The Julia E. Crane Alumni Association recently honored Susan M. Vroman Cavanagh ’77 with the 2018 Helen M. Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award at SUNY Potsdam’s Reunion Weekend.
The Helen M. Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award is presented each year to an alumnus or alumna in public school music education who has demonstrated exemplary service in any of the areas of choral, instrumental or general music education. Cavanagh was honored for her exemplary career, dedication to her students and love of music education.
About the recipient:
Susan M. Vroman Cavanagh ’77 personifies the belief that “teachers are the heart of achievement.” She has been described as a caring, nurturing individual who is highly respected as a person and professional, by colleagues, students and parents alike.
Cavanagh currently serves as director of the choir and string programs at Palm Harbor Middle School in Florida, where she has taught for the past 20 years. In addition to teaching chorus and strings, she also works with the District-All County and Florida-All State Choral Program. She previously taught in three other school districts in New York and Indiana while pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Michigan and her certificate in educational leadership at the University of South Florida.
Her list of honors is long and distinguished, and she has been described as a world-class music educator at every level. Her fellow teachers describe her as a true mentor with a nurturing heart, and as an inspiration to all.
She is devoted to each one of her students and many have witnessed Cavanagh use her talents to embrace and inspire them. One of her former students, the son of a renowned opera singer, wrote to thank her for inspiring his son to sing and take an active part in the arts.
Cavanagh encouraged a former student, who is currently pursuing a degree in musical theatre, to continue singing in chorus when other boys were dropping out. He wrote, “You were the foundation and catalyst behind my love and pursuit of musical theatre.”
Another accomplished musician commented on being especially moved to witness a sixth grader’s eyes light up with joy as he sang in her chorus. “This child, whose father was in jail at the time, found support, inspiration and safety in Sue’s classroom,” she wrote.
Throughout her stellar career, Cavanagh has been a role model to many, sharing her wisdom, expertise and understanding.
For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.