By Matt Youngfrau
LOCH SHELDRAKE November 6, 2001 Like all institutions of higher learning, Sullivan County Community College has had several influential teachers throughout its nearly 40-year history.
One of them, according to a new film, is Social and Behavioral Sciences Professor Thomas Lambert. Lambert has evidently had a profound impact on many of his students, especially those in his Sociology class, where he challenges his students' beliefs and ideals. Several students have said that Lambert's teachings have changed their very lives.
One of Lambert's former students is Sergeo Levitas, who took Lambert's Sociology class in 1995. From his experiences in that class, Levitas decided that there was only one way to bring proper recognition to Tom Lambert.
"I felt a film needed to be made about this man," Levitas commented. "This means a lot to me. He affected me profoundly. True heroes are right here in front of us. My heart and soul is in this project."
After SCCC, Levitas went on to major in theater and film production. He has completed several short films.
Levitas spent about a year filming his documentary on Lambert, titled, "The Marginal Man" his first full-length feature. In that year, Levitas amassed over 80 hours of footage. While the film is not yet complete, a rough cut was screened at SCCC on Thursday, November 1.
The 40-minute film was shown twice, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Over 100 people attended each showing. At the evening performance, several retired college administrators and professors returned to view the film. They included former Vice-President Jack Gallagher, former Humanities Chair Fred Madeo, and former Community Services Director Allan Dampman.
"This was something special," former SCCC Professor and Drug and Alcohol Program founder Dr. Dick Dunn remarked. "It is rare for a teacher to get this kind of recognition. Tom deserves it."
The film was well-received, as it featured Lambert explaining his views on society and the experiences that made him the man and teacher he is. It also featured comments from fellow professors and current and former students.
"Sergeo did a wonderful job," stated Lambert, a SUNY Chancellor Award Winner for Teaching Excellence in 1977. "I am very grateful for this."
Levitas still has more work to do on the film. He plans to have the final version set at 90 minutes and hopes the film will be ready for release in February 2002. SCCC's library will have the 40-minute version available to those who wish to view it.