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It Wouldn’t Be LoKo Without Don and Kathy Lougheed

In 2012, Kathy ('54) and Don (Hon ’54) Lougheed founded the 10-day long Lougheed-Kofoed (LoKo) Festival of the Arts, transforming and enriching the lives of everyone at SUNY Potsdam.

Each year the Lougheed’s generosity brings SUNY Potsdam’s campus alive by embodying all aspects of art through music, dance, writing, workshops and guest artists.

Before the LoKo Festival was officially founded, Jason Ladouceur (’94), director of planned giving at SUNY Potsdam, met with the Lougheeds at their home in Texas to share the wonderful things happening at SUNY Potsdam. Within seven months of that initial meeting, the Lougheeds committed to establishing the LoKo Festival of the Arts.

Kathy and Don were very interested in giving back to the Potsdam community. “We decided whatever it takes, let’s get this going. It’s something we can do to represent the college and represent us and what we know to be beneficial to us all,” Don said.

Growing up, Kathy lived in five different towns. She had not experienced other types of art aside from her piano lessons, until she visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. There, she stood in front of a life size painting and realized exactly what the arts could encompass.

“I had never seen anything like it,” Kathy said. “I’m imagining that this could be the same for many students who come from small towns and haven’t been able to travel. When I got older and married and living in a big city, there was modern dance and opera to go to. It opened up a whole new world for me. Here, with the festival you’re getting a little bit of everything, and you don’t have to wait until you’re 45-years-old or move to a big city to see it.”

SUNY Potsdam will always be extremely special for Kathy. As a 1954 graduate of the Crane School of Music, Kathy had the opportunity to sing under visiting conductor Robert Shaw as well as perform at Carnegie Hall with her fellow classmates.

“If I hadn’t had that experience, I don’t know if I would make the gifts that I do,” Kathy said. “That made Potsdam very special to me. I could’ve gone through and gotten my degree and been a teacher, but Carnegie (Hall) made it very special.”

At last year’s festival, the Lougheeds were presented with the 2016 Distinguished Service Award as a way to thank them for their kindness and generosity over the years. The distinguished service award is presented to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the Alumni Association or the college. They received a standing ovation when President Esterberg and Crane School of Music Dean Michael Sitton presented the award to them at the 2016 Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra concert at Helen M. Hosmer Hall.

In addition to the festival, in the fall of 2016, the Lougheeds started a scholarship program to continue supporting SUNY Potsdam students.

According to Ladouceur, the Scholars program helps students not only get their education, but also discover what is possible beyond the walls of SUNY Potsdam. Currently there are three Lougheed Scholars, with one student, Alison Thompson, graduating in May. For the 2017-2018 school year, there will be a total of four student scholars receiving support from the Lougheeds. Through the Lougheed Scholars program, “students can go and expand their horizons,” Don said. Opportunities including internships, study abroad, research, service learning and entrepreneurial endeavors will be possible.

Without the continued support of the Lougheeds and their passion for the arts, students and faculty would not have a place to learn and inspire one another to keep the arts alive and display their talents. “To be honest they have transformed this place,” Ladouceur said. “They have transformed the experience the students and the faculty have. We executed, but they made the resources possible for us to execute.”

Now, married for 62 years and enjoying their retirement, the Lougheeds plan to continue to supporting the arts on campus for as long as possible. “I have had about twenty something successful businesses over the years,” Don said. “I’m very proud of everything I’ve done, but not as proud as I am of this Festival.”

This year's LoKo Festival of The Arts will continue until Sunday, May 7th. View LoKo Schedule Here (PDF)

~ By Katie Daloia '17 (Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Raquette newspaper)

Don and Kathy Lougheed PIcture