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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Award Recipients

SUNY Potsdam is exceedingly proud of its alumni and strives to recognize the very best and brightest. There are a number of opportunities to nominate alumni that you think are deserving of an award from his or her alma mater. View the various categories of available awards and nominate someone today!

Congratulations to the 2021 Alumni Association Award Recipients!

We celebrated the 2021 Alumni Association Award Recipients during Virtual Reunion Week 2021 on Friday, July 9 at 5:00 p.m. via Facebook Live. Watch the Award ReceptionView the 2021 Alumni Association Awards Program (PDF).

Distinguished Service
Presented to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the Alumni Association and/or the College.

  • Donnalyn Eaton Shuster ’78
    During her tenure on the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Board, Donnalyn Eaton Shuster ’78 served as the Greek Alumni representative and inspired many alumni from fraternities and sororities to become more involved in alumni programming and current student experiences. Donnalyn also serves as a student mentor, presenter and volunteer, all in the betterment of the College, students and alumni.

Honorary Lifetime Service
Presented to non-alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the Alumni Association and/or College.

  • Kathy Brennan
    SUNY Plattsburgh alumna and lifelong educator Kathy Brennan (Hon. ’75) is the wife of Dr. Tony Brennan ’75. Together, the couple generously contributed over $120,000 to SUNY Potsdam for the purchase of scientific equipment. Kathy is also passionate about the College’s Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center and has always felt like a Potsdam alum, as some of her and Tony’s most memorable times took place in Potsdam.
  • Chester Douglass
    Harvard emeritus Dr. Chester Douglass (Hon. ’56) is a long-time advocate of SUNY Potsdam. In 2011, he and his wife, Joy Douglass ’56, with great pride, established the Joy Anthony Douglass Visiting Master Teacher Endowed Fund, which brings master music teachers to Crane from around the world to inspire and equip current students. His commitment to Potsdam and music education are extraordinary.
  • Rhea Noseworthy
    In her role in the Office of College Advancement, Rhea Noseworthy (Hon. ’21) is integral to the success of the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees. Each year, she coordinates the bi-annual Board Weekend and multiple recurring committee meetings with efficiency, organization and clear communication. Rhea is loyal not only to the Foundation Board but to the Vice President of Advancement and the entire campus community.

Presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding lifetime professional achievement.

  • Christine Haile ’74
    A trailblazer for women in her field, Foundation Board Treasurer Christine Haile ’74 established a successful 40-year career in higher education, with roles ranging from finance to library systems, and until her retirement in 2015 from her role as CIO at SUNY Albany. At her alma mater, she endowed The Christine Haile ’74 Women & Leadership Fund, to create a mentoring program which supports and ensures professional development of the next generation of SUNY Potsdam leaders.

Rising Star
Presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in their first decade as SUNY Potsdam graduates.

  • John Liquori ’12
    As a Google Certified Educator and a Microsoft Certified Innovative Educator, John Liquori ’12 has served as a technological leader and model educator in the Horseheads Central School District, especially during the pandemic. He is an advocate for technological advancement in the classroom and recently co-authored an article on rural school districts embracing technology.

  • Daniel Mertzlufft ’15
    Composer, director, arranger and educator Dan Mertzlufft ’15 reached viral fame when his musical parodies initiated a TikTok phenomenon. As a result, one of his compositions premiered on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and he served as a creative lead for a musical theatre fundraiser that raised over $2 million. Good Morning America has called him a “creative genius”!

Helen Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award
Presented by the Julia E. Crane Alumni Association to alumni in public school music education who demonstrate exemplary service in music education.

  • Russel Faunce ’82
    After over 30 years of teaching music education and leading choral ensembles in the Watertown City Schools, Russell Faunce ’82 continues to play an integral role in music education by serving as the president-elect of NYSSMA. He is also a private vocal teacher, church musician, highly respected NYSSMA Major Organization and Solo Adjudicator and Crane School of Music student teacher supervisor.
  • Patricia Arnold O’Connell ’77
    Patricia Arnold O’Connell ’77 taught music for 35 years in the Vestal School District before retiring. With a smile on her face, and an incredible amount of enthusiasm and ambition, Patti pushed her students to do their very best while making them feel included and valued. A lifelong learner, Patti currently plays Principal Horn for Tri-Cities Opera and Downtown Singers, and she continues to teach privately.