SUNY Potsdam to Award Lisa Vroman Honoary Doctorate


Multi-talented crossover soprano Lisa Vroman ’79 will present a recital and receive an honorary degree at SUNY Potsdam on July 14.

SUNY Potsdam alumna Lisa Vroman ’79 has sung on stages across the globe, from Abu Dhabi to Broadway, not to mention the Hollywood Bowl, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas and Paris.

But this summer, the famed soprano will return to the stage where her performing career began, in Potsdam, N.Y., at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. This time, she’ll add another degree from her alma mater to her long list of accolades—the Honorary Doctorate in Music from the State University of New York.

In recognition of her success as a musician and in gratitude for her humanitarian efforts, both nationally and on behalf of her alma mater, Vroman will be presented with an honorary degree during Reunion Weekend.

In keeping with her singing spirit, SUNY Potsdam will present the degree in the limelight, in a ceremony immediately preceding a special recital. All are welcome to attend the celebration.

Vroman will perform alongside Crane School of Music Dean Dr. Michael Sitton on Saturday, July 14 at 8:15 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. Don’t miss this special performance marking Lisa’s achievement, and the completion of Crane’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, with proceeds benefitting The Crane School of Music. To reserve tickets, call the Office of Alumni Relations at (315) 267-2120. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

An Adams, N.Y., native, Lisa Vroman graduated from South Jefferson Central School before going on to attend SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, earning her bachelor’s degree in music education before receiving an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

She went on to star for several years on Broadway, as Christine Daaé in “The Phantom of the Opera.” She garnered Theatre Critic’s Awards for the role in a record-breaking run in San Francisco, and did her final engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. She is also known for her roles as Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus,” and both Fantine and Cosette in “Les Misérables.”

Her Broadway debut was in “Aspects of Love,” and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in “Les Misérables.” For PBS, Vroman was featured with Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball in Cameron Mackintosh's “Hey, Mr. Producer!” at the Lyceum Theatre in London, a Royal Gala attended by Queen Elizabeth II. Vroman played Lucy Brown in “Threepenny Opera” at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco with Bebe Neuwirth, Nancy Dussault and Anika Noni Rose. She sang the role of Johanna in the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy Award-winning “Sweeney Todd in Concert,” with Patti Lupone and George Hearn. Both are available on DVD. Vroman starred as Laurey in “Oklahoma!,” filmed live in concert for the BBC Proms Festival at Royal Albert Hall in London and starred as Mary Turner in Gershwin's “Of Thee I Sing/Let ‘Em Eat Cake” in concert with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus.

Other roles include Laurie in “The Tender Land” at the Cabrillo Music Festival; Maria in “The Sound Of Music” with Tulsa Opera; Josephine in “HMS Pinafore”; Yum-Yum in “The Mikado,” and Anna 1 in “The Seven Deadly Sins” with the Utah, Florida, Portland and Parnassus symphonies. She has sung Maria in “West Side Story,” Guenevere in “Camelot,” Carrie Pipperidge in “Carousel,” Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady,” Amalia Balash in “She Loves Me,” and Christine in “Phantom” by Maury Yeston, among others.

With a repertoire that ranges from Stravinsky to Weill to Broadway, Vroman is a frequent guest soloist with theaters, opera companies and orchestras, including engagements with the San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, National, Florida, Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, Cleveland, Nashville, Pacific, Utah and Dallas symphony orchestras, as well as the Pasadena Pops, Boston Pops and Philly Pops. Vroman made her debut at the Hollywood Bowl in Disney's 75th celebration, singing and dancing with legend Dick Van Dyke in a medley from “Mary Poppins.” She guest starred with SONY artist and Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis in his NYC debut concert at City Center, and has performed many times at the New York Festival of Song, including a tribute to Broadway director Harold Prince. Vroman has sung in concert with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, composer Stephen Schwartz, organist David Higgs and the Empire Brass Quintet.

Her solo CD, “Broadway Classic,” features Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe ’92 and 47 of San Francisco’s finest orchestral players. Vroman had the honor of singing at the Profiles in Courage Award dinner in Boston at the JFK Library, as a guest of the Kennedy family. She has also sung on separate occasions for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

Vroman starred as Rosabella in “The Most Happy Fella,” making her New York City Opera debut. Recently, she played the role of Charlotte in “A Little Night Music” with Michigan Opera Theatre. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops, and also starred as Lili Vanessi in “Kiss Me Kate” with the Glimmerglass Opera and with the MUNY Theatre of St. Louis. Vroman also played Marian Paroo in “The Music Man” at the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford, Conn. She also sang the role of Birdie in “Regina” with Utah Opera, made her New Jersey Opera debut as Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus,” and premiered and recorded two comic operas by composers John Musto (“Bastianello”) and William Bolcum (“Lucrezia”) with the New York Festival of Song.

Last season, Vroman was the soprano soloist in the Brahms Requiem with the Symphony of Silicon Valley; had trips to Abu Dhabi with the BBC Concert Orchestra with Keith Lockhart conducting, and traveled to Santander, Spain, with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. She also performed in New York City Opera’s VOX, a program of readings of new opera compositions, broadcast on NYC’s WQXR classical radio station. She had the honor of being a judge in the finals of the Lotte Lenya Competition for the Kurt Weill Foundation at the Eastman School of Music, along with Timothy Nolen and Rob Berman. She was also honored to perform the works of composer Jack Gottlieb in recital at the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Upcoming engagements include concerts in Miami, Fort Meyers, San Francisco, Pasadena, Greenville, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Paris, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur, as well as her first opportunity to play the role of Anna Leonowens in “The King and I” with the Lyric Opera of Virginia.

Vroman was also the recipient of the 1999 Minerva Award from the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association, the highest honor given to graduates of the College. She lives in Pasadena, Calif., with her husband Patrick O’Neil and their dog Romeo.

To learn more about Lisa Vroman, visit

For more information about the fun-filled events in store for SUNY Potsdam’s 2012 Reunion Weekend, 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.