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Potsdam Becomes an All-Steinway School with Historic Piano Acquisition

Keeping with the vision and legacy of celebrated music professor Dr. Helen Hosmer, SUNY Potsdam has officially become an All-Steinway School with the purchase of 141 Steinway pianos, the largest single acquisition of new Steinway pianos in Steinway & Sons’ 154-year history.

“The motto of the ‘All-Steinway School’ program is ‘the best for the best’ and through its participation in this program, The Crane School of Music renews its commitment of providing exceptional pianos for its outstanding students and faculty,” said Dr. Alan Solomon, dean of  The Crane School of Music. “With this purchase, we will continue to be counted among the world’s most prestigious music education institutions.” 

Other distinguished All-Steinway Schools include Carnegie-Mellon University School of Music, Oberlin College Conservatory, The Juilliard School and Yale School of Music, among others.

Steinway and Sons piano


SUNY Potsdam Awards  
Honorary Degree to Opera Star Stephanie Blythe

In recognition of her talent, professional accomplishments, financial support and devotion to her alma matter, President John F. Schwaller awarded Stephanie Blythe, a member of the Class of 1993, with an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the State University of New York.

A highly acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Blythe has become world famous for her powerful and unique voice in opera. She has rapidly become one of the most highly respected artists of her generation. 

 “Sometimes when alumni find fame, they drift away from their alma mater. Ms. Blythe’s relationship with SUNY Potsdam has remained strong over the years. She has not hesitated to act when called upon for a performance, an educational undertaking or financial support,” said Dr. Schwaller at the degree presentation.

Blythe performed the title role in The Crane Opera Ensemble’s recent world premiere production of  The Sailor-Boy and the Falcon. She spent nearly three weeks on campus rehearsing and performing with SUNY Potsdam students, giving them an invaluable educational experience. Over $200,000 was raised for the opera program and renovation of the Snell Music Theater during this benefit and performance.


SUNY Potsdam & Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club Sign Unique Agreement

Understanding the power of peer education and the reality that, often times, those given the opportunity to teach learn most, SUNY Potsdam and The Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club entered into a partnership that is enriching and supporting the students of both institutions.

Potsdam President John F. Schwaller and Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Denise White signed the agreement in October formalizing the partnership in which SUNY Potsdam will work to support the Boys and Girls Club in the program areas of character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; arts; sports, fitness and recreation; culture; and technology.


Live from Crane via the Web those who can’t make it out to enjoy many Crane School of Music concerts, another option is now available. Live audio feeds of select concerts will be available online at

The technology needed to stream the concerts will be provided through the joint efforts of SUNY Potsdam’s Computing and Technology Services and Gary Galo ’73, audio engineer for The Crane School of Music.

Any upcoming concerts that will be available for streaming will be listed on the Web site at


Crane Students Perform at Governor’s Inauguration

Five students from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music were selected to perform as part of a star-studded roster, including music superstars James Taylor and Natalie Merchant at New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 1.

Junior jazz pianist Jared Brickman of Liverpool, sophomore cellist Andrew Kromholz of Massapequa, NY, sophomore violist Bennett Mahler of North Port, NY, junior violinist Ciara Picard of Manchester, CT, and senior violinist Gregory Sheehan of  West Islip, NY, performed in the Executive Mansion as people toured the mansion immediately after the governor’s swearing-in.


State-of-the-Art  Fitness Center Up and Running

Student watching TV while working out

Potsdam recently unveiled its newly refurbished Shane T. Shaul Fitness Center in Maxcy Hall that features state-of-the-art equipment for use by faculty, staff, students and the general public.

To help make the experience enjoyable and effective, Tanya Hewitt, SUNY Potsdam’s new Fitness Center director, is on-hand to meet with all new members to introduce them to the proper use of the equipment. She will also work with students to help them establish healthy lifestyles, while working on outreach and programming that promotes fitness and health. 


International Student Population One of Highest in SUNY

 While at first glance Potsdam may not seem like a global crossroads with diverse cultures, it is actually home to international students from 17 different nations.

During this fall semester, SUNY Potsdam has become the home-away-from-home for 8.5 percent of the student body.

“We have one of the highest international student populations among the state university colleges,” said Krista LaVack, director of international education and programs at SUNY Potsdam. “This allows us to enrich the campus with a great deal of diversity that enhances both American and international students’ education.”

Students come from Canada, China, Cameroon, Estonia, Germany, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.


Schwallers Endow a Study Abroad Scholarship

To encourage students to experience the life-long benefits of studying abroad, SUNY Potsdam President Dr. John F. Schwaller and his wife, Anne C. Schwaller, are endowing a scholarship to help students afford study abroad.

The first Dr. John F. and Anne C. Schwaller Scholarship for Study Abroad will be awarded to a Potsdam student in spring 2008. See the president’s letter on page 2 for additional information.

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Shari Jessie of the Bronx, NY

SUNY Potsdam students and faculty who have studied abroad put stickers on the map indicating where they have traveled during the 2006 Map Opening, which celebrates SUNY Potsdam's international connections. Pictured here is senior Shari Jessie of the Bronx, NY who studied in nine countries across the globe when she took part in a "semester at sea."
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New Leadership and Management Master’s Program

Potsdam is offering a new graduate program in Organizational Leadership and Management that teaches students to face the challenges of leading and managing businesses and organizations in private industry, social service agencies, the military and higher education.

Students take the required courses in leadership, organizational development, performance technology, program evaluation and needs assessment. They also must take four additional courses that fit their interest to customize the program to their personal needs and career plans.

Two New Texts from Anthropology Faculty

Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools, is the newest work by Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology Dr. Karen Johnson Weiner,

After visiting her first Amish school more than 20 years ago to study the Pennsylvania German language, Dr. Johnson-Weiner became interested in the role of schools in helping to assimilate people and maintain a community.

Train Up a Child, Thinking Like an Anthropologist

Train Up a Child explores how private schools in Old Order Amish communities reflect and perpetuate church-community values and identity. Dr. Johnson-Weiner asserts that the reinforcement of those values among children is imperative to the survival of these communities in the modern world.

The 304-page hardcover book was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press and is available online at

After 32 years of teaching introductory cultural anthropology courses and countless hours in the classroom and in the field, Dr. John T. Omohundro, SUNY Potsdam distinguished teaching professor in the Department of Anthropology, has put his experiences down on paper in his new textbook Thinking Like an Anthropologist: A Practical Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.

The text is unique because of its novel organization according to 11 key questions, the personal perspective it chronicles and active learning it provides through exercises.

The 11-chapter, 300-plus page textbook is published by McGraw-Hill and is available online at


Four New Trustees Appointed to Potsdam College Foundation Board

The Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees appointed four new members to serve three-year terms on the board at their November 18 meeting. The new members are Dr. Bonita Betters-Reed ’73, professor of management at the Simmons College School of Management; Dr. Mary Helander ’83, Executive Consultant with IBM Research’s On Demand Innovation Services and researcher in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center; Dr. G. Michael Maresca, chief of staff and head of radiology at Canton-Potsdam Hospital; and Diana L. Nole ’87, vice president of Kodak Healthcare Information Solutions Business Strategy and chief marketing officer.

The board manages the foundation’s assets, valued at over $18.5 million and is currently engaged in planning for the College’s next campaign.

“We are thrilled with the breadth of talent committed to making SUNY Potsdam a top- notch institution of higher learning,” said Dr. John F. Schwaller, president of SUNY Potsdam. “The College will undoubtedly flourish with the guidance and leadership of these fine individuals, and we are grateful for the ever-present dedication of the entire board.”


Dr. Judith Ranlett Named Fundraising Volunteer of the Year

The Potsdam College Foundation Board recently named Dr. Judith Ranlett, professor emerita of history, the SUNY Potsdam Fundraising Volunteer of the Year.

Dr. Ranlett was selected by a committee of Foundation Board members in recognition of her leadership in raising funds through Friends of the Hosmer Hall Organ Committee. The committee far exceeded their goal of raising $100,000 for the organ’s restoration and enhancement and the establishment of an endowment for its on-going maintenance by raising more than $140,000 from more than 200 individuals, many of whom had never made a gift to the College before.

Dr. Ranlett and her husband, John, are loyal donors to SUNY Potsdam. They have established the L. Felix and Helen Miller Ranlett Organ Recital, which just celebrated its seventh anniversary in October. It is because of this recital and raising the profile of the organ that the College established the Friends of the Hosmer Hall Organ Committee.


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Rachel Jenack of Potsdam

SUNY Potsdam freshman basketball player Rachel Jenack of Potsdam, NY cleans her rake into the large pile she worked on during the annual SUNYAC Leaf Raking Project. She was one of 135 student athletes representing all 17 athletic teams who volunteered to rake the lawns of senior citizens residing in the village of Potsdam.
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Alumnus Establishes Scholarship for Clinton County Students

John Struthers ’97, president of The Normont Group in Montréal, Canada, has established a scholarship to provide financial assistance to promising students from Clinton County, NY, who are interested in studying business administration at SUNY Potsdam.

The first $1,000 per year Struthers Scholarship will be given to an entering freshman in fall 2007.

Struthers is a member of the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees. A native of Montréal, he earned his MBA at Stetson University. His company, The Normont Group, is a business headquartered in Montréal that supplies industrial clients with a variety of specialty hardware used primarily in the telecommunications, automotive and sheet metal fabrication sectors.

In 2000, Struthers received the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association’s Rising Star Award, given to a young alumnus who has accomplished outstanding professional achievements since


Students Once Again Give Potsdam High Marks

Seniors and first-year students at SUNY Potsdam are more satisfied with several academic and social opportunities than students at peer institutions, according to the results of The National Survey of Student Engagement.

Both seniors and first-year students exceeded peer comparisons in having quality relationships with faculty members; tutoring or teaching other students (paid or voluntary); attending an art exhibit, gallery, play, dance or other theater performance; participating in a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together; and having serious conversations with students who are very different from them in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions or personal values.

In addition, 88 percent of respondents said they had a good or excellent educational experience at SUNY Potsdam.

SUNY Potsdam continues to rank at the top of peer institutions for personal attention, mentoring and access to faculty and second to none in cultural programs according to the results of the 2006 SUNY Student Opinion Survey.  SUNY Potsdam ranked in the top two for availability of instructors outside the classroom, class size, college food service, student union, parking facilities and developing a mentoring relationship with a faculty or staff member.

The rankings validated the students’ selection of SUNY Potsdam, as 99 percent indicated that the College was their first or second choice for enrollment.


Women’s Hockey Makes a Comeback

After more than 20 years, women’s hockey will be making a comeback at SUNY Potsdam.

The move is part of a concerted effort to comply with Title IX regulations and to increase gender equity within SUNY Potsdam’s athletics program.

Following a two-year study of athletics equity issues, SUNY Potsdam found some adjustments had to be made to have balanced athletic opportunities for males and females. The study looked at the number of male and female athletes in proportion to their respective enrollments on campus, facilities, team budgets, coaching staff and coaching salaries, among others.

The program will begin in 2007-2008 with club status for one year and then change to varsity status in 2008-2009.

SUNY Potsdam will be the fifth member of the SUNY Athletic Conference to have women’s hockey. Two other SUNYAC institutions are currently in the process of creating teams. Seven SUNYAC schools with teams will allow for an official competitive conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).


Endowed Scholarship to Honor Former Mathematics Chair

The Vasily Cateforis Scholarship that was initiated in 2004 by the SUNY Potsdam Department of Mathematics faculty to honor their former chair and faculty colleague, Dr. Vasily Cateforis, will be awarded for the first time in the fall 2007 semester to a student in the mathematics BA/MA program.

Thanks to the leadership of former Mathematics Chair Dr. Laura Person; current Mathematics Chair Dr. Joel Foisy; Chair of the Vasily Cateforis Scholarship Committee Dr. Blair Madore; mathematics alumna and professor of mathematics at Manhattan College Dr. Kathryn Weld ’77, who served as the alumni chairperson for the scholarship fund drive; and the generosity of many faculty colleagues and former students, the Vasily Cateforis Scholarship was endowed in 2006. 

The Vasily Cateforis Scholarship will be awarded to a BA/MA mathematics student based on merit. Some consideration may be given for financial need, but need is not a requirement for the scholarship. The minimum amount of any award will be $1,000 a year.

Throughout his 30-year career at Potsdam, Dr. Cateforis always cared deeply about his students by nurturing them and bringing out their best. As chair of the department from 1987 until his retirement in 2003, Dr. Cateforis led by example, guided by the philosophy that every student counts – that with personal care every student could achieve in mathematics at a high level, certainly at a level higher than the student thought he or she was capable of achieving.


Student Affairs Programs Win Awards

SUNY Potsdam’s Division of Student Affairs recently earned two awards from the State University of New York Office of University Life for their leadership and retention programs.

The College received an honorable mention award for its Student Leadership Conference Series and the First Saturday: Passport to Potsdam program. 

 “In 1980, I made my first university contact in search of a way to inspire college youth to recognize and develop their hidden talents to benefit themselves and society in making the world a better place,” said Dr. Millard Harmon, who created an endowment to fund the fall conference that bears his name.

“I became aware of the uniqueness of the Potsdam faculty in the late 1970s when my son, Roger, was a student there. In 2003, while visiting with then-President Dr. John Fallon, I asked what exciting ideas the faculty had that needed to be funded. The Student Leadership Program he described is a win-win student-development package.”


Jodie Schoppmann

Connor Treacy

Cori Witkiewicz

Priska Wilson

Jeremy Boula

Rob Barnhardt

Jamie Kraus

Chris Lee


NCAA Chooses Schoppmann as Conference  Nominee for Woman of the Year

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has chosen Jodie Schoppmann ’06 of Levittown, NY, as the 2006 Woman of the Year nominee from the SUNYAC conference. A former All-American runner at SUNY Potsdam, Schoppmann was among 30 women who were first-round finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

“Jodie represents that rare breed, the once-in-a lifetime type of athlete that many coaches only dream of working with. Her dedication to academics and enjoyment of running will surely be an inspiration for many years to come. It was an honor to guide such an exceptional young lady and we are enormously gratified by her recognition with the NCAA,” said Cross-Country Coach Pete Cutler.


Former Hockey Star Advances to AHL

Chris Lee ’04, a former Potsdam All-American forward, made his American Hockey League debut in October with the Albany River Rats. The River Rats recalled Lee from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Lee, 26, spent the past two seasons with Florida, recording 15 goals and 49 assists in 120 games. Last season, the native of MacTier, Ontario, Canada, had 10 goals and 27 assists in 56 games and was selected to play in the ECHL All-Star game as a member of the American Conference squad.

Prior to turning pro, Lee spent four years playing for the Bears, recording 115 points (41 goals, 74 assists) in 110 games. During his senior year, Lee finished the regular season as the leading scorer among all NCAA Division III hockey players. In addition to being named an All-American, Lee was also named the 2004 SUNYAC Hockey Player of the Year and a first team forward on the 2004 All-Conference team.


Kraus,Wilson Named to All-SUNYAC Team

Junior Jamie Kraus of New Paltz, NY, and freshman Priska Wilson of Warwick, NY, have been named to the 2006 SUNYAC Women’s Volleyball All-Conference Team.

Kraus, who was on the All-SUNYAC Second Team her first two seasons, was named to the First Team for the first time. Wilson earned Second Team honors.

Kraus finished second in the SUNYAC with a .322 hitting percentage. She had 308 kills throughout the season – good enough for 2.75 kills per game. Wilson was third in digs, making 642 during the season, which equaled out to 5.31 digs per game.


Witkiewicz, Boula Earn All-SUNYAC Honors

The leading goal scorers for the SUNY Potsdam men’s and women’s soccer teams have been honored by the State University of New York Athletic Conference. The women’s star player, senior Cori Witkiewicz of Wappinger Falls, NY, and the top male point-getter, junior Jeremy Boula of Madrid, NY, were recently named to the 2006 SUNYAC All-Conference Teams.

Witkiewicz, a midfielder, made the All-SUNYAC Second Team. Witkiewicz finished the year with 10 goals and one assist. Boula, a forward who made the All-SUNYAC Third Team, had four goals and two assists for the men.


Rookie and Goalie of the Week

SUNY Potsdam freshman skater Connor Treacy of Markham, Ontario, Canada was named Rookie of the Week by the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). He is the Bears’ second highest offensive player of the season.

SUNY Potsdam senior goalie Rob Barnhardt of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada has been named Goalie of the Week by the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC).