SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Kristin Esterberg as President of SUNY Potsdam


dr. kristin esterberg photo
Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg has been chosen as the 16th president to lead The State University of New York at Potsdam.

The State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg as president of SUNY Potsdam. Dr. Esterberg is currently the provost and academic vice president at Salem State University in Massachusetts.

In addition to the Potsdam announcement, the Board also appointed Dr. Zvi Szafran as the next president of neighboring SUNY Canton.

"With new presidents at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton, the students, faculty, and staff at both campuses will have excellent leadership in place as they continue their impeccable service to the New York's North Country communities," said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. "On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Dr. Hefner and Dr. Hoffman for their interim leadership, and the presidential search committees at both campuses for bringing us this highly promising next generation."

"This is an exciting and proud day for all of SUNY and New York State," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Not only do Dr. Esterberg and Dr. Szafran each bring unique experience and an impressive history of leadership to SUNY; their appointments also pave the way for continued system-wide efficiency to be achieved through shared services. I look forward to working with Dr. Esterberg and Dr. Szafran, and commend the Board for recognizing their talent."

Dr. Esterberg said, "SUNY Potsdam creates a rich and vibrant cultural life in the North Country, serving not only its students but the entire region. I am honored to be joining this talented community of students, faculty, and staff and leading SUNY Potsdam into its bicentennial year and beyond."

McCall also thanked SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dr. Dennis L. Hefner for his leadership of the College since June 2013. He joined the campus after John F. Schwaller announced in November 2012 that he would step down from the presidency, following a seven-year tenure.

"We are proud to welcome Dr. Esterberg to the SUNY Potsdam campus community. She is well prepared to lead the College into the future, with her strong academic and administrative experience, as well as a lifelong dedication to the liberal arts and sciences," said Hefner.

June O'Neill, the chair of both the SUNY Potsdam College Council and the Presidential Search Committee, said, "We are excited that the Chancellor and the SUNY Board of Trustees have recommended and appointed Dr. Esterberg as the next president of SUNY Potsdam. We believe she is exactly the right person to lead SUNY Potsdam into its third century of excellence."

About Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg:

Dr. Esterberg is presently the provost and academic vice president at Salem State University. She previously served as deputy provost at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she has also been the associate provost and chair of the sociology department. Before that, she was the director of women's studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Esterberg earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy and political science at Boston University, before going on to earn both her master's and Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University.

As the 16th president of SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Esterberg will make history as the first woman to lead the College. She and her spouse, Sue Bergmeier, are the proud parents of two daughters. Katie is a first-year student at neighboring St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and Qiong Qiong will attend Potsdam Central High School.

Dr. Esterberg's appointment is effective on or about July 1, at an annual state salary of $215,000.

To see Dr. Esterberg's curriculum vitae, visit

For more information about SUNY Potsdam, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.