SUNY Potsdam Names Alex Vangellow & Rob Zolner Honorary Alums


From left, SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg, honorary alumni Rob Zolner and Alex Vangellow, with Alumni Association President Jeffrey Washburn.

The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association recently honored Alex Vangellow and Rob Zolner with Honorary Lifetime Membership.

Honorary Lifetime Membership is presented to non-alums who have made exceptional contributions to the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association and/or the College. Vangellow and Zolner were recognized for their contributions to the College as musicians, educators, business leaders, supporters and friends.

Alex Vangellow and Rob Zolner have been members of the Potsdam "family" since the late 1960s. As members of Double Axel and representatives of Northern Music & Video in Potsdam, both Vangellow and Zolner have promoted and exemplified SUNY Potsdam.

Double Axel has entertained SUNY Potsdam alumni and friends across New York State at a multitude of events over the years. Gigs have ranged from Rochester to Coxsackie, the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, nightclubs and high schools throughout New York State, and way too many beer blasts to count.

In 2011, Double Axel celebrated its 40th anniversary. The current members are Frank Johns '69 on bass, Zolner on guitar and Vangellow on percussion. All of the members perform vocals as well, in their renditions of rock-and-roll classics. The band members have often stated that they will continue to play for as long as they carry their gear—so stay tuned for more years of performances!

Zolner, known as the "task-master" for his audio, visual and cellular solutions, has positively influenced generations of SUNY Potsdam students, faculty, staff, parents, guests and alumni for over 40 years. He currently serves as assistant audio engineer and adjunct instructor of sound recording at The Crane School of Music and the Crane Institute for Music Business. He has also served on the College's Business Administration Advisory Board since it was established in 2009.

For more than 40 years, Vangellow has created personal and business relationships with many SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff, students and alumni, helping them with advice, music industry connections, musical instruments, audio/visual products and services. He has been a significant supporter of the College as the Double Axel band leader, and co-founder of Northern Music & Video in Potsdam.

For more information about the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association, 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.