Common decency can always be found around Stony Brook University. It can be seen in a small gesture, like holding the door for a student in a rush or helping a stressed out student pick up his or her books from the floor. But some people at SBU like to go the extra mile, especially for those who have shown an equal amount of kindness toward others over time. This is the case for the upcoming SBU4Casey Comedy Night, a fundraiser for Stony Brook University’s Assistant Director of Intramurals and Sport Club Programming Casey Ellin. The show, on display this Friday, Sept. 27 at the SAC Auditorium at 8 p.m., showcases local comedians cracking hot jokes for the likes of students and staff. All of the proceeds for the event will go to supporting Casey Ellin and his family during their time of struggle after Ellin suffered an accident this past June after diving into a wave and breaking parts of his vertebrae. Now a quadriplegic, Casey will have the power of comedy push him through this difficult time thanks to the generosity of his friends at SBU.

In a recent interview, fellow Associate Director Marie Turchiano talked about the set-up process to the event. She gives most credit to Howard Gunston, the Director of Facilities, Operations and Reservations. Turchiano said Gunston had attended previous fundraisers and seen the likes of Stevie GB, Steve Balboni, Les Degen and others doing comedy for healing. They will be joined by Gary Keshner, Stan Keshner and Matt Pepitone, also local fundraiser frequents. The event is hoping to reach $8,000 with the 574 capacity of the SAC Auditorium.

Turchiano spoke fondly of Ellin and his kindness towards others. Turchiano brought up his “contagious smile” and how he was “accommodating to all of the students” since he joined the staff last February. He described Ellin as “great guy all around. Low-key…put the students first, listened to ideas, led by example…everything about a leader that you want.” Ellin was the one cheering up everyone around SBU, no matter what kind of day he was having. Ellin’s nature should deserve a medal, and certainly a fundraiser helping him out in a time of need.

Ellin will have even more support coming his way, courtesy of the SBU hockey team. On Oct. 28, the season opener and first home game will also be a fundraiser for Casey. The charity of this university goes even farther for a girl like Debbie Whittemore. An athletic trainer, intramural employee and student, Debby was killed by a drunk driver in 1994. In her honor, a 5K run/walk will take place on Sunday, April 27 next year and all of the proceeds for the 5K will go to the Debbie Whittemore Memorial Scholarship. That fund is awarded to students who show academic excellence and great contributions to the athletes, students and the community.


Although this fundraiser is happening because of a terrible accident, it is set to be a joyous occasion for Ellin and for this university. The fundraiser reminds people of how quickly people rally around someone in need and that there is always a solution in laughter. According to Turchiano, Ellin is more than grateful for the generosity of others. Turchiano notes that the fact that people care about him so much to try to raise money for him is “what keeps him going” and “keeps his spirits up.” At only $10 for undergraduate students and $20 for staff, community and graduate students, it is a fair price for a funny affair. Most of all, Ellin can smile for the jokes of the comedians and from the generosity of this school, because the helping hand of one can make the day of another.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.