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SUNY Potsdam to Celebrate Success of $33.5M Take The Lead Campaign

Galane Vroman
Take the Lead Campaign National Co-Chairs Michael Galane ’74 and Lisa Vroman ’79 will speak at the campus campaign celebration at SUNY Potsdam on Sept. 30.

The State University of New York at Potsdam will mark the successful conclusion of Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, with a campus campaign celebration coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the first day of classes.

Having raised a total of $33.5 million to support scholarships and programs at SUNY Potsdam, the Take the Lead Campaign surpassed its final goal by $1.5 million. The campaign celebration will take place on Friday, Sept. 30, which is 200 years to the day since classes first began in 1816 at St. Lawrence Academy, the College’s predecessor institution.

During the campaign celebration, SUNY Potsdam will honor the generosity of its donors and showcase the opportunities that have been made possible thanks to their gifts. Stories will be in the spotlight, as students and professors discuss the experiences that have been made possible through the campaign. The ceremony will also mark the College’s official transition from its bicentennial into its third century.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the incredible success of the Take the Lead Campaign on an auspicious occasion—the 200th anniversary of classes beginning at St. Lawrence Academy. As we embark on SUNY Potsdam’s third century of excellence, the College is especially thankful for the generosity of our donors and supporters who make life-changing educational experiences possible for our students,” said President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.

The event will take place on Friday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m., in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at The Crane School of Music, followed by a reception in the Performing Arts Center lobby. The celebration will also stream live online, so alumni and donors everywhere can watch. This event is free, and the public is also invited to attend.

Campaign National Chair Lisa Vroman ’79, the famed lyric soprano, will open the celebration. Her fellow National Chair Michael Galane ’74, a senior director for the Hewlett-Packard Company, will join her in welcoming guests to the reception. Other highlights will include a performance of “The Promise of Living” from Aaron Copeland’s “The Tender Land,” by the Crane Opera Ensemble, and a special video presentation.

Since going public in 2013, the campaign has continued to break records. It exceeded the original goal of $27 million just a year after launching, prompting the College to increase the goal to $32 million for the final phase, called the Third Century Challenge.

As of June 30, 2016, the Take the Lead Campaign had raised $33.5 million, from nearly 14,000 donors. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, SUNY Potsdam brought in an impressive $4.3 million to complete the campaign.

Overall, the Take the Lead Campaign garnered 186 Leadership Donors (giving $20,000 or more), of whom 57 were named to the Chancellor’s Circle (recognizing donors who gave $100,000 or more). The College also received eight gifts in excess of $1 million during the campaign.

The strategic priorities of the Take the Lead Campaign were academic excellence, scholarships, student experiences, the arts and the Annual Fund for Potsdam. The College exceeded its fundraising goals for all of these categories, including the establishment of 99 new endowed scholarships and the creation of 48 additional program endowments.

Through the Take the Lead Campaign, SUNY Potsdam raised:

  • $8.4 million for scholarships,
  • $5.2 million for transformational student experiences,
  • $11.3 million for academic excellence, and
  • $8.1 million for the Annual Fund for Potsdam.

In addition, 38 percent of all gifts also supported the arts.

The acclaimed bestselling novelist T.C. Boyle ’68 served as Campaign Honorary Co-Chair along with Metropolitan Opera star Stephanie Blythe ’92. The rest of the Campaign Steering Committee included: Lynne Boles ’74, William Flynn ’70, Deborah Diefendorf Hind ’75, Gary Hind ’77, Janice Rowlands Johnson ’56, Christine Meda ’70 and J. Richard Munro.

Established in 1968, the Potsdam College Foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to stewarding the continued growth of private giving in support of SUNY Potsdam. Its mission is to ensure a quality future for the College and its people, by establishing endowments to support scholarships and programs to ensure campus needs are met.

To find out more about Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. As the College marks its bicentennial in 2016, SUNY Potsdam will celebrate a 200-year legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 4,100 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and leadership in the arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community is celebrating the successful completion of Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which has raised $33.5 million for scholarships and programs.

Media contact:

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, Office of Public Affairs,
(315) 267-2918