SUNY Potsdam to Welcome Students Back to Energized Campus: College Marks PAB Construction & 125 Years of Crane in 2011-12


Construction crews are busy at work at the site of the future Performing Arts Building at SUNY Potsdam, in front of the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at the Crane School of Music complex, which is sporting banners in celebration its 125th anniversary.

As The State University of New York at Potsdam welcomes new and returning students to campus this fall, reminders of SUNY Potsdam’s long history and bright future will abound.

With construction on the $41 million Performing Arts Building well underway, the College community is watching with curiosity as the first new academic building in years begins to go up.

Additionally, there’s a new shot of color around campus, with bright banners having been erected on academic buildings and light poles, in celebration of the ongoing 125th anniversary of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

SUNY Potsdam is excited to be welcoming another large first-year class to the College, with approximately 920 freshmen expected to enter the College in 2011. In addition, about 325 transfer students will join the SUNY Potsdam student body.

The College had a 1.5 percent increase in the number of applications for admission last year, followed by an explosion of growth in the number of incoming freshmen hailing from metropolitan New York City, which increased by 40 percent. In addition, deposits for students from Westchester and the mid-Hudson valley were both up 7 percent.

“We are excited to welcome so many new students into the SUNY Potsdam family. They are an eclectic and talented group who we look forward to learning as much from as we are prepared to teach them,” said Director of Admissions Tom Nesbitt.

Students who choose to live on campus enjoy SUNY Potsdam’s unique sense of community. The College’s residence halls will be full again in 2011-12, with more than 2,500 of Potsdam’s approximately 4,460 students moving in this year.

Following a busy summer of construction and maintenance projects, SUNY Potsdam is ready for students to return.

After three months of construction, the foundation of the state-of-the-art Performing Arts Building is becoming more defined. The building is set to open in Fall 2013, and will feature 97,000 square feet of learning and performance space, including a 350-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat black box theater and a 200-seat dance performance hall.

Around the Academic Quad, renovations are complete in Flagg and Carson halls to make classrooms bigger, smarter and better prepared for incoming students. The renovations don’t stop there, however, as the anthropology lab and the Crane School of Music MIDI lab also received makeovers. In addition, the Sara M. Snell Music Theater was renovated over the summer as well.

Over in the residence halls, the third phase of renovation is on the verge of completion in the Bowman Quad, with the East building nearly finished and its Southern counterpart just getting underway. The Lehman residence halls got 15 newly renovated and furnished bathrooms this summer, as well as a new HVAC system in the attached dining hall. New roofing is also complete in the Knowles, Van Housen and Draime residence halls.

The Maxcy Hall athletic complex also received new roofing and light fixtures this summer. Finally, the entrance to the Barrington Student Union is more welcoming, with its carpeting being replaced by tile, with a giant insignia of the College mascot, the Bear, front and center for all to see.

SUNY Potsdam students will have a new major to choose from this year. The College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in creative writing is the first program of its kind in the State University of New York system. Offered through the Department of English & Communication, admission to the BFA program will be by application only, and the courseload will be intensive, with all majors required to complete internships and host public readings of their work.

The creative writing BFA rounds out the full palette of arts opportunities available at SUNY Potsdam, from theater and dance to the visual arts and of course music.

Founded in 1886, the College’s Crane School of Music is celebrating its 125th anniversary in the 2011-12 academic year. SUNY Potsdam is planning a series of special events throughout the year, including guest artist performances, recitals, alumni concerts, lectures, symposia and more.

The finale of Crane’s 125th anniversary celebration will be held in New York City, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on May 1, 2012. The Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra are set to perform the Verdi Requiem under the direction of the 2012 Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor, Ann Howard Jones. For more information, visit

SUNY Potsdam President Dr. John F. Schwaller and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Margaret Madden announced that as of July 1, Dr. Steven Marqusee will officially assume the position of Dean of The School of Arts and Sciences and Dr. Peter Brouwer will officially assume the position of Dean of The School of Education and Professional Studies. Dr. Marqusee and Dr. Brouwer had been serving as interim deans and exhibited exceptional leadership, earning the endorsement of the Faculty Senate in recognition of their outstanding service to the College.

The College itself will also serve in a new role in the upcoming year. On July 28, Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the College for the first time to unveil plans for the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, and announce that SUNY Potsdam would serve as the host campus for the initiative. Gov. Cuomo spoke to a packed room of 300 people in SUNY Potsdam’s Barrington Student Union Multi-Purpose Room. The Council members will meet on campus throughout the fall semester, as they craft a development strategy for the seven-county Northern New York region.

To welcome new and returning students to campus in advance of the official first day of classes on Aug. 29, SUNY Potsdam will offer a number of events on campus and in downtown Potsdam during Welcome Weekend, from Aug. 26 to 28.

President Schwaller and a number of campus community members will lend a hand on Friday, Aug. 26 to help move new students into residence halls. Then, first-year students will high five their way through the “freshman funnel” on their way to the new student convocation and campus welcome ceremony.

The College’s Welcome Weekend activities will include a carnival, picnic, sporting events and musical offerings. To find out more, 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.