The semester is fast coming to a successful conclusion. Along with the usual end of semester activities we have all enjoyed a superlative Academic Festival. I want to publicly recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of Dr. Martin Walker, who was in charge of the festival. I also want to commend Roberta Greene and Katie Deuel for service far beyond the ordinary in helping out on the details of the festival. But to all involved: thank you and hearty congratulations. I hope you are taking part in the all of the activities of the Lougheed Arts Festival as it concludes later this week.
Commencement activities will take place at the College from Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19. We are pleased to bestow two honorary degrees this year. An honorary doctorate of humane letters will be conferred upon Dr. Edward Marschilok ’74, who will serve as the speaker at our Master’s Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 18. In addition, an honorary doctorate in music will be presented to Col. Tom Palmatier ’75, who will speak to the graduates at the Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 19.
In addition to the honorary degrees, SUNY Potsdam will present two Commencement awards at the President’s Dinner on Saturday, May 18. The College’s highest honor, the 2013 Roger B Linden Distinguished Service Award, will be awarded to Deborah Diefendorf Hind ’75 for her many years of dedication to the College and specifically as a leader on the Alumni Association and the Campaign. And, the Leadership Through Service Award will be presented to Sandra Maine ’75, creator of the Sunfeather Soap Company and North Country entrepreneur.
Remember that the Bachelor’s Commencement is held outside, rain or shine, so do dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Also, the Master’s Ceremony is earlier this year than in the past, so be certain you arrive well ahead of the 9:30 a.m. start time.
Although the Legislature has passed a budget for the State of New York, we do not yet know what the allocation will be for SUNY Potsdam. There are other important considerations this year. The Chancellor has rejected the budget model that was presented in the fall, wherein Potsdam was slated to lose upwards of $3 million over the next few years. The Chancellor will be reconvening the working groups to explore better ways to create incentives for campuses through budgeting. While this bodes well for Potsdam, SUNY still will have to balance several competing demands as it develops allocations to the campuses, including the financial hardships experienced at Downstate Medical Center. We know that as a result of the declines in our graduate enrollments, we will receive less state funding in 2013-14. Taken as a whole, we are projecting a reduction of approximately $1.5 million to our base budget. The President’s Council has begun deliberations on how to handle this reduction in a manner that is consistent with our mission and goals.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation for everyone who helped us successfully launch the public phase of the Take the Lead Campaign on campus on Friday, April 26. The Campaign aims to raise $27 million for the student experience by the College’s bicentennial in 2016, and has already brought in $17.4 million in its leadership phase. Last Friday's campus celebration in the Barrington Student Union MPR helped to thank the many alumni, faculty, staff, emeriti, students and friends who have helped us get to this point. And for all of those who performed in or worked at last Friday's celebration event, many thanks to you! As usual, Potsdam's excellence shined through your efforts. Please check out the new Campaign website at www.potsdam.edu/campaign to learn more about this special fundraising effort, view the official video, check out videos from students talking about how this Campaign is helping them, and hear from some of our leadership donors.
Effective May 3, supervision of the Office of Student Accounts will move from the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Enrollment Management to the Vice President for Business Affairs. The change was made to provide for even greater efficiency in a wide variety of business functions, including the services provided by Student Accounts. This administrative change will not affect the way students pay their bills or receive other services offered by the office. The Director of Student Accounts will still participate in the Enrollment Management group, in order to best address the needs of students and improve retention and graduation rates.
Also effective May 3, supervision of the Department of Athletics will move from the Office of the President to the Dean of Students. For many years at SUNY Potsdam, Athletics reported to Business Affairs, until the retirement of Mike Lewis in 2012. At that point, Athletics began to report directly to the President. In this period of transition, however, it is believed that a more appropriate reporting line should be through Student Affairs, as is the case in nearly all of the other members of the SUNYAC conference. For the coming transitional year, Mike Lewis will continue to be the immediate supervisor of the Athletics program, reporting to Dean of Students Chip Morris.
At the same time, supervision of Computing and Technology Services will pass from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs to the Vice President for Business Affairs. Because of the centralized nature of many of the CTS services in assisting administrative offices, it was felt that this new reporting structure would provide for the best integrated service for all users. Moreover, this will also allow us to eventually create a single IT department for both SUNY Potsdam and Canton. A new academic technology oversight committee will assure that faculty needs and concerns are kept at the forefront in program planning and execution.
I am happy to announce that Timothy M. Ashley has been named the Deputy Chief of University Police for SUNY Potsdam. Lieutenant Ashley has been with UP since 2009. He reports to University Police Chief John Kaplan, who oversees the UP departments at both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton. Prior to joining SUNY Potsdam, Tim worked as a state corrections officer, before joining SUNY Canton's University Police, where he worked from 2001 to 2009. In addition, SUNY Canton has chosen Alan P. Mulkin '96 to serve as Deputy UP Chief for their campus. He will also report to Chief Kaplan.
The SUNY Potsdam Greek Life Task Force will host the second of two open forums on Monday, May 6 at 6 p.m. in the Knowles Conference Center Multi-Purpose Room. Local residents are invited to attend this open forum, which is focused on gathering information about Greek Life's impact on the greater Potsdam community. The open forums are an attempt to gain insights and perspectives regarding Greek organizations at SUNY Potsdam. The second forum on May 6 will be aimed primarily at gathering comments from the Potsdam community members, and will also be open to students, faculty and staff. An alumni open forum solely designed to gain perspective from graduates is being planned as well.
Please join me for the final Whine and Jeez of this academic year on Tuesday, May 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Dexter’s Café. Note that this happy hour will be on Tuesday, not Wednesday. Let’s celebrate the end of the year together with food and fellowship on Tuesday, May 14