September 5, 2014


Volume 1, Issue 1 – September 5, 2014



As SUNY Canton’s President, I want to have a way of talking directly to all of our students on a regular basis.  I’ve decided to write a blog every week or so, talking about things taking place on campus, stuff that may be useful for students to know, what I’m up to, and whatever else might turn up.  There will even be a trivia quiz at the end of each issue, with a prize given out to whomever gets the most questions right and gets their answers in the fastest.  I hope you like the blog, but if you don’t, all you have to do is delete it :>)  Your comments are always welcome (you can submit them in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom), but remember to please keep them polite!


Early Warning About Early Warning

Yellow Warning Sign - Rough Road Ahead - Isolated

There’s lots of research that shows that students who get off to a good start during the first three weeks of the semester get much higher final grades, and are much more likely to graduate.  Those that don’t start off well have lots of ground to make up, and generally find there to be a rough road ahead.  Since we want you to be successful, we’re trying a pilot project this fall to help you get off to a good start.  At the end of week three of the semester, all faculty will submit a set of Engagement grades to let us know if you are:

  • Engaged–Coming to class, participating in discussions, getting decent grades on whatever homework/quiz/whatever has been assigned.
  • Not Engaged–Not participating in discussions, not turning in homework, getting low grades on whatever has been assigned.
  • Never Attended–Not showing up for class at all.

Students who get Engagement grades of “Engaged” in all their classes will be entered in a random drawing for a cool prize.  If we hear that you’re “Not Engaged” in any of your courses, you’ll get a letter from us offering some help.  Help is available from lots of places on campus–from your professor, from any of our tutoring centers, from our counseling center, or whatever is appropriate.  You definitely don’t want to be on the “Not Present” list, since you could lose your financial aid if you’re not attending class!

Remember–we’re doing this because we want you to be successful and a good early start leads to a good finish.


Take the Challenge!

Something interesting that happens in the military is that to celebrate a particular accomplishment, they will sometimes issue a challenge coin.  In conjunction with SUNY Canton’s Student Veterans Association, we’d like to issue a challenge to all our new students.  Every new student who successfully completes the fall semester with a 2.0 GPA or higher and in good social standing will earn a challenge coin, pictured below.  Don’t let us down!  Win the SUNY Canton academic challenge!

Coin  coin 2


Library News!

The Southworth Library’s September newsletter is out!  You can see it by clicking here.  It has lots of useful news about tutoring services, what’s happening in the library, technology tips and lots of other good stuff.  It also has a very cool “Who We Are” video.  Be sure to take a look.


Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m pretty sure that everyone has seen this by now, but last Monday, August 25, I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to support the fight against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Fighting ALS is a very worthy cause, since ALS is a disease that is extremely debilitating, leading to loss of physical abilities and even death.  Some well-known individuals with ALS include David Niven, Stephen Hawking, Charles Mingus, Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter, and Mao Zedong.

The challenge took place at 4:00 PM in the plaza in front of the Miller Campus Center. Lots of people came by to watch and many of them took videos with their phones. We had decided that it would be fun to have Roody, Canton’s mascot, do the honors, so at 4:00 PM I took my place in front of a park bench and Roody climbed up. I gave a short statement about supporting the fight against ALS and challenging my fellow SUNY Canton presidents to participate.

There were two buckets—one 2/3 full of water and the other full of ice. I poured about half the ice into the water and the crowd started chanting “More! More! More!” so I added as much ice as would fit. I handed the bucket to Roody, turned around, put my arms out, and said “OK”. Roody immediately started to pour, not dump, the ice water on me, taking his sweet time doing it! You can watch the video for yourself below.

Afterwards, I dried off a bit and got interviewed by the Watertown Times reporter. When he asked me how much I would donate to fight ALS, I told him I wasn’t sure, since “my assets are frozen!” You can see their article by clicking here.

Hopefully my small effort helped spread the word and raised a little money for ALS. Various sports teams at Canton also took up the challenge and the next day, President Kristen Esterberg at SUNY Potsdam joined in. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet participated, consider this my challenge to you.


Funeral Services

At noon on Thursday, I attended and gave a welcome at an awards ceremony for our Funeral Services Administration program students. There were about 40 students present, all dressed up for the occasion. I congratulated them on their achievements and told them about an Art professor I knew at my first college whose research was centered on funerary art of the Italian Renaissance. When I asked her what had made her choose that unusual topic, she gave me the look one reserves for the very foolish and said: “Isn’t how you’ll be remembered one of the most important things in the world?” Of course she was right.

While Funeral Services Administration to some may seem an unusual choice of major, it is of critical importance, since it impacts families at their most vulnerable moment, and preserves the memory of their loved ones. Despite (or perhaps because of) the very serious nature of the field, I’ve found that people working in the area (our faculty included) all have wonderful senses of humor. One joke they like to tell here that I’ve picked up is that since SUNY Canton offers both Early Childhood Education and Funeral Services Administration as degree programs, the College obviously has you covered both coming and going!



Our State Fair is a Great State Fair—Don’t Miss It, Don’t Even Be Late

On Friday, I drove down to Syracuse with Melissa Evans, our new Director of Admissions, and Lenore VanderZee, our Executive Director of University Relations, to participate in SUNY’s exhibition at the New York State Fair. Growing up in Syracuse, I had attended the fair pretty much every year I lived there, and always having a great time. It’s a gigantic fair encompassing many buildings and dozens of acres, with tons of exhibits, rides, food venders, and events.

I may be slightly biased but I thought our exhibit was the best. It included a “test your reflexes” exhibit designed and built by one of our Electrical Engineering Technology majors as a senior project, a very elaborate solar heating system, several items associated with our veterinary science program (including cutaway models and a hairball from a cow’s stomach!), as well as the usual view-book and informative materials. Our mascot, Roody ‘Roo, also made a guest appearance, pulling prizes out of his pouch.

IMG_8195Lots of people stopped by—some were alumni, some were businessmen with a relationship to the North Country, many were potential students, and some were people who wanted to know more about the exhibits. It was lots of fun to talk to and interact with the various visitors, especially when they saw the giant hairball and wanted to know what it was. We’d ask them to pick it up and guess, and if they were right, we’d give them a backpack or a T-shirt. When they found out what it was, reactions ranged from “eeww” to “cool”. Several kids went to get their mothers to touch it.

Attending the fair was lots of fun, and I enjoyed meeting lots of new people.


Sports News

Sports_portal_bar_iconIt was a great weekend overall in sports at the College.


I enjoyed watching our women’s soccer team get off to a great start, thumping Paul Smith’s College 6-1 in their opener on Saturday in beautiful weather. Our senior captain, Tressa Goolden scored the first goal  less than one minute in.  Other Canton goals were scored by Karyss Terrance , Fran Trombley, Kaleigh Foran, Brittany Pierce, and Kristina DiNardo.


The ladies then beat Vermont Technical College 4-0 on a rainy Sunday.  Fran Trombley scored the first goal, followed by Karyss Terrance, and two from Tressa Goolden.  Liz Lynch was our goalie for both games, and did a fine job.

Friday evening the men’s soccer team  beat Paul Smith’s College 2-0 in their season opener. The men dominated throughout, with an impressive 13-0 in differential in shots on goal.  Devin Gruneisen headed in the first goal on a nice cross from Nick Escalante, and Josh Geller made a great shot for the second goal.  Austin LeMay was our goalie.

Cross Country

On Saturday morning, SUNY Canton held the Kangaroo Invitational Cross Country Meet, hosting teams from SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh, Johnson State College, and Clarkson University. Clarkson won both the men’s and women’s races overall, but the top men’s runner was from SUNY Plattsburgh and the top women’s runner was from SUNY Potsdam. SUNY Canton came in 4th overall, with Austin Johnston coming in 6th to lead the men, and Samantha Smith coming in 6th to lead the women.



I got to fire the starter’s pistol for both events, and have to admit it was a bit disconcerting to see dozens of runners coming straight at you and hoping they wouldn’t run into you.




We also hosted volleyball against SUNY Potsdam (Friday afternoon), Houghton College (Friday evening), and SUNY-IT (Saturday), winning all three matches in clean sweeps.  In the Potsdam game, Kelsy Cornish led the attack with eight kills, and Caitlin Grimshaw and Morgan Bills had 8 and 6 put-downs respectively.  Mackenzie Mynter had a double-double of 26 assists and 10 digs.

In the Houghton game, Caitlin Grimshaw floored 13 kills to go with a .345 hitting percentage.  Jessica Reynolds dug up a match-high 18 balls, while Robyn Carroll posted 14 digs. Kelsy Cornish tallied eight kills and Rachel Lowther put down six balls. Mackenzie Mynter had a productive all-around game with 25 assists and seven digs.

In the SUNY-IT game, Caitlin Grimshaw led by killing 9 balls, followed by Morgan Bills and Jessica Reynolds with 7 each.  Reynolds also added 5 service aces to go with 5 digs, and Mackenzie Mynter had 19 assists and 7 digs.  Robyn Carroll dug up a match high 11 balls.

Fantastic job, ladies!


 This Week’s Trivia Challenge

In honor of the New York State Fair, the answers to today’s challenge contain the word “fair”.  The first reply with the most answers right takes the prize.  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. Snow White, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel.
  2. ________ in love and war.
  3. Concert tour with female soloists and female-led bands.
  4. Someone who deserts you when the going gets rough.
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5 Responses to September 5, 2014

  1. Mary says:

    I think setting up a blog was a very good idea as President, it’s nice to see a President interacting with us (the students). Interacting in this way makes me aware of who you are and also allows me to see that you are out there, interacting with students, and I think that is a very good way for you to see more of what is going on- on campus also.


  2. Renee says:

    I think it is very encouraging that we have a President who wants to know what is going on in the students lives. Thank you!


  3. Morgan says:

    I think it is just great that you are reaching out to your students. I look forward to reading more as the semester goes on. Thank you!!


  4. Matt says:

    I think it is encouraging for us to listen and learn to what you have to say as well as you hear our voices.
    I see that only new students get rewarded for their efforts of 2.0 or better what about those who are currently been enrolled and do well and have been, what about those who have been out of school and excel more than others


    • Good point–we should recognize the achievements of all our students. Let me give some thought as to how we might recognize the achievements of our continuing students, and I’ll write it up in a future issue.


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