Many SUNY Potsdam students look forward to the day when COVID-19 travel restrictions loosen and safe study abroad experiences become available again. When that day arrives, more students will have the opportunity to travel without financial burdens because of the generosity of Gail Haynes Stradling ’64 and Richard Stradling, Jr. (St. Lawrence University Class of 1964, SUNY Potsdam Honorary Class of 2019).
The Stradlings recently established the Gail and Richard Stradling Travel Endowment: Passport to Possibilities, with a $1.2 million pledge in honor of their shared love of travel and their commitment to student success at SUNY Potsdam. The Passport to Possibilities endowed fund will provide SUNY Potsdam students with unique educational and cultural experiences not otherwise covered by tuition and fees. Funds are intended to support both individual student travel and faculty-led travel courses.
“Travel provides students with exposure to history, geography, art, music, religion and science, as well as local culture, customs and cuisine,” the Stradlings said. “Growing up, Gail's parents took her to visit historic sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico. We've continued this most enjoyable activity with our own children and grandchildren and continue to see how travel enriches learning and provides a better understanding of the world in which we live.”
Their gift significantly increases the resources available to our students and faculty through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning.
“We are extremely grateful for the Stradlings’ visionary philanthropy, which will open doors for countless students (current and future) to participate in transformative travel experiences, whether on their own or with a faculty-led course. Too often, faculty trips are canceled due to the individual cost to students. This fund will re-invigorate their programs and reduce the financial barrier for students who wish to broaden their educational horizons,” said SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.
This is not the Stradlings’ first gift to leave an indelible impact on the SUNY Potsdam community.
In 2013, the couple contributed funds to outfit both the Hosmer M. Hosmer Concert Hall and the Sara M. Snell Music Theater with state-of-the-art live video capture and streaming equipment and established an endowed fund to perpetuate the equipment’s lifecycle. Their generosity makes watching Crane School of Music performances and presentations possible for anyone in the world with an internet connection. This gift of technology was essential at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as virtual performances became a necessary tool for connecting with students, alumni and audiences everywhere.
Gail graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and secondary education in 1964, after initially beginning as a music major. Since then, she has never lost her love of music, and she and Richard have been happy to support The Crane School of Music through their first endowed fund. In recognition of their shared impact on the College, Richard was granted Honorary Lifetime Membership to the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association at Reunion Weekend 2019.
With each of their gifts, the Stradlings have forever transformed Potsdam’s scope of reach and influence, enabling SUNY Potsdam students to impact individuals around the world by sharing their talents, perspectives and experiences.
To learn more about endowed funds at SUNY Potsdam, visit potsdam.edu/giving/waystogive/endowment-giving.
For more information about giving to the College, visit potsdam.edu/giving.
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 www.potsdam.edu.