Helen J. Rich and all the house parents in the Brockport community who demonstrated loyal services to SUNY Brockport.
James M. Edmunds Foyer
The James M. Edmunds Foyer provides a welcoming entrance to the Alumni House. Windows in the foyer are not curtained in order to reveal the beautiful leaded design. The restored banister guides the way to the second story of the home. While picking up colors from the wallpaper, carpeting in the foyer continues up the stairs and down the hallway of the second floor. Restoration of the foyer was funded by a gift of the Class of ’42 on its 50th anniversary in honor of James Edmunds.
James M. Edmunds was born in Brighton, NY, in 1904. He taught at the University of Minnesota prior to becoming a member of the staff at the Brockport Normal School in 1937. While at Brockport, Edmunds was the chair of the English Department, executive secretary of the Brockport Alumni Association, advisor for several classes, and sponsor of the College yearbook. He also was the advisor for the Faculty-Alumni Relations Committee. Edmunds retired in 1971 as professor emeritus of English at SUNY Brockport.
Gloria Mattera ’52 Room
The Gloria Mattera Room, located on the second floor, is used as a library and display room. The wallpaper follows a similar design as the hallway paper, varying only in color. Floor length side panels with tie backs decorate the windows. An area rug, a gift of the Class of ’54, carpets the wood floor. A locked book and display case was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Hare. The case offers shelving to a number of pictures in the room. Leland Shafer also donated a mahogany bookcase providing more storage space in the room. On the south wall hangs a painting brought from France by Mattera. A photo of Mattera also is displayed in the room.
Gloria Mattera received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Brockport in 1952 and 1955. In 1986, she was inducted into the Brockport Alumni Association’s Hall of Heritage. Many of her writings, expressing her concerns for migrants, were published. Mattera is listed in the Who’s Who of American Woman and has been recognized nationally for her service to migrant workers.
Pauline M. Haynes Room
The Pauline M. Haynes Room, which seamlessly displays school colors, is located on the east side of the second story. A green and gold carpet picks up the colors in the William Morris wallpaper. Similarly to the Steel Room, the valance follows the curve of the window. Paintings in the room were done by Haynes’ aunt, Mary R. Haynes Stackpole. A letter, written to Haynes from Booker T. Washington, hangs below a portrait of Haynes. Other items displayed on the walls of the room include a mirror and personalized Mickey Mouse drawing, signed by Walt Disney, both of which belonged to Haynes’ brother. Many additional furnishings were donated by Haynes’ niece, Nancy Barbour: a cherry rocking chair, photo album, step stool, Parianware pitcher, candlesticks and other paintings. Also in the room is a mahogany bookcase, donated by Leland Shafer, a drop-leaf table with four chairs, a gift of the Class of ’55, and an upright piano donated by Jon ’67 and Nancy Bell.
Pauline M. Haynes was associate professor of music for her first year at SUNY Brockport. She then became chair of the Music Department. Haynes initiated new music courses for both undergraduates and graduates. She also was the director of the College Chorus. Haynes was named professor emerita of music at her retirement in 1966.
Florence Remsen Wage ’30 Room
Opposite the Pauline M. Haynes Room is the Florence Remsen Wage ’30 Room. A floral pattern covers the walls of the room and is carried into the window treatments. In the corner stands a four-paneled Bicentennial screen donated by Peg Hare Browne ’44. Also in the room is a converted rope bed donated by Philma Cooley, sister of Stella Bassett. The afghan on the bed was created by Bassett’s former grade school students. A chair, donated by Wage, offers some of the seating in the room. Additional seating is provided by a wicker furniture set, a gift of Mary Brei Duryea ’64.
Florence Remsen Wage received her Normal School degree in 1930, her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport in 1953 and master’s degree in 1955. She was a teacher in the Rochester City School District for 32 years. Wage was an active member of the American Association of University Women. Wage contributed generously to the Alumni House. In 1988, she received the Brockport Alumni Association’s Hall of Heritage Award.
Vira Hladun-Goldmann ’58 Room
The Vira Hladun-Goldmann room is a guest room located on the second floor. As an interior designer, Goldmann decorated and furnished the room herself. The small, narrow room houses a bed, night stand, dresser and clock. Linens on the bed also were a contribution of Goldmann. Regardless the size of the room, the charm is maintained through both the decoration and the lines created by a mansard roof.
Vira Hladun-Goldmann graduated from SUNY Brockport in 1958 with a major in education and a minor in music and art. Goldman then went on to teach kindergarten. With a strong interest in collecting 18th and 19th century period paintings and furniture, she launched her firm, Hladun-Goldmann in New York City. As Goldmann learned of the renovation to the Alumni House she contributed her professional skills. In addition, she served as co-chair of the College Capital Campaign Steering Committee. Goldmann was inducted into the Hall of Heritage in 2000.
Estella M. Bassett Room
The Class of 1961 initiated a campaign for the restoration of the Estella M. Bassett Room. In 2006, both the room and adjoining bathroom were renovated with the donated funds. The Alumni Association Archives Committee now uses this room for meetings. The area that once was a bathroom has been transformed into a secure storage room. It is now used to store important artifacts and historical documents. A new roll top desk, meeting table and light fixtures were purchased to furnish the room.
Raised locally, Estella M. Bassett was a graduate of Brockport High School. After receiving her RN from St. Mary’s Hospital, her bachelor of arts from the University of Rochester, and her Certificate of School Nurse Teacher and Public Health Nurse from Syracuse University, Bassett attended SUNY Brockport for her master’s degree in art. Bassett served in the US Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Following her service in the war, Bassett held several nursing positions throughout New York State. In 1954, she became an associate professor in health education at SUNY Brockport until her retirement in 1964. In 1983, Bassett was designated Associate Professor Emeritus by the SUNY Board of Trustees.