SUNY Potsdam campus celebrates launch of Take the Lead Campaign


campus celebration
SUNY Potsdam students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered in the Barrington Student Union to celebrate the launch of the Take the Lead Campaign on Friday, April 26.

SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends celebrated the launch of the College’s third comprehensive campaign with a campus party tonight.

Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam aims to raise $27 million by the College’s bicentennial in 2016. The Take the Lead Campaign has already brought in $17.4 million in its advance phase—or 64 percent of the goal.

The Crane Latin Ensemble, which is featured in the new documentary “For the Love of the Mambo,” opened the party in the Barrington Student Union. Students and faculty from the Department of Chemistry displayed chemistry “magic tricks” in interactive displays.

The Potsdam Pitches a cappella group sang several pieces to get the ceremony started, followed by a dance performance entitled “Mash,” by students from Department of Theatre and Dance faculty member Guy Thorne’s dance repertory class.

Campaign Honorary Co-Chair T.C. Boyle ’68, an acclaimed bestselling author, addressed the crowd. He told them he enjoyed returning to campus, and finding the exact spot where he first met his wife, Karen Kvashay ’69—the stairway in the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library.

“She was wearing tight jeans and leather boots,” he recalled, smiling.

Boyle said that Potsdam’s liberal arts and sciences core allowed him to test out different disciplines to find his passion.

“If it weren’t for my coming here, I never would have had the opportunity to move from music to history to English to creative writing, and find what I could really do. So I am honored to return today,” he said.

Campaign National Chair Michael Galane ’74, a senior director for the Hewlett-Packard Company, and the vice president of the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees, also spoke.

“Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam set a goal of $27 million to be raised by the College’s bicentennial in 2016. I can tell you that to some, that seemed like an overly ambitious goal for this little college in upstate New York. But Potsdam people, we don’t back down from an aggressive goal, do we? No! We welcome it, and strive harder to achieve our goal,” he said.

Potsdam’s favorite party band Double Axel rocked the stage to close out the festivities, while attendees dined and danced the night away. The launch celebration celebrated the remarkable progress the Take the Lead Campaign has made so far, and served to thank the generous donors whose gifts have made such a difference to the campus already.

Built on the momentum of tradition, innovation and creativity, Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam will shape the College’s third century.

The strategic priorities of the Take the Lead Campaign are:
• The Annual Fund for Potsdam
• Scholarships
• Academic excellence
• The student experience
• The arts

Stephanie Blythe ’92, a Metropolitan Opera star, serves as campaign honorary co-chair along with Boyle. Famed lyric soprano Lisa Vroman ’79 serves as campaign national chair alongside Galane.

Rounding out the Campaign Steering Committee are: Lynne Boles ’74, William Flynn ’70, Deborah Diefendorf Hind ’75, Gary Hind ’77, Janice Rowlands Johnson ’56, Christine Meda ’70 and J. Richard Munro.

For more information about Take the Lead: The Campaign for 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.