Alfred State recently announced that alumnus Albert R. Styrcula will be receiving the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree during the college’s 106th commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 14.
Styrcula, who grew up on a dairy farm near Dundee, has been helping others from a very young age when his mother was widowed with several children to raise. Enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps immediately following high school graduation, Styrcula served in the Korean War. He entered the workforce in 1959 fresh out of college after graduating from Alfred State with an associate degree in general business management.
His career started out at Foodcraft, a small processing and distribution company that dealt in dairy products. Initially, his jobs varied from accounting work to driving trucks to delivering milk to washing bottles.
However, by 1972, Styrcula had worked his way up to the top of Foodcraft, becoming CEO and chairman of the board, positions he held until 1988, when Uni-Marts Inc. acquired the company. During that time, the company’s sales increased from $2 million to $50 million under his leadership. In the mid- to late-‘80s, he even fended off corporate raiders, having to use much of his own money to assure he maintained control of his company.
Despite all of his success, Styrcula has remained as down-to-earth as ever, never forgetting from where he came. He not only credits Alfred State with giving him the knowledge and knack necessary to run a small business, but also for Judith, his wife of more than 57 years, whom he met at the college.
Styrcula has also been a generous donor and dear friend to the college for several years. He has been a longtime member of the Alfred State President’s Society, a dedicated group of alumni, friends, parents, faculty, staff, and corporations/foundations who support the college through contributions of $1,000 or more annually to the Alfred State College Development Fun Inc.
Additionally, Styrcula created the Albert and Judith Styrcula Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to hard-working students with financial need from Dundee, Marcus Whitman, or Penn Yan High Schools, or from Yates County. His support has and will continue to benefit and make a difference for numerous students for many years.
Mr. and Mrs. Styrcula have had a profound impact on many lives through their philanthropic efforts, including improvements to health care facilities and endowments to two other colleges in the Williamsport, Pa., area where they reside.