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Office of the President

Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Kristin Esterberg serves as SUNY Potsdam’s 16th president, a position she has held since 2014. The first woman to lead the College in its more than 200-year tradition, Dr. Esterberg has led the campus through a strategic planning process that highlights campus efforts on applied learning and providing transformational experiences to all students. Under her leadership, SUNY Potsdam has developed and is implementing its first strategic plan on diversity, equity and inclusion, and the campus recently received an historic $5.25 million gift in support of faculty efforts in applied learning—the largest in campus history.

Dr. Esterberg is an active member of the community, serving on the board of the Associated Colleges of St. Lawrence Valley and the Regional Economic Development Council. Within the SUNY System, Dr. Esterberg is a member of the SUNY Diversity Advisory Board. She has served on the SUNY Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force and on the Chancellor Search Committee. Nationally, Dr. Esterberg is chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) International Affairs Committee and served as a member of the AASCU Presidential Search Committee. Dr. Esterberg serves on the Millennium Leadership Institute Executive Steering Committee and also serves as a mentor for future leaders. She is an active member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education.

Prior to coming to SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Esterberg served as provost and academic vice president at Salem State University and as deputy provost at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she led campus internationalization efforts. She also served as director of women’s studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has been active in a number of community-based organizations, including A Better Chance of Andover, Mass., and the Merrimack Valley Community Music School.

Dr. Esterberg earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science at Boston University, before going on to earn both her master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University. She is the author of three books and numerous publications on qualitative research methodology, gender and sexuality and higher education. Her most recent book (with co-author John Wooding) is Divided Conversations: Identity, Leadership, and Change in Public Higher Education (Vanderbilt University Press, 2013).

Dr. Esterberg and her spouse, Dr. Sue Bergmeier, are the proud parents of Katie, a graduate of St. Lawrence University, and Qiong Qiong, a student at SUNY Potsdam.