Time To Say Goodbye

BEMUS POINT – Former JCC President Greg DeCinque celebrated his first day of retirement with his 250 closest friends at the Lawson Boating Center in Bemus Point.

The event, which lasted from 5-8 p.m., saw what seemed like a never-ending line of people waiting to congratulate DeCinque on his 19-year career as President of JCC, and to wish him the best during his retirement.

“Everything has already been said about him and I don’t know how to say it any better,” said Lance Spicer, JCC Board of Trustees chairman. “In his 19 years he was here, he truly transformed the county. Everything that he has accomplished with the board’s help: the residence halls, the science building, the Olean campus, the RTPI collaboration – all those things, he led the way on. He’s just an extraordinary leader, and we’re very sorry to see him leave. We welcomed Cory Duckworth today, who was on the job today for his first day in the office, and we’re very excited for him to take over, but its still hard to see Greg go. I was chairman of the legislature when he came here, and he helped to expand the sponsorship of the college from just Jamestown to all of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus county. That was my first introduction to him, and he’s been a great leader ever since.”

Although hors d’oeurves and cocktails were served when the event started, with a meal following around 6 p.m., it was nearly 7 p.m. before DeCinque had an opportunity to break away from the crowd that wished to congratulate him.

“I’m really overwhelmed that all these folks came out to spend some time and celebrate with me,” said DeCinque. “I’ve got my wife here, and my two sons are here, so it’s a very special evening for us.”

According to DeCinque, retirement hasn’t quite set in yet, as he has caught himself reading work emails that have found their way to him.

“I’m still getting all my email sent to my Blackberry, so I’m still looking at office work,” said DeCinque. “I’m sure by next week, that will all be different.”

When asked to summarize his career in a few sentences, DeCinque said he could do it in two words.

“Building community,” said DeCinque. “By building a strong community of faculty and staff, programs and facilities and services, we were able to carry out the mission of the college. But none of that would have happened without first building a strong community of people.

“When you think about what this event is and who is here,” continued DeCinque, “it’s really reflective of the community. There are faculty, students, staff, board members, foundation board members, members of the community and political leaders all here, and I think that kind of community involvement is what makes a successful community college.”