SUNY Poly honors veterans at Utica campus ceremony

SUNY Poly honors veterans at Utica campus ceremony

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 14:00
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Event recognizes students who created adaptive golf club for wounded Iraq war hero


Utica, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute today honored the men and women who have fought for our country with a special Veterans Day ceremony. A large crowd gathered in the Student Center to express gratitude for America’s armed forces and to pay special recognition to mechanical engineering technology students Nicholas Arbour of Herkimer and Adam Peters of New Hartford, who completed a project enabling an injured Iraq war veteran to continue pursuing his passion for golf.

In September 2006, Ret. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh of Windsor, NY suffered significant injuries when his tank was hit by a makeshift bomb.  Yarosh endured a long and remarkable recovery, but his days of playing golf seemed to be over.

Upon hearing of Yarosh’s story, Arbour and Peters dedicated themselves to designing and fabricating a one of a kind adaptive golf club, to enable this American hero's return to the sport he loves.

“We express our deepest appreciation to Sgt. Yarosh and all veterans who have put their own lives at great risk defending our freedom,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “We encourage all SUNY students to show their gratitude to these brave men and women, and applaud Adam and Nicholas for setting a truly wonderful example through this creative and selfless gesture.”

“We cannot thank Sgt. Yarosh enough for his sacrifices, are are incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment Nicholas and Adam have displayed while making such a significant impact on this veteran's life,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, CEO and Officer in Charge of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “What they have accomplished is in accordance with the principles of community service, engagement and innovation that embody SUNY Polytechnic Institute.”

Arbour and Peters worked with Sgt. Yarosh for more than a year to make his dream of returning to golf a reality. The two students spent time studying the swings of professional golfers before creating three different prototypes via a 3-D printer in order to develop their final design, which includes both a wrist guard and a handle that Sgt. Yarosh can hold onto when he swings.

“Nicholas and Adam have worked tirelessly, taking what they have learned in the classroom and putting it to work to create a tangible, real-life solution that has allowed Sgt. Yarosh to return to the golf course,” said Dr. Robert Geer, SUNY Poly senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Their service to others is an example for all our students to emulate.”

“When the situation was introduced to us as a class project, we both realized the possibilities this had for real-world application,” Peters said. “And it’s been so much more rewarding because of that.”

“It has been quite an achievement for us to accomplish this within a year,” said Arbour, who is no stranger to the armed services. While a student at SUNYIT, he simultaneously was enrolled in an Air Force ROTC program at Syracuse University, where he attended 3-4 times a week in preparation to enter the Air Force.  “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sgt. Yarosh and all veterans and I’m thrilled that we could do this for him.”

Arbour and Peters presented the adaptive golf club to Sgt. Yarosh on October 28, 2014.  At today’s Veterans Day ceremony, SUNY Poly presented both students with special certificates of recognition as well as a gift of $250 as a token of gratitude and appreciation for setting a wonderful example for the entire university community.


#################### About SUNY POLY.  SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and degrees in technology, professional studies, and the arts and sciences at its Utica/Rome campus. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts more than $20 billion in high-tech investments, over 300 corporate partners, and maintains a statewide footprint. The 1.3 million-square-foot Albany NanoTech megaplex is home to more than 3,100 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, faculty, and staff. The Utica/Rome campus offers a unique high-tech learning environment, providing academic programs in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, with degrees and course offerings in natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. SUNY Poly operates the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI) at Kiernan Plaza in Albany, the Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, the Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility in Rochester, and the Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center (STC) in Canandaigua. SUNY Poly founded and manages the Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C) on its Utica campus, and is lead developer of the Marcy Nanocenter site, as well as the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Complex, Buffalo Information Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub, and Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub. For information visit and