Physician Assistant Studies Alumni Association


Our History

The Albany Med PA Alumni Association  was conceived in the decade after the creation of this Physician Assistant program, jointly administered between Albany Medical College and the Hudson Valley Community College. The program is one of the oldest and most respected PA programs in New York State.

Alumni were projected to benefit from an alumni association, and associate faculty member Wayne Cure developed a tentative constitution to begin the organization. Initial leadership consisted of PAs Jack Fairbanks, John Bergin, Peter Goetchius, Don Brownell, David Pronto, Alan Olmstead, Tim Hall, Karen Sparkes, Ann Githler, Doreen Dietz, Nancy Knieriem, John Sullivan and Laurie Gates. These efforts developed into a more formal organization in 1990, with bylaws, dues and a checking account. Subsequently, Monica Pfohl, Dan Byron, Patricia Pulver, Michael Hart, Ginny Spickerman, Mike Travis, Patricia Hentze, Al McNamara, Jackie Bredwood, David Foster, Joyce Gillespie, AJ Maneen, Maurice Jones, Bill Kutzer, Cinda Kerbein, David Irvine, Marty Knowlton, Tom Lahut, and David O’Brien, among others, contributed to the fledgling organization.

From the start, administrative assistant & historian Arlene Fish provided essential continuity in the many years after the departure of Wayne Cure.

Continuing medical education, as a full day seminar with high quality speakers and the economies of an informal PA/MD network, started a series of “CME Day” programs, which began in 1994. “CME Day” provided a tangible service to alumni and a modicum of income to the association, which was applied toward student PA financial awards.

Students have enthusiastically supported interactions with alumni through the past decade, and their contributions are greatly appreciated. That positive energy has helped the organization to continue service beyond graduation.

Efforts by past president Thomas Lahut established the Alumni Association in 1995 as a formal, legal entity. This involved filing a Certificate of Incorporation pursuant to Section 402 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of New York State. With the pro-bono legal assistance of the late Barry Gold, of Thuillez, Ford, Gold & Johnson, the PA Alumni filed Articles of Incorporation with the New York Education Department and the NY Department of State under section 402 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law; both acknowledged the alumni as having a mission of charitable support of students and of continuing medical education. In 1997, Lahut obtained formal recognition of exemption as a not-for profit organization, under section 501(c)3 with the US Internal Revenue Service and also with the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance. Later, Director David Irvine and Lahut established an alumni endowment in 1998, with the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation to provide cash awards for deserving physician assistant students attending Albany Medical College, with awards at the end of the didactic year of study.

Supportive Alumni over the past years have included: Dave Dembowski, Mary Fish, Brian Glick, Dave Margelli, Paula Maniscalco, Jeff Cameron, Ray Rodrigue, Dave Williams, Susan Hulse, Marvin Day, Andrea Larson, Bob Melanson, Jennifer Baer, Ron Mikat, Robert Cenname, Kathryn Archer, Colleen O’Donnell, Carolyn Opar, Darrin Bradley, Travis Myers, Kerry Yakawiak, Sue Lathers, Jeff Kellogg, Beth LoPiccolo, Dan McPartlin, Anne Klugo, Liz Stampfl, Kelly Reed, Patrick McDermott, Karen Wolf, Sally Bauer and of course, Arlene Fish.

PA support staff Rosalyn Green and Kathy Stelman have greatly helped Alumni Association activities.

Board Members in 2012 are: Dave O’Brien, Marty Knowlton, Robert Surprenant, Mark Sullivan, Deborah Wright, Bill Kutzer and Thomas Lahut.

Future Considerations

Gifts and contributions for educating future PAs are tax exempt. Charitable contributions during working years can reduce taxes, if you itemize.

Considering leaving a portion of your estate after death to create a scholarship in your memory is exempt from taxes. Gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and other planned giving to support PA education in the Albany area is possible because of the Alumni Association’s qualification as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Further change witnessed by alumni involved recent the struggles of our PA Program to transition into the Center for PA Studies at Albany Medical College.

In August 2004, the last 15 PA graduates of the joint certificate program established in 1972, joined the ranks of the 908 alumni who preceded them with a certificate from AMC and an Associate degree from Hudson Valley Community College.

In December 2004, the last 16 PA graduates who matriculated into the joint program affiliated with HVCC, but completed the graduate level requirements from the Albany Medical College of Union University, were graduated with a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies.

Currently, the Center for PA Studies at Albany Medical College has become only the 3rd of the 23 PA programs in New York State to offer a Master’s degree upon completion. All graduates of the Center will receive their Master of Science degrees in Physician Assistant Studies exclusively from Albany Medical College.

Congratulations at this achievement by our Alma Mater are most appropriate.

PA Alumni ARE the living history of a vibrant connection between AMC and Hudson Valley Community College. This unique collaboration established PAs as a viable health profession in New York. Key to this relationship will be endowment money managed through the HVCC Foundation, for the benefit of PA students attending the Center for PA Studies at Albany Medical College. The Foundation maintains its funds independently.

The one Alumni Association dedicated to PAs educated in the Albany programs continues to grow.

All PA graduates and alumni are cordially welcomed to continue to support PA education in Albany, New York through the Alumni Association.

Pertinent Histories

PA History
Society for the Preservation of PA History promotes professional and personal development issues of the profession.