SUNY Potsdam to Honor Jeffrey Washburn '79 with 2014 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award


Jeffrey Washburn ’79 is the recipient of the 2014 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award, which will be presented during the College’s Commencement weekend.

SUNY Potsdam has named Jeffrey Washburn '79 as the recipient of its 2014 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award, the highest award bestowed by the College. The annual recognition is bestowed upon an individual who has demonstrated steadfast support for SUNY Potsdam and the region through their leadership, advocacy, stewardship and service.

Washburn will be honored during the College's Commencement weekend, May 17 and 18.

Washburn made the most of his time as an undergraduate at SUNY Potsdam, playing soccer, taking geology field trips, competing in intramurals, running for Ice Carnival king and even tubing down the Raquette River—in between his studies as a double-major in mathematics and economics. The lifelong friendships and fond memories he made at his alma mater extended into his years after graduation as well.

"When I graduated, I could never have known that the best of my Potsdam experiences were yet to come," he said.

After earning his bachelor's degree from SUNY Potsdam, Washburn went on to work in sales for Pepsi-Cola before joining Precision Automotive in Webster, N.Y., as assistant manager, later becoming operations manager there. He went on to join Hahn Automotive in Rochester, N.Y. as the inventory control manager, eventually becoming the director of operations and then the director of management information services there. Washburn was honored for his work at Hahn, earning the company's most valuable employee award two years in a row, in 1997 and 1998. He is currently the inventory control manager for Empire Merchants North in Lyons, N.Y.

Between all of his professional achievements, Washburn found time to visit Potsdam almost every single year. A dedicated Potsdam Bears fan, he even traveled to the Final Four to see the Men's Basketball Team win the national championship in 1981. He has remained close with fellow Potsdam and Psi Phi Delta Fraternity alumni, taking whitewater rafting trips together and joining up for alumni soccer games. A faithful donor and a constant presence at Reunion Weekend, he also sponsored Rochester-area alumni events along with his wife, Joi.

Washburn has served as the co-chair of the Class of 1979 Reunion Gift Committee, and was also on the Fundraising Committee for the College's Campaign for Athletics. In addition to his strong support of scholarships and programs at his alma mater, he has tirelessly volunteered his time to organize events along with his classmates and other alumni. Washburn was named to the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association Board of Trustees in 2005, going on to become the board's president in 2010.

"Becoming President of the Board of Trustees was a dream come true. I get to work with faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue the mission of the College. As I see it, the future is only brighter," he wrote. "Year in and year out, SUNY Potsdam continues to grow, and personally, it is very fulfilling to be a part of that growth. Whether through financial donations or volunteering time, it all adds up to helping our students receive the best educational opportunities possible (and hopefully many great memories along the way)."

In addition to receiving the award, Washburn will officially welcome the Class of 2014 into the ranks of the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association at Commencement.

For more information about Commencement 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 4,300 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.