SUNY Potsdam Awards Master's Degrees to 138 Graduate Students


Maya Musbah Atchan, an education technology specialist master’s graduate from Beirut, Lebanon, flashes a peace sign at the 2013 SUNY Potsdam Master’s Commencement Ceremony.

The State University of New York at Potsdam conferred master’s degrees upon 138 graduate students during the College’s eighth annual Master’s Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 18.

Excitement was in the air in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. Families and friends cheered, as professors laid scarlet and blue hoods over the graduates’ shoulders to signify their new academic degrees.

Dr. Edward S. Marschilok ’74, the retired supervisor of the New York State Department of Education’s Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology Team, was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York at the ceremony.

In his keynote address to the graduates, Dr. Marschilok choked up as he remembered his close relationship with faculty such as Professor C. Robert Reinert and Elizabeth Baritaud, which began on his audition day at Crane.

“They were the first in a long line of Potsdam people who played important roles in supporting my personal and professional development. You see, Potsdam people are very special people, who have real expertise and genuinely care about the people with whom they meet and work,” he said. “Without the kindness and care extended to me by many Potsdam people, I would not be here today. I hope I have honored them by carrying on the tradition of expertise in the field and care for our fellow humans in my work—and that you will as well.”

Marschilok, who worked as an instrumental music teacher before joining the state education department as a curriculum specialist, went on to oversee curriculum development to benefit millions of K-12 students across New York State.

“Since most of us gathered here today have benefited from outstanding public educational institutions, it strikes me that we should openly encourage good government, not only for the benefit of future generations, but also for the continuance of our democracy,” he said.

SUNY Potsdam President Dr. John F. Schwaller marked his final Master’s Commencement Ceremony by marveling at the achievements of the Class of 2013.

“As Potsdam nears the close of her second century, you will take the lead in shaping her third,” Dr. Schwaller said. “We are very proud of your accomplishments and expect even more from all of you. Go out into the world, and let everyone know how valuable your Potsdam degree has been to you.”

The ceremony concluded with the conferring of 138 Master of Arts, Master of Music, Master of Science in Education and Master of Science in Teaching degrees.

Families, friends and faculty members streamed out into the bright sunshine to congratulate the graduates at a reception following the ceremony on the Crane Plaza.

SUNY Potsdam’s Commencement celebration will continue tomorrow, on Sunday, May 19 at 10:15 a.m., when the College awards degrees to 753 undergraduates at the 2013 Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony in the Academic Quad.

To find out more 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 4,350 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.