Archive Notes - May 2012

It's hard to believe that we're nearly reached the end of the spring semester. On the eve of Commencement, this is a time to congratulate the members of our campus community who have made such a difference this year, and send our 2012 graduates off with fond memories of SUNY Potsdam.

Thank you and congratulations:

Where to begin? Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our talented students, faculty and staff for pulling off an amazing week of cultural experiences during the inaugural Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts. The sheer array of excellence on display truly showed some of the best that SUNY Potsdam has to offer. It was so exciting to see dozens of signatures and doodles covering our last steel support beam to be placed in the Performing Arts Building. Every time I look at this exciting new facility, it has grown is surprising and pleasant ways. I can't wait to see what kinds of collaborations will take place in this space. I would like to send a special congratulations to all the Crane students and the faculty members who teach them for preparing a magnificent set of concerts under the direction of guest conductor Ann Howard Jones. It is an amazing sight to see a sold-out crowd in our Hosmer Hall. The performance of the Verdi Requiem in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center was one of the highlights of my career at the College. I was honored to be a very small part of that truly special moment in the history of SUNY Potsdam and The Crane School of Music.

Commencement speaker

SUNY Potsdam is proud that Dr. Anthony B. Brennan ’75, a revolutionary scientist and inventor of Sharklet, will address graduating seniors at the 2012 Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony this weekend in the Academic Quad. The founder of Sharklet Technologies Inc. and the Margaret A. Ross Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, Dr. Brennan will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. Brennan’s research has been featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” on PBS’s “Nova,” CNN, CBS News, the Wall Street Journal and in Wired, Fast Company, Discover and Popular Science magazines. “Sharklet” was even a featured answer on the Jeopardy game show in 2011. A special guest will bestow Brennan with his honorary degree. SUNY Trustee Kaitlyn Beachner ’08, the outgoing president of the SUNY Student Assembly and the current student representative on the SUNY Board of Trustees, will return to her alma mater to join the stage party, just four years after she spoke at her own Commencement as the graduating SGA President.

Commencement Reminders

The Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony will be held outside in the Academic Quad, rain or shine. Guests are asked to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. There will be an option for guests who are uncomfortable with the weather to watch the ceremony on a large screen inside, in the Barrington MPR. There will be a live stream of the ceremony available at For more details, visit

Planning Committees

I am pleased to announce that Jenica Rogers, Director of College Libraries, has agreed to serve as the Chair of the Bicentennial Celebration Planning Committee. We will soon be inviting others to serve on this committee and to work with Jenica planning the 16-month celebration of our Bicentennial.

Additionally, it is with enthusiasm that I share with you that Dr. Martin Walker has agreed to chair the triennial Academic Festival for spring 2013. The Academic Festival will be held from April 10 to 13, 2013 with more information to come very soon.

Please join me in thanking Jenica and Martin for their willingness to take on these important roles.

Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar

The College is proud to announce that internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe '92 will return to her alma mater next week for the premiere season of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, running from May 21 to May 26 at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. Stephanie will be joined by collaborative pianist Alan Smith for the seminar, in which they will work with 10 up-and-coming singers and pianists from around the U.S. and Canada. On Tuesday, Blythe and Smith will present a special performance, entitled "American Voices: A Recital of Songs by American Composers," at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. For tickets, visit There are several other events open the public, including masterclasses and a lecture/recital by Dr. Gary Busch, entitled "Early American Art Song: Rediscovering a Legacy." All are welcome. For more information, visit

Harnessing Systemness

Chancellor Zimpher is inviting faculty participation in the Critical Issues in Higher Education Conference entitled, Harnessing Systemness Delivering Performance to be held in New York City, November 8-9, 2012. For more information, please go to

CFO Search

The search for a joint CFO has now concluded. I am in disucssions with the selected candidate and an official announcement will be forthcoming in a matter of days. Thank you to the stalwart members of the search committee who worked so diligently to bring about a successful conclusion to the search.


As many of you depart from the campus for the summer months, I want to wish you a restful and rejuvenating time away. For those of us who will remain in Potsdam during the summer months, I hope to see you around campus and around town.