SUNY Potsdam Hosts Kathleen Kennedy Townsend & Green Chemistry Founder for 2013 Academic Festival


Green chemistry co-founder Dr. John Warner will open the 2013 Academic Festival at SUNY Potsdam, with a talk on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Kellas Hall Room 106.

The State University of New York at Potsdam will welcome the founder of a new scientific field, as well as a member of the Kennedy family, to mark the College’s triennial Academic Festival next month.

Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Dr. John Warner, President of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Technology, will serve as the keynote speakers for the 2013 SUNY Potsdam Academic Festival.

Entitled “Making the Future,” the forward-looking Academic Festival will bring together students, scholars and community members in a series of lectures, panel discussions, workshops, seminars, displays and performances from April 10 to 13.

John Warner: Green chemistry

Dr. Warner will open the festival with “Green Chemistry: New Eyes and New Ideas in Science,” on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Kellas Hall Room 106. Warner is one of the two founders of the green chemistry movement, which has made sustainability a central theme of modern chemistry.

Warner earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University. After working at the Polaroid Corporation for nearly a decade, he then served as tenured full professor of chemistry and plastics engineering at the UMass Boston and Lowell campuses. He is one of the founders of the field of Green Chemistry, co-authoring the defining text, “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice,” with Paul Anastas.

In 2007, he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, where he serves as President and chief technology officer. He is also founder and President of Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education.

Warner has published more than 200 patents, papers and books. His recent work in the fields of semiconductor design, biodegradable plastics, personal care products, solar energy and polymeric photoresists are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications. In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and named one of “25 Visionaries Changing the World” by Utne Reader.

Dr. Amy Cannon, co-founder along with Dr. Warner of the Beyond Benign Foundation, will lead a discussion on “Green Chemistry in Education” during the festival as well.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: Women & Leadership

Townsend will speak about “Women Taking Power Seriously” in a public presentation on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Maryland’s first female Lieutenant Governor, Townsend is an attorney and writer, and she helps to raise funds for the Democratic Party. She is the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and niece of John F. Kennedy. Townsend recently published the book, “Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way,” as a call to urge churches to reclaim the legacy of an active faith.

Before being elected Lieutenant Governor, Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States. In that role, she led the planning to put 100,000 police officers into the community and she ignited the Police Corps, a program to give college scholarships to young people who pledge to work as police officers for four years after graduating.

Prior to serving at the Department of Justice, Townsend spent seven years as the founder and director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance. It was in this role that she led the fight to make Maryland the first state in the nation to require all high school students perform community service. Before launching that initiative, she worked as an environmental attorney both in private practice and as an Assistant Attorney General in Maryland. In addition, in 1982, she managed Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s successful re-election campaign.

Townsend has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has published articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Washington Monthly, among others. In the 1980s, she founded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Townsend currently serves on the boards of directors of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Civic Works, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the Institute for Human Virology. She previously served on the boards of the Export-Import Bank, the Wilderness Society, and the Baltimore Urban League, and was chair of the Robert Kennedy Memorial.

An adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy, Townsend served as President of Operation Respect, the organization founded by Peter Yarrow that is dedicated to teaching children personal and social responsibility.

In addition to her keynote speech, Townsend will also participate in an “Empowerment of Women” panel discussion on Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m. in Kellas 105.

“Making the Future” Academic Festival

SUNY Potsdam’s triennial Academic Festival will examine how to prepare for the world of tomorrow—today. Titled “Making the Future,” the 2013 festival will introduce cutting-edge research and creative thinking for students, faculty, staff and the North Country community.

As a celebration of academics on campus, the purpose of the festival is to introduce the community, students, faculty and staff to cutting-edge research and creative activity on topics of importance. All events are free and open to the public, and many students will be granted permission to leave their classes to participate.

In addition to the two keynote speakers, other highlights of the festival include:
• An Algerian film series hosted by Visiting Professor Dr. Abdelkader Cheref, including “Days of Glory,” “The Battle of Algiers” and “Rachida,”
• Music performance by the Caramelo Trio,
• Discussions with women’s labor activist Jane LaTour, and a
• Space series looking at the black hole finder mission, the Mars Rover missions and what we have learned since the Apollo trips to the Moon.

To find out more about the 2013 Academic Festival at 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 4,350 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.