For the second time in less than three years, SUNY Canton Alumnus Joel M. Canino has given his alma mater one of its largest donations in college history. Recent Baldwinsville C.W. Baker High School graduate Jacob M. Neely will be the first to benefit from Canino’s gift. Neely will receive $25,000 in scholarship assistance over the next two years, as a student in SUNY Canton’s Air Conditioning Engineering Technology program.
Canino, who gave the college a $2 million gift in December of 2004, and his former high school classmate George F. “Fred” Dennison have donated nearly $1 million to create the Baldwinsville High School Class of 1957 Endowed Scholarship. The donation will provide scholarships to incoming SUNY Canton students from Charles W. Baker High School near Syracuse, formerly known as Baldwinsville High School where Canino and Dennison attended.
“This is an extraordinary gift that will result in about $50,000 in scholarships on an annual basis,” said Vice President for Advancement Dave Gerlach. “It’s a wonderful and innovative way for Joel and Fred to honor their friendship, recognize their high school, and support the SUNY Canton curriculum that laid the foundation for Joel’s business success.”
Two students from C.W. Baker High School will each be awarded approximately $12,500 annually to attend SUNY Canton and enroll in its renowned Air Conditioning Engineering Technology associate degree program. Canino is a 1959 graduate of that program.
“Fred and I wanted to express our gratitude and commitment to the schools and communities in Baldwinsville and Canton,” said Canino. “We’re grateful that Baldwinsville High School and SUNY Canton helped to prepare us so well for our careers, and we wanted to further reinforce our belief in the importance of a hands-on education and the careers available to those who graduate from them.”
Neely graduated from C.W. Baker High School this past spring. He was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and a varsity lacrosse player. He will begin his studies at SUNY Canton this fall.
“I am in complete awe of this experience,” said Neely. “I really appreciate not having to go into debt for college. I hope to give every penny back to SUNY Canton someday.”
Neely researched the Air Conditioning Engineering Technology program prior to applying for the scholarship assistance, and was surprised by the number of students who receive multiple job offers while they are still taking courses. “I’d heard of the near 100 percent job placement upon graduation, and I would really like to do the same thing that Mr. Canino did.”
In a particular year that may only have one eligible student entering the Air Conditioning Engineering Technology program from C.W. Baker High School, the second scholarship offered will be a $5,000 award given to a C.W. Baker student enrolling in any SUNY Canton curriculum.
“Joel used his SUNY Canton degree to reach the top of his industry, and he’s now helping others do the same,” said President Joseph L. Kennedy. “He’s an ideal alumnus because he helps us in so many ways, including his time, advice, and expertise.”
Canino shares his professional expertise as a member of the Air Conditioning Engineering Technology Advisory Committee and as Chair of the Canton College Foundation Board of Directors.
After graduating from college, Canino worked as an industrial purchasing agent for Inland Supply Company in Syracuse. He was soon noticed and just a year later he was offered a position at the Syracuse construction contracting firm of H.H. and F.E. Bean, Inc., where he eventually became executive vice president. In 1973, he moved to Orlando, Florida to work for the Pittsburgh-based mechanical contracting firm of Sauer Industries, where he served as president of various subsidiaries. In 1984, he became president of C.N.F. Industries in Meridan, Connecticut.
Canino and his partner began Gemma Power Systems in 1997. Gemma Power Systems has become the largest design/construct power plant builder in New England and one of the top in the nation. The firm manages the engineering, procurement, and construction of multi-million dollar power projects. Canino sold Gemma in 2006.