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05/30/2007
Hudson Valley to Honor Angelo Mastrangelo for Commitment to Students, Generous Support of Second Chance Scholarships
Businessman, educator nearing $1 million mark in charitable giving to Hudson Valley Community College Foundation

CONTACT: Jason McCord (518) 629-8071 or (518) 629-7180
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, May 30, 2007

To Denise Watso '02, Angelo Mastrangelo's generosity was "that light at the end of the tunnel."

For years, Watso – a member of the Abenaki Nation of Odanak – worked as a laborer, carpenter, then up to ironworker, following in her father's footsteps. But the exhausting, dangerous nature of working with steel girders under bridges and high above the ground convinced her to look for another career path.

With the help of a Second Chance Scholarship, funded by Mastrangelo's private foundation through the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation, Watso found that new path. A 2002 graduate of Hudson Valley's Engineering Science program who also has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Watso now works for the New York State Department of Transportation, designing highways and bridges instead of building them.

Mastrangelo, the former owner and chief executive officer of Adirondack Beverages, created a foundation in 1987 in honor of his father and father-in-law to assist students who show fortitude and perseverance, often in the face of adversity, to pursue their education. During the intervening 20 years, 426 Hudson Valley students – including Watso – have benefited from the scholarships.

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation will recognize Mastrangelo's generosity – he is approaching the $1 million mark in charitable support of scholarships to Hudson Valley students – at a reception on Thursday, June 7. The reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Guenther Enrollment Services Center on the Hudson Valley campus.

"Dr. Mastrangelo, along with his wife and the board of directors at the Second Chance Foundation, has dramatically impacted the life of hundreds of students at Hudson Valley Community College for 20 years," said Sarah Boggess, president of the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation.

"He and his team have invested $1 million into the education of students here at the college. For some of the students who received a Second Chance Scholarship, they didn't see it as a second chance – they saw it as more of a last chance," she added. "Dr. Mastrangelo has had an immeasurable impact on the world by turning lives around. He did this by showing confidence in people when no one else did. He is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met."

Tickets to the event are $50, and proceeds from the reception will benefit the Foundation's Second Chance Scholarship Fund Endowment, which will allow the Foundation to serve more students through the Second Chance Scholarship program.

"It was so important to me to know that someone believed enough in me to give me a second chance," recalled Watso, who lives in Latham. "Otherwise, I don't know how I would have done it…. Dr. Mastrangelo was the angel, that light at the end of the tunnel, who gave me the opportunity to begin a new journey in life."

Her sentiments are echoed by Sean Grady '02: "The scholarship was just what I needed. It allowed me to hit the road running."

Grady enrolled in the college's Business Administration program 10 years after graduating from Albany High School, looking for a change from his job with the state. The Second Chance Scholarship not only provided the financial assistance he needed, it motivated him to excel in his studies.

After graduating from Hudson Valley, Grady enrolled at George Mason University, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in finance. Grady now lives in Arlington, Va. with his family and works as a financial analyst for BearingPoint consulting firm.

Second Chance Scholarships are merit based, with the scholarship amount based on the grades that recipients earn. Students can receive up to $1,750 per semester to offset the cost of tuition, books and fees. One of the primary motivators for establishing the scholarship program was Mastrangelo's belief that education could break the cycle of poverty. Hudson Valley was the first college to award the scholarships, which now also are given to students at Schenectady County Community College, Broome Community College, The College of Saint Rose and the University at Albany.

"We started our scholarship program because we, as a country, lost the ‘War on Poverty'," Mastrangelo said. "The experts have come up with many reasons why. It is my belief that the solution is helping people to become self sufficient through education. The Second Chance Scholarship program does this!"

"I have come to realize that it is not possible to change the world, but it is possible to make a difference. When I hear these wonderful stories about our Second Chance scholars I know that we are making a difference with our program," he continued. "I also know that if everyone would try to make difference in their little corner of the world, maybe, just maybe, we could change the world."

A self-made businessman with at blue-color background, Mastrangelo began his career as a stock boy with the Canada Dry beverage company shortly after finishing high school. He later switched to sales and in 1980, he and his wife re-mortgaged their home to purchase what has since become Adirondack Beverages, the third largest soft drink company in the Northeast outside of New York City, with annual sales of $60 million.

Mastrangelo, who earned a doctorate in organizational studies at the University at Albany in 2000, is a visiting professor at Binghamton University's School of Management and runs the school's entrepreneurship program. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Broome Community College.

For more information about the Second Chance Scholarship Foundation, visit www.secondchancescholarship.com.

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. Gifts to the Foundation from alumni, corporations and friends are used to enhance programs, facilities and scholarship opportunities at the college. For more information, visit www.hvcc.edu/foundation.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate's degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.