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SUNY Potsdam Alumni Share Semester-End Encouragement with Students

December 14, 2020

From Hollywood to the North Country, SUNY Potsdam Graduates from Far & Near Cheer on Current Students During Remote Finals Week

SUNY Potsdam alumni from across the country are sharing their words of encouragement with current students as they enter finals week to close out the Fall 2020 semester. The campus transitioned to a virtual format for the end of the semester, as most students returned home at Thanksgiving break.

From Hollywood to the North Country, SUNY Potsdam graduates representing a broad array of careers—from technology to education to music business—sent in their well wishes to show their support for students at their alma mater.

“I know this has been a tough year, but if you can survive Potsdam in the winter, you can survive 2020,” said Chuck Lorre ’74, the creator and executive producer of hit shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Mike and Molly.”

Two videos were produced—one for all SUNY Potsdam students, and one especially for The Crane School of Music.

“It’s time for all the hard work that you’ve put in to pay off. It’s time to cross the finish line and bring it home. So here’s to successful finals—and happy holidays to you and yours,” said Burt Mason ’97, the executive director of Ovation Concerts, a faculty member at The Juilliard School, and a Yamaha artist and clinician.

The featured alumni include:

  • Amanda Cadet ’96, senior vice president of business development and growth, Rockpoint Legal Funding
  • Jack Dring ’16, Canadian sales manager, Buffet Crampon
  • Cheryl Evans ’83, retired educator, South Jefferson Central School
  • Ron Fishbeck ’80, business executive/entrepreneur, and Teresa Fishbeck (Hon. ’19), artist/entrepreneur
  • Keisuke Hoashi ’89, actor (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Mad Men,” “Perry Mason”)
  • Chuck Lorre ’74, creator and executive producer of Chuck Lorre Productions (“Two and Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Mike and Molly,” “Young Sheldon,” “The Kominsky Method,” and many more), recipient of Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree (2009)
  • Burt Mason ’97, executive director of Ovation Concerts, Juilliard faculty member, and Yamaha artist and clinician.
  • Justin John Moniz ’11, associate director of vocal pedagogy at New York University
  • Erin Wagner O’Brien ’13, geologist, ExxonMobil
  • Adebisi Oje ’12, senior data and AI sales specialist, Microsoft
  • Colonel (Ret.) Thomas Palmatier ’75, former leader and commander, the U.S. Army Band and president of THP Music Consultants
  • Christopher Still ’93, second trumpet, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Jamie Szafran ’08, computer engineer, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Lisa Vroman ’79, singer/actress/clinician (“Phantom of the Opera,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Les Misérables”), voice faculty, American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) Los Angeles
  • Melissa Wegner ’03, executive director, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
  • Leo Welch ’84, professor of music, University of Northern Colorado
  • Glen Zagorski ’87, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics IT manager, and Jane Morale ’80, Webster Central School orchestra director

To find out more about how SUNY Potsdam alumni stay involved and connected with their alma mater, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

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