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SUNY Potsdam Education Alumni Honor Mary Steinberg Rutley ’60 with 2022 St. Lawrence Academy Medal

July 21, 2022

Mary Steinberg Rutley ’60 of Colton, N.Y., Presented with St. Lawrence Academy Medal by SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association 


Mary Steinberg Rutley ’60 of Colton, N.Y., is the recipient of the 2022 St. Lawrence Academy Medal from the SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association.

The SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association recently honored Mary Steinberg Rutley ’60 of Colton, N.Y., with the St. Lawrence Academy Medal during Reunion 2022. 

The St. Lawrence Academy Medal is presented to a SUNY Potsdam graduate who has made significant contributions to the field of professional education or related fields. 

About the recipient: 

Mary Steinburg Rutley ’60 joined the SUNY Potsdam family as a student, graduating in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in science. The following year, Mary joined the teaching faculty at her alma mater, leading biology and earth science labs. In 1965, she earned her master’s degree from St. Lawrence University in biology with an emphasis on entomology and ecology. 

For nearly 40 years, Mary taught a wide range of courses at SUNY Potsdam, from invertebrate biology to zoology, and was the first female instructor to teach paleontology at the College.  

Mary’s science teaching skills were enhanced by her belief in the value of hands-on learning, which allowed students to apply their studies in the natural world. She was a key member of the College’s Teaching and Learning Committee, and helped to pioneer two different interdisciplinary learning communities at SUNY Potsdam, including the Adirondack Experience, which continues to this day. She also made sure her courses were relevant to the modern world, incorporating computer learning and word processing skills into her instruction and assignments. 

Throughout her career, Mary published a variety of materials for grade-school educators, such as a co-authored book titled Integrating Science and Language Arts in Your Classroom, as well as lab manuals and discipline-specific resources, including two Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies articles on control programs for black flies in the Adirondacks. 

Mary’s legacy is continued through her former students, who cite her investment as the foundation of their success.  

“Mary motivated and encouraged her students to continue a path of lifelong learning, and that education doesn’t stop at graduation from Potsdam,” said former student Dr. Gerald Ghidiu ’70. “She advised me as I considered a higher degree in entomological science, encouraged me to pursue it, and assisted in helping me obtain a research assistantship, leading to a Ph.D. in entomology.” 

Mary has been an active member of SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education Alumni Board of Trustees since it was founded in 1999. 

To find out more about education at SUNY Potsdam, 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 3,000 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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