Alumna Rachel Rigolino ’93g (English), who serves as an instructor in the English Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz, credits her mother’s love of story-telling and dogs as her inspiration for writing “Augie Goes to College.” The children’s book tells the story of how Augie, a goose-herding Border Collie, came to “work” at SUNY New Paltz in 2011.
“The idea for a book about Augie’s journey to New Paltz came after seeing him on stage in a campus theatre production,” says Rigolino. “His scenes with Professor Jim Schiffer (English) were so compelling that I went backstage afterwards to be introduced. I found Augie to be a delightful, people-centered dog. He embodies the true New Paltz spirit: friendly and laid-back, but hard-working and productive when it is time to get serious.”
As part of the College’s green initiatives on campus, Augie is specially trained to herd migrating Canada geese away from the campus grounds without harming them. This, notes Michael Malloy, Augie’s trainer/handler and director of environmental health and safety at New Paltz, “is a much more cost-effective method in keeping our campus grounds and ponds cleaner.”
When he’s not hard at work, Augie enjoys visiting students and staff members all over campus, says Malloy, and giving back to the local community through the “Read to a Dog” program at the local Elting Library.
Veterinarian Michael Halstead of Lake Katrine Animal Hospital donates free veterinarian services for Augie’s health and well-being.
A book reading and meet-and-greet with Rigolino, Shaun Mrdjenovic, the illustrator, Malloy and Augie was held on Friday, May 9, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union Room 62/63 on the New Paltz campus. Books are currently on sale at the college bookstore, online at www.newpaltz.edu/augiebook or by calling at (845) 257-3050.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will help support the General Scholarship Fund at SUNY New Paltz and the Department of English, providing students with opportunities that enhance their education.