Topic panels and discussion leaders for the Wheler Family Conference on World Affairs at Cazenovia College have been announced.

The 19th annual event is scheduled Wednesday, October 6. Dr. Tevi Troy, a leading national domestic policy advisor, think-tank health policy expert, and best-selling presidential-topics author, is the keynote speaker. His presentation, “Coronaworld: The Country and World that the Virus Made,” takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.

Panel discussions take place from 10 to 11:15 a.m. that morning, also online via Teams. Seven breakout sessions are scheduled. Attendance is free and open to the public, and community participation in the panels and keynote session is encouraged.


Panel Discussions

Breakout discussion leaders include several Cazenovia College alumni. Panel topics, along with Cazenovia College faculty and staff members moderators, focus on these topics:

  • Emergency Management - Joseph Hernon ‘08, associate vice president for campus safety, emergency management, and environmental health and safety at Colgate University; with faculty moderator Professor Francine Varisco, chair of the Division of Business and Management
  • Entertainment - co-led by Robert Hupp, artistic director of Syracuse Stage and Brett Smock, producing artistic director of the REV Theatre Company of Auburn, moderated by David Lowenstein, College artist-in-residence
  • Public Health Communication - Kara Kane, public information officer, Erie County Department of Public Health, Buffalo, NY; with faculty moderator Professor Joni Koegel, director of the Hospitality program
  • Mental Health Needs/At-Risk Youth - Jessica Lott Hamilton ‘04, program director, Pace Center for Girls, of Manatee County, FL; faculty moderator Dr. Christina Bobesky, director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program
  • First Year College Student Experience - Katherine Potts ‘17, assistant director of community living, Keene State College, Keene, NH, with staff moderator Tiffany Varlaro, assistant director of residential life/conduct
  • College Student Life Experience - Victoria Sokolowski ‘09, director of campus activities at Cazenovia College, with staff moderator Sheila Marsh, director of the College’s HEOP program
  • Impact on Journalism and the Media - Rick Weiss, former Washington Post reporter and now director of, of Washington, D.C.; with staff moderator Samantha Harmon, interim director of institutional advancement

Organizer of the annual conference and panels is Dr. John Robert (Bob) Greene, chair of the division of Social and Behavioral Science and director of the program in History.

More information on how to join the online keynote presentation and register for links to take part in the breakout panels can be found on


Dr. Tevi Troy

Keynote speaker Dr. Troy is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former deputy secretary of health and human services and domestic policy advisor to President George W. Bush. He has worked at senior levels in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, executive agencies, and the White House. He was deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy from 2005 to 2007, then became deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2007-2009. In that capacity, he managed a $716 billion annual budget and 67,000 employees, and oversaw operations for Medicare, Medicaid, public health, medical research, food and drug safety, welfare, child and family services, disease prevention, and mental health services programs. He also served two years as domestic policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives House Policy Committee.

After leaving government service, Dr. Troy served as a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, where he remains an adjunct fellow. In his current capacity for the Bipartisan Policy Center, he is involved in formulating policies from bipartisan ideas that promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans. He also is the author of five politically themed books.