Classmates saw young Kathy Hochul as strong student leader at Syracuse University

Regional News

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Our sister station in Albany reports that while the rest of New Yorkers were watching Kathy Hochul get sworn-in as the first female governor, Archie Wolsky in Brooklyn saw who he knew was Kathy Courtney.

In the late 1970s, Wolsky and Courtney (Hochul’s maiden name) were classmates at Syracuse University.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon with NewsChannel 9, Wolsky said, “I am beaming with pride to tell my friends and family about my relationship with the Governor, our friendship in Syracuse, and my good sense to appoint her my vice president when I was Student Association president, which is the best decision I ever made there.”

The work of Wolsky, Courtney and their fellow government leaders dominated headlines in the student newspaper, The Daily Orange, in 1978. The now-governor lead a boycott of the university’s book store led to more affordable prices and the group convinced the administration to build what is now Shine Student Center. But Courtney also learned what it was like to not get her way. Her mission to name the new Dome after Ernie Davis lost to Carrier.

But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“New Yorkers are going to see that willingness to work hard,” Wolsky said. “They’re going to see that willingness that we saw, that she’s going to want to pursue an open, honest and transparent government.”

Wolsky continued, “One of the things I think she’s going to do, that I saw in college, is broaden the circle of inclusiveness, bring more people into the decision-making process. She’s going to achieve a consensus of opinion and lead to direct action on behalf of New Yorkers.

Hocul has already promised a more collaborative governing style, including working with the State Senate and Assembly.

After each graduated, Wolsky lost touch with Hochul, but has paid attention as she went from Hamburg town board member to Erie County Clerk to Congresswoman.

Since she became governor-in-waiting, Wolsky sent her a note and a t-shirt he saved from their protest. He said she was a big help back in the day, so he’s offering to return the favor.

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