Monday, 09 December 2013 22:22

Business executive to speak at Oswego December graduation

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Alfred "Fred" Festa Alfred "Fred" Festa Submitted photo

     SUNY Oswego's December Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, will feature as speaker an alumnus of the college who used his business administration degree to advance to leadership positions at Fortune 100 companies.

     Now chairman and chief executive officer of W.R. Grace & Co., Alfred "Fred" Festa gained experience and acumen as he ascended the management ranks over two decades with General Electric, Allied Signal, ICG Commerce and Morgenthaler Private Equity Partners.

     He joined Grace, a global specialty chemicals and materials company, as president and chief operating officer in 2003. He assumed the CEO responsibilities in 2005 and was named chairman of the board in 2008. He served as president from 2003 to 2011.

     Festa championed the transformation of Grace into a fully integrated operating company. Under his leadership, the company's revenue grew 60 percent, from $2 billion in 2003 to $3.2 billion in 2011. He spearheaded intensified productivity efforts at Grace that delivered cost savings and revenue enhancements of $155 million in 2011. He created the Grace Research Council to oversee greater R&D collaboration, generating an active innovation pipeline. Products introduced in the past five years delivered around one-third of Grace's annual revenues in 2011.

Loyal alumnus

     Festa will receive the SUNY Oswego Presidential Medal at the ceremony in recognition of his support of his alma mater.

     He and his wife MaryLynn Barbero Festa, a 1982 graduate of Oswego, established the Festa Graduate Leadership Fellows Program at Oswego to provide hands-on learning opportunities in a professional setting for graduate students. He also worked with Oswego to establish the W.R. Grace Internship Program.

     Because of his work in expanding co-op and work-integrated educational opportunities, he was named to the 2012-13 World Council and Assembly on Cooperative Education (WACE) Hall of Fame.

     Festa also owns the minor league Greenville (S.C.) Road Warriors hockey team, an affiliate of the New York Rangers. At Oswego, the Festas funded the new Festa Graduate Assistantship Award for Men's Hockey, which provides a learning and mentoring opportunity for a graduate student whose interest includes a future in coaching.

Commencement details

     Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 14 in the Campus Center arena. For more information about December graduation and a link to its live webcast, visit

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