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From the President's Desk

April 2018

On this last day of classes before spring break, we can finally see signs of spring here in the North Country, with tulips starting to emerge near Minerva’s statue. When students return, I hope spring will be in full force, as we head toward the last weeks of the semester.

The spring semester always brings a whirlwind of activity. This weekend, one of our SUNY Potsdam a cappella groups, the Potsdam Pitches, won first place at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Central Region semifinals at the University of Buffalo, and they are headed toward the finals in New York City. The first SUNY Potsdam group to advance to the finals, they are one of the reasons Potsdam was recently noted as an “a cappella powerhouse.” At the same time, the Department of Theatre and Dance captivated audience members with their production of “Venus.” All of this occurred on the cusp of the LoKo Arts Festival, which will kick off later this month.

The talents of our faculty, staff and students, whether in the arts, athletics or academics, are awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!

Budget negotiations are still ongoing at the statehouse, and we anticipate the state budget will be released shortly. As soon as we have news, we will forward more information to you. On our own campus, we are again undergoing the budgeting process we established last year, with some additional refinements to the templates. The aim is to ensure our campus uses our scarce resources as strategically as possible and to align our budget priorities with our strategic plan. I thank all who are involved as we continue to develop a robust budgeting process.

Community and Partnership Event
SUNY Potsdam is partnering with Clarkson University to host a Community and Partnership Event on Tuesday, April 3 at 4:30 p.m., at Maxfield’s. During this event, we will be coming together to welcome John Morrison, who has recently been hired as the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director. We invite you to join us to socialize with your colleagues and with community members from the Potsdam area. Light appetizers and a welcome drink will be provided. Please RSVP to Nicole Conant.

LoKo Festival
Kicking off on April 27 and running through May 6, the LoKo Festival of the Arts promises to be a lively time on campus with more than 40 performances, hands-on workshops, immersive presentations and art exhibits.  I hope you will participate as much as you are able and encourage our students to do the same.  The full schedule can be found at

Have an idea for next year?  Submit your proposal now: the deadline is April 5, 2018. Information on the funding parameters and application can be found online.

Lougheed Learning Commons Dedication
On Friday, May 4 at 3:00 p.m., I hope you will join me as we celebrate our festival founders, Don and Kathy Lougheed, and their continued generosity.  In recognition of their recent and historic support of the College’s Center for Applied Learning, SUNY Potsdam will rename our library building in a ceremony featuring live music, student and faculty presentations, special guests, refreshments and more.

Admissions Open House/Transfer Visit Day
One of the highlights for prospective students is the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff— the excitement you have for your academic programs and the commitment you have for Potsdam is contagious.  My thanks to all for your support of our recent Open House event and to all who are helping to recruit the next class of Potsdam students. The next Open House will be held on Saturday, April 14, with the next Transfer Visit Day on Monday, April 16.

Electronic Signature Policy
I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, the campus is implementing an Electronic Signature Policy. This policy can be found online. For questions, please email

Graduate Education at Potsdam
I continue to be grateful for the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, under the leadership of Joshua LaFave, for their work in recruiting and retaining graduate students. As students are considering next steps after they finish their bachelor’s degree at Potsdam, I would encourage you to help our graduate studies office share the many opportunities for graduate degree options right here at Potsdam. The graduate studies office is happy to visit classes, department meetings, or student clubs and organizations that you may advise to further discuss the options available for students. Additionally, Graduate Studies will be hosting a community wide information session on Saturday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. on the 8th floor of Raymond Hall. Contact them by emailing to discuss any ideas you may have or opportunities to visit with your students.

It is our honor to welcome innovative educator Stephen Ritz, founder of the “Green Bronx Machine,” as our Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient this year. Ritz is internationally known for transforming education and nutrition at Community School 55 in the South Bronx, with ideas that he has helped to spread across the country and around the globe, including collaboration with our Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research.

Each year, the success of Commencement results from the hard work of our entire campus community. I am grateful to the members of the Commencement Committee, who are busily preparing for our ceremony. We are still in need of volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Julie Dold. Also, if you have regalia that you would like to donate back to the College to allow other faculty and staff to use, please contact Carol Rourke.

Open Office Hours
The next date for my open office hours is on Wednesday, April 18. For more information, visit

As our students leave campus for the spring break and we look toward this season of renewal, I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to recharge as the days lengthen and green grass finally emerges from the snow. I continue to be humbled by the extraordinary work of our campus community in helping our students grow, learn and develop, and I am thankful for the compassion, strength and resilience of our Potsdam community.

Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph. D.
SUNY Potsdam

President, Dr. Kristin Esterberg