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SUNY Potsdam Names John L. Priest an Honorary Alumnus

July 21, 2017

SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg awards Honorary Lifetime Membership in the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association to longtime supporter John Priest, Hon. ’17.

The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association recently honored John L. Priest with Honorary Lifetime Membership during the College’s Reunion Weekend.

Honorary Lifetime Membership is presented to non-alums who have made exceptional contributions to the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association and/or the College. Priest was recognized for his generous support and outstanding commitment to the SUNY Potsdam community.

About the recipient:

Along with his wife, Lynne Boles ’74, John Priest has had a tremendous impact on SUNY Potsdam and its students. Although Lynne is the graduate of Potsdam, John has often shared that he holds the same affection and affinity for the College that she does. And through the years, he has most certainly become a member of the Potsdam family.

Because of this shared affection, John and Lynne have been loyal supporters of Potsdam for decades. In fact, Lynne has made a gift to the College every year since her graduation. In particular, they share a great love of the performing arts, with John having spent decades acting in both professional and amateur theatre.

In gratitude for the impact that various arts experiences have provided in their lives, John and Lynne established the Performing Arts Center Programs Endowment at SUNY Potsdam, so that future generations of students would benefit from arts-related programs and opportunities. In the spring of 2016, the College dedicated the Lynne Boles ’74 and John Priest Green Room in the Performing Arts Center in honor of their generosity. In addition, John and Lynne helped establish the Dan Hurley Student Leadership Fund, recognizing the profound role that leadership opportunities play in preparing students for success in life.

At the dedication for the Green Room, John shared the couple’s reasons for giving, and expounded on his personal love for Potsdam. John spoke of SUNY Potsdam’s dedication to providing diverse and creative experiences for students, and said that the College’s commitment to the overall student experience is what continues to inspire them to give to this special place.

Beyond his personal philanthropic generosity, John supports the College by helping to engage and cultivate relationships with other alumni and friends of Potsdam. He and Lynne have hosted gatherings in their home, and John also fully supports Lynne in her role as President of the Foundation Board of Trustees, often accompanying her to Board and alumni gatherings.

For more information about the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association, visit

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 4,000 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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Jason Hunter, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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