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SUNY Potsdam Names Carolyn Zwaga an Honorary Alumna

07.26.18
Photo of Carolyn Zwaga Alumni Honorary Alum recipient
Jerry Zwaga ’68 (foreground) listens as his wife, Carolyn, is named an honorary alumna by SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association President Michael Paestella ’95.

The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association recently honored Carolyn Zwaga with Honorary Lifetime Membership during the College’s Reunion Weekend.

Honorary Lifetime Membership is presented to non-alums who have made exceptional contributions to the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association and/or the College. Zwaga was recognized for her commitment to and longstanding support of the College.

About the recipient:

Carolyn Zwaga has had a tremendous impact upon SUNY Potsdam and its students, along with her husband, Jerry Zwaga ’68. They are both regular attendees of the College’s alumni events in Florida and are loyal donors. As a result, over the years, Carolyn has repeatedly stated that she “feels like Potsdam is her alma mater,” too.

In 2011, the Zwagas established the Jerry and Carolyn Zwaga Study Abroad Fund, which annually supports students’ study-abroad experiences, focusing on students who are studying abroad for the first time. To date, they have already helped to make life-changing experiences possible for many SUNY Potsdam undergraduates, including students who have traveled abroad to study such issues as the dissolution of Yugoslavia in what is now Croatia; art and social movements in Indonesia; teaching methods in Australia, and sustainable communities in Scotland.

The Zwagas recognize that their greatest reward is knowing that they are helping to change students’ lives. Carolyn keeps a scrapbook of all of the notes, photos and experiences that their scholarship recipients share with them.

The couple were among the most generous donors to the College’s recent Take the Lead Campaign. After witnessing the impact their gifts were having on Potsdam students, they decided to name SUNY Potsdam the sole beneficiary of their estate, ensuring a lasting legacy that will benefit future generations of Potsdam students.

Once realized, their bequest will eventually provide the ability for groups of students to travel abroad with faculty, allowing an entire class to learn, discover and explore together, all thanks to the couple’s vision, commitment and pride. As they both have said, “Travel abroad has enriched our lives, giving us a better understanding and appreciation for other cultures. We give to Potsdam so that students can gain a different perspective on life.”

For more information about the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association, visit www.potsdam.edu/alumni.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.

Media contact:

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, Office of College Communications,
(315) 267-2918