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The State University of New York at Potsdam Announces Historic Gift in Support of Applied Learning

November 17, 2017

Donald (Hon. ’54) and Kathryn Kofoed Lougheed ’54, seen here with President Kristin G. Esterberg, have pledged $5.25 million to support applied learning initiatives at SUNY Potsdam.

The State University of New York at Potsdam has received the largest gift commitment in the College’s 201-year history. Donald (Hon. ’54) and Kathryn Kofoed Lougheed ’54 have pledged $5.25 million to support applied learning initiatives at SUNY Potsdam. With a combination of deferred and outright gifts, the new commitment represents the largest donation the College has ever received.

In recognition of the Lougheeds’ unmatched generosity and unwavering support of the College, the SUNY Board of Trustees and the SUNY Potsdam College Council both voted this week to name the academic hub of campus in honor of the donors. The College’s library building will be renamed the Lougheed Learning Commons, in recognition of the couple’s legacy, and in a nod to the changing nature of the facility itself.

“Kathryn and Donald Lougheed are beloved members of the SUNY Potsdam community, and it is an honor to recognize their generosity toward the college and its community of students, faculty, and staff,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “The continued support of the Lougheeds will leave a lasting impression on current and future generations of Potsdam students.”

“SUNY Potsdam will be forever changed for the better, thanks to the generosity and vision of Don and Kathy Lougheed. Their extraordinary gift will ensure that applied learning is woven throughout the student experience at SUNY Potsdam, by tripling the amount of donor funds available to the Center for Applied Learning and nearly tripling the amount of campus funding available for faculty and curricular development in support of applied learning. Words can’t fully express how grateful we are to the Lougheeds for their friendship and depth of support,” said President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.

About the gift:

The Lougheeds’ new gift includes $3.12 million in an outright cash donation, plus a $2.13 million bequest, which has been codified in their estate plans. Their initial cash donation represents the largest outright gift received from a living individual in the past five years among all 13 SUNY comprehensive colleges.

In order to impact the greatest number of students and contribute to the transformation of the College’s curriculum, the gift will be used to support faculty and staff activities that improve their ability to facilitate student participation in high impact and applied learning activities. This includes, but is not limited to, curricular transformation, laboratory materials and equipment, transportation costs, professional development, course releases, travel delegations and new program development. Funds will also be used to directly support students’ involvement in activities that allow students to apply theoretical learning outside the classroom environment, such as internships, national and international study abroad opportunities, student research, field experiences, creative projects, service learning and entrepreneurship.

“After 45 years of successful entrepreneurial enterprise, I have discovered that the greatest satisfaction of my life has been my involvement with SUNY Potsdam: its administration, the faculty and, especially, the students,” Donald Lougheed (Hon. ’54) said.

“Our involvement with SUNY Potsdam has been one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. It has been a gift to us. I am blessed that I was given this opportunity to influence so many young lives,” Kathryn Kofoed Lougheed ’54 said.

Their gift will be overseen by the Dorf Endowed Director of Applied Learning, Jenica Rogers, who is also the director of the College Libraries at SUNY Potsdam.

The new gift commitment is in addition to the Lougheeds’ previous giving to the College. Prior to their applied learning gift, they have donated a total of $2.3 million in support of scholarships and the Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts—better known as the LoKo Festival, also in their honor—which they established in 2012.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy and Don Lougheed last spring, and they quickly inspired me like they have so many others through the years. They have made the arts more accessible to our students and the North Country community, in partnership with SUNY Potsdam, and have enriched the lives of so many through their generosity and support of applied learning. Congratulations and thank you again to Kathy and Don Lougheed.”

“This is a historic day for SUNY Potsdam. On behalf of the College Council, I am pleased and honored to recognize the Lougheeds’ unprecedented generosity by naming two campus spaces for them. We hope that as students and faculty pass through the doors of the Lougheed Learning Commons and the Donald and Kathryn Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, they are inspired to pursue their passions in new and creative ways,” said Chair June O’Neill.

About the building:

Dr. Frederick W. Crumb was the eighth, and longest-serving, president of the institution known today as The State University of New York at Potsdam. He joined Potsdam State Teachers College in 1946, which became part of the new SUNY System upon its founding two years later, and Dr. Crumb oversaw the construction of the new campus on Pierrepont Avenue. During his 21 years leading the College, Dr. Crumb paid special attention to building the institution’s library collections, from 8,000 texts when he arrived, to more than 110,000 volumes at the time of his death. The College therefore named its newly built library complex the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library in his honor, at its opening 50 years ago, in 1967.

In recognition of this remarkable legacy, SUNY Potsdam will retain this name on the second floor of the building, which now houses the library stacks and most of the campus book collections, as well as research resources, faculty offices and the College Archives and Special Collections. A campus history display honoring Dr. Crumb will also be unveiled in the building in the spring.

Dr. Crumb’s son, Peter Crumb '64, said: “The establishment of the Lougheed Learning Commons reflects my father’s philosophy as president of SUNY Potsdam. He wanted the library to be the heart of the campus, and he believed the students should show the administrators what they need. Renaming the building does both of those things, keeping the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library inside the evolved heart of a campus center dedicated to student service—the Lougheed Learning Commons. As an educator from a family of educators, I’m also thrilled by the opportunities SUNY Potsdam’s faculty will be afforded by this gift.”

On an average day, more than 1,200 people pass through the library doors. Fifty years since its opening, as technology, information and educational approaches have changed, students have increasingly used the library as a learning commons, a shared academic gathering space used for individual and collaborative study. The first floor of the building houses common study areas, the Center for Creative Instruction, Minerva’s Café, a Makerspace and the Honors Lounge.

Importantly, the complex also houses the Center for Applied Learning, which is now set to become the Donald and Kathryn Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, in honor of the donors’ support. The Lougheed Center for Applied Learning (LoCAL) includes the offices of experiential education, career services, international education and student research and creativity, to help students integrate their knowledge and skills to prepare for a fully realized life.

The building will officially be recognized as the Lougheed Learning Commons following a rededication ceremony in May 2018.

About the donors:

Kathryn Kofoed Lougheed ’54 graduated from The Crane School of Music with a degree in music education, just as the new campus was being built. She went on to teach elementary and junior high vocal music in Greenwich, Conn., and Bryan, Texas, and later worked as a private piano teacher and assisted her husband with his growing business. Kathy volunteered as a docent for 28 years at the Blanton Museum of Art, located at The University of Texas at Austin, where she conducted tours of the exhibits for both adults and children, resulting in her receiving an excellent education in art history. Kathy was also a docent for the Austin Lyric Opera, and spent time visiting schools to teach children about operatic works in conjunction with educational performances.

Donald Lougheed (Hon. ’54) left Columbia University after three years to join the U.S. Air Force, where he became a flight instructor in propeller and early jet aircraft during the Korean War. After Don completed his military service, the couple settled first in Rochester, N.Y., where they raised their children, Scott and Alison, and in 1963, began a successful career building automobile and recreational vehicle dealerships in New York. During this time, Don became a founding member of the National RV Dealer Association and served as its president and later as chairman of the board. After moving to Texas, Don built three of the largest RV dealerships in the United States, in addition to developing several mobile home and RV parks. In retirement, Don enjoys building his antique car collection.

Kathy and Don divide their time between their summer home in Northville, N.Y., and spend winters at home in Austin, Texas. Since establishing the Lougheed-Kofoed (LoKo) Festival of the Arts in 2012, they have gone on to become the largest donors in SUNY Potsdam history. In recognition of his dedication, Don was named an honorary member of his wife’s Class of 1954 during Reunion Weekend 2013, and the couple was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association in 2016.

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 3,700 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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