In a three-hour ovation from colleagues, constituents, friends and family Wednesday, “Finger Lakes Salute” honored Mike Nozzolio at the Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva.

GENEVA — It’s a rare accomplishment to have logged 34 years in public office and still enjoy 360-degree applause. But outgoing New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio got to see and hear it from all sides. 

In a three-hour ovation from colleagues, constituents, friends and family Wednesday, “Finger Lakes Salute” honored the “Senator of the Finger Lakes” at the Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva.

Hundreds of supporters from across the state joined guest speakers and artists to spotlight a lifetime of Nozzolio’s achievements and contributions as state assemblyman and senator. At the end of his term he'll return to what he calls the highest office in the land: private citizen.  

Doug Logan, the voice of the Syracuse Orangemen for football and basketball, kept the extended event flowing in his role of master of ceremonies. And musical performances by Hobart and William Smith’s Three Miles Lost and Hobartones, pianist Steve Venuti, and the Hit Men of the Finger Lakes added sparkle to the celebration. 

Mike Davis, president of the Finger Lakes International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said Nozzolio — as a champion of creating and preserving jobs in the Finger Lakes — “has always been there for us. It’s who he is and what he does.”

Sean McLeod, president and CEO of New York Institute of Dance and Education, took his turn at the podium, the only dark-skinned man on a stage of Caucasian speakers.   

“I’m here to add some color to the group,” quipped McLeod.

“What Mike has done for me, has done for Auburn, has done for Cayuga County,” he said, “was to make certain that those who sometimes are not seen, are seen. Are invited to the big boy table. Mike is really the epitome of what inclusion looks like, long before it was politically correct to talk about it.”

Nozzolio was lauded by many for tireless support of police, firefighters and the library system; and for his personal integrity, intellect and political expertise.

He was described as a caring, decent human being, and an esteemed professional mentor who never forgot a name. Some called him "the guy you go to when you need help,” and a man who places the public’s interest above his own.

A more than 10-minute slide show recapped 34 years of memories, and of constituents served.

Also honored for her “elegance and sophistication” as she served alongside her husband was Rosemary Nozzolio.

“My wife as a biologist has had to endure a political campaign for 45 years,” said Nozzolio. “I could never thank her enough. I couldn’t have done it without her support.”

Among the featured speakers were Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Dr. Susan Brown, director of the Cornell Agricultural Station; Finger Lakes Community College President Dr. Robert Nye; state Senator Catharine Young (57th District); Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Marren;  Lyons National Bank President Bob Schick; Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chair Steve LeRoy; Geneva City Police Chief Jeff Trickler; Mary Boatfield, chief executive officer of Happiness House-Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association; Geneva City Manager Matt Horn; Geneva Sons of Italy Lodge spokesperson Mike Cutillo; and Lauren Moore, executive director of the Pioneer Library System.


VIDEO: Sean McLeod and The Hit Men of the Finger Lakes

VIDEO: Dragnet, by The Hit Men, under the direction of Senator Mike Nozzolio

VIDEO: The Hit Men of the Finger Lakes