SUNY Potsdam Honors Joyce Yianoukos '71 with 2014 Leadership Through Service Award


Joyce Yianoukos ’71 will be honored with the 2014 Leadership Through Service Award during Commencement weekend at SUNY Potsdam.

SUNY Potsdam will recognize Joyce Yianoukos '71 with the 2014 Leadership Through Service Award, one of the College's highest honors, during Commencement weekend.

SUNY Potsdam established the Leadership Through Service Award to honor those outstanding individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment of service to the Potsdam community. Each year, recipients are acknowledged for demonstrating a special commitment to the betterment of the North Country through dedicated service.

Yianoukos is an exceptional volunteer. Since her retirement as a teacher and curriculum specialist for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES 10 years ago, she has dedicated herself to helping others as a volunteer leader for educational and health care organizations that benefit the North Country community.

Yianoukos was one of the first alumnae to volunteer as a mentor for SUNY Potsdam's newly established Women and Leadership Program, and is currently mentoring a student who is preparing to become an elementary school teacher. As a mentor, Yianoukos is very generous in sharing her experience and expertise gained from 30 years as an educator. As with everything she does, she has gone above and beyond expectations, for instance arranging for her student to meet other North Country educational leaders who can help her succeed in the teaching profession.

Yianoukos has also taken the lead in coordinating a special book drive for SUNY Potsdam's Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center. On her own initiative, she has contacted many of her classmates, friends and former colleagues to encourage them to donate new children's books to the center. As she sees it, this undertaking is a labor of love—she loves to read good children's books, and is very happy to be able to share them with the children who come to the center after school to work with SUNY Potsdam students. College students also use the books as a resource for their coursework.

A long-time member of the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association Board of Trustees, Yianoukos served on the board from 1986 to 1998. She also served as a volunteer for several of her class's reunions, contacting classmates to encourage them to return to campus and become more involved.

In addition to service to her alma mater, Yianoukos has shown outstanding volunteer leadership to her community, as co-president of the Potsdam Hospital Guild. In the three years she served as president, the guild raised more than $174,000 for Canton-Potsdam Hospital, through staffing the hospital's gift shop and holding several fundraising events. Funds raised by the guild are used to purchase hospital equipment, pay for renovation and construction projects, and provide two scholarship awards each year. Under her leadership, the Potsdam Hospital Guild received the 2011 Auxiliary Advocacy Recognition Award from the Healthcare Association of New York State. Yianoukos is also a newly appointed member of the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation Board.

Yianoukos's leadership is also evident in her service as a member and past-president of the Gamma Epsilon chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, an organization of women educators. Each year, the group makes grants to other organizations in the area and provides scholarships to graduating seniors going into the field of education.

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.