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From the President's Desk

May 2018

This weekend marked the beginning of the LoKo Arts Festival, and we are incredibly lucky to have our LoKo benefactors, Don and Kathy Lougheed, on our campus this week. This year’s LoKoFestival will run through Sunday, May 6. We have many incredibly talented students, faculty and guest artists exhibiting and performing during the LoKo festival. I hope you will take full advantage and enjoy all the activities!

I am so incredibly proud of our students. They continue to amaze me, especially at this time of year, when there is so much to celebrate. I had the pleasure of attending the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals (ICCA) in New York City and once again was overwhelmed by the remarkable talent of the Potsdam Pitches.

Two students were recently awarded the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson presented the awards to Katie Agar, a sociology and speech communication major, and Torie Keeton, a community health major. 

Recently, the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce held their annual spring clean-up. I am grateful to the Greek organizations and Potsdam Bears athletic teams who assisted in helping to beautify downtown Potsdam. I am grateful as well to Athletics for organizing the Yards for Yeardley event this week to raise awareness about dating violence and healthy relationships. Although it was raining during the event, I still enjoyed seeing many faculty, staff, and students out walking for an important cause. 

As our graduating seniors begin to solidify their plans for next year, I am so proud of their accomplishments. We have students going on to graduate programs at institutions such as Cornell University, University of Vermont, Upstate Medical Center, The University of Illinois, and the New England Conservatory, among others. Our graduating seniors have found placements in school districts both nearby and as far as Taiwan, in arts organizations, and law enforcement agencies across the country. I am grateful for the many faculty and staff who help support our students!

Lougheed Learning Commons Dedication
I would like to remind you of the campus dedication of the Lougheed Learning Commons, which will take place on Friday, May 4 at 3 p.m., in the Academic Quad. I hope you will join me as we celebrate Don and Kathy Lougheed, and their historic generosity.

Athletic Director Search Update
I am delighted to announce that Sharief Hashim has accepted the position of Director of Athletics. Sharief’s most recent experience was as Athletics Director at Southern Vermont College. He has demonstrated success in sports management, coaching, and enrollment management. I know that Sharief will be a positive addition not only to our athletics department but also to our entire campus. I am grateful to the members of the search committee for their time and commitment to this search, and to Eric Duchscherer for chairing that committee. 

Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of College Foundation
We had a very talented pool of candidates for our search for a Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the Potsdam College Foundation. The committee has conducted video interviews with five candidates. The top three candidates will be invited to an on-campus interview to be held in May.

Our campus is marking the transition to retirement for several important community members this spring, including notably, the long-serving Executive Assistant to the President, Carol Rourke. Carol Rourke is retiring effective June 15. Carol has been an integral member of the Potsdam family for decades, serving five presidents with dedication and integrity. Her wisdom and patience, her ability to see multiple perspectives, and her caring nature have been a tremendous asset to me and to the campus. I will miss her greatly. 

Nicole Conant will be stepping into the role of Executive Assistant to the President. She has been a valued member of the office since June 2017. I hope you will join me in welcoming her to her new role.

As you recall from my last notes, Mary Dolan has submitted her intent to retire as Associate Vice President/Interim Vice President for Administration, effective May 24. Melissa Proulx has assumed the role of Director of Human Resources.

Please join us on Thursday, May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., as we celebrate Carol Rourke and Mary Dolan’s retirements, with a party on the second floor of Thatcher Hall.

We are still looking for volunteers for our upcoming Commencement, to be held on Saturday, May 19. If you are interested, please contact Julie Dold. Also, if you have regalia that you would like to donate back to the College to allow other faculty and staff to use, please contact Carol Rourke.

I hope to see many of you at our upcoming Employee Recognition Ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday, May 23 at 10 a.m. in the Barrington Student Union. We hope you will join us not only to celebrate our campus colleagues for their accomplishments and milestones, but to come together to celebrate the end of another successful academic year.


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph. D.
SUNY Potsdam