We had a wonderful time celebrating the 2023 Alumni Association Award Recipients during Reunion 2023. We continue to honor these members of our SUNY Potsdam community who demonstrate excellence in their professional achievements and loyal service to the College.
Presented to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the Alumni Association and/or the College.
As chair of SUNY Potsdam’s College Council, June O’Neill (Hon. ’99) leads with strong, quiet confidence. Over her 40 years of service to the College Council, June has overseen three separate presidential searches at the College with an unwavering commitment to the success and health of the campus community. A retired civil servant, June has made an impact through her work across New York State and plays an active role in the North Country.
Presented to non-alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the Alumni Association and/or College.
Dr. Edwin and Susan Portugal
Dr. Edwin Portugal, Professor of Business Administration, has inspired future entrepreneurs and business leaders at SUNY Potsdam since 1993. He and his wife, Susan Portugal, a Senior Research Scientist for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, have given generously of their time and resources to the College to ensure that students are able to pursue their dreams. In the past thirty years, the couple has established three endowed scholarships at the College, all of which reflect their passion for education, curiosity and diversity—core values of the SUNY Potsdam Family.
Son of Dean Emeritus Dr. Robert Washburn ’49, Brooks Washburn grew up with a love and respect for the Crane School of Music. Now a revered local architect, he himself is a loyal supporter of the School where his father left his legacy. In recognition of Brooks’s generosity, Crane’s new large rehearsal room will be named for his parents, Robert and Beverly Washburn ’63.
Presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding lifetime professional achievement.
Since graduating from the Crane School of Music, Burt Mason ’97 has made a profound impact on the music performance world and in the lives of underserved students and communities. Burt is currently the principal trombonist with the Chamber Orchestra of New York and also performs with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Burt serves as a faculty member or lecturer at several renowned conservatories and universities, including Julliard and Rutger’s University.
Presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in their first decade as SUNY Potsdam graduates.
As an exchange student from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the United Kingdom, Jack Dring ’16 embraced every opportunity available to him at The Crane School of Music, including a prestigious internship with Yamaha. Jack has worked for Buffet Crampon, a leading French wind-instrument manufacturer, since graduating from SUNY Potsdam. For the past four years, he has served as the Canadian Sales Manager, overseeing sales throughout the entire country of Canada.
Mezzo-soprano Edith Grossman ’15 has established herself as an expressive force within the opera and musical theatre worlds, embodying each of her characters with gusto and sensitivity. Recent engagements have brought her to the stages of the Fargo Moorhead Opera, Kenosha Opera Festival and Carnegie Hall. Edith sings regularly on the competition circuit in the United States and Europe, placing over seven times in the past three years.
Presented to alumni who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their workplace and/or community.
Nicknamed “Super Ally” by her students, music educator Jacqueline McLean ’06 is known throughout the LeRoy Central School District as an advocate for diversity, acceptance and allyship. Jacqueline serves as a founding co-advisor for her school’s gay-straight alliance, the first in Genessee County, and was a pioneering member of GLOW Out, which provides opportunities for underserved LGBTQIA communities in western New York.
Presented to alumni in public school music education who demonstrate exemplary service in music education.
A respected conductor, established pedagogue and outstanding horn player, Marjorie Hawthorne ’92 has served the music department of Oneida City Schools since 2001. She created a Music Educator Day in Oneida and strives to provide opportunities for other music educators to learn and grow. Under her leadership as executive director, The Central Winds, an ensemble of music educators, has performed and recorded music throughout the United States.
Presented to alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of professional education or related disciplines.
As the District Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Thomas Burns ’92 is committed to improving the academic outcomes for the youth of the North Country. Over three decades as an educator and administrator, Tom has consistently demonstrated a profound advocacy for area students, educators and communities, approaching his leadership roles with vision, conviction, dignity and respect.