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Elevating Engagement: SUNY Potsdam to Celebrate Inauguration of President Suzanne R. Smith

March 26, 2024

The State University of New York at Potsdam will Install Dr. Suzanne R. Smith as College’s 18th President, with Ceremony & Celebrations 

SUNY Potsdam will celebrate the inauguration of Dr. Suzanne R. Smith as the College’s 18th president on Friday, April 19, with a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at The Crane School of Music.

The State University of New York at Potsdam is pleased to announce the upcoming inaugural celebration in honor of the institution's eighteenth president, Dr. Suzanne R. Smith. 

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr., will attend the installation ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. 

In addition, several elected officials and their representatives will be in attendance at the ceremony, along with delegates from colleges and universities from across the country. 

The theme of Dr. Smith’s inauguration is “Elevating Engagement,” focusing on celebrating every role, fostering inclusion and crafting a legacy together as a campus community. All are welcome to join in the festivities, which are free and open to the public. 

The inauguration ceremony will include special musical selections, including a processional and recessional led by the Crane Faculty Reed Quintet, and a commemorative work performed by acclaimed soprano Lisa Vroman ’79. The student performers of the LoKo Arts Festival Broadway Showcase will also present a piece during the installation ceremony, which will stream live online. 

Immediately following the ceremony, there will be a campus celebration at 3 p.m. in the Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room, also at The Crane School of Music. 

To learn more about the inaugural events at SUNY Potsdam, visit The ceremony program and livestream link will also be available on the website in the coming days for those watching online. 

About President Suzanne R. Smith: 

Dr. Suzanne Smith is SUNY Potsdam's 18th president, and joined the campus in April 2023. She was appointed to the position by the SUNY Board of Trustees at the recommendation of Chancellor Dr. John B. King Jr., following a nationwide search.  

Smith came to SUNY Potsdam from Georgia Southwestern State University, where she had served as provost and vice president for academic affairs since 2018. During her time at GSW, Smith led an academic planning process which resulted in the establishment of several new degree programs designed to meet student and regional workforce needs. She helped raise more than $2 million for one of those programs by working with community partners and seeking external grants. She also led the campus post-pandemic strategic task force. Prior to GSW, Smith served at Washington State University Vancouver from 1997 to 2018, ultimately being named the director of academic planning and special assistant to the vice chancellor of academic affairs. As a professor, Smith has more than 25 years of experience in sociology and human development. She has received multiple awards for excellence in teaching and has written numerous journal articles and books, including her latest co-authored textbook, “Exploring Family Theories” (5th Ed), published in 2021. Smith is an active member of the National Council of Family Relations and the Family Science Association.  

She received her Ph.D. in child and family development from the University of Georgia, her Master of Science degree in family and child development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in behavior science from Erskine College. Smith has completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Institute. 

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 2,500 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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