October 7, 2014


Volume 1, Issue 5 – October 7, 2014


Reunion Time

My wife Jill and my son Mark came up for a visit after us being separated for almost three months while she was getting our house in Georgia ready to sell. They got here on the 24th, and left yesterday.

It’s been a great visit in many ways. First, the weather more than cooperated—it has been beautiful almost every day, with temperatures from the high 60’s to the high 70’s and sunshine almost every day. Saturday was intermittently rainy, but we also had beautiful rainbows as the sun set.


Second, they got a chance to meet lots of people in Canton, all of whom they found to be wonderful and friendly. Molly Mott (Dean of Academic Support Services and Instructional Technologies) was especially kind, showing them around and taking Mark to see the shelter animals in our Veterinary Technology program, which he especially enjoyed. The folks at the synagogue were also very welcoming, all wanting to meet Jill and Mark. Sylvia, at Josie’s Pizza, gave Mark a “welcome” pizza (he likes pizza with no sauce) that had him wanting to eat there every night. He also loved the Game Stop in Massena, the Wal-Mart on the way to Potsdam, and the local McDonalds and Dollar General store.

Third, we had lots of nice events on and off campus for them to enjoy, more about which below. We had dinner with the Alpha Theta Gamma fraternity, enjoyed High Holiday services at Temple Beth El, and went to several Homecoming Weekend activities. They met lots of students, all of whom were extremely welcoming. Finally, they both really liked the new house.

All in all, Jill and Mark have discovered that Canton is a wonderful place to live, and that they can really enjoy life in a small town. They’ll be back in Georgia for a few weeks to finish things up, and plans are for them to move here permanently in late November. My biggest personal thanks to everyone who was so kind and friendly to them this past week—you’re all the best.


Student Issue Resolutions

The only new student issue submitted last week was with regard to the bathroom between rooms 301, 302, and 303 in Smith Hall South being clogged. Building sercices and HVAC worked on it, and it’s now flushing correctly. The problem was caused by fruit being flushed down the toilet, so please stop putting big things down the toilets!


Greek Life

Last Tuesday, Courtney Bish, Amanda Deckert, Jill, Mark, and I had dinner with the brothers of Alpha Theta Gamma fraternity at their house on Court Street. The Alphas are SUNY Canton’s oldest fraternity, being founded in 1909. I had been to their house in July, getting the grand tour of their rooms, rooftop patios, and basement party room. They’ve put a lot of sweat into the place and it looks quite good, though they tell me that there’s still a fair bit to do. It’s a big old house that was formerly owned by James Payson, who was one of the founding fathers of the college, working there for 22 years. He was the Director [which was the highest ranking position at the time] from 1917-1918. The house, obtained by the fraternity in 1946, still has the hitching post on the side, as well as the stepping stones in the front that were used to get down off horses.


The dinner was very nice, consisting of chicken, baked potatoes, and salad. One of the brothers did the cooking, and I think he has a great future in the hospitality industry if he wants to go in that direction, because it was delicious. Jill thought the place was very cool, and Mark especially liked their big screen TV.

Later in the week on Thursday, I met with the Greek Council. They were having their regular business meeting, so I got to hear about some events they were planning. I said a few words about all the positive things fraternities and sororities can add to a campus, so long as they keep things under reasonable control. We all like to have fun, but it has to be responsible fun. They asked me if I had ever belonged to a fraternity (no—fraternities existed, but weren’t very big at WPI when I was an undergrad) and was I familiar with Greek organizations on my previous campuses (yes—my graduate school, the University of South Carolina had very strong fraternities and sororities that did lots of good things on campus, and SPSU had some good (though relatively small) Greek organizations as well). I wound up my remarks by telling them that since I’ve never belonged to a fraternity or sorority, I was available to be recruited. We’ll see if any of them take me up on it.



Homecoming Weekend was on Friday and Saturday. I wanted to attend all the events, but couldn’t due to Homecoming overlapping almost exactly with Yom Kippur (one of the Jewish high holidays on which you do a 25 hour fast). Jill, Mark, and I went to the synagogue on Friday night and Saturday day but then ended our fast after sundown at the Homecoming Weekend buffet dinner (great food, and was I hungry!) and then went to the Canton’s Got Talent show.

The show began with the crowning of our Homecoming King and Queen, Vernon Hicks and Nafie Cisse.

King, Queen and Zvi

This was followed by all sorts of cool acts—some singing, some dancing, some poetry, and some rap. In between, there was a lot of humor by the emcees.


Go Gammas!

In the middle of the show, all the attendees participated in the launch of SUNY Canton’s “It’s On Us” publicity campaign.


The show was very well attended, with some 400-500 people there all having a great time. It was a most enjoyable evening, and the ‘Roo Royalty T-shirts were very cool! There’s no doubt about it—Canton does have talent!

After the show, we went over to Miller Student Center to see the cardboard village assembled by the Habitat for Humanity student organization. It was great to see so many students involved with the critically important issue of homelessness. I was pleased to here that our students had been involved over the years in building multiple homes all over the country. Special thanks to JoAnne and Will Fassinger, the advisors to the group, for their fine work.



Constitution Day

SUNY Canton sponsored an essay contest for Constitution day, and I got a chance to meet the winners yesterday. First place went to Robert M. Gaines (upper left, majoring in IT), with second going to Courtney T. Cotter (lower right, majoring in Veterinary Technology) and third to Angel D. Vega (lower left, majoring in Legal Studies).   Congratulations to our three winners!


Newspaper and Radio

The Watertown Daily Times talked to me and the other North Country SUNY presidents last Thursday about Governor Cuomo’s new statewide policy proposal to combat sexual assaults on campus. The Governor met with the SUNY Board of Regents, who voted to establish his policy across the SUNY system. The Governor will also work to get this policy adopted at the private colleges in the state. Governor Cuomo’s policy is a “Yes Means Yes” policy, similar to the one I talked about two weeks ago in From The Pouch. You can read about my support for the Governor’s policy in the Watertown Daily Times article here.

I had represented the SUNY presidents at a news conference earlier this summer where New York’s Senator Gillibrand had announced a Senate bill designed to support victims of sexual violence on campuses. Also last week, President Obama had announced a program to publicize the fight against sexual violence on campuses called “It’s On Us”. SUNY Canton is participating in the “It’s On Us” campaign through social media and by sponsoring a selfie contest on this theme. It’s a very good thing when SUNY, our governor, our senator, and our president all are speaking with one voice on this important issue.

On Tuesday, I was interviewed on Yes-FM in Ogdensburg about being a new president, what has changed at universities and what my plans were for the college. If you have nothing better to do, you may want to see the YouTube video of the interview, below.



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest had to do with the word “hot”. The first person getting all four correct was Todd M. Stone. Others getting all four right included Mollie Mayette, Joseph Goliber, Francesco Palumbo, Kim84 (full name wasn’t there), Lance Harbart, Brittani Weaver, Jessica Manke, Adam Wickert, and Cayleigh Murray.

Just come by my office (6th floor of FOB) to get your prize, a $10 gift card, usable anywhere on campus, Todd. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Someone who is really angry is said to be this. Hot headed or Hot Under the Collar.
  2. A souped up car.       Hot Rod.
  3. Song by Foreigner–check it and see. Hot Blooded.
  4. Microwaveable turnover, made by Nestle. Hot Pocket.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

With Halloween coming, the answers to today’s challenge contain the word “ghost”.  The first reply with the most answers right takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Who’re you gonna call?
  2. Casper.
  3. Japanese manga and movie about a counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, let by Motoko Kusanagi.
  4. Song by My Chemical Romance, from their album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.
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