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Donor Impact

What is impact?

In its most literal sense, an impact is a force transmitted by two things colliding, like a satisfying high-five or a canoe oar hitting the water. Yet impact can also be intangible—the effect or influence one person or thing has on another.

As we reflect on the past year, we see the impact of SUNY Potsdam donors and alumni in every aspect of our campus and our students’ lives: from the first-year student here because she received a donor-funded scholarship to the graduating senior who accepted a summer internship with an alumni mentor, from innovative research programs to renovated learning spaces.

Your impact is profound and appreciated—by our students, by our faculty and staff, by the entire Potsdam Family. Thank you for all you do for this treasured community.

Your Impact on Future Bears

Campus Tour ImageReaching More Students

An unrestricted gift to the Fund for Potsdam is one of the most effective ways to support SUNY Potsdam, offering flexibility and foundational support for a variety of programs and priorities at the College. Among those top priorities is sharing Potsdam with more prospective students!

Last year, your gifts to the Fund for Potsdam were used to expand our marketing efforts reaching out to even more prospective students.

Elise Stetson PhotoMarketing New Programs

Your gifts were also used to create greater awareness for SUNY Potsdam’s growing selection of online graduate programs which offer flexible opportunities for students to transform their careers…from anywhere.

Elise Stetson ’22 always knew she wanted to get her master’s degree, and after four wonderful years as an undergraduate education student at SUNY Potsdam, it was easy for her to decide on Potsdam’s MST program. Fortunately, because SUNY Potsdam began offering master’s degrees fully online, Elise can enjoy her dream job and stay in school. “It was perfect,” she shares.


"I could take this awesome job and do my classes part time without having to drive to Potsdam, and I still get to work with the incredible professors that we have in our program.”

Elise Stetson '22 Online MST Program

Your Impact on Applied Learning

A quintet of students from The Crane School of Music—composed of Nicholas Alvarez ’24, Jalen Johnson ’24, Christopher Mavrogian ’24, Sara McIntyre ’24 and Michael Shipps ’24—traveled to NYC to give music lessons to prospective Crane students and perform with alumnus Joe Rosen ’62 in his Manhattan home. Joe is known for  opening his home to salon concerts and collaborations with aspiring musicians. He established the Joseph & Christina Rosen Endowment for Crane Performance Travel to a fund to support Crane students, like this quintet, who travel to the city for artistic opportunities—giving them the chance to apply their skills outside the Crane Complex.

Funds from the Neal R O’Brien and William T. Kirchgasser Undergraduate Research Fund ensure support for undergraduate research in Potsdam’s Geology program. In 2022-23 students traveled to Montana, West Texas and New Mexico to conduct field research. Celso De La Cruz ’23 and Zamani Ackie- Davis ’23 (left) traveled to Montana to perform fieldwork in the Lodgepole Formation area. Chelsea Wright ’25, Anah Bodgan ’24, Caroline Winstead ’23, Ty Paddock ’24 and Lauryn Higgins ’24 (right) studied several unites in the Permian Reef complex in west Texas and New Mexico. The students were quantitatively testing the relationship between carbon isotopes and relative sea level change to better understand the carbon isotopic proxy. Each student presented their research at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the National Geological Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA.

Your Impact on Scholarships

Pay It Forward Scholarship Program

Not many student composers have the chance to hear their pieces play among the trees with birds adding their own harmonies. This, however, was the case for Cole Fortier ’23, a music composition and music education major at The Crane School of Music.

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Phyllis Ferrantello Falcon Scholarship

While working at CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity technology company, Phyllis Ferrantello ’75 made a bet with the CEO that resulted in the creation of a scholarship in her name that supports students in the computer science major at the College, with a preference for female students.

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Your Impact Creates Opportunity

Zach Byrd '25

Zach Byrd ’25 is an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student from Bronx, NY. A resident assistant, he is also the recipient of the Lloyd DeShawn Osborne Memorial Scholarship. As the first person in his family to go away for college, he notes that this scholarship gives him “an opportunity to focus more on [his] classes and the extracurriculars that [he’s] a part of.”

Learn more about Zach

Ayisha Khalid ’24

"The Gail and Richard Stradling Travel Endowment has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on what is most important in school: learning."

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Your Impact Through Legacy

With a community as tightly knit as SUNY Potsdam, individuals often leave a profound impact on a number of students and programs. In the past year, several spaces have been named to celebrate important emeriti, alumni and organizations in honor of their legacies at the College.

Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room

Thanks to the children of Robert and Beverly Washburn, the space, constructed as part of the renovation and expansion of the complex, will now forever recognize the Washburn family’s long and proud history of The Crane School of Music. Learn More

Richard J. Del Guidice Student Forum

With support from former students and family, this room, in the heart of the campus continues the legacy of Richard Del Guidice by providing a space that promotes civil discourse among students. Learn More

Sweetwater Lobby

Acknowledging Sweetwater Sound, a leading music technology company, and their incredible generosity to Crane, this space now serves as the grand new entrance to the complex for visitors and students, alike.

James “JP” Peterscak Percussion Studio

Celebrating the legacy of his mentor and long-time friend, Scott Goodman ’79 chose to name the faculty studio in percussion alley for James Petercsak who taught at Crane for more than five and a half decades. Learn More

Margo and Scott E. Goodman Percussion Alley

As the legacy of excellence continues for future generations in the newly renovated percussion alley, its name acknowledges the impact that the Crane experience had on the life and career of former percussion student, Scott Goodman ’79. Learn More

Prometheus Alumni Food Pantry

Celebrating a long tradition of service and giving back from the Order of Prometheus, brothers and friends of the organization have joined the College community in combatting food insecurity at SUNY Potsdam. Learn More

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