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SUNY Potsdam Prepares to Celebrate Class of 2019 at Commencement

May 7, 2019

Entrepreneur & Benefactor Donald Lougheed (Hon. ’54) to Speak to SUNY Potsdam Graduates at Commencement on May 18

The State University of New York at Potsdam will honor the Class of 2019, as hundreds of students earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees, during the College’s Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Nearly 800 bachelor’s and master’s graduates are set to cross the stage.

Commencement speaker

Donald Lougheed (Hon. ’54) will deliver the keynote address to the graduating class. The generous benefactor and honorary alumnus will share his reflections on life, and the lessons he has learned through his long business career and his philanthropic endeavors, with the SUNY Potsdam Class of 2019.

Originally from Milford, N.Y., 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, he and his wife Kathy Kofoed Lougheed ’54 settled first in Rochester, N.Y., where they raised their children, Scott and Alison. In 1963, he 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.

The Lougheeds are the largest individual donors in SUNY Potsdam history, having committed a total of more than $7.5 million to the College. Last year, Don and Kathy pledged a historic gift commitment of $5.25 million to support applied learning initiatives at the College, on top of $2.3 million in previous giving to support scholarships and found the LoKo Arts Festival. The Lougheed Learning Commons is named in their honor, as is the Donald and Kathryn Lougheed Center for Applied Learning.

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.

Ceremony details

SUNY Potsdam’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 10:15 a.m. in the Academic Quad. Hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students will cross the stage in the shadow of the Satterlee Hall clocktower to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

During Commencement, SUNY Potsdam will recognize all students who have either earned their degree or are eligible to graduate between December 2018 and December 2019.

The College holds its Commencement Ceremony outside in the Academic Quad, rain or shine, unless there are extreme weather conditions. Guests are asked to dress appropriately for the weather, and bring umbrellas, blankets or sunscreen if needed. There will be an option for guests who are uncomfortable with weather conditions to watch the ceremony live on a large screen inside, in the Barrington Student Union Multi-Purpose Room.

For family and friends around the world, SUNY Potsdam will stream the Commencement ceremony live on the College’s YouTube channel again this year. The link for the livestream, which will begin at 10 a.m. on May 18, will be available at

During Commencement, the College will also recognize the recipients of two special awards. Dr. Steven Marqusee (Hon. ’19), the retiring dean of SUNY Potsdam’s School of Arts and Sciences, will be honored with the 2019 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award. Renzi Foodservice of Watertown, N.Y., will be recognized with the 2019 Leadership Through Service Award.

Emergency weather plan

There is an emergency weather plan for the SUNY Potsdam Commencement ceremony, in the case of extreme conditions like lightning or freezing temperatures. Under the emergency plan, there would be two ceremonies, which would be held back-to-back, at 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m., in the Maxcy Hall Ice Arena.

Under the emergency plan, Ceremony B (to be held at 3 p.m.) would recognize all master’s graduates, as well as bachelor’s graduates earning degrees in art, business administration, criminal justice studies, dance, exercise science, community health, music, sociology and theatre. All other graduating students would attend Ceremony A, to be held at 10:15 a.m., also in the Maxcy Hall Ice Arena.

Each graduate has been given four tickets for the emergency plan; all other guests are welcome to view the ceremonies via live video in the Maxcy Hall Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.

To learn more about Commencement 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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