McCall Family Establishes Art Scholarship at SUNY Potsdam


From left, Noelle, Dr. David and Bonnie McCall pose with artwork Noelle and her sister Katja, both of whom are SUNY Potsdam students, created.

When the McCall Family decided to move to Potsdam eight years ago, they didn’t know at the time that they had made the perfect choice.

Dubbed the educational and cultural center of Northern New York, the Potsdam community was an ideal place for the McCall children to attend high school and college. SUNY Potsdam also became alma mater to three of their four daughters, with two of them receiving the Mount Emmons Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship awarded by the College.

For daughter Noelle, who is a SUNY Potsdam rising senior majoring in art, Potsdam would become a place for her to blossom as a gifted artist with wonderful teachers and mentors such as Leslie Sutter and Katya Greer, both exceptional artist-teachers at Potsdam High School. Greer, in particular, was a strong influence on Noelle. As a ninth grader, when Noelle was not able to get into an art class at the high school, she took her under her wing and taught her painting in her home during the summer for two years. Noelle was also grateful to receive a “care package” of art supplies from her “Grammy McCall,” who was a gifted artist as well. Sadly, Greer passed away in 2009. As one way of saying thank you to her teacher and friend, Noelle worked with her classmates and Sutter to raise funds to establish the Katya Czerepak Greer Memorial Scholarship, which benefits an art education student at SUNY Potsdam. In addition to Noelle’s fundraising efforts, her family made a generous contribution to the scholarship fund.

McCall daughters Pamela and Katja, both honor roll biology majors, have also flourished from the tutelage of SUNY Potsdam faculty. Daughter Melissa, the only one of the four who did not attend SUNY Potsdam, is an emergency room nurse who lives with her husband and two children in Canastota, N.Y.

For Dr. and Mrs. McCall—David and Bonnie—the small-town life of Potsdam was a welcome change from the traffic jams and crowds they had to contend with when they lived in Massachusetts. Potsdam appealed to them as a great place to live and work; David, as a physician certified in family practice and psychiatry, and Bonnie as a registered nurse, certified emergency nurse and certified critical care nurse.

In 2007, they entered private practice with the opening of McCall Medical in Potsdam. Although their practice keeps them very busy, the McCalls try to make time to experience the arts in the Potsdam community. Bonnie also enjoys writing. She is a published poet-writer and member of the American Academy of Poets and the International Society of Poetry.

In 2011, Bonnie and David decided to give back to the College and community that had welcomed them so warmly. After discussions with College personnel, they established the McCall Family Scholarship for Art, which will be awarded each year to a SUNY Potsdam student pursuing a degree in art studio, art history or the College’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. They look forward to meeting the first recipient of their scholarship at the College’s annual Scholarship Luncheon in Fall 2012, which will be a wonderful family celebration for the McCalls.

The McCalls hope that their scholarship may serve as an inspiration to others to “give back” to SUNY Potsdam and the North Country community, which have meant so much to their family.

Last year, the College provided 925 scholarships to 1,201 recipients, totaling more than $2.2 million.

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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.