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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Employees Honored with Chancellor’s & President’s Awards

August 30, 2021

SUNY Potsdam Recognizes Faculty & Staff Members for Excellence

Tracy Harcourt, director of SUNY Potsdam Student Health Services, is the recipient of the 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

SUNY Potsdam honored faculty and staff members with the 2021 Chancellor’s Awards and President’s Awards, in recognition of their dedication and service to the campus. 

This year, two employees received Chancellor’s Awards, while another 30 were honored with President’s Awards. The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are SUNY-level honors, conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. The President’s Awards are open to faculty and staff at SUNY Potsdam, including PACES Dining Services, the Child Care Center and campus Research Foundation employees.  

This year’s Chancellor’s Award recipients were as follows: 

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service:  

Assistant Professor Dr. Matthew LaVine is a faculty member in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Department of Environmental Studies. LaVine has tirelessly served the SUNY Potsdam community through participation in shared governance, community outreach and service, and as a member of countless committees and working groups. He boasts a portfolio of more than 50 invited talks and workshops on critical issues to the community.    

As chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Coalition subcommittee on diversity programming, LaVine has planned and facilitated annual alumni of color events for the community, and worked numerous hours to build and extend relationships beyond the institutional expectations to the advantage of SUNY Potsdam and its students.  

LaVine is the founder of the College’s Days of Reflection programming, a two-day series of workshops, lectures, panels and discussions held each semester for faculty, staff and students. Over the last four years, he has been deeply involved on the planning committee, putting in many hours to recruit speakers, organize events and facilitate workshops designed to advance the dialogue on race and racism within the community.  

Over the past year, LaVine worked with his colleagues to spearhead a unique innovative effort to help incoming students connect on a deeper level and discuss challenging topics, while also trying to address the realities of racial injustice on campus, in the community and in the nation, through the SUNY Potsdam/Soliya First Year Connect Anti-Racism Dialogue Project. 

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service:  

Student Health Services Director Tracy Harcourt, a certified family nurse practitioner, has served the campus for more than 18 years, and was named to lead the office in 2016. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Harcourt has been a leader in creating policies and procedures and brainstorming ideas for isolation and quarantine of students, both on and off campus, and oversees testing of the entire campus. She is often sought after for guidance from other campuses as well as local primary schools, offering insight on testing protocols and best practices. Harcourt also coordinates efforts to assist students in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 by connecting them with clinics on campus and in the community. In the spring, Harcourt and some of her team participated in the Johns Hopkins University Contract Tracing course. This has not only allowed for a better understanding of the processes needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also enabled her to assist the County Department of Public Health with contact tracing when needed as well.  

Harcourt has also been instrumental in several other health initiatives. She is a proactive member of the substance abuse coalition, providing resources to students and the community and also coordinating several Narcan trainings for her staff. In 2019, Harcourt was recognized on campus for her efforts to make significant changes in the processes and protocols to be more inclusive of LGBTQA+ students, and participated in training for providing care for transgender students. 

This year’s President’s Award recipients included: 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Auxiliary and College Educational Service: Susan Lyon, PACES Dining Services 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Clerical Service: Laura Peary, Administrative Assistant I, Departments of History and Politics, and Clerical Support, National Endowment for the Humanities 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in College Service: Joshua Vink, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in College Service: The Student Health Services staff, including Bridget Bradish, Miranda Groebler, Shae Johnston, Carol Kingsley, Michele Locy, Deborah Murray, Monica O’Brien, Sara Peabody and Caroline Rushforth 

  • President’s Award for Community Service and Outreach: Rivka Rocchio, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Climate: Dr. Claudia Ford, Interim Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies  

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Classroom Environment: Dr. William Lake, Assistant Professor of Band, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Initiatives, Crane School of Music 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service: Lori Blaha, Administrative Information Systems Manager, Computing & Technology Services 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service: The Residence Life staff, including Rachel Bayliss, Tanner Cooper, Izabella DaSilva, Julie Dold, Nicholas Fronczak, Roberta Greene, Joshua McLear, Kyle Piscitelli, Shawn Ramos, Eleni Riechers, Tristan Spearing and Michelle Martin White 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities: Dr. Trevor Blank, Associate Professor, Department of English & Communication 

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: Dr. Charles Guy, Professor of Tuba and Euphonium, and Acting Associate Dean, Crane School of music 

To find out more about employment 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 3,600 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 

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