As the days get longer and the semester reaches a fever pitch, we are heading into one of the busiest months of the year here at SUNY Potsdam.
I can’t help but think that this is what it’s all about. Many of the following exciting upcoming events showcase the campus community at its best. I look forward to seeing faculty, staff, students, visiting scholars and artists and members of the community as we enjoy all of the myriad educational experiences that the College has to offer.
Through the generosity and artistic vision of Kathryn (Kofoed) ’54 and Donald Lougheed, the inaugural Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts will be offered from April 20 to April 28. The first-ever event will celebrate creativity with a broad array of events encompassing all forms of artistic expression. A number of guest artists and authors will travel to campus for the first Festival, while student talent will be in the limelight, with dance recitals, theatre showcases, poetry performances, music masterclasses and art openings all in store. As one of the premier arts campuses in the SUNY system, Potsdam prides itself on its strength in all of the fields of creative expression. This Festival will bring together the entire campus to be inspired in ways we never dreamed possible. Take LoKo-Motion, for example: Every week day during the Festival, there will be impromptu dancing and music in the academic quad as we break between classes. For more information, pick up a schedule available in campus news racks or visit www.potsdam.edu/artsfestival. I invite you to take part in this exciting new campus-wide event.
The celebration of the 125th anniversary of The Crane School of Music will continue with some special events in store. Crane will welcome the 2012 Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor, Ann Howard Jones, to campus from April 23 to April 28. This renowned conductor will lead masterclasses and rehearsals with our students, alongside a whole slate of events, leading up to the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra performances of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem along with four guest soloists. The Potsdam performance will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 in Hosmer Hall. This event is free but tickets are going fast; reserve them by contacting CPS at (315) 267-2277. Then, on May 1, thanks to the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund, the chorus and orchestra will travel to New York City to perform the Requiem in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. We would like to thank Dorothy Albrecht Gregory ’61 and Dr. Gary Jaquay ’67 for making this possible. In keeping with Crane’s long tradition of excellence in performance and education, the College has offered free tickets to 800 NYC high school students so they can enjoy this historic performance as well. For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/125years.
SUNY Potsdam will celebrate its fifth annual Earth Week from April 21 to April 28. The College will reaffirm its commitment to sustainability throughout the week with activities open to all. Highlights include a concert/barbecue, mountain yoga, clean-ups downtown and at the Cecile Garden in Lehman Park, a low-impact camp-out and the annual Rock and Fossil Fair. Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water,” will speak on April 25. To find out more, visit www.potsdam.edu/about/sustainability.
Student Entertainment Services also has an array of upcoming events slated, from April 14 to April 21, including the Black Student Association Fashion Show, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, and a nearly non-stop series of outdoor concerts planned for April 20 and 21. Barrington Drive will be closed to traffic between Watertown and Massena Drives on those days to allow activities outside the Union. Visit the schedule of events page for more information: http://www.potsdam.edu/studentlife/clubs/ses.cfm, and all events are free.
The Admissions Office and Center for Diversity are gearing up for the annual Multicultural Weekend scheduled for April 26 to 28. Nearly 60 accepted students will be making the trip from NYC and surrounding areas to spend time on our campus. A full schedule of events has been planned for them, including a hypnotist, mock classes and a talent show. I hope you will join me in welcoming future members of our Class of 2016 to the SUNY Potsdam community.
This year’s Greek Week will be held from April 21 to April 28. The annual event is an opportunity for our recognized Greek chapters to celebrate their four common values of friendship, scholarship, community service and leadership. This year’s events include the Greek Olympics, an information and fundraising campaign for drunk driving awareness, the Greek Awards Ceremony and a barbecue.
We are nearing the mid-point of construction on the College’s $44 million Performing Arts Building. The College will celebrate the symbolic placing of the last steel beam on April 27. All are invited to sign the last beam from 3 to 5 p.m. at the site, and there will be a brief ceremony at 5:00 p.m. to commemorate the halfway mark in this momentous project. You can view the live webcam of the project anytime, at pabcam.potsdam.edu.
In looking back at the Middle States visit, I am so proud of the entire campus and how well the visit went. The visiting team members were very impressed with our College. The self-study was so well done and thorough that after one day of meetings the visiting team felt comfortable enough to eliminate some of the scheduled meetings on the second day. In the end, the preliminary report produced only five recommendations for the campus, all focusing on various aspects of connecting more explicitly institutional assessment, planning, and decision making. We have been asked to provide a preliminary report back to Middle States tentatively for 2015. In all, we received 21 commendations for things we do exceptionally well, and 23 suggestions on how we might improve on what we do. Taken as a whole, this is a very, very good report. I want to congratulate all those who served on the Self-Study Steering Committee, especially Dr. Jim German and Dean Chip Morris, the co-chairs. A special thanks also goes to Provost Madden for guiding the entire process.
We are awaiting final details of the allocation of the SUNY budget to the campuses. We anticipate no major change from our allocation last year. We will have just under $1 million in new tuition, but need to begin to back away from approximately $3 million in countermeasures we have used to help us through the worst of the crisis. The President’s Council will begin to discuss any new allocations that might be made to the divisions in the coming weeks. Provost Madden and I have been seeking guidance on how to prioritize various needs, especially within Academic Affairs. This will help to illuminate our decision making process.
Two of the three finalists for a new Vice President for Business Affairs have visited campus, and we expect the third soon. Chancellor Zimpher has made it abundantly clear that this position is to become a shared position with SUNY Canton. President Kennedy and I met with the Chancellor and Provost Lavallee recently, and discussed how to accomplish this. In the interim, we will be hiring a Vice President for the Potsdam campus from the pool developed for the Chief Financial Officer search, and are now working with SUNY Canton in this search. I hope that our new Vice President will be able to join us over the summer, on or about July 1.
The Commencement Committee has recommended, and I have approved, an outdoor Commencement ceremony regardless of the weather conditions. Consequently, except for a situation in which the weather is life-threatening, we will hold Commencement outdoors on the Quad. This is a glorious celebration of the accomplishments of our students. It is made even more festive by the participation of a large number of faculty members. I encourage all faculty members to attend the ceremony. It means so much to our students and their families to have the faculty members recognize student success. And remember to dress for the weather conditions.
According to the FY2011 VSE report, SUNY Potsdam continues to excel compared to its peers. Although we are one of the smallest in our peer group of the 13 SUNY Comprehensive Colleges (larger only than SUNY Purchase), SUNY Potsdam ranks:
SUNY Potsdam also ranks #15 (up from #18 in FY2010) in the nation in alumni participation in giving for public masters universities. MANY, MANY thanks to the faculty and staff who create such an inviting and enriching College experience, which directly impacts the willingness of our alumni to give back.