May 10, 2017


Volume 3, Issue 13–May 10, 2017


 Almost Time to Say Goodbye

We’re almost at the end of the semester, and most of you are busy taking your final exams.  I wish you the best of luck with them, and hope you get nothing but “A’s”.

As to those of you who are graduating, I look forward to seeing you at Graduation this Saturday, and to shaking your hand as you come across the stage.  If there’s a little tear in my eye, it’s because I’ll miss seeing you next year, so be sure to come back and pay us a visit.

For those who aren’t graduating, I’ll see you in the Fall if not sooner.  Something you may want to think about is taking some summer courses—we offer a nice variety online.  The new Excelsior Scholarships require students to have successfully completed 30 credits toward their degrees in all previous years.  If you’re a couple of credits short for this past year, taking some summer courses might help you become eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.  There are a lot of rules for the scholarship, so you can check out whether you may be eligible at


Spotlight on Athletics

This has been a very good year for athletics at SUNY Canton.  We’ve also just heard that four of our players have won SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for their athletic and academic success.  The four players are:

  • Romario Fletcher (Criminal Investigation, Basketball), is the first SUNY Canton basketball player to be named a First Team ECAC All-Star, and was named the ACAA Tournament Most Valuable Player, as well as an Association of Division III Independents Player of the Year. Romario led the Roos in rebounds (344) and was second in points (416).
  • Noelle Niemiec (Sports Management, Ice Hockey), led the Colonial Hockey Conference in defensive scoring (16 points overall, 7 in league), and was named CHC First Team All-Conference.
  • Peyton Robinson (Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security, Volleyball), led the Roos with 1,059 assists and 224 digs. She already has passed the 2,000 career assists and 500 career dig plateaus, in only her second year.  Peyton was named the Association of Division III Independents Setter of the Year, and to the First Team All-Independent team.
  • Joey Vocino (Applied Psychology, Ice Hockey) finished 4th on the Roos in scoring and led the team with seven power-play goals. He was named to the USCAA All-Academic Team as well.


Men’s Basketball

This semester also had several of our teams making the playoffs.  Our Men’s Basketball team did very well, winning the ACAA conference title, and winning the first game (which we hosted) in the ECAC championships.  As everyone on campus knows, our guys are not only excellent with the hoops, but are also great student-athletes and just great people.  In addition to Romario Fletcher’s accomplishments (above), Sam Annorh was named a Second Team ECAC All-Star, and led the Roos averaging 21.6 points and 4.9 assists per game, including a career high 37 points in one game.  Sam’s career stats at SUNY Canton include 1760 points, 438 assists, and 333 rebounds.  Adrian Williams was third in scoring with 382 points, and Rashad Richardson was fourth at 210.  Walt Jeter was second in rebounds with 251.

I hosted a small thank-you dinner for the team on Monday at the Alumni House.  It was originally supposed to be a barbeque, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so we moved it indoors.  During the event, within a five-minute time period it changed from rain to a slushy rain to snow to cloudy to sunny!   I guess the old story is true—if you don’t like the weather in the North Country, just wait a minute.

Mens BBall-1


Women’s Ice Hockey

Women’s Ice Hockey had their most successful season in their five-year history, finishing with 14 wins during the regular season, and winning their first playoff game ever, against Becker College 2-1.  Lots of our players won awards: In addition to Noelle Niemiec’s accomplishments (see above), Brooke Susac won three CHC Goalie of the Week, two Rookie of the Week, one Hero Sports Player of the Week, and named to the conference’s All-Rookie team; Tess Adams won CHC Player of the week three times, was twice recognized nationally on the Team of the Week, and was named CHC First Team All-Conference.  Others winning weekly awards were Jessica Pele and Sydney Jordan.  Sydney was also named to the conference’s All-Rookie Team.

The team (which is more like a family) was also excellent off the ice, with one of SUNY Canton’s top two team GPA’s, and winning multiple Academic All-American nods.  They’re all great student-athletes and great people as well.  On Tuesday, I hosted a thank-you dinner for them at the Alumni House.  While the weather was a bit better than on Monday, it was still a bit cold and threatening, so we moved it indoors again.

Women's Ice Hockey-1



This just in!  SUNY Canton’s Softball Team has extended its record-breaking season.  They have just earned their first-ever bid (four seed) to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Tournament, which will be held in Akron, Ohio starting May 15th.  They had a 22-15 season, breaking the school record for wins at the ACAA championship, where they came in second.  Stephanie Miller, Lizzie Limonite, and Jordan Podkladek were named to the All-Tournament team.  Courtney Hyland and Jordan Podkladek were also just named USCAA Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.

Looks like I’ll have the pleasure of hosting one more thank-you dinner when they get back from the national tournament!



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s Trivia Challenge dealt with the letter “U”.  Our fastest responder was Rebecca Harvey, who wins a $10 gift card spendable anywhere on campus.  Just come up to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Rebecca.  Others getting all four right include Amanda Wilkinson, Randi Conway, and Shawn Savard.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. You can rent a truck from them to carry your stuff, but you have to load it yourself. U-Haul.
  2. You can access online courses through this SUNY Canton portal. U-Can-Web.
  3. In the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this grew up to be a swan. The Ugly Duckling.
  4. When everyone votes the same way.  Unanimous.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

The Trivia Challenge is on summer vacation, but it will be back next year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 26, 2017


Volume 3, Issue 12–April 26, 2017


I’m Sick of Rain…

The weather has warmed up a bit and Spring is finally here.  Rain washed the last bits of snow away and the ground thawed, but there was so much rain that it led to some local flooding, including in my basement.  There were leaks where I’ve never seen water before, which led to some panicky moments when water was leaking out of the bottom of the box where the power lines come into my house—apparently, water had seeped into the conduit pipe.  I opened the box to make sure water didn’t accumulate, called the plumber (who said I had done the right thing), and had the folks from National Grid look at it the next day (who agreed I had done what could have been done).  Anyway, I have a masonry guy fixing the wall where the main leak was, and I’ll have him look at the other places too.  Ultimately, the water didn’t cause very much damage and the basement is dried out now.  There’s still rain on and off this week, but the ground is now capable of absorbing most of it, so barring a hurricane or something, I should be good for the rest of the season.  The weather was really nice Sunday, and our patio furniture is now outdoors again.  I’ll put the grill out this weekend, and may do a little cooking on it first chance I get.


Steel Bridge Team Successful Again!

SUNY Canton’s American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter won second place in the Upstate NY Regional Steel Bridge Competition last Friday, at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome.  SUNY Canton’s team bested teams from RIT, the University of Waterloo, Hudson Valley Community College, the US Military Academy at West Point, Clarkson University, Ecole Polytechnique Montreal, RPI, SUNY Polytechnic, Syracuse University, and the University of Buffalo, coming in behind only Ecole de Technologie Superieure.  As one of the top two teams, they’re off to the National Competition, to be held on May 26 at Oregon State University.


Members of the SUNY Canton team included Jonathan Abreu, Kristoff Adderley, Joseph Butera, Alexis Carreau, Kimberly Collins, Justin Donaldson, John Drews, Jessica Fischer, Daniel Gagnon, Nathanael Lalone Colin Law, Erdous Lebron, Ashley Livingston, Kyle Lorey, Sean Marciano, Steven Martz, Barandyk Nurdinova, Sarah Nuss, Tyler Odell, Dan Olin, Jocelyn Racette, Kevin Segit, Bromlen Steinburg, Alex Sterling, and David Viruso  and Chapter Advisor Paul Hitchman.

Two of our members, Jessica Fischer and Ashley Livingston were also chosen to receive $1500 scholarships by the Syracuse Section of the ASCE, based on the quality of engineering essays submitted to the section.  Assisting the team were advisors Joe Reilly, Andrew Reiter, and Dr. Yilei Shi, as well as Dan Miller, Neil Haney, Michael diVincenzo, and Dan Tuper.


New Chancellor

SUNY has just appointed Dr. Kristina Johnson as the new Chancellor, taking office in September.


Dr. Johnson has significant prior experience as an educator and in higher education administration, as well as significant achievements in applied research and in the private sector.  She previously served as Undersecretary of Energy in the Obama administration, as provost at John Hopkins, as dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, and as professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.  She is a strong advocate for women in leadership and for STEM, both of which bode well for SUNY Canton.  I’m looking forward to meeting Chancellor Johnson—she sounds like a fascinating and accomplished person.



Scholarship Celebration

I was pleased to attend last week’s Scholarly Activities Celebration, which began on Monday evening with a talk by renowned bird expert and author David Sibley.  Prior to the talk, Mr. Sibley signed copies of his best-selling field guides (of which he has written several) for a never-ending line of admirers. The talk was very well attended and very interesting.  Afterwards, there was a very nice dinner and lots of interesting conversation.


Poster Session

On Tuesday at noon, many students presented posters on their research projects.  I was one of the judges, but was only able to evaluate half of the posters before I had to leave for another meeting, so I think they used my “votes” as tie-breakers.  Everyone did a very good job, were poised and had prepared well.  The top nine posters (by Samantha Schramp, Lakeesha Perera, Courtney Cotter and Jessen Swider, Sean Marciano, Jessica Fischer, Dalton Moore, Joseph Butera, Zach Baxter, and Poornima Nanayakkara) were selected as “Featured Student Poster Series” displays that will be installed around campus.  Sarrah Williams was selected for a prize for her Early Childhood Education tri-fold Counting Baby Ducks.

Later that evening, I attended a series of oral presentations.  These covered a wide range of topics including building a mechatronic skateboard, building a windmill in Peru, and sects in Islam.  The session I attended even included an original song composed for guitar, and a love poem told in chemistry terms (by Prof. Rajiv Narula, of course)!  The two oral presentation prize winners were Jessica Fischer and Rebecca Burns.

Congratulations to everyone who helped plan and participated in the Scholarly Activities Celebration!



Student Specialty Awards

I’m always happy to be part of the Student Specialty Award Ceremony, which was held last Wednesday evening.  Our Vice President for Student Affairs, Courtney Bish, organizes the event, which recognizes students not only for academic achievement, but also for having overcome adversity and challenges.  It’s always a wonderful ceremony, filled with emotion and excitement.

SUNY Canton EMS 

The SUNY Canton EMS Squad won an award

It’s not only students who are honored—awards are also given to faculty and staff who support our students.  This year, well-deserved awards were given to our Director of Financial Aid, Kerrie Cooper (receiving the North Star Award), and to Prof. Melissa Lee (receiving the Dean of Students Specialty Award for Faculty).



Center for Diversities and Inclusion

Last Thursday featured the official opening of SUNY Canton’s Center for Diversities and Inclusion, located in the Miller Student Center.  The opening ceremony began with a prayer delivered by Tom Porter, spokesman and spiritual leader of the Mohawk community of Kanatsiohareke, reminding us that we are all people of the Earth and need to thank our “mother” for all that we have.  Also speaking were Carlos Medina (Vice Chancellor and the Chief Diversity Officer at the State University of New York), Louise McDonald Herne (Condoled Bear Clan Matron of the Akwesasne Nation), SUNY Canton’s co-Chief Diversity Officers Bill Jones and Lashawanda Ingram, and me.


L-R: Bill Jones, Tom Porter, Doug Scheidt (Provost), Carlos Medina, me, Louise McDonald Herne, Mike Dalton (Mayor of Canton), Courtney Bish (VP for Student Affairs), Lashawanda Ingram, Anne Sibley (VP for Advancement)

A special thank you to our State Senator Patty Ritchie, a great friend to SUNY Canton, who helped secure the funding to refurbish the space for the Center.  Senator Ritchie was represented at the opening by Jim Reagen.


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “T”.  Our winner was Brooke Rood.  Just come up to my office on the 6th floor of McArthur Hall to get your prize, a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus.  Others with all five right (better luck next time!) included Jenna Kiskiel, Sydney Axton, Amanda Wilkinson, Misty Gobin, Jennifer Blair, Sarah Shipman, and Lee Meggison.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Bus line going from Canton to Syracuse or Albany.  Trailways.
  2. Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai.  Ten Commandments or Tablets.
  3. Social networking service where messages can only be 140 characters.  Twitter.
  4. Liquor made from the blue agave plant in Mexico.  Tequila!


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “U”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. You can rent a truck from them to carry your stuff, but you have to load it yourself.
  2. You can access online courses through this SUNY Canton portal.
  3. In the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this grew up to be a swan.
  4. When everyone votes the same way.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 7, 2017


Volume 3, Issue 11–April 7, 2017


Into Each Life…

Back in 1944, a musical group known as the Ink Spots (featuring Bill Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald) sang the song “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”, and the weather up here has done its best to live up to it.  The snow is nearly gone (though there might be a flurry this weekend), and has been replaced by a lot of, well, you know.  We have a “hairline” crack in our wall in the basement and some water is seeping in.  I have a few towels on the floor arranged so that the water is wicked toward the sump pump, so the wet area is confined at the moment to a small area in the corner, but the area is expecting some flooding today from the rain, and hopefully things won’t get worse.  I have someone lined up to repair the wall when the rain stops and the ground has defrosted, so the problem will be gone in a few weeks (I hope!), but in the meanwhile, it’s time to keep the fingers crossed.  If you’ve never heard the song, just click on the link below. 




Out and About

I’ve been off campus a lot lately, traveling around the state for several important reasons.  On Monday and Tuesday March 19-20, I was in Albany for legislative visits.  The main topic is the proposed Excelsior Scholarships, which have become a major topic of discussion.   I flew home on Tuesday night, but then turned around and on Wednesday morning, drove down to Auburn, NY, for a visit with Carl Haynes, the president of Tompkins Cortland Community College.   On Thursday morning, I met with Cayuga Community College’s president, Brian Durant, grabbed a quick lunch, and then drove to Canandaigua to meet with Finger Lakes Community College’s president, Robert Nye.  Finally, on Friday, I drove to Syracuse to meet with Onondaga Community College’s president, Casey Crabill.  All four meetings went very well, with us discussing some of the new degree programs we have recently had approved at SUNY Canton, and ways that we can work more closely together.

The following Tuesday (March 28), I was off again, this time to Watertown to meet Jefferson County Community College’s president Carol McCoy.  Again, we talked about ways JCC and Canton could work more closely together.  President McCoy will be retiring at the end of the year, after many years of accomplishment at JCC.

On Thursday March 30, I was off again, this time to SUNY Farmingdale (a Long Island college that is part of our Colleges of Technology sector in SUNY), for the inauguration of their new president, John Nader.  Farmingdale is not easy to get to from Canton.  I had to take the 7:30 AM flight from Ogdensburg to Albany, take a taxi from the airport to the Amtrak station, take a train from there to Penn Station in New York City, and finally take the Long Island Railroad from there to Farmingdale, finally arriving at about 3:30 PM.  There was a breakfast at 8:00 AM the next morning, and the robing started at 10.  The ceremony began at 11, and was very nice, and included a small band and a chorus.  Candace Vancko, formerly president of SUNY Delhi when he was the provost gave a humorous background history of the new president, and then it was time for John to get his official medallion of office and to give his inaugural address, which was quite good.


President John Nader (left) and SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall (right)

The reception afterwards was very good too, but I had to rush off to do the trip back to Canton in reverse, staying in Albany overnight.  I was afraid my morning flight was going to be cancelled because 8 inches of heavy snow was predicted, but the bad weather never came, and there was no problem.  By a nice coincidence, while getting my boarding pass for the morning flight, the family behind me had come up from New York City and was also going to Canton.  I asked what they were going there for, and it turned out it was for SUNY Canton’s Accepted Students Day program!  They were very surprised when I told them I was the president, and we had a chance to talk while waiting for the flight, and after landing, I gave them a ride to campus and introduced them to our Admissions folks.


Chancellor’s Award Winning Students

My only trip this week was yesterday, down to Albany for the day for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence ceremony.  The ceremony is always quite nice, as it celebrates all kinds of student accomplishment across the SUNY system.  SUNY Canton had two winners this year, who I happened to run into just as I walked into the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, where the ceremony was held—quite a coincidence since we had traveled separately!


Our first winner is Poornima Rathika Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara, who is a Sri Lankan student majoring in Health and Fitness Promotion.  Poornima works as a tutor in several subjects, as a health advocate for our Davis Halth Center, and as an RA.  In Fall 2016, she was awarded the “Break a Leg Award”, recognizing her as a devoted RA who was able to accomplish all her tasks while overcoming a severe injury, and was still needing to use a crutch during the ceremony.  Poornima complete two research papers in Fall 2016 and is completing a third one for our upcoming honors presentation.

Our second winner is Sarah Nuss, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Wyantskill, NY.  Sara is vice president of our American Society of Civil Engineering student chapter, a member of Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society (which recognizes academic achievement in Engineering Technology), and an active member of six campus organizations including the ASCE Steel Bridge Team, which regularly competes at the national level. 

A total of only 256 students across all of SUNY won this award.  Congratulations to Sarah and Poornima on their fine accomplishments!


And, Speaking of Congratulations…

SUNY Canton’s own Student Activities Coordinator Kashonda M. Watson was named Campus Event Planner of the Year from Power Performers, a celebrity entertainment resource company. Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Courtney B. Bish and Director of Student Activities Priscilla Leggette recognized Kashonda on March 22 at a division meeting.

There are a lot of great activities taking place in SUNY Canton’s School of Business and Liberal Arts.  On Monday April 24, the Financial Literacy Center will be presenting a College Planning Seminar at 6:30 PM in the Campus Center, Room 212.


They are also hosting the annual Mock Trial Tournament, which runs until tomorrow on campus, and has its final trial at 5:30 PM at the St. Lawrence County Court House.  Students in the tournament argue both sides in a fictitious civil trial.  The program is co-sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, the New York Bar Foundation, and the Law, Youth, and Citizenship Program. Thanks to all who are involved with these activities!


A big thank you to Edward Bedell (’69) who spoke as part of our Excellence in Leadership Program on March 29.  Ed is the owner and president of COP Construction, a leading company that specializes in bridges, dams, concrete structures, and sanitary sewer and storm drain utilities and treatment plants.  The company has operations in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, and employs more than 200 full-time personnel.  His presentation was very interesting, focusing on his own pathway to executive leadership.  The series is sponsored by Corning, with logistics handled by SUNY Canton’s Office of Advancement. 


Edward Bedell (’69)

I was on the road that day, but I hear that SUNY Canton’s 7th Annual Law Enforcement Day, focusing on “Investigative Perceptions”, held on March 27, went very well.  The event featured new crime scene investigation methodology, a session on Victim-Centered Death Investigations presented by noted authority Dr. Laura Pettler, and the presentation of the documentary “Officer Involved”, with the director, Patrick Shaver, providing the introduction and leading a discussion afterwards.  Thanks to everyone who helped plan and offer the events!


Dr. Laura Pettler

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “S”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Peyton Robinson.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Peyton—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lee Meggison, Marlene Cazahuati, Marie Gonzales, and Andrea Wrobel.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Smartphone manufacturer that makes the Galaxy.  Samsung.
  2. Satellite radio service that carries Howard Stern, College Sports Nation, Venus, and Pop2K.  Sirius XM.
  3. Singer whose album A Seat at the Table, was #1 in the United States.  Other albums included Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams and Solo Star.  Solange Knowles.
  4. Scandinavian country known for its meatballs and Ikea.  Its capital is Stockholm.  Sweden.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “T”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Bus line going from Canton to Syracuse or Albany.
  2. Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai.
  3. Social networking service where messages can only be 140 characters.
  4. Liquor made from the blue agave plant in Mexico.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 24, 2014


Happening ’17

Maybe it’s the thaw in the weather, and maybe it’s all the good stuff going on here on campus.  I’m feeling really good about things up here at SUNY Canton and in the North Country.

In the words of Paul Revere and the Raiders on their classic rock album Happening ’68 (OK–I know most of you won’t have ever heard of them, but they were cool back in the day),

People, something’s happening
Something in the air
Listen to the sound now
Come from everywhere.

You know you’ve got to hurry
You don’t want to be late
But people don’t you worry
What’s happenin’ is great.

As I mentioned in the last FROM THE POUCH, two of our new degree proposals have been approved by State Ed, and will be offered beginning this Fall.  These are the B.S. in Game Design and Development and the B.B.A. in Agribusiness. We’ve gotten good publicity and a lot of good comments about them.

We’re seeing strong legislative support for what we’re doing, and I’m hearing lots of folks in the economic development sector telling me how critical SUNY Canton is to the success of our region, and how we’re moving in the right directions.  Our alumni are increasingly engaged, and they like what they’re hearing.

You, our students, are doing well and are in high demand when you graduate.  Our Student Government is active, and a number of initiatives that they wanted to propose tie in perfectly with ideas the College’s administration had and we’re working to implement them.  Several students will be going to DC next month to advocate for higher education in general, and student empowerment in particular.  Our student athletes have done well, beating the local competition and some teams we’ve never beaten before by solid margins.

Every time I turn around, I hear about another faculty member who has won an award, is working on a book or has published a paper, or is doing something innovative in the classroom to support our students.  Our new Center for Diversities and Inclusion is planning a strong set of programs, and has started a weekly “Soup and Solidarity” series, that will feature free soup, music, and good conversations on a variety of topics.

There are lots of cool events coming up soon (including the annual Snow Ball this weekend) in the Student Life area, thanks to the hard work of our staff in those areas.  The campus has never looked better, and there are plans that will soon be implemented to take us to the next level with Dana  and Chaney Halls.

There’s still a lot to do to bring all of the above to fruition.  Like all good kangaroos, we need to keep a hop ahead and keep moving forward.  But like I said before, things are happening, and SUNY Canton just keeps getting better and better.


This Just In!  SUNY Canton Students win Chancellor’s Award!


Two SUNY Canton students have won the coveted Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, and will be presented with the award on April 5.  The winners are Poornima Rathika Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara  (B.Tech. in Health and Fitness Promotion) and Sarah Nuss (B.Tech. in Civil and Environmental Engineering).  I’ll have a full report next issue, but for now, congratulations Poornima and Sarah!



Hitting the Ground Running

Everyone knows that SUNY Canton students and graduates are always ready to hit the ground running, thanks to the strong applied-learning focus we have at the College.  I just heard an especially great example of this, and I’d like to give a shout-out to the students involved.

A few days ago, a student in a nursing class had a cardiac problem.  Two of our students, Jessica Deleel and Christine Phippen, knew exactly what to do, being graduates of our Licensed Practical Nursing program and current students in our Registered Nursing program.  Jessica and Christine called our campus EMS squad, and also got help from a nearby instructional support assistant.  They then stayed outside the lab until the EMS squad arrived to show where the student needing help was.  Christine took the student’s temperature, and had a pulse oximeter ready for the EMS team and rescue squad, so they could assess the patient and get vital details on her condition.  They stayed calm, cool, and collected like a seasoned LPN/RN student should.


The other students in the lab also helped out, bringing cool cloths and taking down a medical list for the EMS and rescue squads, and asking if they could also help.  Most importantly, after being stabilized, the student was transferred to the hospital and got the help she needed.


So, in a lesson that was a bit more hands-on than they had bargained for, our students got to see a real simulation play out before their eyes, about the cardiac topic they were discussing.  They got to see how medical personnel give an SBAR, share patient details, and do a focused assessment.  These were all concepts and assessments that the professor was planning on practicing that day in lab!


So, congratulations to Jessica and Christine for their cool-headed response, and to the rest of the class for pitching in.  For this reason, they all win a special “ROOsponding to a Crisis” Presidential Award, which will be delivered to their classroom in the next few weeks.


New Athletic Conference!


I’m happy to report that SUNY Canton is now part of an athletic conference, namely the American Collegiate Athletic Association.  We just heard this past Tuesday that the ACAA has been given conference membership in Division III of the NCAA.  SUNY Alfred is also a member of this conference.   This conference is a good step forward for our athletic programs, and will provide our students an opportunity for post-season play.


Top 100 in Online Programs Again!


SUNY Canton’s online programs are in the top 100 nationally, for the third time, according to US News and World Report.  Only three SUNY schools have this distinction!


Top in Pet-Friendliness Again!


I’m also happy to report that SUNY Canton was named as one of the 25 most pet-friendly colleges in the country, coming in at #13, and was 1st in New York, and the only SUNY on the list.


New Banners!

Our Student Government has been working closely with Priscilla Leggette, Director of Student Activities, and our various student organizations to create banners for each club.  The first batch of banners has now been hung above the mailboxes in the Student Center, with more to come, and they all look great!  An unveiling was held this past Monday.



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “R”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Amanda DaCosta.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Amanda—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Savanna-Lin Boadway, Zhamal Nurdin, and Lee Meggison.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. You rent movies from it, and it’s located just outside the Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and many other stores.  Redbox.
  2. Oakland’s football team.  Raiders.
  3. Born in Barbados, this singer’s albums include Music of the Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rated R, Unapologetic, and Anti.  Rihanna.
  4. Athletic footwear company, their products include the ventilator, zig, nano, and ZQuick TR.  Reebok.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “S”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Smartphone manufacturer that makes the Galaxy.
  2. Satellite radio service that carries Howard Stern, College Sports Nation, Venus, and Pop2K.
  3. Singer whose album A Seat at the Table, was #1 in the United States.  Other albums included Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams and Solo Star.
  4. Scandinavian country known for its meatballs and Ikea.  Its capital is Stockholm.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 17, 2017

From the Pouch

Volume 3, Issue 9–February 17, 2017


Welcome Back

We’re well into the Spring Semester, though it really doesn’t look a lot like spring.  We had a pretty good snowfall earlier in the week–more than a foot, which is unusual all at once–but it’s supposed to warm up later this week so a lot of it should melt off.  All in all, it has been a mild winter up until now.  Hopefully, the rest of February and March won’t go the other way.



Happy Birthday!

It’s birthday time in the Szafran household.  My father Daniel just turned 90 on February 8, and son Mark turned 33 on February 9.  True story:  When wife Jill was pregnant with Mark, my father was hoping that he’d be born on February 8 so that they could celebrate their birthdays together.  When February 8 came, Jill hadn’t gone into labor, so I called my father and told him that it looked like he wasn’t going to get his wish.  Just as we were preparing to go to bed, Jill came over to me and said “It’s time”, and sure enough, she delivered Mark at about 3:00 AM on February 9.  When I told my father he had just missed having his wish granted, he said “What are you talking about?  I was born in Poland—there’s a 7 hour time difference between here and there, so you made it!”  So, for many years, they indeed always celebrated their birthdays together.

If any of you have a February birthday, congratulations!  You’re in good company.


New Degrees!

We’ve gotten final approval lately about new degrees that we will be offering at SUNY Canton.  Getting a new degree approved is a long process–it can take more than a year to write the proposal up, get it approved on campus, send it to SUNY, respond to other colleges that may comment on it (or not want you to offer it), get approval from SUNY, and get approval from the NY State Department of Education.  It can get quite complicated, but we have some good news to announce.


Our first new degree is in Game Design and Development.  This is a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree that will focus on the design and production of modern video games.  Students enrolling in the program will learn how to design and program these games on multiple computer platforms and for different kinds of devices, and will get lots of hands-on experience creating video games for commercial, educational, and medical audiences.  Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, and a major hub of video game manufacture is nearby in Montreal.  The program will be offered starting this coming fall semester.


The second degree approved is in Agribusiness.  This is a 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration degree that will focus on the management side of modern farming.  As many of you may know, SUNY Canton began its history way back in 1906 as a College of Agriculture.  Many of our most successful graduates in St. Lawrence County and across the state began their careers in the college’s agriculture programs.  Over the years, most of these programs were phased out, so offering this program is a way for us to tie in to our original roots.  Students in this program will learn principles of accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, operations, human resources, economics, ethics, and communications, and learn to apply them to agriculture.  We will also be partnering with local agricultural enterprises to provide internship opportunities for students.  The Agribusiness program will be offered starting this coming fall semester.


Visit to SUNY

While some people give out chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day,  SUNY Canton got to celebrate with a visit to Albany for our Campus Visit, which was an opportunity for us to speak with folks at the systems office about how we’re doing on campus relative to our performance improvement plan; what our current vision is for the College; what we think the College could be in 2025 if money weren’t an issue; what we think our strengths,  weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are; and to propose some areas that we’d like some funding from SUNY for.  A group of 11 of us participated in preparing our responses, including me, the vice presidents, our student government president Nikki Zeitzman, our associate provost, our co-chief diversity officers, our Faculty Assembly moderator (who got sick and wasn’t able to attend the meeting), and our UUP local union president.


We left Canton at about 7 AM for the drive down to Albany and fortunately the weather cooperated, so we had a pleasant ride.  We got there just in time for a quick lunch, and then went over to SUNY for our 1 PM meeting.

By all accounts the meeting went well, and I think our colleagues at SUNY now have a stronger understanding of the many great things going on at SUNY Canton today, and the even greater things we are planning and working toward for the future.  Hopefully, they’ll invite us to submit  proposals for funding on some of the ideas we presented.


Long Trip

I went on a marathon trip last month, starting on January 17th and running to the 29th.  Leg one had me going to Nashville for the NCAA National Convention.  SUNY Canton became a full member of NCAA Division III this past year.

The drive down to Syracuse to catch my flight was mostly fine and I took off on time for Chicago where I was changing planes.  The connecting flight to Nashville was only three gates away and we got on the flight on time.  After taxiing out from the gate, we sat there for about 45 minutes (which the pilot initially said was due to heavy traffic), and were then told there was a mechanical problem.  The plane returned to the gate, we sat there a bit longer while a repair crew looked things over, and were then taken off the plane.  After another hour or so, they announced that we would be going onto another plane in a short while, and 45 minutes later, we did.  I arrived in Nashville almost three hours late, and by the time I got to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, all the restaurants were closed and I had to content myself with a pretty dismal pre-packaged sub.

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is a pretty impressive place—they say it’s the biggest hotel in the U.S. that doesn’t have a casino associated with it.  After checking in, it was a long walk  to where my room was, involving a couple of escalators, a sky bridge, and two elevators before I got there.  The hotel reminded me of San Antonio’s Riverwalk—there are several “rivers” inside (you can even take a boat ride on one of them) with restaurants alongside, and the skywalk was over an area with lots of exotic plants.


The first big event was the NCAA Honors Celebration, showcasing students who have overcome great adversity or challenge to excel both scholastically and athletically.  There were also others who were chosen on the 25th anniversary of their graduation.  The Theodore Roosevelt Award for Astounding Accomplishment went to Beth Brooke-Marciniak, who was a great basketball player who went on to become a business leader at Ernst and Young and is now their Global Vice Chair of Public Policy and was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women.  Other sessions during the week focused on the Fair Labor Standards Act, social justice in in college sports, and a bunch of business meetings.  Our own Courtney Bish (VP for Student Affairs) was selected to attend the Athletics Direct Reports Institute at the NCAA Conference, one of only 43 selected nationwide from Division III.  Congratulations, Courtney!

I left Nashville on Sunday morning, taking an early United Airlines flight to Washington DC.  By an odd coincidence, the person sitting next to me on the plane was Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State College, and a friend from back in Georgia days.  My connection time in Washington was supposed to be an hour, but after getting on the plane to Albany, we had to get off because of mechanical problems.  This time the delay was five hours before they could get us on another plane.  The airport was filled with women who had participated in the National Women’s March the previous day and were returning home.  It was interesting to hear their stories about the March, and how excited and energized they were to get more politically involved.  The flight finally took off at about 5:30 PM, and was otherwise uneventful.  A few minutes after arriving in Albany, I got a news announcement on my phone—all domestic flights on United had been cancelled due to a computer malfunction, so I had barely made it onto the flight on time. 

On Monday morning, I went over to the Egg in Albany to attend a breakfast honoring SUNY’s Chancellor, Nancy Zimpher.  Chancellor Zimpher will be leaving her position at the end of the academic year, so this was our chance to say “thanks” for everything she has done and to wish her well in the future.  The breakfast was followed by the Chancellor’s annual State of the University Address, where she talked about two new initiatives.  The first, the SUNY Impact Foundation, will be created to raise funds to support degree completion and student success on all campuses.  The second was the creation of the SUNY Center for Systems Change, which will focus on continuous improvement within the system.  There were several pictures of SUNY Canton in her presentation, thanks to the good efforts of our PR folks. 

Following the Address, I joined Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) to speak with our own State Senator Patty Ritchie.  Senator Ritchie is a strong supporter of SUNY Canton, and is especially interested in our efforts in agriculture, nursing, and economic development.  She noted: “Centers of learning—like SUNY Canton—are key to helping people have bright futures, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work together to improve higher ed opportunities for students.”


We then met with Deborah Glick, the Chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee.  Assemblymember Glick is a strong supporter of SUNY and of higher education in general.  We discussed some of the new initiatives we are taking at the College, as well as Governor Cuomo’s new Excelsior Scholarship initiative.  Our third meeting was with members of Senator Kenneth LaValle’s staff on the same issues, and they were strongly supportive.

That evening, we attended the Business Council’s Legislator’s Reception, where we met several colleagues from other SUNY campuses and several business leaders, including one I found out was our own alumnus—Tom Landry (no, not the football player, though he’s met him!), who works at blueRock Solar.

On Tuesday morning, I met with our local Assemblywoman, Addie Jenne.  I’ve met with her many times, both at formal meetings and at various events around the region, and I always enjoy hearing her viewpoints.  She is also a strong supporter of the College and is interested in several of our new initiatives.  From there, it was down to SUNY Central to meet with Gloria Lopez, who is the System – wide Affirmative Action Officer in SUNY’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a Fulbright scholar.  We chatted a bit about world music and about some of the initiatives we are planning that will enhance diversity on our campus.  Gloria has lots of interesting ideas that I look forward to sharing with our Executive Diversity Council.

After lunch, I went to the airport for the third leg of my trip—visiting alumni in Florida The flight was fine and I arrived in Orlando on time.  The moment I walked out of the terminal, Peggy Sue Levato from our Advancement Office was there, having correctly guessed which door I’d emerge from.  On Wednesday and Thursday, we got together with several alumni in the area.  We drove to New Smyrna Beach and checked in to the Best Western, right on the beach.  My room had a very nice beach view and even had a small balcony.


That afternoon, we went to an alumni gathering that was well attended, and I was very happy to see former SUNY Canton President Joe Kennedy and his wife Dine there, as well as several foundation board members Gil White, Bob Raymo, and Chris Gray.  I gave a short presentation updating everyone about what’s going on at the College, and they all were very pleased at our progress on multiple fronts.


On Thursday, we drove down to the Villages, a new and very large city that has been established near Leesburg. We met with Rosella Valentine (’68) and her husband John at a very nice restaurant.  It’s always nice to see them—Rosella is a long-time member of the foundation board (I learned it was her 40th anniversary of service on the board!) and John and I share a love of classical music and opera.  On Saturday, we went to another alumni gathering, this time in Summerfield.  Joe and Dine Kennedy had made the trek out to be at this meeting too, and it was another well-attended gathering.


Afterwards, it was back in the car for the ride up to Orlando, to stay at the Airport Fairfield Inn.  We left Orlando on Sunday, getting to Syracuse at about 4 PM, and after a stop in Watertown for dinner, I finally got home at about 8 PM.  The next morning?  Back to work on campus for a bunch of meetings that had stacked up in the 12 days I was gone.


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “Q”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Marlene Cazahuati.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Marlene—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lee Meggison, Beoncia Chaplin, Zhamal Nurdin, and Peyton Robinson.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Sound a duck makes.  Quack.
  2. It’s worth 25 cents.  Quarter.
  3. Royalty whose albums include Black Reign, Order in the Court, Trav’lin Light, and Persona.  Queen Latifah.
  4. French-speaking Canadian province.  Quebec.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “R”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. You rent movies from it, and it’s located just outside the Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and many other stores.
  2. Oakland’s football team.
  3. Born in Barbados, this singer’s albums include Music of the Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad, Rated R, Unapologetic, and Anti.
  4. Athletic footwear company, their products include the ventilator, zig, nano, and ZQuick TR.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 7, 2016


Volume 3, Issue 8–December 7, 2016



Required Training–Please Participate

On July 7, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed his Enough is Enough legislation to combat sexual assault on college and university campuses statewide.  As part of this  legislation, colleges are required to provide Title IX training to all students, faculty, and staff.  SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton have partnered to provide online training for our students.  All new, new transfer, and readmitted students are required to complete the training module by no later than December 16, 2016.

Last week, you received an email from Stacey Basford with the subject line “Required Student Training – Due December 16.”  Please look for that email, and complete your training on/before December 16.  If you lost the email, here are the instructions:

(1) Click on the following link:

(2) Enter your username [##UserName##]

(3) Enter your password [##Password##]

(4) Click the “Sign-In” button

(5) Complete the training.

Should you have any problems signing in or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Title IX Coordinator, Amanda Rowley, at or call ext. 7559.



It’s December Already?

How can it be December already?  It seems like the semester just started and yet, in another two weeks it will be over.   I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, ate lots of turkey, and is feeling invigorated to make the push for doing well on finals.

We stayed around the area for Thanksgiving, and after a little discussion (OK, argument), decided that we’d stay traditional again this year and get a turkey.  My wife Jill had the nice folks at Price Chopper look around the back to find the smallest possible turkey since it’s just the three of us, and she really doesn’t like turkey all that much.  They found a nice 12 pounder, and after thawing it out, washing it, adding some stuffing, and rubbing the outside with some seasoning, it was quite delicious.  One of the best inventions of all time is the oven cooking bag—it keeps the turkey moist, requires no basting, retains the gravy inside, and even makes the bird cook faster.  What more can you ask for less than a dollar?  Anyway, after gorging on the turkey, stuffing, and rice for a few days, we had all had enough and dumped the little bit that was left.

This year, Chanukah comes on the same day as Christmas.  Chanukah can come as early as November 28 or as late as December 27, so this year it is an unusually late one.  My family have a number of Chanukah menorahs (candelabras) that we’ve picked up over the years.  Our favorite is one we got for son Mark’s first Chanukah—it has Mickey and Minnie Mouse lying on the floor in front of a fireplace, playing with dreidels (little spinning tops).



Good luck on your finals, and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and a Happy New Year!




Diversity Conferences

Back on November 8,  Provost Doug Scheidt and I took a drive down to Saratoga Springs to attend the Cultural Competency and Inclusive Excellence Institute for Senior SUNY Leadership (CCIEI, November 8) and the SUNY Diversity Conference (November 9-11).  The trip down was quite nice—a crisp fall day through the Adirondack Mountains.  There are several choices of ways to get there that are all about the same distance and time, but I usually go through Newcomb and Minerva on Route 28N toward Olmstedsville, and pick up I-87 in Pottersville.  This time I noticed a sign for Olmstedsville a bit earlier and turned off to go there, only to find myself on a road that I had never been on before (I think we were on County Road 24), in an area where there was no GPS signal.  I knew we’d be fine if we kept heading east, since we’d eventually run into either US 9 or I-87, and sure enough we did at Schroon Lake, which turned out to be quite beautiful.  Anyway, we got to Saratoga Springs just in time for the conferences.

The CCIEI was good, with a very interesting session on how we’re wired to see and do certain things in a particular way.  The speaker, Howard Ross, showed a series of words representing colors that were the same color as the word (i.e., the word “red” was colored red), and had us read them as quickly as we could.  No one had any problem with that.  He then showed a similar series of words representing colors, but this time, the word was colored in a different color (i.e., the word “red” was colored blue), and asked us to say what color each word was (blue in this example).  This caused a mental “disconnect”, since our minds are trained to read the word, not its color, and it was much harder to do it.  This phenomenon, Provost Scheidt (who is a psychologist by background) tells me, is called the Stroop Effect.

Ross then showed it wasn’t just our minds that work that way—our bodies do too.  He showed a film clip with people riding a bicycle that had been modified so that when the handlebars were turned in one direction, the bicycle would turn in the opposite direction.  People were offered $50 if they could ride the bicycle about 20 feet without falling off, and no one could do it, because we’re conditioned when we learn to ride a bicycle that it will react only in one way.

Both things illustrated that it’s really hard to see or do things in new ways, because we’re so conditioned to doing them in the way we’re used to.

In the same way, our prior experiences give us biases.  If you got ill after eating carrots when you were young, you might avoid carrots from that point forward.  The bias could be conscious (you remember the earlier bad experience) or unconscious (you’ve forgotten why you don’t like carrots but you still avoid them, or you may even shy away from all orange foods because you associated the bad experience with orange-colored foods in general).  There’s no particular harm to this kind of bias, since we all have individual preferences in food, style of clothing, and so on.

However, through their upbringing or experiences, some people associate negative traits with whole groups of people.  If one person from Potsdam treated you meanly, you may associate meanness (and other negative traits) with all people from Potsdam, and avoid going there, hiring someone from there, or simply be fearful of someone from there, without even being conscious that you are doing this.  This type of bias, even when unconscious, results in discrimination, since fear quickly triggers the more primitive part of the brain, whereas the intellectual part of our brain reacts more slowly.  Harvard University has a website where you can take a test to see if you have an unconscious bias (they call it implicit bias) in a number of areas.  If you want to give it a try, you can click here.

Since everyone has unconscious biases of one kind or another, that’s part of the reason it is important to make sure that decision-making groups are diverse. A diverse group will be less likely to have all had the same experiences or unconscious biases, and if group members are willing to speak up, less likely to arrive at discriminatory outcomes.  Also, when one is aware of unconscious biases in general, and one’s own biases in particular, it is easier to avoid acting in ways that result from them.


The SUNY Diversity Conference featured of a number of keynote speakers as well as parallel sessions of individual presentations.  A number of the speakers made last-minute changes in their talks to editorialize about the election outcome, with several expressing concern about what the future Trump administration might do regarding issues related to diversity, and resolved to fight anything that would push back on recent social gains.

As is always the case, some of the talks were more interesting than others.  I personally would have liked more talks to have focused on strategies that had been found to be successful and how they were implemented and fewer on advocacy, but on the whole, the conference was quite worthwhile.

At the very end of the conference, I was part of a panel of four presidents talking about how they were implementing the Board of Regents’ Diversity Agenda on their campuses.  I presented a PowerPoint on what we have done at SUNY Canton.  It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in the various campus’ approaches, and I was able to get a few ideas of new things that might be worth trying.


Shout Outs

Congratulations to our Health Care Management program, which was just listed among the Top 10 Low Cost Online Degree Programs 2016 by


The website praised the degree, saying “SUNY Canton rivals even the most accommodating online colleges with its B.S. in Health Care Management, which allows students to select any combination of online, hybrid and face-to-face courses.”  Health Care Management (part of the general category of Health Administration) is a high demand field.  The website goes on to say “If you graduate with a B.S. in Health Administration, you’ll find yourself gazing into a future with explosive career opportunities. The BLS anticipates an immense 17% growth in health management positions before 2024 – that’s more than 56,000 new jobs…the data indicates that a degree in this discipline could be your ticket to a reliable future with high ROI and room to grow.”


Kudos to DianeMarie Collins for her good work with the SUNY Canton’s new electronic sign.


It’s a harder job than you may think—DianeMarie often stays late to create signs for events, rearranges the order of events to accommodate requests, and diplomatically fields requests or addresses complaints about submissions that don’t fit the agreed upon criteria.  The sign looks great, and I enjoy reading it as I drive in each morning!   


Congratulations to Dr. Emily Hamilton-Honey (English) who recently won the St. Lawrence County Chapter of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Research Award for her in-depth study of young women’s serial novels.


She is the author of a book in progress titled Girls to the Rescue: Mixed Messages From American Girls’ Series Fiction in World War I. Her research is based on series books including The Red Cross Girls, The Khaki Girls, and the Ruth Fielding novels. The book is slated to be published next year.



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “O”. Our fastest responder with all five correct was Lee Meggison.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Lee—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.

Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Lynnette Lessley, Nurdin Kyzy Zhamal, Christopher Bertrand, and Christine Simon.

Here are the correct answers:

    1. President of the United States.  Barack Obama.
    2. The capital of Canada.  Ottawa.
    3. Name of the place where Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion defeated the wicked witch of the west.  Oz.
    4. English-Irish pop group that has albums Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M.  One Direction.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “Q”, which should certainly test your vocabulary! The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Sound a duck makes.
  2. It’s worth 25 cents.
  3. Royalty whose albums include Black Reign, Order in the Court, Trav’lin Light, and Persona.
  4. French-speaking Canadian province.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 18, 2016


Volume 3, Issue 7–November 18, 2016


 A Message from the Governor and from Me

I just received a message from New York Governor Cuomo that I thought I’d share with everyone, and then make a few comments of my own.  Here’s what Governor Cuomo had to say:

New York and this nation were founded on the premise that we are all created equal. In the weeks that have followed the election, that promise has rung hollow for too many New Yorkers and Americans.

Hate crimes have spiked across the country and this state has not been spared. This week, fliers glorifying the KKK were found distributed on cars in Suffolk County. Last week in Allegany County, a softball field dugout was defaced with the words “Make America White Again,” accompanied by a spray-painted swastika. These are just a few examples. My administration has launched a number of investigations into hate crimes targeting minorities and immigrants.

I call on all public officials, of all parties, and indeed, all people everywhere, to denounce and repudiate these expressions, and to pledge to punish to the full extent of the law anyone engaged in such acts. To remain silent is to engage in a dangerous new permissiveness that threatens our American way.

Residents who have experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or discrimination are encouraged to call our toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.

Let me be very clear: These acts of hate and intolerance go against everything New York stands for. We have welcomed generations of immigrants with open arms. This state will continue that proud legacy – we will not turn our backs and we will not let this heated rhetoric divide us.

We will stand strong united in the face of intolerance and show the world that we are one people, one family, and one New York.

These sentiments also apply to SUNY in general and SUNY Canton in particular.

Many people don’t know this, but a big part of the reason for the founding of the SUNY system was to combat discrimination.  Until the 1940’s (and in some cases, even beyond), many of New York’s private colleges were discriminatory and restricted the admission of students who were Black, Hispanic, or Jewish.  In response to this discrimination, the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University was created in 1946.  The Commission carried out a study, and recommended the creation of a public state university system that would be open to all New Yorkers without regard to race, creed, or religion.  Legislation was passed in 1948 that created SUNY, and many colleges that had been created for special purposes (such as SUNY Canton, a specialty college of Agriculture and Technology which was founded in 1906) joined the system that year.  Standing united against intolerance has therefore been in SUNY’s mission from the very beginning.

At SUNY Canton, we are absolutely committed to the credo that Everyone is Welcome Here.  We have recently appointed two co-Chief Diversity Officers (Lashawanda Ingram and William Jones), and are about to open our Center for Diversities and Inclusion.  We offer a regular series of programs, workshops, activities, and events that celebrate and promote diversity, and are working hard to do even more.   In the words of the song People Have the Power by Patti Smith:

                                   I believe everything we dream,

                                    Can come to pass through our union.

                                    We can turn the world around,

                                    We can turn the Earth’s revolution,

                                    We have the power—the people have the power.

We encourage everyone to join us and come together to show the world that through our union, we are one family, one student body, and one campus community that’s going to turn our dreams into reality together.  



This past Tuesday (November 15), SUNY Canton’s Environmental Change Organization (ECO) held their “First Dump” activity, starting this year’s composting initiative.  ECO President Jessica Fischer explained what composting was and why it is important to helping the environment and reducing waste, and Pat Hanss and Kelly Carter talked about how students, staff, and faculty worked together as a team to promote the positive academic and environmental impacts of the project.


Everyone then walked to the compost pile to watch the facilities crew add 325 lbs. of pre-consumer food waste (which is the amount generated every few days on campus) to a truckload of autumn leaves and mix them up, starting this year’s composting process.


The composting project has recently been awarded with some funding from the College Foundation’s Campus Enhancement Awards to expand the compost pile and perfect the process.

ECO initiated composting in Fall of 2015. Since then ECO and its advisor Rajiv Narula, the College’s Dining Services (including Sue Law, Brad Winters, and the kitchen staff), Physical Plant (including Pat Hanss, Stan Wilson, and the facilities crew) and campus Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Carter began a trial compost pile from October 2015 to April 2016. The food waste was weighed, dumped and mixed with leaf litter two to three times a week. The mature compost was used this summer and fall in the flower beds and boxes in Roselle Plaza, and also as an addition to the soil for the new Bee and Butterfly Habitat near French Hall. Last year SUNY Canton diverted 5,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from the landfill and into our compost pile. The project has been presented at several conferences through posters and talks.

You can read more about this project in the Watertown Times article here.



Tutoring Center Named

As many of you know, SUNY Canton’s Tutoring Center was voted #1 in SUNY.  This past week, on November 14, it got a new name—it is now the Betty J. Evans Tutoring Center.  Betty Evans is a retired teacher who taught students with disabilities at the Canton Central School District for 18 years.  She was well known for always finding a way to help students reach their potential and achieve success.  Betty Evans was inducted into the SUNY Canton Hall of Fame in 2014, and recognized for her recent contribution to the SUNY Canton Foundation at the naming ceremony.


“I have spent most of my life helping people decide what they will do with the opportunities they have,” she said. “My hopes are that the students will make good use of what is available here, and it is very apparent that they have already started. This is a beautiful and practical place.”  The Betty Evans Tutoring Center offers help from both peer and professional tutors in math, science, business and accounting, and writing.

You can read more about the Center in the Daily Courier Observer here.



So Many Thanks

Words can’t describe how much I appreciate how everyone rallied around my family last week after my mother passed away.

The funeral was held in Syracuse on Sunday, October 30, at the Sisskind Funeral Home.  My father had flown in on October 27 from Las Vegas, and stayed in Syracuse with some family friends.  My sister Drorit had handled most of the arrangements from her home in Houston, and flew in with her partner Susanne on the 28th.  By 1:00 PM, the funeral home’s hall was packed—all the seats were taken and there were many people standing.  Several family members from Israel and Las Vegas weren’t able to come in person and skyped in through an arrangement my cousin Assaf (who flew in from Seattle) had set up.  Family flew and drove in from around the country, some making it to the funeral and others during the week where we sat Shiva. So many people came from Syracuse, where I grew up and my parents lived for so many years.  They included their oldest friends, many of the teachers and students (past and present) from the Syracuse Hebrew Day School where my mother had taught for so many years, and many other friends and neighbors.  Several people drove down from Canton representing the synagogue and the College.  Our deepest thanks to everyone who was able to come.

The service was officiated by Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport (from Syracuse University Hillel, who also did the benediction at my inauguration at SUNY Canton) and Rabbi Evan Shore (from synagogue Young Israel-Shaarei Torah).  Syracuse Hebrew Day School principal Barbara Davis spoke about what a fine teacher my mother had been for so many years, and how she never gave up on any student—she was determined that each one would be able to succeed.  I gave the eulogy, and my sister Drorit shared some remembrances and read a poem called “Letter from Heaven”.

My father Daniel then spoke, about how he and my mother had first met and dated, and how they were married after only three months.  He spoke about their early life together, how we moved to the United States, and how he surprised her by signing her up to take her first college classes, ultimately resulting in her getting her associates degree from OCC, and her bachelors and masters degrees from SUNY Cortland.  She originally agreed to teach at the Hebrew Day School for one year, which then turned into 26 years.  He talked about how close she was to my son Mark, and how proud she was at his bar-mitzvah.  He ended by saying even near the end, she would hold his hand in the hospice, and clap along to music.

After the burial, we drove back to Canton for the Shiva—the traditional seven-day mourning period—that was held in the College’s Alumni House.  So many people from the College and the community came by to pay their respects that I couldn’t possibly list them all, many bringing food for the mourners.  So many others sent sympathy cards and posted their condolences on Facebook.  Our deepest thanks to everyone for lending us support in this trying time.

Some things we’ll never forget include Prof. David Penepent and all the Funeral Services Administration students who came by to give their condolences; our Student Government and all the students who drew and signed the beautiful angel poster—we’ll always treasure it; and the many kindnesses extended by Michaela Young, Peggy Levato, Sue Law, and Sean Conklin in going so far out of their way to meet the needs of my family during the mourning period.

My family and I feel extremely blessed to have such wonderful family members, friends, colleagues, and students to lend us support.  We’ll always remember how you were there when we needed you.



Southern Swing

Congratulations to Dr. Margaret Venable, a good friend, a fellow chemist, and one of the best people I know on her inauguration as president of Dalton State College in Georgia.  I flew into Chattanooga on October 20 and then drove the 30 miles or so from the airport to Dalton. The inauguration ceremony was preceded by a luncheon where I ran into lots of Georgia friends.

The inauguration itself was quite nice.  It had rained the previous day (good, because Dalton was experiencing a severe drought) and there was some concern it might rain again, but instead it was quite windy, which kept the temperature down—especially good since I was wearing my regalia.  There were the usual greetings and best wishes from various campus constituencies, and Margaret gave a very good speech.  And just like that, it was over and she was Dalton State’s first female president.  Congratulations Margaret!


The next day, I drove from Dalton to Cary, NC (a city near Raleigh) for some alumni visits.  It’s a long ride, but the weather was good and the traffic was relatively light.   I was joined there by Amanda Stopa and later by Anne Sibley from SUNY Canton’s Advancement Office.  While there, we had a very nice gathering of alumni who now live in North Carolina, followed by several visits with individual alumni, all of which went very well.

I left on the morning of October 25th, driving to Columbia, SC, where I was speaking at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).  When I got to Columbia, I was surprised to find that I hardly recognized the city at all.  I had been there for graduate school between 1976 and 1981, and had visited a few times since, but relatively recently, they had totally redeveloped the area and it was now an area composed of upscale restaurants and clubs, several new hotels, and a new Alumni Center and Convention Center for the University of South Carolina.  The ACS meeting featured a symposium in honor of Dr. Jerome D. Odom, my research professor when I got my Ph.D., and I was delighted to have been invited to speak there. The symposium was a lot of fun, with lots of interesting chemistry and funny stories about when things had gone less than well in the lab.  After the symposium, we all went out to lunch where we joined Jerry’s wife Toni, who in a long convoluted way, I was responsible for his having met many years ago!



New York Frame of Mind

I left the lunch at about 2:00 PM, because I had to drive out to the airport, drop off the car, and catch the 4:15 PM flight to New York City, where I was attending SUNYCON, an annual SUNY conference that focuses on issues affecting higher education.  The flight actually got there a little early, but I quickly lost the time waiting in line for a taxi to take me into Manhattan.

The next morning (October 27th), I took the subway up to Times Square where SUNYCON was held and joined up with Provost Doug Scheidt, Executive Director for University Relations Lenore VanderZee, Senior Media Relations Manager and Photographer Greg Kie, Public Relations Manager Lorrette Murray, and Director of Public Relations and Web Designer Travis Smith who were also there for the meeting.  The sessions were interesting with some good speakers (you can see the agenda here), and of course we ran into lots of people we know from around SUNY, including former SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph Hoffman.

After the sessions ended for the day, I walked crosstown in some miserable weather (fortunately, I had an umbrella) to join up with an Advancement Officer from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for dinner.  WPI was my undergraduate college, and on the 40th anniversary of my graduation back in 1976, gave me their Goddard Professional Achievement Award.  Unfortunately, the WPI award ceremony had been back in June at their Alumni Reunion, which fell on the exact same day as SUNY Canton’s Alumni Reunion!  Needless to say I couldn’t attend theirs since I was at ours, and this was the first time we were able to meet up so they could give me the actual award—a very nice framed citation, and a very heavy obelisk made of green marble that has my name carved on one side and the award name on the other.


The SUNYCON conference ended on the 28th, and I took a taxi crosstown to meet two representatives of the Korean Consulate for lunch.  As many of you will recall, Korean Consul Yunju Ko had visited our campus last year as part of our Excellence in Leadership series.  The talk he gave then was excellent and well-attended.  He contacted me a few weeks ago, asking if we could arrange for Consul-General Gheewhan Kim to speak on campus this year.  I told him we’d be delighted, but there was one small problem—I’d be in NYC at the time they’d be at Canton!  It turned out that was fine—Consul-General Kim gave a very good talk on campus, they drove back to NYC that evening, and we met at the Consulate the next afternoon.  The meetings went very well, and we’ll be signing some articulation agreements with several Korean universities in the near future, which will create some new opportunities for our faculty and students.




FROM THE POUCH is a blog I write for SUNY Canton students.  During the fall and spring semesters, it comes out every week more or less, depending on how busy I am.  It consists of news, answers to student questions, and random thoughts that cross my mind.  There’s even a trivia contest in each issue—if you’re the first to get every question right, you win a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.  Even if you’re not the first, you get your name published in the blog, and that’s priceless!  I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments.


Best regards,

Dr. Zvi Szafran

President, SUNY Canton



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

There wasn’t one in the last issue.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “O”. The first with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. President of the United States.
  2. The capital of Canada.
  3. Name of the place where Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion defeated the wicked witch of the west.
  4. English-Irish pop group that has albums Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment