Press Releases

Four Faculty-Staff Members Receive SUNY Chancellor's Awards

Date Released: 5/9/2008

Four Purchase College faculty-staff members received the 2008 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence. They are Dr. Ronnie Leah Scharfman and Professor Michael Torlen for excellence in teaching, Professor Murray Zimiles for excellence in scholarship and creative activities, and Inspector Cynthia Markus-Jones for excellence in professional services.

The Purchase winners will be honored at a convocation ceremony on September 10 where they will receive a Chancellor' Excellence medallion and a certificate.

Dr. Ronnie Leah Scharfman, Riverdale, NY is a Professor of French and Literature in the School of Humanities, who excels as a teacher, mentor and scholar.  She has been a member of the Purchase faculty since 1979 and has taught a wide range of courses in French language and literature including Multiple Voices in Diaspora, Surrealism and its Legacy, Classics of French Literature on Film, Literature of the Mediterranean, Literature of the Arab World, and Caribbean Writers, to name a few.  She has taught at Yale, New York University and the Graduate Center of CUNY, and has lectured widely to conferences across the United States and Europe.  Her prize-winning book on the poet Aime Cesaire is a recognized classic.  She is also the author of several other volumes. She uses French films as a teaching tool and to stimulate conversations about French culture and problems being faced in the 21st century.  She works with the Friends of Humanities and the annual French Film Festival which is co-sponsored by Purchase and the Alliance Française of Greenwich, CT. 

Michael Torlen, Mamaroneck, NY, a member of the Purchase College School of Art+Design faculty since 1972, is also a professional artist.  As a teacher he encourages students to develop an individual voice rather than painting in the style of a faculty member.  He led the revision of the Painting and Drawing program that emphasizes a blend of the theoretical and studio work. He is an advocate for a broad liberal arts education for professional students in the arts. Professor Torlen's commitment to excellence motivates students to exceed their goals.  His work in painting and printmaking is included in such corporate art collections as Chase Manhattan Bank, PepsiCo, IBM and numerous museums: the Newark  Museum, the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art and the Springfield Art Museum in Missouri. He is also working on a textbook about visual perceptions, studio practice and critique.

Murray Zimiles, Millerton, NY, a member of the Purchase School of Art+Design faculty since 1977, is an innovative and productive artist who has created a large body of work in painting, drawing, pastel, both traditional and digital printmaking, and artist books.  He has exhibited widely in the US and abroad and is represented in many major collections including: the Museum of Modern Art; the Brooklyn Museum; New York Public Library; the National Collection, Washington, DC; the Collection of Fine Art, University of New South Wales, Australia; the Museum of Modern Art, Haifa, Israel; the Royal Norwegian Government Collection, Norway; and the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel.  Author of a number of publications, his Workshops Around the World was the first comprehensive study of fine lithographic production worldwide. His Early American Mills was a pioneering work in the field of industrial archaeology and one of the first works to discuss the reuse of old mill buildings. His most recent project was “Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel” an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum which he co-curated about  the role of European-born Jewish woodcarvers and their contribution to Jewish art in American visual culture.  The accompanying book received a National Jewish Book Award.

Cynthia Markus-Jones, Smithtown, NY, University Police Inspector, supervises all University Police personnel under the Deputy Chief, including the training of newly hired police recruits following their graduation from the police academy. A graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, she joined Purchase College as a Public Safety Officer in 1988 and graduated from the NY State University Police/Public Safety Academy in 1990.  In 2001, she completed Police Supervisor school at the Westchester County Police Academy. She is responsible for the Community Policing Program, in which she sets the goals and priorities to ensure that students in the residence halls live in a safe environment.  She trains students, faculty and staff in the Rape Aggression Defense programs, which she introduced to the campus.  She is founder of the Community Policing and Education Program, co-chair of the Personal Safety Committee and is an advisor to the Student Safety Program.  She is also co-coordinator of a program to introduce defibrillators to campus buildings and is an instructor for the AAA Defensive Driving Course.