By Mandy Boyle
Family legacies can mean lots of things to different kinds of people. Some find it in scrapbooks filled with photographs; others in longstanding traditions. For Tony Frontera '75, MBA '80, legacy comes in his family's connection to Binghamton University.
"It all started with my godfather, Andrew Di Nitto '66, MA '67, who went to what was then Harpur College," said Frontera. "I believe [he earned] one of the first master's degrees in political science issued."
Frontera began at Binghamton University as a student in the Cinema Department, where he developed visual artistry skills that would later help him build a successful career in photography.
"Binghamton had an excellent, innovative, experimental film department and that really drew me in," said Frontera. "There were some great professors there that really connected and interacted with the students - it was what I enjoyed most about my time there."
After graduating, Frontera didn't know what he wanted to do, but he did have an interest in photography, which led to a job with Tuthill's Photo, a well-known photography business in Vestal. But it was the desire to own his own business and get into marketing that motivated Frontera to return to the University for his MBA.
"I wanted to move forward," said Frontera. "A few friends and I all got together and decided to go back."
Those friends were known as the "Group of Five" and included Frontera, Ed Linde II, MBA '80, Jack Vivona '77, MBA '80, Charles Andrews III, MBA '80, and Jay Richman, MBA '80 - a group that was well-known on campus not only for its camaraderie but also its achievements.
"We entered an advertising contest for Phillip Morris, and we ended up getting a Special Merit Award," said Frontera. "That's the kind of work we did."
After graduation, Frontera worked with Vivitar, Unicolor, and McIntosh Labs, Inc., but that wasn't where his legacy ended. In 1992, Frontera had the opportunity to purchase the same photo business where he had started and, for 16 years, ran Tuthill's before its closing in May 2008.
"I still have people who come up to me and say how much they miss it," said Frontera, who returned to McIntosh Labs, where he is the brand communications manager.
Frontera feels that Binghamton prepared not only him for his current career, but also his niece and nephews: Yolanda Frontera '86, an oral surgeon, John Frontera '87, a neurologist, Mike Frontera '91, a consultant in the voting machine industry, and Joseph Frontera '86, a dentist.
"They're all so successful, plus we're children of immigrants," said Frontera, who was originally born in Scalea, Italy. "My family just has a long history with the University."
Even Frontera's son has been drawn to the University. Paul Frontera, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq, returned to Binghamton and has since been pursuing his interest in optometry. He will attend Binghamton University in the fall, having been admitted as a transfer student from Broome Community College.