Dr. Thomas M. Barrington served as president of SUNY Potsdam from July 1970 until August 1978.
The Barrington Student Union on the SUNY Potsdam campus was dedicated in Dr. Barrington's honor on Nov. 10, 1988. Other honors for Dr. Barrington included honorary degrees from Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, a Distinguished Alumnus Award from SUNY Albany and a Distinguished Service Award from SUNY Potsdam.
Prior to becoming president of the College, Dr. Barrington served eight months as acting president. He held the position of vice president of student affairs from 1966 to 1969. Dr. Barrington first joined SUNY Potsdam in 1947 as an associate professor of education and dean of students. He was promoted to the rank of full professor in 1950.
As president of SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Barrington guided the College's transformation from a teacher's college to a comprehensive institution of the arts and sciences, developing three individual schools - known today as the School of Arts and Sciences, The Crane School of Music and the School of Education and Professional Studies. During this period of rapid enrollment growth and academic expansion, Dr. Barrington worked diligently to preserve the personal atmosphere of the intimate North Country campus. Dr. Barrington gained the respect of administrators throughout the State University of New York during his tenure as president. He was highly influential within SUNY, and at one time held the position of president of the SUNY Presidents Council.
In his earlier roles as dean and vice president, Dr. Barrington was frequently relied upon as a consultant and advisor to the president under whom he served. Dr. Barrington also made statewide news during his acting presidency for his exemplary handling of student reactions to the political events of the late 1960s.
In addition to his SUNY service, Dr. Barrington served as president of the Associated Colleges of the North Country.
Dr. Barrington held professional memberships in the New York State Counselors Association, the New York State Association of Deans and Guidance Personnel, the American Association of University Administrators, the American College Personnel Association and the Student Personnel Association for Teacher Education.
Dr. Barrington was very active in civic affairs throughout northern New York. He served as a member of the Potsdam Central School Board for 11 years, including two years as president. He was a member of many community boards of directors, including the Potsdam March of Dimes, the St. Lawrence County Community Health Board, the Potsdam Urban Renewal Agency, the St. Lawrence National Bank and the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Barrington was also active with the Catholic church, serving as an active communicant of St. Edward the Confessor Church, Clifton Park, as a lay trustee for St. Mary's Church, Potsdam, and as a member of the board of trustees for Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg, NY.
Dr. Barrington graduated with honors earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from SUNY Albany in 1937. He received a Master of Arts degree in administration-secondary schools from SUNY Albany in 1942. Dr. Barrington earned his Doctor of Education degree from Columbia University in 1951. Before being hired at SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Barrington was a mathematics teacher and baseball coach at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School. He also held the position of teacher and principal at Whitesboro Junior-Senior High School.
From August 1942 to March 1946, Dr. Barrington served as a lieutenant on active duty with the United States Naval Reserve. He served as an assistant gunnery officer aboard the USS Barry and as an instructor for Abbott Hall Midshipmen's School Chicago, IL.
Dr. Barrington passed away on Saturday, November 6, 2006 at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, New York after a brief illness. He was 88.