SUNY Potsdam Welcomes Large First-Year Class and New Opportunities for 2010-11


SUNY Potsdam’s Welcome Team will be out in force again this year to assist new students and their families with moving the “essentials” into residence halls. Here, students laugh as they’re cheered on while filing through the Freshman Funnel.

As SUNY Potsdam prepares to welcome new and returning students back for another eventful school year, the campus is abuzz with construction projects and preparations to greet another large first-year class.

Even though admission to the College is becoming increasingly selective, SUNY Potsdam is set to welcome its largest first-year class in 28 years to the campus. Approximately 930 freshmen are expected to enter Potsdam in 2010. That’s the biggest first-year class since 1982, and an 11.4 percent increase over last year’s incoming freshman class, which had 835 students. In addition, about 320 transfer students are expected to join the SUNY Potsdam student body.

The Class of 2014 is academically talented, with an average high school grade point average of 88.1. The incoming freshmen hail from throughout New York State, as well as from points across the nation and the globe, while North Country natives comprise 24.5 percent of the first-year class.

SUNY Potsdam saw double digit increases in the number of incoming freshmen coming to the College from outside Northern New York. The number of students coming from New York City rose 43 percent, while those coming from Long Island rose 22 percent, from Western New York rose 18 percent and from Westchester rose 11 percent. The number international and out-of-state first-year students jumped 17 percent.

This is the first class of freshman students entering SUNY Potsdam who were for the most part not required to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.

After SUNY Potsdam became the first college in the State University of New York system to make standardized test scores optional for most prospective students last year, the College saw a 14 percent surge in applications. Additionally, more of those students made the College their first choice.

Students who choose to live on campus enjoy SUNY Potsdam’s unique sense of community. The College’s residence halls will be full again this year, with more than 2,500 of Potsdam’s approximately 4,460 students living on campus.

Following a busy summer of construction and maintenance, SUNY Potsdam’s campus is ready for students to return.

Bowman West, a segment of Bowman Residence Hall, will be open for students this fall after a year of renovations and will feature new lounges, bathrooms and entrances. The Bowman Complex is the largest residential building on the SUNY Potsdam campus, housing approximately 700 students.

Students will also be able to enjoy new technology-enhanced classrooms in two of the College’s academic buildings. These cutting-edge classrooms are capable of facilitating classes to be visited via cyberspace from guest professors on other continents, while giving students access to research data shared from laboratories around the world, the opportunity to view foreign films in high definition and create real-time graphs on the projection screen. Within these technology-enhanced classrooms, students will have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art, hands-on education.

The Barrington Student Union also has undergone exterior improvements over the summer, and will feature an upgraded outdoor plaza. With new seating and space outside to enjoy the green campus environment, students will have another spot to meet and relax.

The College is still in the design phase of its $55 million Performing Arts Building, which will be located on the southwest side of the Crane School of Music complex. The building will establish an “arts village,” where the students and community can experience the performing and visual arts from many perspectives.

One program that will benefit from the modern arts facility will be SUNY Potsdam’s newest major—theatre education. SUNY Potsdam is the first college in the State University of New York to offer the Bachelor of Arts degree. Through a unique partnership between the College’s School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Professional Studies, SUNY Potsdam unveiled the major in Spring 2010.

Graduates of the theatre education program, which is offered through the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance, will be experienced in all facets of theatre—from the technical elements, such as lighting and stagecraft, to performances and directing, as well as design. In addition, students are required to take courses in pedagogy and engage in observing theatre courses and student teaching in area schools.

SUNY Potsdam will continue to grow under the leadership of its expanded President’s Council. College President Dr. John F. Schwaller announced in June his decision to include the academic deans in the campus’s highest advisory group, in addition to the vice presidents, his executive assistant and the dean of students. The President’s Council, which replaces the former Administrative Cabinet, will advise Dr. Schwaller on all matters and make final recommendations on issues of budget and policy at SUNY Potsdam.

To welcome new and returning students to campus for the official start of classes on Monday, Aug. 30, SUNY Potsdam will offer a number of events on campus in downtown Potsdam.

SUNY Potsdam President Dr. John F. Schwaller and a number of campus community members will lend a held on Friday, Aug. 27, to help move new students into residence halls. The College’s Welcome Weekend activities will include a carnival, picnic, sporting events and musical offerings.

In conjunction with Clarkson University and the Potsdam business community, SUNY Potsdam will encourage students to get to know downtown with the “First Saturday” festivities on Saturday, Sept. 4, which will include several workshops, interactive games and live music as well as special sales for incoming students.

SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will welcome its newest talented students with the Crane New Student Concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. The fall semester will then kick off with the ninth annual Crane Faculty Gala Opening Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7 in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall. This popular event involved a number of faculty members from all of the performing areas at Crane and gives the Potsdam community an opportunity to hear a variety of music. The concert is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

To learn more about SUNY Potsdam and its handcrafted education, 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 100 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 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.