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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of The State University of New York at Potsdam

Fall 2016 Vol. 11 | No. 1


Entering our Third Century of Excellence


Joshua McLear photo


The Academic Quad was filled with thousands of people for SUNY Potsdam’s Bicentennial Commencement Ceremony on May 21. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher addressed the graduates of the Class of 2016, who had the honor of being the first bicentennial class in the SUNY system.


On the cover: Top row: Ingrid Taveras, Stanley Martinez (with Emily Hunter on his shoulders) and Larén Amster. Bottom row: RJ Short and Brendon Dunn. They may all come from different backgrounds, but the members of the SUNY Potsdam rugby club team share a love of the game. Their inclusive team spirit is infectious!

Tesfa Alexander, Ph.D., ’02 Mary Sharon Nelson ’67 John O’Shaughnessy ’88 Clarence F. Stephens, Sr., Ph.D. Departments Campaign Wrap Up News & Notes Class Notes Save the Date In Their Own Words

3 7 20 27 29

16 28

Potsdam Pride: Entering our Third Century of Excellence

Reunion Special We’re Social

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FA L L 2016

Vol. 11 | No. 1

POTSDAM PEOPLE STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS MANAGING EDITOR Alexandra Jacobs Wilke Director of Public Relations ALUMNI & DEVELOPMENT Mona Ouimet Vroman ’85 Director of Alumni Relations Emily Hutchison Assistant VP of Development COMMUNICATIONS Jason Hunter Photographer


aybe it’s our close-knit campus community, where you’re always known on a firstname basis. Maybe it’s our liberal arts educational tradition, honed over 200 years. Maybe it’s something about this unique place—tucked between the Adirondacks and the Canadian border, surrounded by rivers, countryside and forest. Or maybe it’s just those long North Country winters that everyone learns to endure, and takes a strange pride in surviving. Whatever the reason, as SUNY Potsdam enters its third century, I believe that there are two important traits that every student gains here: grit and resilience. The ability to forge ahead, even when beset by challenges. The stubborn resolve to solve a problem, no matter what. A special aptitude for pulling together a team, and pulling through, together. Grit and resilience can be seen in the dogged determination displayed by the founders of St. Lawrence Academy, who endeavored to found the institution in the midst of the War of 1812, and didn’t give up when crops were failing and times were tough for local residents. It took grit and resilience to finally win the years-long lobbying fight to have Potsdam chosen for one of New York’s new Normal Schools. Those traits are also on display as you examine so many unbelievable successes over the College’s history—becoming the birthplace of American music education with The Crane School of Music, experiencing the Potsdam Miracle in mathematics or founding one of the first computer science programs in the country. We just celebrated the incredible success of Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which raised $33.5 million for SUNY Potsdam, thanks to the dedication and generosity of thousands of donors, supporters and volunteers. Even over the course of a recession, the campaign managed to outperform all expectations—and we had to raise our goal no less than three times! That takes tenacity, and it speaks volumes for the pride that Potsdam supporters feel for this special institution. Looking ahead, as SUNY Potsdam moves from its bicentennial into our third century of excellence, the College will continue to strive to achieve the unlikely, and instill our long-held values for many years to come. Thank you, for playing no small part in making SUNY Potsdam the very special institution that it is today. Your success is our success, and your pride is our pride.

Kristin Esterberg, Ph.D. President 2

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J. P. Manke Graphic Designer Donna Planty Project Manager Jesstine Rushford Communications Assistant Mindy Thompson Assistant VP of Communications CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Agyakwa ’16 David T. Britt ‘73 Director of Business Planning & Analysis Dan Bronson ‘03 Sports Information Director Christa Carroll Director of Annual Giving Kathryn Deuel Associate Director of Regional Alumni Relations & Engagement Nancy Griffin (Hon. ‘08) Development Officer Jason Ladouceur ’94 Director of Planned Giving Karee Magee ’12 Sarah Maneely ’07 Assistant Director of Research and Donor Relations Andrés Muñoz ’14 Ellen Nesbitt Assistant Director of Annual Giving Sherry Allen Paradis ’00 Director of Donor Relations & the Campaign Laura Stevenson (Hon. ’07) Alumni & Donor Relations

Vicki Templeton-Cornell (Hon. ’16) Vice President for College Advancement

Alumni Relations 44 Pierrepont Ave. | Potsdam, NY 13676 (315) 267-2120

Thank you for Taking the Lead! Our campaign is complete, thanks to you. Together, we raised a historic $33.5 million for SUNY Potsdam’s students, programs and opportunities. As we move into Potsdam’s third century of educating students, we are forever grateful to the 13,717 donors who took the lead and made a gift to the campaign. Your impact will be felt for generations to come.

GROWTH Total Donors

Total Raised

13,717 Some are counted in more than one category

2 4 8 1, riend rs






Alum Dono ni rs

Raised for Scholarships


Needs-based Scholarships Academic Scholarships Program-specific Scholarships



Raised for Transformational Student Experiences

F no Do

ng ivi g ir ! ff d the g the 42% a t S ease urin by r d ign a inc mp ca


5 4F0acultyD&onors

nt Pare ors Don


Student-Faculty Research Internships Applied Learning Study Abroad Leadership Training Conferences & Workshops Athletics





Gifts from all priorities were in support of the Arts

SUNY Potsdam ranked by students #1 in SUNY for Best Arts Environment

Raised for Academic Excellence



Bu Do sines no s rs

Academic Equipment Visiting Artists & Scholars Facility Improvements Faculty Development



Raised for The Annual Fund for Potsdam/Greatest Needs Making All Things Possible!



Miscellaneous Needs w w


Largest Single Alumni Gift




Largest Total Alumni Giving



Donald Lougheed (Hon.’54) and Kathy Kofoed Lougheed ’54

Largest Faculty Emeriti Gift



N. Brock McElheran (Hon.’84)

Largest Foundation Gift



E.J. Noble Foundation

Largest Friend/Business Gift



G. Michael Maresca/St. Lawrence Radiology Associates, PC

Youngest Leadership Donor

Erin Wagner ’13


A gift from Alan and Kathryn Davino (Hon. ’10)

Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research Greenhouse


A gift from Robert ’75 and Wendy Wagner

G. Michael and Barbara Maresca Lobby


Foundation Endowment grew by (from $15,455,779 in 2010 to $25,528,530 in 2016)

105 endowed scholarships (now totaling 294) Added 48 endowed program funds Added


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Lynne Boles ’74 and John Priest Green Room Diana Nole Collaboration Stations in the Math and Science Education Center Student Government Association 2010, HP and Michael Galane ’74 Classroom


wrap up

On September 30, the 200th anniversary of the first day of classes, SUNY Potsdam launched its third century and celebrated the completion of our $33.5 million Take the Lead Campaign.

“I am thrilled to think of what opportunities these gifts have and will create. All possible because one person, and then another, and then many others, cared enough to give back. Thank you so much for taking the lead for Potsdam.” Lisa Vroman ’79, National Campaign Co-Chair, acknowledges the historic generosity of our alumni and friends.

“I can trace so much of my success back to the generous spirit of the Potsdam family. It really is hard to find words to match the significance of these gifts. So, we say a very heartfelt thank you and we shine in whatever we do. And most importantly, we pay it forward when the opportunity arises.” Helena Waterous ’17 (right), shown performing at the Campaign Closing Celebration on Friday, September 30, alongside Samantha Martin ’18.

Many thanks to our volunteer Campaign Steering Committee for their exemplary leadership and unwavering support! Honorary Chairs Stephanie Blythe ’92 T. C. Boyle ’68 National Chairs Michael Galane ’74 Lisa Vroman ’79 Committee Members Lynne Boles ’74 William Flynn ’70 Deborah Diefendorf Hind ’75 Gary Hind ’77 Janice Rowlands Johnson ’56 Christine Meda ’70 J. Richard Munro

“The Take the Lead Campaign has strengthened our family as it’s furthered how SUNY Potsdam faculty and staff can help students like me and heightened what we can accomplish. And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Torie Keeton ’19 (center), shown visiting with donors and campus members after the Campaign Closing Celebration.

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Thank you to our Leadership Donors The Potsdam College Foundation, Inc. wishes to acknowledge the following leadership donors who committed gifts of $20,000 or more to the Campaign. The following donors have committed gifts of $100,000 or more to the Campaign and we welcome them into the Chancellor’s Circle. $2,500,000 PACES $1,000,000 to $2,499,999 Anonymous (2) Anna Collins ’67 & Sue Morrison (Hon ’16) Joy (MacDonald) ’58 & Richard Dorf Gary C Jaquay ’67 Kathryn ’54 & Donald (Hon ’13) Lougheed N. Brock (Hon ’84)* & Jane (Hon ’88)* McElheran $500,000 to $999,999 Edward John Noble Foundation, Inc. Dorothy Albrecht Gregory ’61 Janice ’56 & Roger* Johnson St Lawrence Radiology Associates, PC G. Michael & Barbara Maresca Robert ’75 & Wendy Wagner Gerald ’68 & Carolyn Zwaga $250,000 to $499,999 Anonymous The John & Joan D’Addario, Jr. Family Sally ’65 & Richard Gilchrist Jessie Manitta ’44 Betty Lou Mathis ’53

$50,000 to $99,999 Jackie Tantillo Aab ’71 Anonymous James Berriman ’80 Paul ’73 & Elizabeth ’73 Berry Centene Corporation Jason Patchen ’90 Robert Christiansen Bruce & Barbara* Conroe Michael Cooper (Hon ’00) Corning Incorporated Foundation William Crowder (Hon ’95)* David Cummings Alexander Dashnaw ’56 & Doug March Michele Delperuto ’71 Morse G. Dial Foundation Donald Eaton ’71 Krista Fordham ’94 Millard Harmon (Hon ’08) Karleen Jones ’56* Haden ’84 & Cathy Jo Land Amy Kellogg ’99 Sean Leous ’86 William ’74 & Judy Lilley The Linden Family Judith Lowell Anita Mance ’69 Gordon Mathie (Hon ’82) Marcia Murphy ’61 Northland Associates, Inc. James & Charlene Tyler John & Susan Omohundro *deceased 6

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Richard & Gail ’64 Stradling TAI Group, Inc. Allen Schoer ’71 & Diane Seymour $100,000 to $249,999 Anonymous (3) Alcoa Foundation Charles ’75 & Claudia ’75 Ayer Irwin & Ann ’66 Avery Stephanie Blythe ’92 Lynne Boles ’74 & John Priest Michael Bryner Lisa & Salvatore Cania, Jr. ’79 Dorothy Carpenter ’34* Virginia ’60 & James Cayey Carolyn ’63 & William Clark Alan (Hon ’10) & Kathryn (Hon ’10) Davino Diane Day ’70 Joy ’56 & Chester Douglass Sandra V. Fish Dean & Mary Ann ’74 Flatt Arthur (Hon ’04) & MaryEllen ’54 Frackenpohl Michael ’74 & Bridget Galane George ’54 & Mary Ellen ’53 Giroux Mary Helander ’83 Gary ’77 & Deborah Diefendorf ’75 Hind Paul Hunt ’50

Edwin & Susan Portugal William & Lisa ’76 Powers Frederic ’75 & Jana ’76 Pratt, III Raymond & Jeanne Kimmich ’80 Roberts Elaine ’65 & Larry Seberg John Shattuck Arlene L. Sturm ’62 SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association Donald L Tompkins ’68 Donald & Eileen ’76 Whelley $20,000 to $49,999 Anonymous (9) Alan Adams ’61 Robert Allin* Gary Reed & Bonita Betters-Reed ’73 The Bicknell Corporation Tony ’75 & Kathy Brennan David ’73 & Carol ’69 Britt Jim ’59 & Bonnie Brophy Vernice Church ’61 Marilyn Clouden ’75 Community Bank, N.A. Anne Cook ’60 Rebekah Covell (Hon ’15) Irving & Shirley ’62 Crane Crane Youth Music Camp Lisa Damiani ’90

David Dik ’82 & Jill E Simmons Jutta Dudley ’69 Enbridge St. Lawrence Gas Kristin Esterberg & Sue Bergmeier Allen Fales ’44 Curtis Finney ’57 Ronald ’80 & Teresa Fishbeck William Flynn ’70 Christina Frazier Anne Marie Freitas ’79 Kathleen Friery ’84 & Bill Ritter Hazel Giltinan ’74* Elsa Grant ’39* Christine Haile ’74 Family of Michael Craig Handley Mark Hassenplug ’83 Hewlett-Packard Company Honeywell Building Solutions Mary Lee Hubbard Institute for Ethical Behavior, Inc. Arthur and Anne Johnson Sarah E. Johnson Richard & Barbara ’54* Kenyon KeyBank of Central New York, N.A. Susan G. Kimball William Kirchgasser & Linda Seramur Michael ’80 & Jill ’80 Komar

Mary Maples ’46* James ’59 & Shirley ’62* McNally Michael Messitt ’73 Diana ’86 & Angelo Nole Ross & Catharine Pfeiffer John (Hon ’07) & Judith (Hon ’07) Ranlett Renzi Foodservice Christopher Reynolds ’53 Ricoh USA Joseph ’62 & Christina Rosen John (Hon ’13) & Anne Schwaller Magill Shipman ’49 William & Sandra ’71 Shusda Student Government Association William ’74 & Annette ’75* Thornton

Norma Jean Lamb ’51 Donald & Susan ’56 Larson Cynthia Lehmkuhl ’63 J. Timothy Lindemuth ’72 Lockheed Martin Corporation Long Island Community Foundation Constance Murray Lytle ’61 David & Bonnie McCall Christopher & Ellen Meagher William ’59 & Evelyn ’57 Mercer Margaret Madden & Thomas Sokol Michael & Barbara Blackmon ’71* Malyak Randolph ’77 & Lisa Mitchell North Country Savings Bank Martha Novelly Thomas ’75 & Shirley Palmatier Presser Foundation Tina Santimaw Radding ’64 Ruth Richmond ’31* Thomas ’57 & Jane (Hon ’09)* Russell D. Jean Schauffler ’57 John & Ann ’64 Schorge Rita Itkin Schwartz ’58 SeaComm Federal Credit Union John Sims, III ’86 & Holly Sims ’86 Justin ’92 & Amy ’94 Sipher

Michael Sitton & Mark Martin SLC Arts Council Christopher ’88 & Julie Slocum Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation Stewart’s Shops James (Hon ’01) & Mary ’73 Stoltie David Swanson Sweetgrass Foundation, Inc. Victoria Templeton-Cornell (Hon ’16) & Kenneth Cornell Larry E. Thomas Thompson-Weatherup Family Charitable Foundation Eleanor Uffer * Beverly VanDiver ’72 Lisa Vroman ’79 Ellen Wagner ’65 Erin Wagner ’13 T. Urling & Mabel Walker Robert ’49* & Beverly ’63* Washburn Lucille Waterson ’63 James & Susan ’79 Witkowski Christel Woodward ’61 Glen Zagorski ’87 & Jane Morale ’80 Wayne ’72 & Mary ’73 Zanetti

As of June 30, 2016


news & notes COLLEGE NE WS

History Professor Co-Authors Alumni Superintendents and Principals Speak to Aspiring Teachers Novel ALUMNI NE WS

SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education Alumni Board recently hosted 15 alumni who are school superintendents and principals for a career advice session for students aspiring to become teachers. The session was part of the College’s Teacher Education Student Association annual two-day conference in April 2016. This year’s TESA Conference was the largest to date, with 91 teacher candidates attending.

Associate Professor of History Dr. M.J. Heisey has co-authored a book, “Relief Work as Pilgrimage: ‘Mademoiselle Miss Elsie’ in Southern France, 1945-1948,” which was recently published by Lexington Books. Co-authored with her sister, Nancy R. Heisey, a professor of biblical studies and church history at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., the book documents the travels of Elsie C. Bechtel, who left her Ohio home in 1945 for the tiny French commune of Lavercantière, where she cared for children displaced by the ravages of World War II. DE VELOPMENT & AWARDS

Neisser ’79 Honored with Founders Award from Public Conversations Project

Pictured prior to the conference are: Front row, from left: TESA representatives Shali O’Brien ’16, Alyssa Ashlaw ’16, Nicole Feml Conant ’08, Marisa Madson ’16, Dustin Strong ’15, Brittany McCarty ’16 and SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg. Second row: Robyn Hosley ’77, interim dean of SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education and Professional Studies; Charity Zawatski ’02, Mark Bennett ’00, Robert Stewart ’96, Susan Brown Todd ’88, Christie Reitsma ’06 and David Treharne ’83. Third row: Robin Boyce Jennings ’87, Matt vanDervoort ’03, Amy McKee Guiney ’01, Kate McNulty Cruikshank ’93, Jamie Cruikshank ’92 and David Vroman ’83. Fourth row: Frederick Hall Jr. ’84, Johnathan Hirschey ’05, Virginia Doll ’06, SUNY Potsdam Provost Bette Bergeron, Tim Lowie ’87, Patrick Brady ’88 and Peter Brouwer ’79. Other alumni presenters included: Kali Connelly Murphy ’03, Michael Comet ’97, Meagan Dupuis-Fregoe ’09, Ronica Lawrence ’89, Jennifer Herrick ’95, Jennifer Kenny Morrill ’03, Emily Fritz ’14, Nicole Feml Conant ’08, Kerry Clancy ’15 and Eudora Watson ’90. ALUMNI NE WS

Women, Gender & Leadership Mentoring Program

On April 30, students and alumnae who participated in the 2016 Women, Gender and Leadership Mentoring Program met on campus for the annual program luncheon. This provided an opportunity for students to meet their mentors in person. Twenty-eight students were paired with alumnae for the 2016 program, which is coordinated by the Offices of Campus Life, Advancement and Alumni Relations. Back row: Tedra Cobb ’89, Sarah Henderson Maneely ’07, Noele Brabon ’10, Brianne Wicks Sterling ’10 and Katie Gadbaw ’06. Front row: Emily Haller ’18, Jacqueline Herb ’17, Nina Purkiss ’18, Amanda Heaton ’17 and Amanda Drayton-Cummings ’17.

Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Philip Neisser ’79 (right) was recently honored with the Founder’s Award from the Public Conversations Project, an organization focused on fostering constructive conversation when there is conflict driven by identity, beliefs and values. Neisser and Jacob Hess, co-author of their book, “You’re Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You’re Still Wrong): Conversations Between a Die-Hard Liberal and a Devoted Conservative,” were presented with the award at Nourish 2015, the Public Conversation Project’s annual event. ALUMNI NE WS

Delta Lambda Nu Alumnae Raise Money for Muscular Dystrophy

Delta Lambda Nu alumnae participated in a Shamrock Drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. One of the alumnae, Jenna Biachi ’09 & ’11 won an award for spearheading the MDA Shamrocks project at Lowe’s, and for leading in sales! She pulled in the sisterhood, who contributed generously. The project was able to send seven children with muscular dystrophy to camp. w w



news & notes


Bicentennial Bash

SUNY Potsdam marked its 200th anniversary on March 25, 2016 with a celebration two centuries to the day since the charter founding the institution was signed. More than 600 students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and representatives from peer institu-


Alumnae Participate in Relay for Life

Alumni and active members of Omega Delta Phi raised $5,270 for the 2016 Potsdam Relay for Life Rally. Participating alumnae included Donna Maniet Deruchia ’84, Sherry Johnson Sharlow ’79, Jennifer Neff Fonseca ’85, Donnalyn Eaton Shuster ’78 and Lois Little ’84. DE VELOPMENT & AWARDS

New Scholarship Encourages Recipients to Pay it Forward tions joined the party, which provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate our history and focus on all that we have to be proud of as a campus community. The event received extensive media coverage by all local outlets, and more than 800,000 social media impressions were logged that day! To learn more about College history, visit

The Pay it Forward Scholarship was established recently by a group of four alumni donors to help students who are facing financial challenges that cannot be met through traditional funding assistance. The scholarship’s founding donors are: Mary Helander ’83, Amy Kellogg ’99, Sean Leous ’86, and Rita (Itkin) Schwartz ’58. All are Potsdam College Foundation trustees.


SUNY Potsdam Grand Opening of WISER Greenhouse

On May 13, SUNY Potsdam officially opened the Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research Greenhouse with a ribboncutting ceremony thanking lead donors, Robert Wagner ’75 and his wife Wendy. The fully donor-funded WISER Greenhouse will provide the campus with a research-grade facility with four growing zones. WISER will also allow students to engage in experiential learning in classes and programs, investigating issues of climate change, sustainability, agriculture and biodiversity. From left: Potsdam College Foundation President Lynne Boles ’74, President Kristin Esterberg, Wendy Wagner, Bob Wagner ’75, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bette Bergeron and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steve Marqusee.


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The scholarship name reflects the donors’ hope that recipients will one day choose to “pay it forward”—to give back to the fund if and when they have the means to do so. About 77 percent of SUNY Potsdam students receive some type of financial aid, compared to 69 percent of students nationally and 58 percent at other SUNY campuses. Additionally, about 25 percent of SUNY Potsdam students are first-generation, compared to 20 percent of students at public four-year colleges nationwide. For additional information about the scholarship or to help support it, please contact Nancy Griffin, Development Officer, at griffine@ or (315) 267-2112. COLLEGE NE WS

SUNY Potsdam Releases Five Albums for Bicentennial Oral History Project

In honor of the College’s bicentennial, SUNY Potsdam has released five free albums featuring memories and musings from alumni, students, faculty and emeriti, collected through an oral history project. Now available online to stream or download, at Vol. 1: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Remembering the Seasons in the North Country” Vol. 2: “Are We There Yet? Potsdam: Memories of Place” Vol. 3: “Under Their Influence: The People of Potsdam and their Impact” Vol. 4: “Did I Do That? Formative Moments at Potsdam” Vol. 5: “Professing the Love: Faculty and Staff Memories”


news & notes DE VELOPMENT & AWARDS


Crane School of Music Returns to Carnegie Hall

More than 2,200 people gave a sustained standing ovation as students from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music performed at Carnegie Hall on May 8, following a historic concert in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. World-renowned conductor Maestro Duain Wolfe conducted the Crane Chorus and the Crane Symphony Orchestra in a celebratory concert befitting the College’s 200th anniversary, featuring guest artists, epic works and a newly commissioned piece. Two vocalists were featured soloists in Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem,” the central work on the program, including guest baritone Christopher Feigum and soprano Fei Ma ’17. This amazing experience was made possible by the generosity of Dr. Gary C. Jaquay ’67, who established the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund.

SUNY Awards Honorary Doctorate to Larry Thomas

SUNY Potsdam presented Larry E. Thomas, the retired CEO of Fender Musical Instruments and Guitar Center, with an Honorary Doctor of Music degree at a special ceremony during the College’s Economic Fusion Day on April 20. During his visit to campus, Thomas visited music business classes and offered the keynote speech at Economic Fusion 2016. Thomas and his wife Gina provided support to students from the Crane Institute for Music Business and Entrepreneurship for internships at the annual National Association of Music Merchants Show. The first class of Thomas Interns attended the NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif., interning with a variety of the music business in January 2016.



Performing Arts Center Green Room Dedication

Center for Applied Learning Grand Opening

On May 13, SUNY Potsdam officials unveiled the newly named Lynne Boles ’74 and John Priest Green Room in the Performing Arts Center (PAC). The couple established the Performing Arts Center Programs Endowment, to support the array of theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performances that are offered in the PAC. Lynne (center) serves as the President of the Potsdam College Foundation. Earlier this year, the SUNY Potsdam PAC was honored with a 2016 Architecture Merit Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, which recognizes the best contemporary performances spaces in the world. The PAC has earned a reputation as one of the best performance venues north of New York City.

On Feb. 3, SUNY Potsdam celebrated the grand opening of the College’s new Center for Applied Learning, the first center of its kind in the SUNY system. Thanks to the generous support of Joy (MacDonald) Dorf ’58 and her husband, Richard Dorf, the College established its first endowed position, the Dorf Endowed Director for Applied Learning, to lead the center. Potsdam will also receive $750,000 from the SUNY Investment and Performance Fund, so that the College can develop models of success for applied learning that can be replicated at other campuses throughout the system. The Center for Applied Learning will bring together the offices of experiential education, international education and student research, in a “one stop shop” at the heart of campus. From left: Dorf Endowed Director of Applied Learning Jenica Rogers, SUNY Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success Paul Marthers, President Kristin Esterberg, SUNY Director for Applied Learning Elise Newkirk-Kotfila and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steve Marqusee. w w



news & notes


Potsdam Welcomes New Provost & New Chief Diversity Officer


No. 1 Arts Environment in SUNY

On March 1, Dr. Bette S. Bergeron began work as the College’s new provost and vice president of academic affairs. Prior to joining SUNY Potsdam, she served as the provost at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Conn. On June 1, Dr. Bernadette Tiapo joined SUNY Potsdam as the College’s first chief diversity officer. Previously, she served as the director for the Office of Institutional Diversity at the University of Saint Francis in Joliet, Ill. COLLEGE NE WS

Crane School of Music Represented at NAMM The State University of New York at Potsdam has been ranked No. 1 in the SUNY system for having the top-rated arts environment. The 2015 SUNY Student Opinion Survey, which rates the 27 state-operated colleges and university centers in SUNY, found that SUNY Potsdam was the top campus for student satisfaction with fine and performing arts services, facilities and environment. “I could not be more proud that SUNY Potsdam has been rated No. 1 for the best arts environment in SUNY. Our culture of creativity creates extraordinary energy on campus, with students from all majors taking in all the arts have to offer,” said President Kristin G. Esterberg.

Yankee Bernie Williams and distinguished Crane faculty member James Petercsak, Hon. ’03, discuss The Crane School of Music during the Sandy Feldstein Roundtable at the 2016 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif.

President Kristin Esterberg (left), Wendy Feldstein (center) and NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond, Hon. ’09 (right), celebrate the Crane Institute for Music Business during the Sandy Feldstein Roundtable at the 2016 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif.


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New Foundation Board Trustees

Welcoming New Alumni Board Trustees

The Potsdam College Foundation Board recently welcomed three new trustees. Jason Patchen ’90 is the senior executive and CEO of the Health Care Systems Group for Centene Corporation. He resides in Crystal Beach, Fla. Amy Kellogg ’99 is an attorney and partner with Harter Secrest & Emery LLP in Albany, N.Y. Her practice focuses on representing a variety of New York State professional associations, businesses and not-for-profits with business before New York State government, including the Legislature, the Governor’s office and state agencies. She resides in Albany, N.Y. Melissa Wegner ’03 is the associate director of the National Council Auditions for the Metropolitan Opera, and resides in New York City.

The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association recently welcomed three new trustees. Peter Galloway ’84 is the assistant dean for student involvement and director of housing services at West Chester University in West Chester, Penn. Joshua Rich ’10 is the assistant director of student conduct at St. John’s University in New York City. Alice Sorensen ’11 is the director of music at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Brooklyn, N.Y.


news & notes

SUNY Potsdam Adds Track & Field This Fall

The SUNY Potsdam Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that it has added men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs to its intercollegiate sports offerings beginning fall 2016. Athletic Director James Zalacca named Ryan Millar as the head coach of the Bears’ new men’s and women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field programs. The programs will have club status for the 2016-17 school year, and become full-fledged NCAA Division III varsity teams in 2017-18. The College will become the ninth of 10 schools in SUNYAC to sponsor track and field. This marks Potsdam’s first addition to its intercollegiate athletic programs since the women’s ice hockey team was added during the 2007-08 academic year.

Jordan Ott ’17 Excels in Two Sports – Hockey & Softball

SUNY Potsdam junior women’s hockey player Jordan Ott ’17 was named to the East All-Region third team, and as if that wasn’t enough, in softball, she was also named to the second team All-Northeast Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. On the ice, Ott has earned All-ECAC West recognition in each of her three seasons at Potsdam, including honorable mention status this season. On the diamond this spring, Ott pounded out a Potsdam single-season record of 48 hits and became the program’s all-time hits leader with 121. In addition, Ott is a two-time first team All-SUNYAC shortstop.

New Basketball Coaches Announced

Athletic Director James Zalacca has announced James Bechtel as the tenth head coach of the Bears men’s basketball program. Bechtel comes to SUNY Potsdam after building a strong program at SUNY Canton. He has NCAA Division I, II and III experience, and spent the last four seasons coaching the Kangaroos, overseeing the program’s transition into the Division III ranks. Brittany Cohen, a former SUNY Cortland standout and the granddaughter of Bears Hall of Famer Stan Cohen, will be the new head coach of the Bears women’s basketball program. Cohen was a two-time SUNYAC Player of the Year and a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American with the Red Dragons. After graduating from Cortland in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, Cohen turned her attention to coaching, where she has experience at nearly all levels of basketball.

81 Bears Earn Winter-Spring SUNYAC Academic Accolades SUNYAC named 81 SUNY Potsdam student-athletes competing in the winter and spring sports seasons to the All-Academic Team, which includes players maintaining a minimum 3.3 grade point average for the semester. In addition, Potsdam had 47 student-athletes receive Commissioner’s List accolades, for maintaining a minimum 3.3 GPA over three consecutive semesters at the College. In all, 44 Bears made it onto both the All-Academic Team and the Commissioner’s List.

Pat Bonafede ’16 Selected to Play in USILA/Nike North-South All-Star Game SUNY Potsdam men’s lacrosse player Pat Bonfede ’16 was selected to play in the 75th annual U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association/Nike North-South All-Star Game. Bonafede, a senior midfielder who served as the Bears captain, was named first team All-SUNYAC during the 2016 season after two consecutive appearances on the second team. The midfielder closed his college career with 67 goals and 42 assists, for 109 points.

Student Athletes Honored with Maxcy/Molnar Awards SUNY Potsdam senior lacrosse players Pat Bonafede ’16 and Bri McClusky ’16 were named the recipients of the 2016 Maxcy/Molnar Award at the annual Maxcy Awards Banquet. This annual award is presented to one male and female student-athlete who best combine the qualities of sportsmanship, leadership and athletic achievement.

Winter-Spring All-Conference

The SUNY Athletic Conference acknowledged outstanding SUNY Potsdam student-athletes competing during the 2016 winter and spring seasons. Six student-athletes were named to All-SUNYAC teams, and nine student-athletes earned All-SUNYAC honors.

Pat Bonafede ’16, Men’s Lacrosse; Dylan Vander Esch ’18, Men’s Ice Hockey; Pete Gropp ’16, Men’s Lacrosse; Katie Lapinski ’17, Women’s Lacrosse; Katie Marsman ’16, Softball

Bears Hall of Fame

The athletic department has selected three former student-athletes for the Bears Hall of Fame. Courtney Poirier-Graney ’10 (women’s basketball) will join David Dragone ’98 (men’s hockey) and Jedidiah Hammill ’03 (men’s lacrosse) as the members of the hall’s Class of 2016. PoirierGraney, a native of Moira, N.Y., is the sixth women’s basketball player to be inducted into the hall of fame. Poirier-Graney was a three-time AllSUNYAC selection on the hardwood, twice on the first team. Dragone, a Bronx, N.Y. native, played two seasons for the men’s ice hockey team, earning first team All-SUNYAC honors in both 1995-96 and 199697. Hammill, a native of Brasher Falls, N.Y., is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the men’s lacrosse team. He was a three-time All-SUNYAC honoree, first team in 2001 and second team in both 2000 and 2003.

Brian Martin ’16, Men’s Lacrosse; Maggie McCabe ’16, Women’s Lacrosse; Bri McClusky ’16, Women’s Lacrosse; Matt Moran ’17, Men’s Lacrosse; Jordan Ott ’17, Softball & Women’s Ice Hockey

Lindsey Pound ’16, Men’s Lacrosse; Eric Soderquist ’18, Men’s Lacrosse; Tyler Zapisek ’17, Swimming and Diving

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Tesfa Alexander, Ph.D. By Kevin Agyakwa ’16

It is a cold night in January, and I am excited to be calling an accomplished alumnus, Dr. Tesfa Alexander ’02, for a phone interview. Since meeting him at a campus event last fall, I have been eager to hear him tell his story. You see, on paper, at least, Alexander sounds a lot like me. He’s a male of color, born and raised in New York City as the descendent of an immigrant family, who went on to graduate from SUNY Potsdam. For him, understanding that he represented something bigger than himself was a direct result of his family’s migration from Trinidad and Tobago and the connections he made between the expanding culture of his experience in New York and his strong ties to extended family in the Caribbean. Alexander’s family had high expectations for him. “I was being held accountable by more than just my mom,” he said. I myself am the son of a Ghanaian mother, born and raised in the Bronx. As I prepared to graduate from this small college in the North Country, I couldn’t help but ask Alexander (and myself ): How did we get so far from home? As he neared the end of his senior year in high school, Alexander still had several colleges on his list, including SUNY Potsdam. He remembers the “long drive through the Adirondacks” with a laugh. Despite the distance, his mother liked Potsdam because “it had a certain level of credibility and tuition was reasonable,” he said. But it wasn’t until he joined the Multicultural Weekend visit for New York City students organized by the Office of

Admissions that he finalized his decision to attend. “I fell in love with how small and quaint Potsdam was, and the strong sense of a united community. I also built very strong bonds and relationships with folks on that trip, who ended up going to school with me and who are very close friends of mine to this day,” Alexander said. When Alexander arrived on campus in 1998, SUNY Potsdam’s population of students of color comprised less than 10 percent of the student body. “Everyone knew each other, from the black kids to the Hispanics. You could fit us all on one floor of a dorm,” he said. Today, students of color make up 30 percent of the student population, a dramatic shift for both the College and the surrounding community. For his part, Alexander took every opportunity to embrace the tightknit campus community, in more ways than one. “It was a blast, when I think about it. It helped that I already knew folks from the NYC visit. On the first day of classes, we kind of just jumped right into it,” he said. Still, he got a big reality check after his first year at Potsdam. “Freshman year for me was more about extracurriculars than it was about academics. My grades weren’t great, and it was a wake-up call for me in many ways—including threats from my mom! I needed to get my act together,” he remembered. By his sophomore year, Alexander had found balance in his studies and his leadership on campus, becoming the vice president of the Black Student Alliance and starting to work as a resident assistant. “There were interesting parallels to those two roles, because they both allowed me to build strong relationships with different members of the community,” Alexander said. As an RA, Alexander had to be open-minded to understand residents’ different backgrounds, cultures and values. Involvement with BSA gave him a “home away from home” and reinforced that he and his peers belonged at and were important to the SUNY Potsdam community. “Potsdam played a huge role in shaping my identity, and through the network I built, I felt I was part of a larger family,” he said. “When I went back to NYC each summer, I was looking forward to returning to Potsdam and my ‘second family’ at school.” After graduation, Alexander continued to pursue his passions. An accomplished and inspiring photographer and visual artist, Alexander created the nationally recognized “I Am” photo project in 2013. The project invited 46 African-American men, young

and old, from 17 cities across the United States, to collaborate on the creation of a portrait, and to explain in their own words who they were. “I found myself deeply reflecting on my experiences as a black man and the conflict between who we are, versus who people think we are,” Alexander said. “This photo project is an ongoing effort to capture the identities of black men across the country. … I ask you to see us as we see ourselves.” This spring, Alexander visited campus when his project was featured during the annual Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts. Looking at the exhibition, he pointed out, “I asked them to meet me on their own terms. Every photo you see is a location that represents them in some way.” It’s easy to look up to Alexander, given how much he has accomplished. After earning his bachelor’s degree in English and communication, he went on to pursue graduate studies in the field, first earning a master’s at Emerson College in Boston, and then completing his doctorate in cross-cultural health communication at the University of Memphis. I asked him for advice about the transition from undergraduate life to graduate school and a career. “I had to start all over, recreating my identity and building credibility,” he said. Along the way, he remained in close contact with his professors, peers and mentors from SUNY Potsdam. Today, Alexander is the director of research and evaluation in the Office of Health Communication and Education at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. At the FDA, he leads research that informs the creation of public health campaigns, such as “The Real Cost” tobacco education initiative. He’s also an adjunct professor of health communication at the University of Memphis. Alexander has remained connected to the College, returning as the keynote speaker for the annual Dr. Millard and Ruth Harmon Student Leader Conference, and serving as a trustee on the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees. As he returned to campus for a busy schedule of opening his photography exhibit, speaking on an alumni panel and attending Foundation Board meetings, Alexander took a few minutes to stroll across campus and chat with me again. It struck me then, just how proud I was, to not only be walking in Alexander’s footsteps in many ways, but also, in that moment, to be walking side by side, in our “home away from home.”




Mary Sharon Nelson By Andrés Muñoz ’14

When Mary Sharon Nelson ’67 attended SUNY Potsdam, her philosophy was to live in the moment, not worrying too much about the future. “For me, I wanted to teach,” she said. “That wasn’t hard for me. So once I got there and started doing my thing, I really didn’t think ahead. When I get out, I’ll get a job. I really didn’t give it a lot of thought.” As a 17-year-old, all she knew was that she would one day become a teacher. “I didn’t think past Friday afternoon,” Nelson said. However, as she continued to make progress on her successful educational journey, she soon began to think well past her Friday afternoons. Originally from Manlius, N.Y., Nelson grew up with four siblings. She and her father made the drive to visit St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., the school Nelson initially considered attending, but it wasn’t in the cards. “The bottom line is, you have five kids, you’re not sending them all to private school,” she said. Her father pointed out the “state university down the road” as a better alternative. Soon, Nelson found herself at SUNY Potsdam for four years, developing the tools that helped her find success around the world. After graduation, Nelson remained in the North Country for another year, since her boyfriend (the man who would eventually be her husband of 50 years) had one more semester to complete at nearby Clarkson University. She found her first teaching job in Massena, N.Y., which would end up being her only U.S.-based, full-time teaching job for many years. During a science project, she learned the first of many teaching skills she would need throughout her career—crowd control. “[The students] were setting off liquid-fueled rockets behind the school one day,” Nelson said. “One of the kid’s rockets took off and landed in a neighbor’s garden. I hadn’t set guidelines on retrieval, so they all ran over and trampled this woman’s garden. I just stood there looking at them!” Once her husband graduated, the newlyweds moved to New Jersey. At the time, Nelson was pregnant with their first daughter and she decided not to work. However, she couldn’t bring herself to completely leave teaching behind, so she volunteered in the New Jersey public schools as a tutor for special education students who needed preparation before being mainstreamed into regular classrooms. “It was great tutoring those kids,” she said. “I hadn’t been involved in special education, so this was another learning experience.”

While she developed her skills in an experiential setting, she also did so in an academic setting. The new mother went to a different classroom in the evening, steadily taking classes on a part-time basis to earn a master’s degree in reading and language arts from Jersey City State. The ink was barely dry on her diploma before she found herself (and her two young daughters) relocating to Puerto Rico, after her husband’s employer transferred him. “This is when the fun begins. … The best part of my 25 years of teaching in every kind of school imaginable: public, private, parochial, government, bilingual, international, and this is when it all started,” Nelson said. Her first jobs in Puerto Rico were at private schools, where she taught bilingual students in bilingual classes. And that meant she needed to learn Spanish, which proved to be even more useful than she expected. After seven years in Puerto Rico, her husband was transferred once again, this time to General Manuel Noriega’s Panama. Nelson’s first job was at a bilingual parochial school in Panama City, and she took the position out of passion. “There was no pay,” she said. “You don’t get paid anything when you work at these places.” The following year, she was hired by the U.S. Department of Defense to teach children living on a U.S. Army base. Once again, Nelson was in a challenging teaching environment. “The kids rotate in and out,” said Nelson. “They were coming from bases all around the world, so you had to be strict about where you were on a certain day, so that it didn’t interrupt the flow of their education.” The final stop on the Nelsons’ world tour was Johannesburg, South Africa, where she spent three years as a teacher and administrator at the International School of Johannesburg. Once again, Nelson found herself surrounded by different and diverse groups of students. “You had the [children] of ambassadors, and you also had these little kids who would come barefoot from the chicken farms,” she said. “They came from all over.” After spending each morning in the classroom, Nelson devoted her afternoons to the school’s two-year effort to secure accreditation, which it finally earned one year after Nelson left. “That was quite an accomplishment, as far I was concerned,” she said. In all, Nelson spent 13 years teaching overseas. But by 1988, it was time to head Stateside. After three years in Chicago, Nelson was back in New Jersey, where she taught for

another 12 years. By 2002, and after a quarter-century in education, Nelson knew it was time to retire. While many choose to pursue other interests in retirement, Nelson remains faithful to her vocation and passion: teaching. “If you love to teach, it never really leaves you,” she said. “Now I’m involved with a book club in a men’s prison.” Even after 14 years of retirement, Nelson cannot stay away from the classroom. She drives two hours to a men’s prison each week, teaches a two-hour lesson, and drives right back home. “I didn’t get rich teaching, but it’s great to donate your time and skills to people who really need it,” she said. Many Friday afternoons have passed since Nelson was a student at SUNY Potsdam. However, she still looks back gratefully at how well the College prepared her for her journey. In gratitude for the outstanding education she received at Potsdam, Nelson has contributed to the College’s unrestricted fund and, most recently, to the Alpha and Friends Fund in support of the Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center. “I had a really good education,” she said. “Take advantage of everything they have, because it’s preparation for life.”

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John O’Shaughnessy As a teenager, John O’Shaughnessy ’88 didn’t know what field he would eventually enter, or that he would found Matrix Surgical USA in Atlanta, Ga., but one thing was clear to him— that his future career would be international. He just had to figure out how to get there. Being a member of traveling teams for high school hockey and soccer led him abroad to places as close as Canada and as far as Sweden, and the opportunity led to a revelation. “It started for me with sports and being exposed to foreign cultures,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It was the interest in learning about foreign cultures and to differentiate myself from my peers.” Arriving at SUNY Potsdam with this momentum, O’Shaughnessy said he took every class dealing with international business that was available in the economics department, including one on international trade and payments, which proved to be the catalyst for his career. O’Shaughnessy was introduced to his future boss, Pat Moffett, head of the international division at Audiovox, a supplier of automotive electronics, while working on a project for the class, in which students had to send a survey to a CEO from their hometown. He ended up receiving an internship and a valuable mentor thanks to the project, and he was introduced to the nuances of international business. “The broad-based education I got at Potsdam, whether in the liberal arts or the focused core in economics, taught me to learn and be prepared. It all really starts with the right foundation,” he said. But beyond his experience in the classroom and in that critical internship,


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O’Shaughnessy credits his experience with Greek Life with giving him leadership skills and friendships to last a lifetime. He pledged Delta Kappa Theta in the fall of 1986, and moved in to the fraternity house the next semester. “For me, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made, not only for the brothers I’ve met and stayed close with, but also for those lessons I learned 30 years ago that still remain with me today,” he said. “I think with Greek Life and school organizations in general, they give young people a chance probably for the first time in their life to experience accountability.” The future CEO was elected as treasurer of DK, and remembers clearly his first experience with managing a budget and answering to others. “I had to make sure I was prepared for every Sunday meeting. I had to show results and transparency. I was managing our money, the biggest account in the house. That type of responsibility for some people is baptism by fire, but it works. It opened my eyes to how things work in the real world,” O’Shaughnessy said. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam with his bachelor’s degree, he was hired by Audiovox. O’Shaughnessy also went on to complete his Master of Business Administration degree at Georgia State University. After working for several years at Audiovox, O’Shaughnessy was able to transfer the skills he learned to a new field, when he left the company to join the international sales and marketing division of Porex Surgical Inc., a biotechnology company that manufactured surgical implantable devices. This was also his first opportunity to work abroad. O’Shaughnessy developed the business plan for Porex Surgical GmbH, a subsidiary located in Germany which served distributors in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He headed the business as managing director for three years, based in Munich. “This was a trailblazing experience for the company,” he said. “Our division had never done anything abroad, besides selling internationally. That was the crucible that tested me.” After Porex Surgical was bought by Stryker CMF in 2010, Stryker cut most of its ties to Porex’s partners and clients. O’Shaughnessy saw an opportunity to create his own company, and Matrix Surgical USA was born. Although the company was a start-up, O’Shaughnessy said Matrix had unique advantages from the get-go. “I had managed all the international business, so I had all of the relationships with surgeons and all of the distributor relationships,”

O’Shaughnessy said. Four years after it launched in 2012, Matrix is now a leader in the development and manufacturing of craniomaxillofacial implants, which are customizable implants used for facial reconstruction. Its implants are used by doctors in more than 60 countries around the world. Yet for all that impact, it’s still a relatively small firm and O’Shaughnessy is a very hands-on chief executive. “I know many CEOs are office-based, but I’ve got to be out there meeting with customers, suppliers, consultants and surgeons around the world who help to develop the technology. I still enjoy very much going into surgery, watching our implants being used,” he said. What makes the company extraordinary, though, O’Shaughnessy said is the impact it has on people’s lives. “That’s why we do what we do,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s not just that my name is on the door [of Matrix Surgical], it’s that these implants go in the body and stay in the body for life—60, 70, 80 years. I think to myself, that’s going into somebody’s child, somebody’s mother. We have a dedication that sets us apart from other medical technology companies.” Matrix donates more than $25,000 a year to help people who don’t have access to this technology. The effect of having access to this kind of implant is truly transformational for people with craniofacial anomalies. “I’m a father of two and I spend a lot of time in children’s hospitals, seeing these kids who have so much hope and so many dreams,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I can’t tell you how it makes me feel when I see a little boy or girl that gets a chance at a normal life.” One of O’Shaughnessy’s proudest moments was when Matrix USA partnered with rock icon Paul Stanley, the guitarist and frontman for the band KISS, to help Mending Kids, a non-profit that offers support for children with microtia. Microtia is a congenital deformity where babies are born without outer ears or even ear canals, which can cause hearing loss. Stanley is one of the most famous people to suffer from microtia, and donates his time and money to help children with the same condition. Matrix’s implants are used for corrective surgeries to help children live longer, healthier and happier lives. “Every day you go in, and see and feel the impact of your work,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to build this business.” —Alexandra Jacobs Wilke contributed to this report


By Karee Magee ’12



Clarence F. Stephens, Sr., Ph.D. By Karee Magee ’12

As a young child, Kitten Panthera remembers accompanying her grandfather to the store to purchase elementary mathematics workbooks, and then happily working through the problems with him, as other children might tackle a coloring book. She never gave much thought to her grandfather’s legacy, until he took her to the library to see his listing in “Who’s Who in America.” Dr. Clarence F. Stephens Sr., the legendary former chair of the SUNY Potsdam mathematics department, is a very humble person, Panthera said, even though for years after his retirement, he was still being flown across the country to discuss his teaching methods. “He said to me, ‘I don’t know why they make such a big deal. All I did was teach people how to read a textbook, but they keep asking me,’” Panthera said at a ceremony honoring her grandfather at SUNY Potsdam this spring. “He is one of the most modest people I know.” Yet for all his modesty, Stephens’ legacy runs far deeper than that, and stretches beyond the SUNY Potsdam campus, where he taught for 17 years. He developed a teaching philosophy that became known as the Morgan-Potsdam Model for teaching mathematics, which revolutionized the mathematics department at SUNY Potsdam and led to the Potsdam Miracle. The Potsdam Miracle took place in 1988, when the number of graduating mathematics majors at Potsdam was more than 20 times the national average. To Stephens, his philosophy was simple and intuitive; he believed that anyone could learn mathematics under favorable conditions. “More than 50 years ago, I came to the conclusion that every college student who desired to learn mathematics could do so,” Stephens told the Mathematical Association of America in 1997. “I spent my entire professional life believing that this was the case.” His daughter, Dr. Jeannette Stephens, a mathematics professor at Whatcom Community College, said that a large part of her father’s philosophy relied on teaching the students how to learn, how to read a textbook and understand it, and how to think logically and ask questions. These were concepts that her father took from his studies at the Harbinger Institute, a boarding school in Irmo, S.C., and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., both of which were schools seeking to train future black leaders.

“He had grown up in an environment where the goal was to create mathematics leaders,” she said. “It inspired him to create an environment to promote that.” Stephens carried that determination with him through his studies, when he became the ninth African-American in the nation to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, which he completed at the University of Michigan. From there, he accepted teaching positions with the U.S. Navy and at Prairie View A&M University, but he wasn’t able to fully put his teaching philosophy into action until he was offered the position of chair of the mathematics department at Morgan State University. At Morgan State, Stephens was presented with students, many of them from the inner city, who no one believed could succeed at math, Jeanette Stephens said. In his zeal to change that mindset, his teaching philosophy was born. Professor Emeritus Dr. Vasily Cateforis, who succeeded Stephens as chair of SUNY Potsdam’s mathematics department and was also his former student at Morgan State, said the most remarkable takeaway that he received from studying under Stephens was confidence. Stephens did not lecture and would not give out a syllabus, preferring to set a leisurely pace as opposed to rushing through the material. In his classes, he facilitated independence in students, Cateforis said. “Under Dr. Stephen’s care, the mathematics department was a place where students acquired confidence through simple but worthwhile tasks and self-respect,” he said. “We came to feel that we could do anything, especially mathematics.” Under Stephens’ tutelage, the mathematics department at SUNY Potsdam was centered around caring for and supporting students, while nurturing a passion for mathematics. “His leadership was most evident in the atmosphere he created in the mathematics department,” said Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Del Guidice, Hon. ’92. “For many undergraduates, math is a pretty scary discipline, but Clarence was able to lead a very diverse group of faculty in creating a department that was supporting and nurturing for students.” It was also Stephens’ belief that students should be challenged to succeed, which included having access to graduate-level mathematics courses as early as their sophomore year. This idea led to the basis for SUNY Potsdam’s combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts program in mathematics, which allows qualified students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years. “He was most concerned about what the students could do,” Jeanette Stephens said.

While his teaching philosophy and his ideas have changed mathematics education at SUNY Potsdam and at universities around the country, Jeanette Stephens said it would be impossible to fully replicate the method he used. She knows, because she’s tried. He is the “Mozart of mathematics,” she said. “It came to him so naturally, he couldn’t lay out step-by-step what he would do,” she said. “He really had a gift.” SUNY Potsdam continues to offer one of the best mathematics programs in the country, based on the teaching-centered foundation established by Stephens. The department’s philosophies and ideals have not wavered, said Professor Dr. Cheryl Miller. “We care about our students,” she said. “We encourage them to strive, to learn mathematics at very high levels. We guide them to discover that they are actually very good at mathematics when they never knew it.” Now 99 years old, Stephens has received many accolades for his achievements over the years, including three honorary degrees. In 1983, he was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, as part of the Living History Project, recognizing black Americans in the sciences. In recognition of the transformative role that Stephens played in the College’s history, SUNY Potsdam honored him in May 2016 with a special celebration coinciding with its bicentennial year. Many friends, family members, alumni and colleagues gathered on campus to unveil a bronze plaque to be permanently displayed in Carson Hall in Stephen’s honor. It’s a small token of appreciation for a professor and leader whose legacy is deeply felt on Potsdam’s campus and across the nation.

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Entering our Third Century of Excellence

TOP ROW: Kiron Bunch ’16, psychology; Max Michaels ’18, history; Michael Ricks ’19, exploratory/undeclared; James Reilly ’19, business administration; Jazmin Santana ’18, speech communication; Elizabeth Coleman ’17, exploratory/undeclared; Valerie Driscoll ’18, criminal justice studies; Tevin Campbell ’16, sociology. MIDDLE ROW: Brandon (RJ) Short ’19, mathematics; Ingrid Taveras ’19, international studies; Emily Hunter ’17, art studio; Larén Amster ’16, criminal justice studies; Shelby Kuba ’17, psychology; Stacy Bourn ’16, psychology; Calista Sochia ’19, childhood/early childhood education; Claribel Paulino ’18, biology. BOTTOM ROW: Quadeer Jones ’17, theatre; Brendon Dunn ’19, exploratory/undeclared; Stanley Martinez ’19, exploratory/undeclared.

By Alexandra Jacobs Wilke


t’s been a year of introspection and historic celebrations—SUNY Potsdam’s chance to look back on 200 years of excellence. But after the fireworks have ended and the bicentennial celebrations are complete, what lies in store for this institution that began from such humble roots in 1816? Where are we headed in our 201st year and beyond?

There are three hallmarks of the SUNY Potsdam educational experience that seem certain to hold strong, in our next 100 years and beyond. In our third century, the SUNY Potsdam educational experience will continue to be…


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partially disturbed, but not totally insane.” Whether they’re from a tiny town or New York City, these students share an infectious sense of teamwork, tenacity and Potsdam pride. “Rugby practice is one of the most rushing and exciting things that I do at Potsdam. I have really formed a family with this great team!” said Stanley Martinez ’19. “Coming to SUNY Potsdam, as far as it is from my home back in the Bronx, it was warming, knowing that there was a team of amazing people waiting with open arms.”

Students participated in a drumming circle and dedicated a smoke lodge last spring. “My main goal is to make SUNY Potsdam feel like a home away from home. I’m also able to bring to the whole SUNY Potsdam community a greater awareness of the Native American experience,” explained Coordinator of Native American Affairs Rebecca Smoke.

Can I get a lift? Students make tight bonds as they prep for expeditions and trips with the Wilderness Education Program.

INCLUSIVE SUNY Potsdam strives to build an inclusive campus atmosphere, where every single student feels welcome and free to grow and learn, no matter their background. Here, students from all backgrounds come together in the classroom, in campus activities and on the field, whether through Division III Bears Athletics or through intramurals and club sports. Known as the Potsdam Polecats, the rugby club embraces a team spirit built on being the underdogs, calling themselves “SUNY Potsdam’s unofficial sport for the

Students and faculty alike can bond over their ability to survive the long but beautiful North Country winters. w w


IMMERSIVE Classroom learning is at the heart of the SUNY Potsdam educational experience, but it doesn’t stop there. Students are encouraged to dive deeper, completing research alongside faculty in the lab or in the field, taking on student teaching, attending conferences, completing internships and much more. The College is dedicated to making sure that every graduate has the opportunity to complete high-impact, applied learning experiences. As the home to the first Center for Applied Learning in the SUNY system, Potsdam is continuing to expand these opportunities every day. Close relationships with dedicated faculty and staff make all of this possible. SUNY Potsdam consistently scores among the very top ranked campuses in SUNY for faculty/student engagement, whether through mentoring, interactions outside of class, academic advising and career advice.

The chemistry department has been awarded millions of dollars in research grants, and dedicated faculty members such as SUNY Distinguished Professor Dr. Maria Hepel and Associate Professor Dr. Fadi Bou-Abdallah often publish research co-authored by undergraduates.

Teacher education has a long history at SUNY Potsdam, and both undergraduates and graduates must spend hours at the front of the classroom themselves, whether through campus projects, student teaching or campus opportunities, like tutoring area children in the creative arts after-school program or at the Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center.

From backstage to on stage, students in the theatre and dance programs get unparalleled hands-on experience in all aspects of production as well as performance, guided by both faculty and guest artists, in the College’s state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center. 18

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INTEGRATIVE SUNY Potsdam’s liberal arts and sciences core ensures that students gain a broad-based education, built on the foundation of communication, critical thinking and quantitative analysis. Every student pursues modes of inquiry in aesthetic understanding, scientific inquiry, social analysis, philosophy, American history and world civilizations. Just as students are challenged to broaden their studies beyond their major, faculty from different disciplines collaborate on scholarship and academic programs. So perhaps it’s no surprise that all of SUNY Potsdam’s newest majors are all interdisciplinary, bringing together coursework from multiple fields, including: exercise science, graphic design and new media, international studies and our new master’s program in community health. This kind of cross-collaboration capitalizes on SUNY Potsdam’s culture of creativity and ensures that the next generation of graduates are well-rounded and prepared to take on complex challenges in a constantly changing economy.

No matter your major, every SUNY Potsdam student gets a grounding in the arts. That’s why we’re rated No. 1 in SUNY for our arts environment.

SUNY Potsdam students aren’t afraid to ask questions—and faculty are there to answer them. Students can even create their own specialized course of study weaving together classwork in multiple fields, through the student-initiated interdepartmental major program.

SUNY Potsdam biology students gain firsthand field experience, collecting specimens along the beautiful Raquette River. The biology department is among the most integrative on campus, leading courses for interdisciplinary majors and minors, such as biomedical anthropology, natural science, environmental studies and biochemistry. w w




1940s At 91 years old, Frances Rosekrans Wilcox ’46 regularly attends singalongs at nursing homes, plays chamber music with friends and accompanies other musicians. Alice (Garvey) Kennedy ’47 celebrated her 90th birthday in July 2016. She is still active in her church choir, and enjoys playing bridge at a senior center in Longmont, CO, where she resides. Elizabeth (Laidlaw) McNulty ’49 resides in San Diego and has eight children and five greatgrandchildren.

1950s Nina Tepedino ’54 recently published her second book, “Woman Wandering Poems: 19752015.” Gloria Baz Misnick ’55 is a member and active participant in the Steuben County Retired Senior Volunteer Program. She is a past delegate to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Elmira Heights Chapter at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, where she also sings. She and her husband, William, volunteer at the Bath Veterans Hospital, where she also sings with the hospital band. Ron ’57 and his wife, Joanna (DiCroce) Farra ’56, moved from their home of 47 years in Saratoga Springs, NY, to Northern Virginia to be closer to their children and 10 grandchildren.

1960s Sue Fay Allen ’61 and her husband Carl Klingenschmitt were nominated by the Buffalo 20

Philharmonic Orchestra for the “Un-Sung Heroes” Award, in acknowledgment of their philanthropy and volunteer service to the Western New York musical community. Nancy Shults Kear ’61 continues giving violin and viola lessons, is a member of the Orchestra of Northern New York and plays viola in a wedding trio with fellow Crane alumnae Barbara Harris Nagel ’66 and Lorie Winans Gruneisen ’78. Margaret Robinson Corbett ’63 serves as part-time organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Whitesboro, NY, and is also enjoying her baby grandson. In November 2015, Esther Tedeschi Fusco ’64, a Hofstra University professor, and Patricia Ruggiano Schmidt ’65, a retired professor from LeMoyne University, were featured speakers at SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Literacy Education’s Journey Into Literacy Conference. Workshops at the conference were also presented by Faith Bish ’03, ’04 & ’10, Holly McQueen ’10 & ’12, Jennifer Hutchins ’01 and Carly Walbridge ’13 & ’14, William Gotsch ’01, Elizabeth Ringer ’13 & ’14, and Ronny Diederich ’07 & ’08. Rick Ahlfeld ’67 joined the select 50-Year Club of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and still loves officiating. Pianist, organist and composer Jim Ford ’68 served as a linguist in the U.S. Army Security Agency in West Germany during the Cold War, and while there composed music that was performed for troops, as well as German audiences.

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Carol (Kickie) Holloway Britt ‘69, was awarded the Faculty Member of the Year Award at SUNY Potsdam’s Academic Internship Reception on May 11. Kickie was honored and acknowledged for her dedication and commitment to all of the music business internships and practicum experiences her students have had over the years. As a result, many of her past students have been hired by the companies they intern for. Linda Lujan Grasso ’69 is enjoying her senior years with her grandsons and volunteering in Virginia. She recently reconnected with classmate Carla RussoHarris ’69.

1970s Dr. Dana Malloy Barry ’71 is a chemistry ambassador for the American Chemical Society and has served as a visiting professor and keynote speaker overseas in Japan, China, Slovenia, Malaysia and England. She has won numerous honors and awards, with more than 200 prestigious and professional publications including three consecutive Springer textbooks published within one year. After 41 years, W. Kevin Kelley ’72 retired from IBM in 2015. He is on the board of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie, NY, and recently received his private pilot license. In February, Gerald Ghidiu ’73 was presented with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture in New Jersey Award by the New Jersey Board of Agriculture.

Michael Galane ’74, National Campaign Co-Chair, received the 2016 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award from President Kristin G. Esterberg at the campaign closing celebration on September 30. Paula Hanno Nickerson ’73 made history at Greenport Union Free School District in 2015, when she was named the first female interim athletic director since the program’s inception. She has been an athletic director at numerous schools, but began her career as a high school English teacher. Sister Jennifer Votraw ’74 left her position as chancellor and delegate to pastoral ministers to assume duties as superior of the sisters of St. Joseph’s Motherhouse in Watertown NY. Michael Butler ’75 is celebrating his tenth season as artistic director of Center REPertory Company, the resident professional theatre company of the Lesher Center for the Arts in the San Francisco, CA area. Retired Col. Thomas H. Palmatier ’75 was re-

cently invited to become a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician, and was named to the Board of Directors of the American Bandmasters Association. Cazenovia College named Ronald Chesbrough ’76 as its 29th president. He joins the campus with more than 25 years of experience in college leadership and administration, previously serving as president of St. Charles Community College and as VP for student affairs at Hastings College in Nebraska. The second annual Tower Climb, organized by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and assisted by the family of the late New York Fire Department Captain William F. Burke ’77, was held recently at One World Observatory at One World Trade Center in New York City. 700 climbers participated this year, with part of the event’s proceeds benefiting the Captain William F. Burke Memorial Scholarship at SUNY Potsdam, established in memory of Burke, who died in the



line of duty on September 11, 2001. In December 2015, Marie Carbone Regan ’77 ended her 20-year career in local government and was honored by Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell for her years of

service and dedication. She also served as a professor of English and the humanities at SUNY Canton for more than 25 years and received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996. (Alan Rizzo photo) Crane School of Music faculty emerita and SUNY Potsdam Foundation Board Trustee, Dr. Rebekah Covell, Hon. ’15, caught up with two of her former Crane students,

sisters Susan Vroman Cavanagh ‘77 and Lisa Vroman ‘79, backstage at Lisa’s concert with the Florida Symphony in Clearwater, FL, last winter. Mark Pracher ’78 has built a professional level chamber singing group made up of voices from the Schoharie County community, called New Day. He remains active as an accompanist in area schools and was featured as a guest soloist with the Upper Catskill String Quartet in April. Donnalyn Eaton Shuster ‘78 received the 2015 Award of Merit from the Council for Art Education, Inc. This marks the seventh year in a row for

this honor. Steven C. Moskowitz ’79 is an assistant superintendent of schools for the Brewster School District. He also teaches in the doctorate programs at the University of New England and Manhattanville College.

years, including fellow alum Larry Ham ’82. Bruce Knickerbocker ’81 is an educator and researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bard College and Northwestern University, along with international institutions in Taiwan, Japan and now in China.

In February, Mark Ponzo ’79 returned to his alma mater for a trumpet recital. He is a professor at Northern Illinois University and holds positions as the solo cornet with the New Sousa Band and Illinois Brass Band, as well as the principal trumpet for the Fox Valley Orchestra and Antiqua Baroque Consort.

Sue Schardt ’81 is the executive producer and creator of “Localore, Finding America,” a national incubator designed to develop new local storytelling models and carry public media to the community where it doesn’t typically reach. William Baldwin ’82, of Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton, NY, was honored by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with its RPO Musicians’ Award for Outstanding Music Educators at the orchestra’s annual Music Educators’ Night in April 2016.

1980s In July, Suzy Nelson ’80 was named the new vice president for student life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rich Campbell ’80 performed in two choral composition world premieres, “Heaven,” by the Manhattan Choral Ensemble, and “The Wind,” by the Organization of KodAily Educators National Children’s Choir. After working in commercial, academic and non-profit galleries in Boston for several years, Catherine Tedford ’80 was named the director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University. In May, Cliff Brucker ’81 released an instrumental jazz album that brings together world class musicians he has worked with over the past 35

Caroline Gear ’82 was named executive director of the International Language Institute of Massachusetts. She joined ILI in 1986 as a Spanish and ESOL instructor, and in 1989, she became the school’s director of programs. After 19 years as an education consultant working with public and charter schools in curriculum, instruction and assessment, BethAnne Crowder Hutchinson ’82 launched Premier Assessment Services to serve the scoring needs of New York State schools. Out of thousands of nominations, Kathryn Amore Ingerson ’82 was named one of 25 semifinalists for the annual Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Acad-

emy and the Grammy Foundation. She is the coordinator of music for the Thousand Islands Central School District, where she has directed school plays and created the annual Dessert Theater and Silent Auction. Ingerson helped establish River Light Opera in Clayton, NY, has been a cantor and choir director at St. Mary’s Church for the past 32 years and plays clarinet for the River Winds woodwind quintet. Dr. Todd L. Fallis ’83, professor of music education and trombone at Utah State University, was recently honored for his 25 years on the faculty with a tribute concert. He has played on recordings for CNN, ESPN, Discovery Channel and ABC, including the themes for “Monday Night at the Movies,”“Walker Texas Ranger,”“Touched by an Angel,”“Hercules” and “Zena: Warrior Princess.” In addition, he has played on motion picture film scores, including for “The Sand Lot,”“Pearl Harbor,” “Iron Giant,”“Antz,”“101 Dalmatians” and “Jumanji.” In April, Koniag Government Services announced that veteran business development executive MaryAnn Streb Hoadley ’84 joined the company as senior vice president of business development.

Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, VA. Sharon Davis Gratto ’86 was appointed to the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages at the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. Commercial real estate veteran John Leonard ’86 joined Franklin Street as regional managing partner, overseeing the entire Atlanta, GA, office. Lisa (Brennan) Barnaby ’87 is finishing her 27th year of teaching and is five years into her second career as a published author. She has written contemporary romance and romantic suspense under the pen name Jolyse Barnett and her fourth book, a romantic comedy, will be released in May 2016. David Belcher ’87 received his MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2016. Former St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole Duvé ’87 was appointed County Court Judge Jerome Richard’s principal law clerk in December 2015. She has practiced law since 1991 and was previously an attorney for the Carlisle Law Firm in Ogdensburg, NY. John Lehrack ‘87 was

Joseph Klem ’84 is the director of communications at the American Alliance of Museums in Arlington, VA. Dr. Elizabeth (Myler) Moore ’84 was named professional archaeologist of the year by the Archeological Society of Virginia. Moore is the deputy director for the Division of Research and Collections at the Virginia

recently appointed professor of music at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA. A native of Watertown, NY, he currently resides in Seattle.

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After working for the Watertown Daily Times for more than six years, Shawn Dowd ’88 joined the Democrat and Chronicle in 1994 as a staff photographer. He resides in Rochester, NY, and enjoys hiking. Joel Smales ’89 serves as director of bands

at Binghamton High School, teaches music at Binghamton University and performs with the Tri-Cities Opera, the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra and his steel drum band, the Island Hoppers.

1990s Rob T. Smith ’90 is an associate professor of composition at the University of Houston and director of the AURA Ensemble. He has won a Fulbright to Australia, as well as awards from Copland House, ASCAP, Continental Harmony and the National Band Association. Cathleen Anderson ’91, the assistant vice president for enrollment management at Niagara University, was appointed to serve on the board of directors for the National Catholic College Admission Association. She joined Niagara in 2014 after spending 17 years in admissions at LeMoyne College.


James S. Rizzo ’91 is an attorney with the firm of Hilton Estate Elder Law, LLC, where he practices primarily in the area of estate planning, asset protection and litigation. In January 2016, the Madrid-Waddington Central School Board of Education named Eric Burke ’95 superintendent of schools. He previously served as the school’s grade 6-12 principal and prior to that was the grade 5-12 principal and athletic director at Lisbon Central School. John Middleton-Cox ’95 is the music director and tenor for the New England Tenors and the music director for the North Parish Church in North Andover, MA. Barton & Loguidice named Bryce D. Dingman ’97 of Morrisonville, NY, the managing hydrogeologist in the firm’s environmental group. In July, Daniel Lufkin ’98 became the president of Paul D. Camp Community College in Virginia. He was previously vice president for student affairs at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, VA. The film, “My First Kiss and the People Involved,” was scored by Bonnie McAlvin ’98 and premiered at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival. Moira Ann McKernan ’99 is a biologist at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Headquarters in the Washington, DC metro area.

2000s Ryan Cool ’00 was elected to a four-year term as town council-

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man in Purcellville, VA. He earned his master’s degree in public policy in 2002 from the University at Albany. Craig Garaas-Johnson ’00 accepted a position as the inaugural director of communications for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo. After 15 years away, he is incredibly happy to return to New York State and join the SUNY system. Tesfa Alexander ’02

(center, with President Kristin Esterberg and CSTEP Director Sean Partridge) was the keynote speaker in February for the 20th annual Career Exploration Symposium of the Northern New York STEP and CSTEP programs, with students from SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson University, SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University. (For more information, please see the profile on Page 12.) In November 2015, soprano Laura Fitzsimons Gilbert ’05, mezzo-soprano Kimberly Morgan Busch ’93, tenor Jonathan Burnett ’09 and bass George ScovilleUpham were all featured soloists in the Potsdam Community Chorus concert of Mozart’s “Requiem Mass in D-Minor.” Patrick Farrand ’05 was hired as the Lisbon Central School District’s new superintendent of schools. Choir conductor Greg Rainville ’05 is the co-founder and artistic director of the Canadian Men’s Chorus. He has been instrumental in the Canadian music scene,

In 2015, Jessie Vallejo ’07 was hired as an assistant professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She started a mariachi ensemble, called Mariachi Los Broncos de Pomona, and specializes in ethnomusicology. guest conducting for several ensembles and leading masterclasses and workshops. Daniel Kelly ’06 received his master’s degree from North Carolina State University in 2015, and is now a doctoral student studying technology education and digital teaching and learning. He is the recipient of three national STEM awards, a rare accomplishment, as well as being named a Teacher Education 21st Century Leadership Academy Fellow by the Foundation for Technology and Engineering Education, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association and Council on Technology & Engineering. Robert Fields ’07 accepted a position at Syracuse University as the assistant director of operations for recreation services. A set of triplets who all roomed together while they were students at SUNY Potsdam, celebrated their 30th birthday this year. Jenna (Colton) Murray ’08 is an alcohol and substance abuse counselor in St.

Lawrence County. Krista (Colton) Decker ’10 works as a kindergarten teacher at Evans Mills Primary School. Samantha (Colton) Deleel ’08 is a guidance counselor at Edwards-Knox Central School. They also own an online business together called the Spoiled Sisters. Jamie Szafran ’08 (pictured with Alumni Director Mona Ouimet Vroman ’85), visited

campus in April as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Speaker. She is a computer scientist and software engineer for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. During her visit, Szafran was presented the Alumni Association’s 2015 Rising Star Award by President Kristin G. Esterberg and Robert C. Gray ’87, Alumni Association trustee and chair of the Computer Science Board of Advisers. She also spoke to several computer science classes and presented a career seminar for students interested in internships and careers with NASA.


notes In August, Jana Prager

TELL US YOUR STORY! ’13 climbed Mount

Do you have a funny or significant story to share about your time at Potsdam? What is it about your Potsdam experience that made it memorable or special? Email us at Matthew Cotty ’09 started a new job as the full-time director of development for Reaching Out MBA, Inc., a nonprofit working with LGBT MBA and graduate business students and professionals.

2010s A short story by Christopher Santantasio ’10, “Satellites,” appeared in the May 2016 issue of decomP magazinE. Tyler French ’11 is currently teaching biology and AP environmental sciences at Jones Senior High School in North Carolina. He was the STEM Teacher of the Month in April 2016 and put the reward money toward a class project for his students on Earth Day. Justin John Moniz ’11 played the title role in “The Student Prince,” and

has performed more than 60 roles on both operatic and musical theatre stages across the country. He was the winner of the 2015 American Prize in Voice – Chicago Musical Theater Award. Kelly Donnelly ’12, who is in her sixth year teaching English and religion at Seton Catholic School in Plattsburgh, NY, was

hired as the diocesan director of youth ministry. An exhibit by Lisa LaBarge ’12, “Lace Lines,” was displayed at the St. Lawrence County Art Gallery in Potsdam, NY, from October to November 2015. The showcase included a number of charcoal and soft pastel drawings, along with figurative sculptures made from hardened lace. Alexandra Morris ’12 received her master’s degree in Egyptology

Adam Bassett ’15

Kilimanjaro with Dig Deep to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in Kenya. In 2015, Grant Barnhart ’14 was presented with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award by the Dutchess County Historical Society. He has volunteered at the historical society archives and currently assists on the society’s Guinea Archaeological Dig Project. Dillon Morehouse ’14 is employed at the University of Idaho and is working toward a Ph.D. in physics.

published his first novel, “A Package of Moods,” in March 2016. In 2015, Kristina Blackstock ’15 was crowned Miss Thousand Islands, traveling to local schools speaking about her platform, “Happy = Healthy.” She later finished as third runnerup at the Miss New York pageant in May 2016.


In 2015, Daniel Mertzlufft ’15 joined iTheatrics, working to connect young people with musical theatre. His compositions have been performed around the country, including two musicals, “A Family Christmas” and “Tie the Knot,” and his opera, “The Letter.” Several alumni and two new members held a mini reunion celebrating Omega Delta Phi’s Recognition Day at Symeon’s Restaurant in Utica, NY.

From left: Donnalyn Eaton Shuster ’78, Valerie Henninger Steltzer ’72, Rachael Cooke ’19, Kristen Gizzi ’19, Helen Padzur Chomin ’64, Virginia Domery Sherman ’76 and Cindy Dylis Wilson.

from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, and is writing her thesis on the physically disabled of the Ancient World, particularly in Greece and Egypt. She was invited to present her paper at the Athens Institute for Education and Research Symposium on Alexander the Great, held in June 2016 in Athens, Greece. In Spring 2016, Lisa Cohen ’13 published her first book, “Walnut.” Colleen Knapp ’13 and five generations of her family have gathered and researched thousands of Native American artifacts, which comprise the Knapp Family Collection. She works in Portland, OR, as a bookseller.

Jerome Socolof ’17 and Kate (Gigilotti) Socolof ’09 were married on July 3, 2016 in Penfield, NY. Many SUNY Potsdam alumni joined the couple to celebrate. Back row from left: Laura Osgood ’07, Chris Wengert ’05, Lauren (Lange) Wengert ‘08, Susan Cody ’10, Andrea Long ’09, Dana Saffran ’09, Jerome Socolof ’07, Tyler Avnet ‘08, Kate (Gigilotti) Socolof ’09, Josh Redman ‘11, Sarah Beasley DePalma ’08, Ellen Moody ‘10, Brian Crook ’08, Beth Zysberg ‘08, Joe Dobuzinsky ’08, Rachel Johnson ’06, Brett Johnson ’08, Sarabeth (Ripley) Watterman ’08. Front row: Kyle Pogemiller ’09, Alicia Nace ’04, Tiffany Conn Soricelli ’06, Matt Funigello ’08, Shawn DePalma ’08, Jordan Walker ‘11. Kelly Moughan Cusey ’98 married Mike Cusey on November 21, 2015 in Rochester, NY.

Dylan Herne ’12 married Keena Herne on January 17, 2016. The couple resides in Winthrop, NY. w w



notes Shirley Valentine Backus ’49 December 1, 2015

ANNIVERSARIES Robert and Grace Holland Londraville ’48 celebrated their 65th

Joyce Merrick Howitt ’51 April 15, 2016 Sara J. Hayes Cunningham ’53 October 1, 2015

Betty (Merrill) Borzilleri ’49 March 23, 2016 Earl W. Dunn ’49 March 28, 2015 Robert Fields ’07 and his wife Courtney welcomed a baby girl, Eleanor “Ellie” Fields, on November 16, 2015. IN MEMORIAM wedding anniversary on March 26, 2016. Phillip and Shirley Secor Bush ’50 recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with family in Watertown, NY. Gerald and Betty Stearns Crump ’55 celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on March 26, 2016.

Esther Mattis ’36 April 7, 2016 Margaret R. Clark ’37 December 20, 2015

Ken ’76 and Dorothy Keldorf Plantz ’76 celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by attending Reunion this summer at SUNY Potsdam. Carol Rood Hibbard ’81 and her husband Rich celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in June 2016. They have two grandchildren and reside in Ocala, FL. BIRTHS

Marion Short Willard ’39 March 23, 2016 Elizabeth Goldsmith Jepson ’40 January 2, 2014

Matthew Van Dervoort ’03 and his wife Emily welcomed a baby girl, Sawyer, on May 29, 2015. 24

Dorothy (Bosley) Alton ’42 March 29, 2016 Dr. Howard Carpenter ’42 February 21, 2016

P O T S D A M P E O P L E FA L L 2 0 1 6

Jean Clark Burns ’51 May 17, 2015 Laura Eldridge Foote ’51 May 13, 2016

Jeanne Ball Delmain ’45 October 31, 2015 June Louise Cartin Kennedy ’39 October 24, 2015

Jean Burns ’45 announces the birth of her great-granddaughter, Isabella Katharine, on May 14, 2015.

M. Frances Stout Bohan ’44 February 23, 2016 Mary Lobdell Harrington ’44 March 15, 2016

Elizabeth Costello Hollembaek ’37 July 11, 2015

In August 2015, Ron ’57 and Joanna (DiCroce) Farra ’56 celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Virginia Lee Durkee ’42 May 21, 2014

Ellen J. Wheeler Verity ’50 November 11, 2015

Barbara T. Dodge ’46 March 20, 2016 Pauline C. Spence Boyce ’48 May 15, 2016 Mary Ida Hayes Burt ’48 April 4, 2016 Audrey Baker Vail ’48 November 29, 2015 Mary Martel Barvoets ’49 February 1, 2016

Mark L. Jones ’53 March 20, 2016 John LaFalce ’53 April 22, 2016 Jane Ross ’53 December 29, 2014

Once in a while, an extraordinary person comes along who can make a difference in hundreds of lives. Booker T. Gibson ’52 is one such person. He was the first black student to graduate from the Potsdam Normal School, and the first teacher of color at Valley Stream South High School, where he began his 30-year teaching career in 1956. Gibson passed away March 10, 2016, and for more than a week, social media exploded with his name. “Truly an incredible, one-ofa-kind human being … I was blessed to be one of his students,” was the echoing comment. He was one of three black students enrolled at the College while an undergraduate, but he seemingly had few obstacles. Gibson was a performer, a music education major and a leader—serving as the Student Government Association president, president of his class, a member of Pi Delta Epsilon honor society and a member of Delta Kappa Theta fraternity. He also sang in the Men’s Glee Club, the Choralaires, played in the Pep Band and was even a member of The Racquette student newspaper, as well as other groups. After graduation, he took time to see the world the only way he felt possible, by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. And after his enlistment, as he said, he was “lucky enough” to get a teaching job near his home on Long Island, where he lived with his wife, Frances (Butler) Gibson ’62 and their three sons. His extraordinary life can best be encapsulated by the words of André Joseph in his YouTube video, titled “Booker T. Gibson: A Teacher’s Journey”: “As a musician, veteran, and teacher, Booker T. Gibson’s journey is a testament to the importance of education and the arts, and universal equality.”


notes J. Robert Sheehan ’61 April 19, 2016

Helen Schroeder Chapple ’72 January 26, 2016 Thomas F. Fay ’62 January 1, 2016

In recognition of the impact S. Talbot Thayer ’53 (center) had on their lives, more than 250 alumni of the Calhoun Choir (based at Calhoun High School in Merrick, NY, from 1958 to 1985) gathered to celebrate Thayer’s 85th birthday and to announce the establishment of the S. Talbot Thayer Scholarship in Vocal Music, to assist aspiring vocal music educators at The Crane School of Music. This scholarship joins the S. Talbot Thayer ’53 and Nancy Thayer James ’54 Music Scholarship, which Thayer himself established, in honor of the years both he and his sister Nancy spent at Potsdam and at Crane. Tal passed away April 22, 2016. Jean Wheeler Simpson ’53 September 10, 2015

Diane Hicks MacConnell ’56 March 18, 2016

S. Talbot Thayer ’53 April 22, 2016

Frederic A. Belec ‘58 February 22, 2016

Joan Marsh Jones ’54 October 31, 2015

Kenneth R. Grace ’59 November 29, 2015 Joseph A. Manso ’57 January 5, 2016

David Allen Conner ’58 December 26, 2015

Arthur Cunningham ’59 December 30, 2015

Joan Hughes Albern ’53 March 22, 2016

Nancy Langtry Crosby ’61 February 17, 2016

Claire Schwendy Flanigan ’73 March 13, 2016 Susan Granger Perry ’73 April 13, 2016

Helen Sweezey Babcock ’64 November 3, 2015 Beatrice MacElory Whiteman ’64 April 22, 2016 Donna (Fletcher) Hutchinson ’65 March 22, 2016

Phillip Wissell ’73 June 8, 2015 Otto E. Czerepak ’74 December 16, 2015

Dr. Harris Schlesinger ’74 September 29, 2015 Mary Sue McAdoo Seymour ’74 March 21, 2016

Diane J. Tarbell ’67 January 2, 2016 Joyce M. (Simpson) Gaven ’68 December 17, 2016 Nancy Gillet Brin ’70 December 12, 2016 William G. Ingersoll ’71 November 8, 2015

Michael P. White ’76 May 20, 2015 David Hartzog ’76 February 17, 2016 John Timmons ’77 December 12, 2014 Karl L. Crannell ’78 October 28, 2015 Robert H. Milkas ’81 December 4, 2013

Jean A. Pennock ’74 March 4, 2016

Larry K. Hurley ’67 May 5, 2016

Charles E. Moore ’59 November 28, 2015 Mary Dacey Malara ’58 March 1, 2016

Albert Joseph Zeppieri Jr. ’63 March 27, 2016

Karen M. Patrick Lamanna ’72 February 25, 2016

Jeffrey A. Wise ’75 January 17, 2016

Nancy (Reynolds) Valentine ’74 December 30, 2015

Chester Haraczka ’85 March 11, 2016 David A. Buckwald ’86 January 30, 2016 M. Nicholas Coppola ’87 June 30, 2015 Melissa E. Crolick ’00 November 9, 2015 Karen L. Montrois ’02 November 16, 2015 Keith M. Swanson ’04 April 21, 2016

Peter Jensen Moulton ’75 August 2015 Gail (Moseley) Upchurch ’75 May 7, 2015

Daniel L. Sweeney ’04 January 21, 2016

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notes Ted (Theodore) Kellogg ’08 November 21, 2014

Sister Rita Frances Brady, GNSH February 20, 2016

Kimberly A. Aucter ’09 November 7, 2015 Sara Beth Cutler ’09 May 26, 2016 Jane D. Russell, Hon. ’09 June 3, 2016 Honorary Alumna & wife of Thomas Russell Megan E. Carroll Leno ’11 December 8, 2015 Daniel Gross ’13 February 2, 2015 EMERITI & FRIENDS Nancy C. Eldblom November 26, 2015 Research Librarian, Crumb Library Donald P. Hoag December 10, 2015 Groundskeeper, Physical Plant Dr. Ronald Tarr December 31, 2015 Crane School of Music – Piano David P. DeMar Jr. February 17, 2016 Student of The Crane School of Music


Follow SUNY Potsdam on Social Media! Barbara P. Veitch February 29, 2016 Stenographer

Mary R. Sullivan February 27, 2016 Keyboard Specialist in the Registrar’s Office, retired 1985 Dorothy Ratowski March 16, 2016 Stenographer, retired in 1978 Stefanie Tischler April 1, 2016 Stefanie and her husband Albin made sure their door was always open for Prometheus Fraternity brothers, their friends and neighbors. Maurice F. Kenny April 16, 2016 Writer-inResidence and English faculty member until 2012

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Share Your Pdam Pride! #sunypotsdam #potsdamproud #sunypotsdamalum #potsdambears

James E. Prosper April 26, 2016 Maintenance – PACES Stephen M. Martell May 17, 2016 SUNY Potsdam College Council Joyce M. Russell May 17, 2016 PACES Prep Cook for 37 years Wilma Watson June 12, 2016 RCLA (Employed for 20 years)

P O T S D A M P E O P L E FA L L 2 0 1 6

Deadline for class notes submissions for the Spring 2017 issue is:

December 15, 2016

Submit to:

President’s Club

The President’s Club is a distinctive giving society that recognizes alumni and friends who give $1,000 or more during the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Learn more and/or join today by contacting the Donor Relations Office at (315) 267-2855 or



Save the Date SUNY Potsdam invites everyone to participate in the upcoming activities, all of which are on campus unless otherwise noted. For a complete listing of more than 350 on-campus activities, including specific dates, locations, registration and ticketing information (when applicable), visit the Campus News & Events tab on the SUNY Potsdam website at Questions can be directed to the Office of Alumni Relations at (315) 267-2120 or NYSSMA ALUMNI RECEPTION


(December 2, Rochester, NY) Are you attending the 2016 New York State School Music Association Conference? Don’t forget to visit The Crane School of Music booth, and join us for the alumni reception at the Hyatt Regency.

(March 25, Albany, NY) Dance to the sounds of the Crane Latin Ensemble as they perform in Albany. This is a fun stop on their way to the University of Cienfuegos in Cuba!

ALUMNI RECEPTION (December 7, Greensboro, GA) Join us after Lisa Vroman’s “Home for the Holidays” concert with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra at Festival Hall for a postconcert reception with Lisa.

CANDLELIGHT CONCERT (December 4, 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Hosmer Hall) Celebrate the holiday season with the Crane Chorus and the Crane Symphony Orchestra at one of the College’s most popular annual musical performances. No tickets required for this free concert.

BEAR PRIDE NIGHT (January 27, Maxcy Hall) Cheer on your Potsdam Bears teams! Women’s basketball game at 5:30 p.m. (vs. New Paltz), men’s hockey game at 7 p.m. (vs. Fredonia), and men’s basketball game at 7:30 p.m. (vs. New Paltz). If you are a Potsdam alum or a donor to the athletics program, join us for a special reception in Maxcy Room 220 (across from the Jerry Welsh Gymnasium).

FLORIDA ALUMNI EVENTS THE VILLAGES: PALMER LEGENDS COUNTRY CLUB (March 9) BRADENTON: PIER 22 (March 11) Live in Florida? Join us for an alumni gathering, catch up with college friends, and hear about the exciting things happening at SUNY Potsdam.

ECONOMIC FUSION (March 14, SUNY Potsdam) SUNY Potsdam invites alumni and businesses to celebrate entrepreneurism and innovation on campus with a series of events, including a student business plan competition, career networking and a roundtable on SUNY Potsdam’s role in regional economic activities. To participate, or for more information, contact John Wicke at (315) 267-2106 or

TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENT ASSOCIATION (TESA) CONFERENCE (April 8, SUNY Potsdam) Calling all alumni who are school superintendents and principals: You are invited to reconnect with fellow alumni and participate in a variety of sessions providing advice and encouragement to today’s students (tomorrow’s teachers!). To register, or for more information on presenting, contact Nancy Griffin at (315) 267-2112 or


LOUGHEEDKOFOED FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS (April 28 – May 7, SUNY Potsdam) Join us for 10 days of free arts events, including theatre, music and dance performances. Visiting artists will be on campus offering workshops, readings and masterclasses. The 2017 LoKo Festival includes The Crane School of Music performance (April 29, 7:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall) conducted by JoAnn Falletta, the 2017 Dorothy Albrecht Visiting Conductor. Check for updated event information at

(April 29, 7:30 p.m., Hosmer Hall) The concert in Hosmer Hall will include Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells,” conducted by JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the 2017 Dorothy Albrecht Visiting Conductor.

A Message from Liberty Mutual

Help others enjoy the advantages of a SUNY Potsdam education. Help support other students’ goals through Liberty Mutual’s partnership with your alma mater. Get a free quote on Liberty Mutual auto, home or renters insurance by November 30th. For each individual quote, we will donate $5 directly into the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Scholarship Fund. Visit Liberty Mutual at or call (855) 323-2150 today for a free, no-obligation quote. 1. No purchase of a policy is required. Limit one quote per policy type per person. Not available to residents in CT, FL, IA, MA, ME, MO, ND, NM, PA or to existing Liberty Mutual Insurance customers. 2. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. This organization receives financial support for allowing Liberty Mutual to offer this auto and home insurance program. Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116. © 2016 Liberty Mutual Insurance

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Bicentennial Reunion Weekend Recap SUNY Potsdam broke all previous records for attendance during the College’s Bicentennial Reunion Weekend. More than 1,000 alumni and guests visited campus for Reunion 2016, a 30 percent increase over the last attendance record set in 2013. Many thanks to all our alumni, friends and volunteers who returned to help celebrate SUNY Potsdam’s 200th birthday!

We Want Your Feedback

Email with your feedback and suggestions for future Reunions.

Reunion Photos Available Online View and download photos for FREE on SUNY Potsdam’s Flickr account. Just visit and click on the “Albums” link.

Save the Date for Reunion 2017 Mark your calendars! Thursday, July 13 to Sunday, July 16, 2017.

2016 Reunion Class Gifts Class gifts and 50-Year Club gifts totaled a whopping $1,448,709… what amazing things this will make possible for our students and programs. Thank you to all who were so generous!

Class 2011 5th Reunion 2006 10th Reunion 2001 15th Reunion 1996 20th Reunion 1991 25th Reunion 1986 30th Reunion 1981 35th Reunion 1976 40th Reunion 1971 45th Reunion 1966 50th Reunion 50 Year Club*

Reunion 2016 Giving Totals $6,833 $2,098 $28,742 $3,427 $11,206 $57,394 $10,236 $59,800 $47,480 $128,878 $1,090,774

*The 50-Year Club includes all classes from 1966 and earlier.


P O T S D A M P E O P L E FA L L 2 0 1 6


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n April 2016, the LoKo Festival of the Arts marked its fifth anniversary with a 10-day celebration of creativity and the arts by students, faculty, staff, artists and the Potsdam community. The festival culminated on Mother’s Day in New York City, where nearly 300 Crane students had the experience of a lifetime performing at the iconic Carnegie Hall. Each of these life-changing experiences was made possible directly through the vision and generosity of our donors. “The performance by Crane Chorus and the Crane Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Duane Wolfe was among the top one or two choral concerts I have ever witnessed or been a part of. The extensive collaboration between Maestro Wolfe; Crane Chorus conductor, Dr. Jeff Francom and Crane Orchestra conductor, Dr. Ching-Chung Lai in the preparation of nearly 300 students for these two performances was simply exquisite. They were amazing.” Dr. Gary C. Jaquay ’67, established the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund responsible for bringing Crane Chorus and Orchestra to NYC and Carnegie Hall

“The Potsdam and Carnegie Hall performances were the most satisfying things I have ever done in my entire life. I have all I want and all I ever need. My connection to Potsdam and Crane is life sustaining. I am truly blessed.” Dorothy Gregory ’69 established the Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor Fund.

“To be able to sing at Carnegie as a student in 1952 (which turned out to be the last time Crane Chorus and Orchestra performed at Carnegie prior to 2016) and then to have the opportunity to go back as a member of the audience was an amazing moment. To be a part of something like that and to revisit one of the important moments in my life was simply amazing. My own Carnegie experience is a main reason we chose to establish the LoKo Festival of the Arts at Potsdam. To me, arts are what make life worth living.”

“I have started about 20 businesses, all of which have been successful, and I have worked with about a dozen former employees who were entrepreneurial and helped them to build their own businesses. I derived a great amount of satisfaction out of all of them, but I don’t think I have ever gotten as much satisfaction out of anything I have ever done as I have with LoKo. For most of my life, I’ve been used to measuring success by the amount of money each endeavor made. Now I measure success by the feeling in my heart.”

Kathy (Kofoed) Lougheed ’54, established the LoKo Festival of the Arts

Don Lougheed, Hon. ’54, established the LoKo Festival of the Arts

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44 Pierrepont Avenue Potsdam, NY 13676

It’s Not Too Soon to Plan for Reunion 2017! Mark Your Calendars Now to Join us for our Reunion Weekend

7.13.17 - 7.16.17 For more information, visit

Fall 2016 Potsdam People  

The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of The State University of New York at Potsdam.

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