The past few weeks have been an invigorating wake-up call to all of us in the North Country, and the return of students to campus has only succeeded in heightening our level of energy. I must confess that after about a year at the College, and seven months on the job full-time, I am as excited as ever about both our future and the things we need to do to garner that future. I want to thank all of you for all that you have done to help make my first semester so memorable, and to help the College become the best it can be.
This missive is the first in what I hope will be a regular report on campus news, my vision, and progress we make along the way. I hope that it will provide a basis for a conversation that we can carry out face-to-face, and that each of you will discuss with your colleagues. There will be a smattering of news, updates, events, and vision in these lines.
First, I am thrilled to announce that SUNY Potsdam has officially become an All-Steinway School. Our purchase of 141 pianos becomes the single largest in the history of Steinway & Sons. These fine instruments, purchased with funds from the State of New York, will be arriving throughout the course of the spring semester. As many of you may know, in 1952 Helen Hosmer, then the head of the Crane School, made what was at that time the largest single purchase of Steinway pianos. Her actions helped to lay the framework for the continued renown of the Crane School, a legacy that we continue today with this purchase. The College chose Steinways because of their artistic quality, durability of construction, enduring and accruing value, and reputation for excellence. The used pianos have been traded to Steinway and will be sold by Clark Music in Syracuse. Details of the sale of the used instruments will be available through Clark Music.
Women’s Ice Hockey
After an absence of more than 20 years, women’s ice hockey will return to SUNY Potsdam The addition of the athletic opportunity to campus will accrue many important benefits. The largest of these is that it responds to a need expressed to the athletic department by our own students. When asked which women’s sport they would most prefer to have included in our repertoire of sports, women’s ice hockey was clearly favored. The program will allow us to recruit many talented young women from the North Country and beyond who previously would never have considered SUNY Potsdam. Moreover, it also provides an additional opportunity for women’s sports in our effort to comply with Title IX guidelines.
The program will begin in 2007-2008 with club status for one year and then change to varsity status in 2008-2009. We hope that as many as 30 new students could be added to the College or retained with the addition of women’s hockey. All of the available data from both on-campus and external sources demonstrate that student-athletes, in Division III, have higher GPAs, are retained better, and have higher graduation rates.
SUNY Potsdam will become the fifth member of the SUNY Athletic Conference to have women’s hockey, with two other SUNY institutions currently in the process of establishing programs. A seven-team SUNY women’s hockey conference would allow conference winners to qualify for NCAA National Championships.
These are just two of many announcements.