June 10, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 37– June 10, 2015



I’ll Be Off to Las Vegas…

I’m leaving later today to go to Las Vegas. The sad news is that my Uncle Nathan passed away at 90 years old, and I’m going to his funeral. He led a full life, and a eulogy (in part written by my sister, Drorit) is below. Warning: there are some details regarding the Holocaust that are frightening.


 Nathan Szafran

My uncle, Nathan Szafran, died in the early hours of Friday June 5, 2015, in Las Vegas, NV at the age of 90. He had gone into the hospital a few days earlier seriously ill but had rallied back, and we hoped all would be back to normal. It was not to be, and while sitting up, seemingly better, a heart attack did him in. He is survived by his loving wife, my Aunt Shirley; his brother Daniel (my father); his daughter Karyne and son Barry; grandchildren Nicole, Jacob, Katie, Joshua, and Kristen; and great grandchildren Damian and Isaiah.

Nathan was born in Strykow, Poland (a small city northeast of Lodz) in 1925. The family was large, consisting of father Hersh Icek Szafran (for whom I am named—Hersh is German for “deer”, and Zvi is Hebrew for “deer”); mother Fayga Riwka Hecht (for whom my sister Drorit is named); and seven children: older brother Barish (for whom my cousin Barry is named); younger sisters Kajla Frymet and Sura Pesa (both of whom my cousin Karyne is named for); and younger brothers Daniel, Shimshon, and Moshe (for whom my son Mark is named).


Hersh Icek was a metal worker who made milk cans, stoves, pipes, and farming equipment for the local farming population. He was also a roofer. Fayga Rivka helped with the business by going into the large nearby city of Lodz to get metal, had a vegetable garden, and cared for the children. Nathan attended primary school until the fourth grade when he had to leave school to work with his father. A few years later, in 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, starting World War II.

The Nazis established a small ghetto in Strykow, but people could leave it during the day to work. Eldest brother Barish returned in 1941, having been a prisoner of war. Hersh and the older boys laid roofs for the German barracks and built stoves to heat them. The family was ordered to move to another small ghetto in Bzeziny. Men from 18 to 20 were told they could to go to a camp to work. Barish signed up to go and was never seen again. The Nazis took the younger children Moshe (10) and Shimshon (12), saying that they were going to be sent to a special school to learn a trade. After the war, the truth was discovered—the boys were murdered in mobile vans. The remaining family was transferred to the Lodz ghetto, where they were forced to live in a single room. Hersz, Nathan, and Daniel were forced on a truck, supposedly headed to another work camp. While in motion, Hersh made a commotion to divert attention, and Daniel and Nathan jumped off the truck, probably saving their lives. That was the last time they saw their father.

When the Lodz ghetto was liquidated in 1944, the remaining family was packed into cattle cars and taken to Auschwicz. All were murdered on arrival, except for Nathan and Daniel, who were tattooed (with consecutive numbers) and forced to do slave labor. In the spring of 1945, they were transferred to Sachenhausen. As the Russian Army approached the prisoners were forced to go on a death march to Germany. During the march, they came across some Red Cross volunteers who gave them food and clothing. The Nazi guards ran off and Nathan and Daniel escaped. They made their way to a displaced persons camp behind the American lines. In 2001, Nathan gave testimony at the Shoah Foundation about his experiences during the Holocaust.

Nathan immigrated to the United States in May 1950 and settled in Syracuse, NY. He was drafted into the United States Army and served in Germany during the Korean War period.


After discharge, Nathan returned to Syracuse where he met his wife, Shirley. They were married on August 24, 1958 and ultimately celebrated 56 years of marriage together.


Nathan worked multiple jobs to support his family, and then started his own successful business as a home contractor, performing painting services in the Syracuse area. My parents, sister and I moved from Israel to Syracuse in 1959, reuniting the family. Since Nathan was older than my father, he was, in effect, the family patriarch. I always had an especially close relationship with him, from the minute we came to the US and I first met him when I was four.

Nathan and Shirley’s children Karyne and Barry were born in 1959 and 1961, respectively. For many years, we lived two houses apart, getting together several times every day for one thing or another, as one big family. When I was a teenager, I’d work on one of Nathan’s painting crews in the summer to earn money for college. Throughout the years, we’d always get together in the summer, for Thanksgiving, and for the winter holidays. I’d have to be careful about what I’d say when we got together—I remember one time my Aunt Shirley made a Boston cream pie for dessert. When I said that I liked it, for years afterwards, there would be a Boston cream pie waiting for me every time I visited. Uncle Nate arguing about politics, so he, my father, and I would often have three-way debates.

Upon his retirement in 1995, he and Shirley moved to Las Vegas, where my parents joined them a few years later. In later years, Nathan enjoyed traveling to Poland each summer to visit Strykow for several weeks, where he had many wonderful and loving friends. Nathan was always passionate about family, taking his grandchildren on trips and having the family gather for holidays.


Nathan was loved by all who knew him. He loved life, and lived his own to the fullest. He will be buried at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, on Friday, June 12, 2015. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to honor Nathan’s life and spirit, to the Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada, P.O Box 371434, Las Vegas, NV 89137.

Rest in peace, Uncle Nate. You will be missed.



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with June, but not necessarily the month. Our winner was Bill Prigge, Assistant Dean for Administration at University of Tennessee’s College of Pharmacy. Others getting all five right included Drorit Szafran, Virginia Bennett, Paul Howley, Jamie Sovie, and Julie Cruickshank. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Someone who gets married during the most popular month for weddings. June bride.
  2. Johnny Cash’s second wife. June Carter Cash.
  3. A type of beetle, also a song by the B-52’s. June Bug.
  4. The mother’s name on “Leave it to Beaver”. June Cleaver.
  5. Actress who played Timmy’s mom on “Lassie”, she was also the mom on Lost in Space. June Lockhart.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

No contest this week. The challenge will return next time.


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June 3, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 36– June 3, 2015



Things Have Been So Busy Lately…

I always think that once graduation is over, things will quiet down and I’ll be able to catch up with all the stuff that’s accumulated over the course of the semester. Each year, that becomes less and less true. Yes, some things go away, but new things take their place. Things have been extremely busy the past three weeks, keeping me from generating a new issue of the BLAB. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.



My first SUNY Canton Commencement (the college’s 107th) was on Saturday, May 9. I can’t believe that it has been almost a month since then. The day began with a College Council Meeting at 8:00 AM, which went well. Commencement was at 10:30 AM, and since it is the single commencement for the year, it was very large indeed—more than 1100 students having completed either a certificate, an associates degree, or a bachelors degree; more than 400 students walking; and more than 1500 parents and family members present.

The large numbers meant that every seat was filled, all the bleachers were filled, and some folks had to stand around the sides of the field house where the ceremony was held. What’s more, since so many people were trying to come onto campus at once, those coming from the direction of Ogdensburg (requiring a left turn onto campus) were backed up on Route 68 quite a ways, since there was pretty much constant traffic turning right onto campus coming from everywhere else. Needless to say, all the closer parking spots were quickly taken, and lots of folks had to park further off. Our campus police did an outstanding job, and shuttles were available to bring in folks from the farther off lots.

The ceremony itself was very nice, albeit long. It began with an outstanding rendition of the National Anthem by student Noelle Murray, and a welcome from Ron O’Neill, the Chair of the College Council. Three faculty, Jill Martin (English), Pamela Quinn (Dental Hygiene), and Stephen Frempong (Electrical Engineering Technology) had won Chancellor’s Awards and gave brief speeches, as did Dan Gagliardi (Mathematics), the winner of the Distinguished Faculty Award. The top bachelors degree student (Alyssa Baker, CET) and the top associates degree student (Christopher Dwyer, EET) gave talks, as did the President of Student Government (Melissa Cummings). The Northstar Award was given by students to Johanna Lee, the college’s Director of Tutoring Services. The keynote speech was given by former congressman William “Bill” Owens, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his advocacy for the North Country and his devoted support of SUNY Canton.

The students then lined up by school, marching across the stage to receive their degrees, shake hands, and get their pictures taken. As you might expect, there was lots of cheering and excitement. After some closing remarks, the ceremony was over. Refreshments were served in the ice arena, and I spoke to a few reporters who had come to cover the graduation. A few minutes later, it was back to the field house for the Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony, which also drew a huge crowd—more than 100 nurses graduating, with lots of family in attendance.

I drove home to pick up Jill and Mark, and then drove down to DeKalb Junction, where one of the graduates, Pierre Nzuah, was having a party. Pierre is an exemplary student who came from a very poor family in a village in Cameroon, came to Canton, participated in everything that could be participated in at the college, and graduated as a Chancellor’s Award winning student. Pierre is back in Cameroon now, and will be starting graduate school at Clarkson in the Fall. The party was great, complete with lots of African and North Country food, and lots of wonderful company.


All in all, it was quite a day!


And Then…Recognition Day!

The following week it was time for the end of semester meetings. These included meetings of advisory boards, an Executive Cabinet meeting, a Strategic Planning Committee Meeting, a meeting of a search committee, a meeting with the Village Board, and many others. Wednesday (May 13) also featured the Student Affairs Division Barbeque.

Friday (May 15) was my first Recognition Day, an annual event where faculty and staff who have served the college for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years are honored, as are retirees and Emeritus faculty and staff. The President’s Meritorious Service Awards are also presented at Recognition Day, and were won by Kathy Limoges (secretary in the School of Business and Liberal Arts Deans Office) and Randy Sieminski (Director of Athletics). Between the various awards, several “name that tune” competitions were held between faculty and staff, featuring tunes that would have been popular in the year they started working at SUNY Canton. The final round was between Ron O’Neill (representing the staff) and me (representing the faculty). Recognition Day was a really upbeat time and lots of fun.



On Wednesday, May 13, the College had a Farewell Reception for David Gerlach, our Vice President for Advancement, who will be leaving SUNY Canton after 30 years to become the President of Lincoln College in Illinois. The Reception was packed with people wishing Dave well, including former college President Earl MacArthur, during whose administration Dave both graduated and was first hired. Later that evening, a dinner was held for Dave and his wife Lisa, during which Randy Sieminski presented a powerpoint “roast” featuring some of Dave’s greater (and more dubious) moments on campus. Thanks for a great 30 years, Dave, and we only wish you the best at Lincoln!



Off to Boston and then Albany

On Saturday (May 16), the family and I hopped in the car and took off for Boston for my cousin Danielle’s Bat-Mitzvah. Going to Boston from Canton is a real pleasure, because the ride is so beautiful. After driving on US 11 to Rouses Point (a small village north of Plattsburgh) through some nice North Country scenery, you cross into Vermont on a scenic bridge at the north end of Lake Champlain.


You can pick up I-89 soon thereafter, but I usually go through the Lake Champlain Islands on US 2 instead, since it is only about 20 minutes longer that way and the route is so scenic, with nice lake views on both sides of the road. Picking up I-89 a bit north of Burlington, it’s very pretty mountain scenery all the way through Vermont and northern New Hampshire. We checked into our hotel in Nashua, NH, and after resting for an hour, took off for Newton, MA where the Bat Mitzvah was held.

Danielle is the younger child of my 1st cousin Ifat Bejerano, who is in turn the oldest child of my Aunt Dina (whose proper name is Alexandrina—wow!), my mother’s youngest sister. My Aunt Dina and Uncle Ze’ev had come over from Israel for the event, and my sister Drorit had joined us, flying up from Houston. Danielle did an outstanding job at the ceremony and with her speech. The party afterwards was great too.


L-R:  Yaniv Bejerano (father), Stav (brother), Danielle, and Ifat (mother)

On Sunday, we went to Ifat’s house for a family brunch, and then got back on the highway, driving to Albany. After dropping me off at my hotel for the upcoming SUNY Presidents Meeting, the rest of the family drove back to Canton.

On Monday, I met with Senator Patti Ritchie to discuss things going on at the College. It was a beautiful day in Albany, so after the meeting I took a tour of the State Capitol building (which I had never done before—it’s well worth seeing).


Flag used to wrap President Lincoln’s casket on his funeral train–on exhibit at the     State Capitol.

I then took a walk up to the main park, where there’s a cool statue of Moses and a lot of tulips were in bloom. After enjoying the park and sunshine for a while, I ambled down to Lark Street for a (you guessed it!) Indian buffet for lunch. I spent most of the rest of the day doing paperwork on my computer in the hotel room.


Tuesday began with an early morning meeting with Assemblymember Addie Russell to discuss what we’re doing at the college, followed by a quick hop down to SUNY central for the Presidents Meeting. Most of the meeting was focused on how we can increase graduation rates and attract more students to SUNY, to try to meet the Chancellor’s goal of increasing the number of graduates to 150,000 per year. After the main meeting, the “new” presidents then met for an afternoon session on how the New York and SUNY budget process works, which was very enlightening. SUNY Potsdam President Kristen Esterberg was kind enough to give me a ride to the airport (I had no car—the family had taken it back to Canton on Sunday, remember?), and I caught the 6:15 flight to Ogdensburg, with my father picking me up there to come home. Whew—talk about exhausted!

Back on campus on Wednesday, it was time for more meetings on various topics. Memorial Day weekend came up quickly, and I was able to enjoy a little downtime, unpacking boxes in the garage each day. The garage is still about 60% full of unpacked items, which I hope to finally finish off unpacking over the summer.


Off to Boston Again!

Believe it or not, on Tuesday morning, it was back into the car and back to Boston again, this time to attend the NAFSA conference on attracting and serving international students. We went via the same route as before, enjoying nice weather the whole way. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Natick, MA (about 15 miles out of Boston) because the hotels in Boston are fantastically expensive, and this particular Hampton Inn is both quite nice and located conveniently to everything. I took commuter rail into Boston the next day—there’s a station in West Natick, about 2 miles from the hotel, and the trains run pretty much hourly into South Station, a short 10 minute walk from the conference.

The conference began in the afternoon with a plenary session. As it finished and I was walking out, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Diane Rigos and Cynthia McGowan, two chemistry faculty from Merrimack College who I had hired, back in the days when I was Chair of the Chemistry Department there. I was wonderful to see them and catch up a little, and I was then off to a reception and dinner for presidents and provosts attending the conference. I took the train back to West Natick for the night.


L-R:  Cynthia McGowan, me, and Diane Rigos at the NAFSA Conference

Thursday, it was back into Boston for the Presidents’ Day events at NAFSA. The talks were quite interesting, and there exhibits for study abroad from pretty much every country around the world. After finishing with the talks and exhibits, I took the train back to West Natick, picked up Jill and Mark, and drove to Harvard MA (not where the University is—the town of Harvard is in the north-central part of the state) to visit some old friends from back when we lived in Manchester NH. It was wonderful seeing John McGarry, his wife Nancy, and most of their children that evening—they’re among the nicest people I know, and I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever been involved in with John over the years. All the children are grown up now, with the youngest son (Andrew) engaged to be married this September.

After returning to West Natick for the night, we left for home on Friday, stopping in Worcester to visit Jill’s parent’s graves to pay our respects. We then went to That’s Entertainment, a comic book store I’ve done business with since I was in college, and then had lunch. We left Worcester at about 1:00, and going through Albany and the Adirondacks, got back to Canton at about 8:00.

And Wrapping Things Up…

This week began with a mini-retreat to discuss how graduation had gone, and how we might make it a bit shorter. This was followed by a Strategic Panning Committee meeting, where we focuses on outcomes metrics that should line up with our required SUNY Excels metrics. Tuesday began with a Deans Cabinet Meeting, and included a preparatory meeting for our upcoming Alumni Weekend events.


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with May, but not necessarily the month. Our winner was Christina Lesyk. Others getting all five right included Bill Prigge and my sister, Drorit Szafran. Here are the correct answers:

  1. What April Showers bring. May Flowers.
  2. Spider-man’s elderly aunt (first and last name, please). May Parker.
  3. Ship that the Pilgrims sailed on.
  4. When one of the spouses is old and the other is much younger. May-December marriage.
  5. Billy Joel song that includes the lines: “I may be crazy, But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for, Turn out the light, Don’t try to save me. You May Be Right.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Staying with last time’s theme, this week’s challenge deals with June, but not necessarily the month. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Someone who gets married during the most popular month for weddings.
  2. Johnny Cash’s second wife.
  3. A type of beetle, also a song by the B-52’s.
  4. The mother’s name on “Leave it to Beaver”.
  5. Actress who played Timmy’s mom on “Lassie”, she was also the mom on “Lost in Space”.
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May 7, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 35– May 7, 2015


Summer is Nearly Here…

The weather here in the North Country has taken a sharp turn for the better. Two weeks ago, we had possibilities of snow. For the past several days, it has been in the 70’s and 80’s and positively summerlike. While it will probably get a bit cooler in the near future, for now it looks like we’ve skipped spring entirely and gone directly from winter to summer. One spring-like feature that is happening with a vengeance is that the pollen count is quite high, and my eyes are itching and I’m sneezing to prove it.   I thought I was rid of that leaving Georgia (where the pollen count can be astronomic in spring) but here it is back again. Judging by the color of my Toyota Matrix (normally indigo, but it turns “day-glo” green when lots of pollen is on it), the count is actually much lower here than in Georgia, but I seem to be more allergic to it. It just goes to show you—you can’t win.

Semester Winding Down

This week is finals week here at SUNY Canton, and graduation is this Saturday. Our student life folks have been outdoing themselves with extra end-of-semester activities, including having a Spring-Fest (I wasn’t able to attend since I was totally booked with other activities, but I saw the really great T-shirt designs), a great student awards ceremony, and lots of fun events on the plaza (including an ice cream soda social, a barbecue, lots of good music, and so on).

There have been lots of departmental end-of-semester events too, with several more to come on graduation day itself. Leading off, on April 30, was the Veterinary Technology pinning ceremony. Our Vet-Tech students, faculty, and staff are a really great bunch with a fantastic departmental comraderie that reminds me of my earliest days as a faculty member. The program is housed in Newell Hall, a really attractive building with very nice classrooms, lab and animal spaces, and offices. The pinning was an upbeat ceremony, followed by a reception and group photograph.


The pinning was followed by a tree planting by our Veterans Association. The Association conducts this ceremony to honor veterans who have been and continue to be active in the SUNY Canton community. This year’s honorees were Tom and Nellie Coakley, both US Army Veterans who served in Viet Nam, and who are strong supporters of the college. The Coakleys are a really wonderful family, and were very touched by the ceremony. A few weeks ago, the Coakley’s honored me at my inauguration, when the display sign in front of their store (Ace Hardware and Carpet One) said “Congrats Dr. Zvi Szafran—SUNY Canton President”.

At noon, I gave a short speech at the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society inauguration ceremony. Chi Alpha Epsilon recognizes students who achieved honors “the hard way”, having started college in developmental, SSS, or Educational Opportunity Programs. Its purposes are to promote continued high academic standards, to foster increased communication among its members, and to honor academic excellence achieved by those students. We all know people for whom everything seems easy. People who seem to finish the race without even working up a sweat. While we all like to cheer for the person who crosses the finish line first in a race (and that’s fine), too many people don’t realize that not all of us start our race in the same place. What is a 60-yard dash for some is a 2000-yard endurance trial for others. What’s great about Chi Alpha Epsilon is that it recognizes the students for whom the race was longer and tougher, who still reached the finish line with great achievement. To me, that’s one of the very best meanings of the word “honors”. The ceremony itself was very touching, and I was very proud when a number of students asked me to pin them and to pose for some selfies.


That afternoon, I got to fire the starting pistol at the annual Roo Run/Walk. The weather was great and there were lots of participants and plenty of prizes. A little later, I welcomed a group of potential students from New York City who had come up to visit campus by bus. I had a chance to talk to several of them then and the next day, and I’m looking forward to seeing them this coming fall.

The day ended with the final installment of SUNY Canton’s great Living Writers Series, with guest Daniel Torday. Mr. Torday is the winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and his latest novel, “The Last Flight of Poxl West” was published in March and has become a national bestseller. He was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, and was recently interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. The talk was great and I had a chance to chat with Mr. Torday afterwards. He’s a really pleasant and interesting guy. I’m now the proud possessor of an autographed copy of his latest book, which I plan to enjoy reading this summer.

Phil LaMarche from our English and Humanities Department is the director of this series, and does an exceptional job. Speaking of which, both Phil and his wife Carolyn (our volleyball coach) were this year’s Vice President’s Award honorees given to a faculty or staff member at the student award ceremony mentioned earlier.

IMG_1088L-R:  Courtney Bish, Phil LaMarche, Me, Carolyn LaMarche and two very cute kids!

May 1 began with Admitted Students Day, with our band (Lenore VanderZee, Rosemary Phillips, Dan Gagliardi, and me) playing some tunes, and a little later, me giving a welcome. The turnout was huge—more than 120 families present, coming from as far as Long Island. The session was a lot of fun, and our admissions folks do an outstanding job in organizing things and answering every possible question. It was great meeting so many future students.

Later that day, I had lunch with the Student Government Association’s executive board—both the new officers and the outgoing leadership. Our SGA is a great group—funny, caring, and committed to the college and their classmates. It’s always a pleasure to see and talk to them, and the new group looks like it will be equally great as the current one.

On Saturday, SUNY Canton hosted the New York State North Country Region Special Olympic Summer Games. There was a huge turnout in the Field House, and the parking lot was full. There were teams from all over the North Country, and our own student athletes and other student volunteers acted as buddies for all the participants. After the parade of athletes and a series of opening remarks (including some by the athletes themselves) and awards, I got to declare the games officially open. The events were very cool, and the athletes were fantastic.

IMG_1079 IMG_1083   

SUNY Canton Shoutouts

Congratulations to our Dental Hygiene students, who have won the national Student Member Community Service Award from the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA). The award will be presented at the ADHA’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee in June.

Our sophomore level students were selected for this prestigious award as a result of their  community outreach project with the 2nd grade classrooms at Bellamy Elementary School in Rome, NY (where our dental hygiene program is located).   The three-month project was spearheaded by Lindsay Argyle, an adjunct instructor in the dental hygiene department (and a SUNY Cortland graduate student), and Kasey Penoyer, the program’s community health instructor. A total of 112 children participated in educational activities, which included learning proper brushing and flossing technique as well as how to make healthy food choices to achieve good oral health. Twenty-one of the children also had parental permission to participate in a dental screening at SUNY Canton’s teaching clinic for the placement of pit and fissure sealants and a topical application of fluoride.  Dr. Terrence Thimes, Chief of Dental Surgery at SUNY Upstate’s Dental Residency program and two of the residents from there were on hand to examine the children and offer their support in this collaborative project.

Access to dental care is a growing concern in today’s society.  Through this project, the hygiene students offered their services to a population with unmet dental needs.  The children not only received free preventive dental care but also became more comfortable interacting with oral health care professionals. It was a win-win situation for all involved parties. The SUNY Cortland Foundation, GC America, Dentsply, Patterson Dental and Ultradent all contributed clinic supplies to support the outreach program.  Congratulations to our Dental Hygiene students!  

Congratulations also to Tony Beane, a professor in SUNY Canton’s Vet Tech program and also a master gardener, for his fine work in assisting the Canton Free Library’s Grounds Committee in spring cleanup of the library grounds.  


Congratulations to SUNY Canton’s Early Childhood Club for the school supply donations to “Against All Odds—Outreach for Learning”, a charity set up by our own graduating senior Pierre Nzuah to assist poor children in Cameroon wanting to go to school.   Pierre, also from Cameroon, knows how hard it can be to get an education when you come from a poor family—he has worked extremely hard all of his life to accomplish his educational goals. Now that he’s graduating, he wants to “pay it forward” and help others who are in similar circumstances so that they can succeed. Way to go all!


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with elephants. Our winner was Christina Lesyk. Others getting all five right included Carmela Young and Brett Furnia. Here are the correct answers:

  1. What an elephant never does.  Forgets.
  2. Famous French elephant in children’s stories—he first appeared in 1931 in a book by Jean de Brunhoff.  Babar.
  3. Military commander of Carthage, he led an army including elephants from Iberia over the Alps into Italy during the Second Punic War.  Hannibal.
  4. In the Beatles song, “He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun”.  Bungalow Bill.
  5. Ganesha.  The Hindu elephant-headed G-d.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge deals with May, though not necessarily the month. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. What April Showers bring.
  2. Spider-man’s elderly aunt (first and last name, please).
  3. Ship that the Pilgrims sailed on.
  4. When one of the spouses is old and the other is much younger.
  5. Billy Joel song that includes the lines: “I may be crazy, But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for, Turn out the light, Don’t try to save me.


Posted in Uncategorized

April 27, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 34– April 27, 2015


Winding Down?

After Inauguration Week’s many activities, you’d think that things might wind down a bit, but that didn’t prove to be the case. The Monday and Tuesday after inauguration were filled with meetings that had accumulated since we couldn’t do them the previous week.

Among these was the first Strategic Planning Meeting, ably chaired by Liz Erickson. Our first task in the strategic planning process is to review where we are relative to the major outcomes identified in the current plan. Liz divided our rather large group into subcommittees, each being tasked to look at one of the outcomes, detail what has been accomplished (gathering any documents that may exist about it), what’s left to do, let us know if the outcome is still valid for us, and suggest metrics for how it may be measured in the future. Please be aware that someone on a subcommittee may contact you for information in the future if you’ve been involved in one of the outcome issues. We’ll be reviewing the results at our next meeting, and then moving ahead to establish tactics for accomplishing our remaining goals. We’ll report on our progress periodically.

On Tuesday, several folks from campus met with representatives from the St. Lawrence County BOCES program. About 45% of the students in the county take at least one course at the BOCES technology centers, and their programs line up very nicely with ours. Our goal is for their students to become even more familiar with our college, and we want to set up the smoothest possible transition process so that their graduates can matriculate into our degree programs. The meeting went very well, and we established some of the things we need to do to make this smooth transition process a reality.


Trip to DC

On Wednesday, Lenore VanderZee (our Executive Director for University Relations) and I flew down to Washington DC for SUNY Day. The flight out of Watertown to Philadelphia left at 7:30, which meant that we had to leave Canton at 5:30 AM. Yech! After a short layover, the connecting flight to DC took off on time, and we were in DC a little before noon. The rooms at the Hampton Inn weren’t ready yet, so we had lunch in a nearby Mediterranean restaurant. By the time we finished, the rooms were ready, so we checked in and headed off to the first meetings, which were in the Rayburn Office Building. As we were walking there, we passed by the Mall behind the Capitol Building, and were wondering why there were a lot of people looking at something (we had no idea what) across the reflecting pool. We moved a little to the left to go around a group of people and passed in front of a huge bank of cameras and microphones, which was a bit disconcerting since they weren’t for us—I kept expecting President Obama or some other major official to show up at any second. The Capitol Police were everywhere, and we later found out that someone had flown a one-man helicopter onto the Mall, thereby calling all the security forces into alert.

We got to the meeting just in time and had a chance to meet some of our New York congressmen, as well as a group of SUNY students doing political internships in DC. The Chancellor had asked several presidents to speak about how their campuses do applied learning and how this leads to student success. I got to represent the Colleges of Technology, which was an easy and pleasant job, since applied learning is in our bones—we’ve been doing it since our founding in1906.

That evening, SUNY had a large reception at the Newseum (a cool place—worth a visit if you’re in DC), where several of the colleges (including us) had tables set up showcasing what we do. Several other congressmen and their aides came to the reception including Charles Rangel. We met lots of folks there, and the reception ended at about 8:00. We then joined President Esterberg and another colleague from SUNY Potsdam, and went out to dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant.

Thursday morning, it was back to the Newseum for breakfast and several presentations from the Chancellor.


Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer both came by to address our group.


Senator Charles Schumer

I had to break away from the meeting at one point to walk back over to the Rayburn Office Building, because I had a meeting with our own congresswoman, Elise Stefanik. The meeting went very well, and I was really impressed with Congresswoman Stefanik’s excellent memory—she remembered when she and I first met, last fall before she was elected in November. Since then, she visited our campus and saw several of our programs and their facilities last January. Unfortunately, I was in Florida at the time visiting alumni. I invited her to come back and visit us again, and to speak to our students, which she agreed to do next fall.

Walking back to the Newseum, there were large crowds in the street as well as various marching contingents for Emancipation Day, a unique DC holiday celebrating when the slaves in the capitol were all purchased from their owners and set free.


There were a few more presentations and discussions, and we then walked over to another office building to have a more individual campus visit with the Senators’ staffs. Dinner that evening was at a very nice Thai restaurant. The next morning, we left at 5:30 AM to go to Reagan International Airport to catch the 7:20 AM flight to Philadelphia, and after an almost 2 hour layover, got on to the connecting flight to Watertown. We got back to campus at about 3:00 PM, when I hustled to get last week’s issue of the BLAB out before the weekend.


The Amazing Chemistry Race

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of giving a talk at The Amazing Chemistry Race, an event for students from the Northern New York section of the American Chemical Society. The event was coordinated by our own Nicole Heldt, ably assisted by Rajiv Narula and a group of volunteers. Events included two rounds of Chemistry Jeopardy, one for several high school teams, and one for teams from SUNY Canton, Potsdam, and Plattsburg (we came in 2nd, with Potsdam repeating last year’s win). I then gave my talk, entitled “History of Chemistry—37,000 Years in 45 Minutes”, which was a lot of fun. The students then broke into teams for the race, which consisted of going to several locations on campus to do various chemistry tasks. My congratulations to Nicole and all other organizers for a job well done!


Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Sunday morning, April 19, my father (who is an Auschwitz survivor) went to the synagogue in Potsdam to talk to the students in their Hebrew School about his experiences during the Holocaust. He’ll be speaking to students at the Middle School on May 6 as well. That afternoon, we all went back to the synagogue for a remembrance service and to hear Eva Kuper, a Holocaust survivor who was saved as a little girl at the last possible second from being sent to the Treblinka Death Camp, and hidden through the war by a nun at a home for blind children. After the war, she was able to reunite with her father and moved to Canada in 1948. Through a series of coincidences, she was able to find out the nun’s name (Sister Klara Jaroszynska) and reunite with her in 2005 on a visit to Poland. A movie “Three Miracles, One Hope: Eva Kuper’s Holocaust Story” was made about her life. You can read a bit more about her here in a story that appeared in the Watertown Daily Times. She was a fascinating speaker and it was a privilege to meet her.


Honors Convocation

One of my favorite events of the year is when we can recognize the students who have reached a bit higher and farther, winning various honors awards. Our annual Honors Convocation was held on Wednesday, April 22, and it was just great. This year’s convocation was named for Rosanna Moser, a retired faculty member who began teaching at SUNY Canton in 1983 in the Secretarial Studies program, which later became the Office Technology program. She helped develop new courses in Computer Information Systems, served as Business Department Chair, and organized Professional Development Week at the college. She received the College Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2007. It was a pleasure to meet Rosanna and talk to her during the Honors Luncheon. The award ceremony was held in the afternoon, and it was great to recognize and shake hands with all the student winners. 


Rosanna Moser


SUNY Canton Shout-Outs



We’ve had a number of great athletic results lately. First off, our baseball and softball teams had a pair of no-hitters in back-to-back games on March 28th and 29th. Our pitchers were Derek Harkin and Kelsey Morgan, respectively. Harkin was recognized as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Honorable Mention National Pitcher of the Week, while Morgan was honored as both the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Pitcher of the Week, as well as the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Pitcher of the Week.

Several other student-athletes also recently received awards for their achievements on the diamond as well. These include:

  • Seth Douglas ­ Empire 8 Player of the Week ­ STORY
  • Shannon Dowling ­ ECAC Upstate Player of the Week ­ STORY
  • Kaitlyn Tibbetts ­ ECAC Upstate Rookie of the Week ­ STORY
  • Kelsey Morgan ­ ECAC Upstate Pitcher of the Week ­ STORY
  • Kelsey Morgan ­ USCAA Pitcher of the Week ­ STORY
  • Derek Harkin ­ NCBWA Honorable Mention National Pitcher of the Week ­ STORY

Speaking of baseball, a SUNY Canton alum recently signed a professional baseball contract. Gerardo Torres, a 2013 graduate of Canton and two-year member of the baseball team, recently signed a contract with the Grays Harbor Gulls of the Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League (MRPBL). You can read the story here.

During Inauguration Week, our student-athletes also celebrated Division III Week, which celebrates the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement.

Congratulations to all our student athletes and their coaches for their fine achievements!


Funeral Services Administration

While in DC at the SUNY reception, I ran into Peter Brusoe, who told me about one of our alums, Peter J. Rose (’04), who lives in Canajoharie and has been a licensed Funeral Director since 2005. He is a member of Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, where he serves on the Pastoral Council; a member of the Mass Fatalities Taskforce of Montgomery County and the National Funeral Directors Association; a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, serving on the Continuing Education & Convention Committee, and a 2014 Graduate of the Leadership Academy. Recently, he’s started an essay contest to help local youth is a great ambassador for our Funeral Services Administration program. Congratulations, Peter!


High Mileage

Jerry Bartlett, SUNY Canton’s Learning Systems Manager, traveled to Ohio on April 17 to compete in Green Grand Prix, a competition aimed at promoting a cleaner environment. The race, which has been held for 11 years now, is sponsored by Toyota and is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America. Jerry entered the race for the first time last year. How did he do? He won it on his debut, chalking up an impressive 217 mpg. How did he do this year? He beat his own record, of course, winning again with 250 mpg. You can read more about it here. Congratulations Jerry, and let us all know your secret!


Me, Jerry Bartlett, and Molly Mott, with Jerry’s cake and award


Law Enforcement Day

On April 20, the Criminal Justice Department chose “Emerging Issues in Homeland Security” as the theme for its 5th Annual Law Enforcement Day. The keynote address was made by Cynthia Storer, a member of the sisterhood of CIA intelligence analysts whose work led to locating Osama bin Laden in a safe house in Pakistan, and whose work with the CIA was featured in the HBO documentary “Manhunt: The Search for bin Laden.” Other activities included presentations by Elson Irizarry (Coast Guard Investigative Service), Curt Tennant (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), and Tim Losito (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Congratulations to Paul Bowdre and Lisa Colbert, who did an outstanding job of organizing this year’s event, and to Will Fassinger as the event photographer.


 Tim Losito, (ICE), Cynthia Storer (former CIA Analyst), and Elson Irizarry (U.S. Coast Guard)



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with dogs and cats. Our winner was Alan Gabrielli, a faculty member from SPSU. Others getting all five right included Brett Furnia and Robin Gittings. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Seuss classic about trouble at Sally and her brother’s house, first published in 1957. The Cat in the Hat.
  2. Song by Baha Men, it won the Grammy in 2001 for Best Dance Recording. Who Let the Dogs Out.
  3. A particularly stealthy thief, especially one that gains entry undetected. Cat Burglar.
  4. Rock band named for what indigenous Australians do on freezing cold nights. Songs include Eli’s Coming, Mama Told Me (Not to Come), and Joy to the World. Three Dog Night.
  5. 1965 comedy western starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin. Cat Ballou.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Staying with the animal theme, this week’s challenge deals with elephants. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. What an elephant never does.
  2. Famous French elephant in children’s stories—he first appeared in 1931 in a book by Jean de Brunhoff.
  3. Military commander of Carthage, he led an army including elephants from Iberia over the Alps into Italy during the Second Punic War
  4. In the Beatles song, “He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun”.
  5. Ganesh.


Inauguration Trivia Contest

When speaking at my inauguration, Liz Erikson challenged the audience to her own version of the BLAB’s Trivia Contest, with the questions all dealing with the word “president”. Our winner, with 4 out of 5 correct, was Patti Todd. Congratulations Patti! Here are the five answers:

  1. The American President
  2. United States Marine Band (‘The President¹s Own’)
  3. All the President¹s Men
  4. Happy Birthday, Mr. President
  5. Dead Presidents


Posted in Uncategorized

April 17, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 33– April 17, 2015

It Was the Best of Times…

Last week was as fantastic a week as I’ve ever experienced. Naturally, a major part of the appeal is that the events were done in honor of my inauguration, but I’ve attended many inaugurations in the past and there is no question in my mind that this was the very best of them. And it’s not just me saying that—I’ve heard the same comment from lots of other folks.  


Inauguration week began on Monday (April 6) with a Campus Kick-Off, held in the Underground Lounge. There was beautiful singing and playing by Kasey Cunningham, one of our students, wonderful food from our College Association, and a blessing for the week of activities by Rabbi Rappaport. Something many people know is that my inauguration was held during Passover, which added a few complications. First, I couldn’t eat any bread or similar product that rises when cooked, since such foods are forbidden on Passover. As a result, Steve and Sue from our food service had to provide some food that was kosher for Passover, as well as regular food. Not everyone who’s Jewish follows these food restrictions for the entire eight days of the holiday, but I thought it was important that we allowed for people who do follow them. Second, the first two days and the seventh and eighth days of Passover are full religious holidays, meaning (among other things) that you’re not supposed to travel on them. Since the inauguration ceremony itself was on Friday, April 10, the seventh day of Passover, no rabbi could travel to Canton to do the benediction. That’s why we had the blessing at the beginning of the week at the kick-off. Rabbi Rappaport, who is the rabbi for Syracuse University’s Hillel (Jewish student’s organization), was kind enough to travel all the way from there to our campus to give the blessing and say a few words, and I can’t thank him enough for doing it.

inauguration kickoff April 06, 2015[1]

That evening, Mr. Sung Lee, Director of Business Operations at Welch Allyn (an international manufacturer of high-quality medical instruments headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, NY) gave an excellent presentation as part of our Leadership Lecture Series that I described in last week’s BLAB.  


On Tuesday, I got a chance to look at some of the History Timelines that various departments and offices placed all around campus. I’ve seen at least five different versions, focusing in on different areas and perhaps there were others. They were all very cool and informative. At noon, I attended the Faculty/Staff Publication Displays in the Library, which also included research presentations by our students and faculty. The librarians had prepared notebooks with our faculty/staff’s pictures on their covers, which contained journal articles that they had written. Books that our faculty/staff had written were displayed alongside. I’m not sure how they did it, but as a surprise for me, alongside my notebook of publications, our librarians had managed to turn up a hardcopy of my PhD thesis—probably the only copy in existence that isn’t on my own bookshelf. I know that you’ll all take advantage of the opportunity to go and read it! The research presentations were wonderful, and when I asked them some questions related to their work, they were well prepared to answer them. I’m told that the faculty/staff publications display will become permanent, so if all of your work didn’t appear, please get the library copies so that they can be proudly shown to our community. I know I’ll be doing that.

Inauguration Week 6x4-2

I then went on a walking tour of the campus, where several programs had presentations and displays. Unfortunately, I only had two hours before the next event, and there were so many presentations that I couldn’t get to some of them. First up was the Early Childhood Education program, who had a wonderful display of children’s educational games that our students had developed. Each student had a large display about the theme and learning aspects of their game, as well as a sample of the game itself.


Next was the Sports Management program, which did a mock television broadcast, showing off their excellent production facilities in Wicks Hall. Also in Wicks Hall, I saw the laboratories associated with our Physical Therapy Assistant program. I have to admit that while I knew we had programs in these two areas, I had (up until then) never seen their facilities. I was extremely impressed with the high-quality resources that our students get to use.


Down in Neveldine Hall, I saw a very nice display produced by our Graphic and Multimedia Design program students. Our students in the program are doing some very cool things, among which were creating a greeting card company (including the cards themselves as well as advertising and marketing materials), creating a comic book (a copy of which is now in my collection) and creating a set of superheroes based on SUNY Canton students, designing hats and caps, creating a photographic collection and starting up a photography business, and creating a video about their program.


Also in Neveldine, I saw the Auto Engineering lab, where students were working on restoring a 1955 Lincoln Premiere (see the March 5 BLAB for details, here), among many other things. It’s a fantastic facility, far beyond anything we’ve had on any of my previous campuses.


I had to cut off my tour at this point, because it was time for the Roos Rising Parade. I got to ride in one of the campus GEM cars as it went around campus, past the residence halls as large groups of students joined in, all carrying banners and wearing special T-shirts.

Inauguration Week 6x4-6

As the parade went by Chaney Dining Hall, my wife Jill and my parents (who had arrived slightly late) jumped into other GEM cars and off we went, down to our athletics field for a Women’s Lacrosse game against Clarkson. Our mascot Rudy was there to encourage the crowd. It obviously worked, since SUNY Canton beat Clarkson 13-11 (though my father said it was because he was there).

Inauguration Week 6x4-14

At the game, the athletics staff gave me one of the greatest gifts ever—a bobblehead doll with my face and soccer jersey on it!   That evening, I attended a Scholarly Activities Celebration in Cook Hall. There were so many presentations (by both faculty and students) that there had to be two parallel sessions, which was too bad since I wanted to see them all. I bounced back and forth between the two and thoroughly enjoyed all the talks.


Wednesday was “Pay it Forward”, a day of service for the campus. Students, faculty, and staff were all engaged in various activities to serve our community. My own contribution was doing a chemistry magic show for Canton pre-K through 4th graders. The show was held at the high school’s auditorium and there were about 500 children present. While the children loved all the experiments, which included making fireballs, exploding some hydrogen balloons, starting a fire with water (and then putting it out with the same water), clock reactions, and freezing lots of things in liquid nitrogen (-400°F! That’s cold!), their favorite reaction was one of the simplest: an oxidation-reduction reaction where a liquid changes from colorless to blue (and back) when you shake it. I told them my favorite color was blue and shook the bottle, turning the liquid blue, and then told them “The chemicals don’t always behave, so let me know if the blue color goes away.” Every time it did, the children would start to yell, and I’d invite one of them onto the stage to shake it and make it blue again. Everyone wanted to be chosen. After a few times, I invited our mascot Rudy to try, saying “Even a kangaroo can do chemistry!” After that, the principal of the elementary school gave it a try. We had tons of fun, and I’m sure that at least a few of the children will want to become chemists in the future.


There were lots of other outreach activities. One of my favorites was done by our Criminal Justice student organization, whose contribution was to fingerprint children (I got mine done too), and later in the day, to present a K-9 bullet-proof vest to one of our local police forces—the ninth such vest that they’ve raised money to donate. Pretty cool!

K-9 Vest April 08, 2015-4

That evening, the mayor of Canton Mary Ann Ashley and the village board held a reception for me at the TAUNY (Traditional Arts of Upstate New York) Center. The big surprise was that they arranged for four students from the theatre program at the high school to appear dressed as the major Archie comic book characters: Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, in honor of my once-upon-a-time appearance in an Archie comic book many years ago. The reception was wonderful, with excellent deserts all prepared by the culinary arts students from BOCES. A second big surprise was that we got a little snowstorm that evening, dropping 2-3 inches of very heavy, wet snow in about two hours. By 8:00 PM, though, it turned to rain and by the next evening, most of it was gone.  



On Thursday, I was asked to come visit the Development Office to see one of the College’s major benefactors, John Halford. I found out that he was making a leadership gift to the College in honor of my inauguration and challenging our alumni to match it. How great is that? Afterwards, I called my parents (who are friends with Mr. Halford) to join us at the Cascade Diner for breakfast with several of the folks from the Development Office. About half an hour later, it was time to eat again, since I was having lunch with the Student Government Association Executive Committee, where we honored students and staff. First up was the student who did the preliminary design for my presidential medallion, Austin Rdzanek. The design was contributed to by Lorette Murray, from our P.R. Office. Next up were the two students who won the Dr. James M. Payson Speaking Prize Competition, Pierre Nzuah and Rachel (Nikki) Zeitzmann.   I also met with the students who are running for SGA leadership positions next year.

medallion award April 09, 2015 Pierre award April 09, 2015 Nikki award April 09, 2015

After a quick meeting with Liz Erickson about our upcoming Strategic Planning effort, it was down to the Field House for a walk-through of the inauguration proceedings and a sound check. I got home a little early, because guests were beginning to arrive—my sister Drorit was coming up from Texas; Jill’s sister Ellen and her partner Etta from New York City; Jill’s cousins Meryl and Mark and Meryl’s son Joshua from Massachusetts; SPSU colleagues Nikki Palamiotis, Raj Sashti, and Dianne Summey from Georgia; and Merrimack colleague Ted Long (he was the VPAA when I was the Dean of Science and Engineering there) from Maine all came by. It was absolutely great to see them all, and our College Association had absolutely filled the house with food so that we could stuff them all!


Things started well on Friday, with me being able to sleep a little later than normal. I had planned on dropping into the office for a few minutes to handle some last minute details, but after showering and getting dressed, things began to go wrong. First, all the water in the house shut off. We thought it was because everyone in the place had been taking showers and the tank was empty, but after half an hour, we still had no water. I called Grants Plumbing and they said they’d send someone over as soon as possible. I went outside to look by our well head, and then noticed that the floor was wet in the outside room where our septic system head is. So, we had to call to get the septic system pumped out. When the plumber came, it turned out to be a clogged filter. When he changed it, the water came on, including the upstairs shower that had never been turned off when the water went off. The hot water went on the bathroom floor, and the steam set off the smoke detector (which was good, since it immediately told us something was going on). Due to strong support from Peggy Sue Levato, we were able to get all the stuff addressed that morning.

I was finally able to go over to the breakfast that had been arranged for my long-distance and family guests. In addition to the folks who had come by the house on Thursday night, I was happy to see some of my longest-term colleagues—Mohan Singh, Diane Rigos, and K.C. Swallow, all members of the Chemistry department I had hired and worked with for many years at Merrimack College (my first college); Bob Brown and David Stone, both SPSU colleagues; and Alan Gabrielli, who I had gone to graduate school with in South Carolina and who in the ultimate “small world” scenario, went on to become the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Southern Polytechnic. Breakfast was wonderful, but afterwards I had to run back to the house to make sure that everything was all right.


I then dashed back to the College to meet with reporters from Watertown Channel 7 and Time Warner Cable. I ran in to say hello to the faculty and staff who were representing other colleges in the procession. These included our former Acting President Joseph Hoffman, President Esterberg from SUNY Potsdam, President Fox from St. Lawrence (Tony Collins from Clarkson also attended the inauguration, but knew he would arrive too late to march), Joe Petrick (the Student Life VP when I was at New England College), and several others representing various SUNY campuses.

Hoffman - Szafran[1]

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher arrived at that point, and we both went up to the Mezzanine to prepare to march, joining several others who were already there. We then all got into line in our appropriate places for the inaugural procession. There were about 600 people in the audience, and as everyone took their seats, I was the last one to march onto the stage

Lenore VanderZee did a great job as emcee, and all the speeches went really well—the invocation by Mayor Ashley, the welcome from Ron O’Neill (chair of our College Council and the Search Committee), Liz Erickson speaking for our faculty, the two fabulous student speeches by Pierre Nzuah and Nikki Zeitzmann, and Dale Major (representing our alumni), and Chloe Ann O’Neil (representing our College Council). My wife Jill, who had been wrestling with all the issues that plagued us in the morning as well as son Mark’s panic attack because of the big crowd, was able to rush in at the last moment to give her remarks. She was really nervous, but did very well and got a huge round of applause.


My longtime friend (and former president of Elizabethtown College) Ted Long gave a great keynote speech—it meshed with my speech perfectly, which was remarkable considering that we had done nothing in advance to coordinate them. It’s always been that way—we have a similar view of the academic world and have always worked very well together. There were several musical interludes during the proceedings, courtesy of jazz combo A Fine Line, consisting of Bill Vitek (a faculty member from Clarkson University) and Dan Gagliardi (a Math faculty member at SUNY Canton). The songs were chosen to tie in with me in various ways, including a fine jazz version of the Ray Charles classic “Georgia”, and a personal favorite, “Mr. Ghost Goes to Town” with the words modified at the end to say “When Zvi Szafran Comes to Town”. I’ve seen A Fine Line many times, and they’re always fantastic.

The Chancellor then gave her speech (also great!) about the importance of higher education and how SUNY Canton can play a leadership role in the Technology sector and across SUNY. She then called me to the podium to formally inaugurate me as the fourth president of SUNY Canton. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I have to say that it was quite a thrill when she put the medallion of office around my neck and made it official.


It was then time for me to speak. The first thing I wanted to do was to thank the three co-chairs of the Inauguration Committee, Michaela Young, DianeMarie Collins, and Julie Parkman, who were called up to the stage and given small gifts. I also thanked the other members of the Inauguration Committee, everyone else who had participated in the week’s activities, my fellow Associated College presidents, and Ron O’Neill and Chancellor Zimpher, who were responsible for hiring me.


Starting the speech, I pointed out that inaugurations had an interesting duality—everything about them comes in twos. We look to the future, but also back to the past. Keeping with this “comes in twos” themes, I quoted from Dickens’ famous novel A Tale of Two Cities (saying that these are the best of times and also the worst of times for higher education) and from C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures (saying that SUNY Canton needs to be the College that can bridge between the sciences/technologies and the liberal arts to provide an applied education that also has context).

Focusing on how SUNY Canton is the type of college that makes a real difference to our graduates, our current students, to our community, and to the future of our region, I closed with a modified verse from a song by the group Timbuk 3:

We go to SUNY Canton, we love our classes,

We have these crazy teachers, they wear dark glasses.

Things are looking great, and they’re only getting better.

We study real hard, get good grades.

The future’s so bright, (and at this point, everyone in the platform party put on sunglasses) We gotta wear shades!

After a lot of applause, the recessional began. I walked through an honor guard of student athletes, shaking hands with all of them, and then welcomed the faculty procession as it came out. Lots of folks congratulated me and commented on how wonderful the inauguration had been.

I caught my breath, and it was then time for RooFest—the party after. The food was absolutely great, the music provided by Ben Amatucci, a student, A Fine Line, and Impromptu was fantastic, and I had a wonderful time shaking hands, having selfies and official pictures taken, and meeting everyone. After about two hours, the party closed with us forming the no-name band that plays at orientations, made up of Lenore VanderZee, Dan Gagliardi, and me, with Bill Vitek sitting in, playing a few numbers. The last number was our version of the full song The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades with SUNY Canton lyrics.



Saturday morning brought an Admitted Student Day event, where the no-name band played again, and I gave a welcome speech. Through the rest of the weekend, it was time to say goodbye to everyone who had come, and to think back on the previous week’s activities.  

Thanks a Million!

I don’t even know where to begin to thank everyone who did so much to make last week’s inauguration activities so wonderful. I’ll try to thank everyone below, but please forgive me if I’ve missed someone—it wasn’t intentional. My greatest thanks to:

  • The Inauguration Committee co-chairs, Michaela Young, DianeMarie Collins, and Julie Parkman
  • The other Inauguration Committee members: Theresa Corbine, Melissa Cummins, Daron Ellis, Emily Hamilton-Honey, Pat Hanss, Feng Hong, Sue Law, Priscilla Leggette, Pam McDonald-LaChance, Al Mulkin, Lorette Murray, Nancy Rowledge, Randy Sieminski, Lenore VanderZee, John Vandevere, Anne Williams
  • The Inauguration Honorary Committee members: Betty Connolly, Joan Eurto, Linda Fay, Pauline Graveline, Art Hurlbut, Deb Lowry, Ron and June O’Neill, Linda Pellett, Senator Ritchie, Wes and Janet Stitt, and Josephine Swift
  • Matt Mulkin, for many things but especially designing the program and timeline
  • Our PR Team – for designing the invitation, and taking care of press releases, promotion of events, media coordination
  • Theresa Corbine and the entire IT Staff
  • Pat Hanss, Walt Holmes, and the entire M&O Staff
  • Our fabulous Grounds Crew
  • Steve Maiocco, Sue Law, and Food Service Staff
  • John Vandevere and Staff
  • Randy Sieminski, the Athletics Staff, and our student athletes
  • Priscilla Leggette, the SGA, CAB, and all our students who participated in the events
  • Jim Hamilton – my fantastic assistant for the chemistry magic show
  • Chief Alan Mulkin and all the UP Officers
  • Nafeesa Johnson and our Student Ambassadors: Devine Pearson, Julian Shaw, Cole Tallerman, Steven Gonzalez, Jordan Edwards, Bessida Ouedraogo, and Shaquille Longford
  • Michelle Currier, Mike Magilligan, and the Library Staff for the great faculty/staff research exhibition and coordination of the events in the Library
  • The Scholarly Activities Celebration Committee
  • Raj Sashti, for organizing the Leadership Series.
  • Julie Parkman, Katie Kennedy, and Terri Clemmo for coordinated the Payson Speech Contest
  • Our Vice Presidents (Courtney Bish, Dave Gerlach, and Shawn Miller), Provost (Karen Spellacy) and Deans (J.D. DeLong, Ken Erickson, Mike Newtown, and Molly Mott), for supporting all of the activities
  • So many volunteers for so many things – Nancy Rowledge, Tina Flanagan, Terry Waldruff, Erin Voisin, Christina Martin, Natasha Flanagan, Karen McAuliffe, Renee Campbell, Rebecca Blackmon, Colleen Sheridan, Amanda Rowley, Tammy Harradine, Brenda Mullaney, Janet Livingston, Anne Williams, Julie Parkman, Will Fassinger, Lashawanda Ingram, Chad Delosh, Al Mulkin, Amanda Deckert, Nafeesa Johnson, Julia Radley, Scott Quinell, and David Rourke
  • Nick Kocher, Priscilla Leggette, and Patty Todd
  • Mayor Ashley and the Village Board for the Community Reception
  • Our Color Guard: Laura Difrenza, Shannon Perham, and Thomas Sanford
  • Dan Fay for serving as Macebearer
  • Lenore VanderZee for fantastic emceeing
  • Tony Beane for his great version of the alma mater
  • Moriah Cody for her wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner
  • Dan Gagliardi and Bill Vitek from A Fine Line
  • Impromptu (Bruce Hanson, Richard Todd, Mark Darou, and Chris Riordan)
  • Ben Amatucci for his wonderful playing and singing during the RooFest
  • Our Great Speakers: Ron O’Neill, Mayor Mary Ann Ashley, Liz Erickson, Pierre Nzuah, Rachel Zeitzmann, Dale Major, Chloe Ann O’Neil, Jill Szafran, and Ted Long
  • Our other College Council Members – Tom Sauter, Joe Rich, Marie Regan, Roger Sharlow, and Melissa Cummins
  • Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
  • Rabbi Rappaport, for the blessing at the Inauguration Kick-Off
  • The College Association
  • The College Foundation
  • Our Fabulous Faculty and Staff

Wow! That’s a lot of people!    

Last Week’s Trivia Contest

There wasn’t one!  

This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge deals with dogs and cats. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Seuss classic about trouble at Sally and her brother’s house, first published in 1957.
  2. Song by Baha Men, it won the Grammy in 2001 for Best Dance Recording.
  3. A particularly stealthy thief, especially one that gains entry undetected.
  4. Rock band named for what indigenous Australians do on freezing cold nights. Songs include Eli’s Coming, Mama Told Me (Not to Come), and Joy to the World.
  5. 1965 comedy western starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin.


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April 8, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 32– April 8, 2015



It’s Sometimes Tough…

It’s sometimes tough to get the BLAB out on a weekly basis, since so very much is going on. As almost everyone knows, this week is my inauguration week, so I’m going to wait until next week to reflect on that and tell about everything that went on, for those who couldn’t make it in person. For now, I’d like to encourage everyone who can to participate in the many great activities that are taking place, and to come to the inauguration ceremony itself on Friday (April 10) at 2:00 PM, and to the big party and RooFest that starts at 4:00 PM. And at the very end of it, at 5:30, our four-person band will play a few numbers, including one that’s a surprise and will tie in to the end of my inaugural speech. Now who’d want to miss that? Hope to see you there!



Leadership Lectures

We’ve been hosting a Leadership Lecture Series, bringing business leaders on campus periodically this semester. Raj Sashti identifies these leaders and coordinates their coming here, and has also done some fundraising to help pay for the costs—dinner with the speaker, accommodations (when needed), gifts, etc. On March 24, we hosted Mike Hawthorne, president of New York Air Brake, an international company in the railroad industry, headquartered in Watertown, NY, who gave a great talk.


On April 6, our guest was Sung Lee, Director of Business Operations at Welch Allyn, an international manufacturer of high quality medical instruments headquartered in Skaneateles Falls NY, whose presentation was also excellent.


At these talks, the business leaders tell us a bit about their own company, but the main part is where they talk about the path they took to reach their leadership positions, and the main attributes a leader should have—their formula for success. It’s interesting that the paths taken by the three business leaders we’ve hosted so far have been quite different—it’s obviously true that the adage “There are many paths to success” is accurate. All the talks have been well attended, and our students have shown a lot of interest in how to succeed in business.



Go West, Old Man

Much of my time the past 10 days has been taken up by travel—I was away for a week, during which I went to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Albany. My trip began at 5:30 AM on March 25th, when I left Canton for Ogdensburg to catch a flight to Albany. I needed to get some money (I only had about $12 in my wallet), so I stopped at the bank. Unfortunately, the ATM in the drive through wasn’t working (it had a software problem), and my card wouldn’t open the door for the ATM in the front. I figured it really wasn’t a problem—these days, I hardly ever use cash, because you can charge anything.

The flight from Ogdensburg to Albany was fine. While the plane is a little bitty eight-seater, it’s still reasonably comfortable—so much so that the last three times I’ve flown this route (including this trip), I’ve fallen asleep for almost the entire flight. I got breakfast in the terminal, got onto a USAir flight to Philadelphia, and then caught another flight to Las Vegas.

The purpose of the Las Vegas trip was two-fold: my parents (part of the year) and my uncle, aunt, and a cousin (all year) all live there, and I wanted to see them, especially since my Uncle Nathan had just celebrated his 90th birthday. The second reason is that I was also doing a few visits to SUNY Canton alumni in Nevada. A friend of my father’s picked me up at the airport, and a few minutes later I was in my parents’ apartment. The next day, we all went out for dinner to re-celebrate my Uncle’s birthday.


L-R:  My Uncle Nathan, my father Daniel

On March 27th, I got together with Geoffrey VanderWoude, a member of our development office, and went to see Barbara Wilson (’81), Theresa Witherell (’92), and Robert Witherell (’91) at the Cheesecake Factory. We had a nice conversation and a nice dinner, talking about their time at SUNY Canton and about what’s going on at the college now. As a fan of the Big Bang Theory TV show, it felt a little funny eating at the Cheesecake Factory (believe it or not, it was my first time there ever), given that’s where the character Penny works. No, I didn’t see her there!


L-R:  Geoffrey VanderWoude, Barbara Wilson (’81), me, Theresa Witherell (’92), and Robert Witherell (’91).

The next day, Geoffrey and I met with Michael Janssen (’91) and his partner Michelle at Delmonico’s restaurant at the Venetian Casino on the strip. We had gotten there a fair bit early, thinking that finding a parking spot would be difficult, but as usual when you give yourself enough time, we found one right away. On our way through the casino, a well-dressed man walked up to me, shook my hand, and said it was really nice to see me. I said “It’s nice to see you too”, and after we parted, Geoffrey asked me who the man was. “I have no idea,” I said. After finding the restaurant, we sat down and people-watched for a little while, and talked to a Canadian couple who sat down a little later because they were tired. They were surprised to find out I knew where Sudbury (their home town) was. I’ve never been there, but I came within a few miles of there on a drive from Las Vegas to New Hampshire ten years earlier. Michael and Michelle came a few minutes later, and dinner at Delmonico’s was great. The restaurant is world-famous for steak, so of course that’s what we had. They’re a lovely couple and a lot of fun to talk to, and strong supporters of the our Steel Bridge Team.


Saturday was a day with the family, and we all had dinner at my cousin Karen’s house. She has a nice Spanish type house that you see all over Las Vegas, complete with an enclosed back yard with pool and outdoor barbeque area—very nice.

Sunday, it was time to leave and fly to Phoenix. Peggy Sue Levato met me at the airport, and we went to the hotel, a Marriott not far from there. After checking in and washing up a little, Peggy, Geoffrey (who had flown there a day earlier), and I went to visit Bobbie Burnham (’46) and her partner, Richard Randol at their home. They’re a great couple and Bobbie was just delightful and full of energy. They showed us their beautiful home and showed us some lemons they had grown, one the size of a softball. We went out to dinner nearby at an Italian restaurant, and had a great time reminiscing and talking.


Monday began with breakfast with Dean Rowland (’66), a SUNY Canton grad who majored in hotel management. Dean is an interesting guy, who has also acted in some shows and is a good singer.


Peggy, Geoffrey, and I hit the outlet malls that afternoon, all doing our share to stimulate the Arizona economy! Dinner that night was in Sun City with Barbara Wilder (’53) and her husband Fred (who is an SLU grad). Barbara made us dinner (a delicious chicken piccata), after showing us around their lovely home with beautiful cacti in the back yard. Lots of homes in metro-Phoenix have dispensed with lawns, going for colored gravel and beautiful cacti and other desert flowers and trees instead. We had a really pleasant conversation, and Fred told me he was a history buff, especially about Vermont’s role in the Civil War.


Lunch on Tuesday was with Wayne Barkley (’50) and his wife Barbara, Bob Styring (’70) and Jon Richardson (’67), all interesting people, two of whom are now in the real estate game in Phoenix. Jon used to work for the Atlanta Braves and their farm teams and the Baltimore Orioles (including when they won their world series in 1983) , and is interested in helping with our Sports Management program.


L-R:  Peggy Levato, Barbara, Wayne Barkley (’50), me, Bob Styring (’70), Jon Richardson (’67) and Geoffrey VanderWoude.

That evening, we went to a really beautiful and interesting place called the WigWam Resort, where we had dinner with Jon Richardson and Chuck and Linda Goolden. Chuck, as many of you know, is a member of our Foundation Board, and has done tremendous service for the college, helping us grow our endowment.


L-R: Geoffrey VanderWoude, Jon Richardson (’67), me, Chuck & Linda Goolden, and Peggy Levato.

Wednesday, April 1, it was off to the airport early, for a flight to Charlotte, NC and a very tight (30 minutes) connection to Albany. Fortunately, I was able to sleep much of the way on the Charlotte flight, where I might have gotten one of those snack packs, but they were sold out by the time the cart got to me. After landing in Albany, I took a taxi to the Hilton, where I was staying. It’s a nice hotel, located downtown, which was good because I was absolutely starving—I had left before anyone was serving breakfast, and had no time to get anything to eat when changing planes. I took a quick walk down to Jack’s Oyster House, an Albany restaurant institution, and had a nice meal.

The next morning, it was off to the Egg Performing Arts Center in Albany for the Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. I met up with our own two winners, Pierre Nzuah, and Danielle St. Denis, and we took our assigned seats at the staging area (alphabetically by college name) among the 250 or so students and campus representatives there for the ceremony. We all then filed into the main hall for the event, filling in the seats in the same order as had been in the staging area. After a presentation and some introductory remarks from Chancellor Zimpher, each row was called in turn to go onto the stage, where an announcer read the name of the each college’s campus representative (me for SUNY Canton). The students were then called to be congratulated by the Chancellor and the representative.


When the last SUNY was called (Westchester!), the ceremony was done and there was a buffet lunch, where the award winners were able to get together with their family and friends.

I had to dash off at noon to go back to the hotel, and take a shuttle to the airport. The driver of the shuttle was kind enough to make a special trip for me, but when I went into my wallet to give him a tip, I saw that I had spent every cent of US currency—I had nothing left! I apologized, but fortunately, I had some Canadian bills, so I apologized again, gave him a nice tip in Canadian dollars, and told him he needed to visit the North Country so he could cross the border and spend it. I caught the 2:30 PM flight back to Ogdensburg, and was back on the campus by 4:30 PM. Whew!

The trip was great, and it was wonderful seeing family, meeting so many alumni, and seeing our students get their awards. My only regret is that I had to miss the Living Writers Series talk by Bill McKibben that was held on Thursday, while I was in Albany. I’ve heard that it was just fantastic, drawing a huge crowd of 700. Mr. McKibben, an environmental activist and author spoke about the dangers of global warming to a packed house in the CARC.



Friday was an all-meeting day, trying to catch up on everything since I was away, and trying to finish by 4:30, since Passover began that evening, and we were all invited to a Seder (the formal meal one eats for the holiday) at a friend’s house.



Tweet, Tweet

Here’s a reminder that in case you have nothing better to do, I’m also now on Twitter. If you want to follow my posts, you can find them at @SUNYCantonPrez.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with children’s rhymes. Our winner was John Jodice, from our help desk. Others getting all five right included Rajiv Narula, Marcie Sullivan-Marin, Nancy Rowledge, Rhonda Rodriguez, Janel Smith, Christina Lesyk, my sister Drorit, and Brett Furnia. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Why Jack and Jill went up the hill. Too Fetch a Pail of Water.
  2. It keeps (or sends) the doctor away, according to the rhyme. An Apple a Day.
  3. What Little Miss Muffet ate. Curds and Whey.
  4. The boy who kissed the girls and made them cry. Georgie Porgie.
  5. They “Sailed off in a wooden shoe—Sailed on a river of crystal light, Into a sea of dew”. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

I’m too tired to write one! The Trivia Contest will return next issue.



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March 22, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 31– March 22, 2015



Tweet, Tweet

In case you have nothing better to do, I’m also now on Twitter. If you want to follow my posts, you can find them at @SUNYCantonPrez.


CONTEST! Why SUNY Canton is the Greatest Place on Earth

Since the last BLAB was during spring break, I thought I’d repeat this item in case you missed it. We’re starting a contest called “Why SUNY Canton is the Greatest Place on Earth”. It’s obvious to all of us that SUNY Canton is the greatest, but we need to capture the story to prove it to the rest of the world!

I’m sure you’ve seen multiple examples of this—a great student project. A transcendent moment in the classroom or lab. A beautiful spot on campus. A great on-campus event. A winning moment in athletics. Cool students, faculty, and staff. Something funny or touching that captures the SUNY Canton spirit.

We want you to submit a picture (or short video clip) capturing part of our story, along with a suggested caption. We’ll number and post the good ones, credited to the people who submitted them, on our new website at http://canton.edu/greatest/. You can see a few samples there now to give you an idea of what we’re looking for. The very best submissions will be saved for “milestone” numbers (#50, #100, and so on) and will win big prizes. There’s no limit to the number of pictures and ideas you can submit.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there with your camera and your imagination and start submitting. Just click on “submit a photo” to learn how, and you’re ready to be a part of history.


Save Students Money–Consider Open Textbooks

In these times of rising tuitions and stagnant salaries, it’s always a good idea to think about ways that can save our students some money.  One way is to consider using an open textbook.  SUNY maintains a list of open textbooks which can be found here.  A much larger list can be found at MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching).  To access MERLOT’s list, click here, and scroll down to the section with the headline “How Can I Find Open Textbooks? Easy!”.  More than 2500 open textbooks are available in every discipline.

You will, of course, want to review the quality of the open textbook in exactly the same way you’d review a commercial text.  So give it a look, and perhaps you can help our students make college a little more affordable.


ACE Conference

Last week was a busy one, as it involved a lot of travel and meetings. It started on Friday, March 13, when I flew down to Washington DC for the American Council on Education (ACE) conference. I know lots of first-rate people who are ACE members (and a few who became ACE fellows), and they had a series of sessions for new presidents, so I decided it was high time I attended one of their conferences. I was glad I did. The conference started on Saturday and I was there until Monday.

I got to DC without incident at a little after noon and took a taxi to my hotel. On the drive in, I noticed a very nice Indian restaurant, so after checking in, I took a walk there and had lunch. The weather was so nice that I took a walk to the National Zoo, where I enjoyed seeing the pandas and various other exhibits.


One session dealt with the major education initiatives from the federal government:

  • The Department of Education plans to implement a Ratings Project, which would give ratings to every college in the country on access, affordability, and outcomes.  Whether there will there be three ratings or a composite rating for each college is unclear.  The target date for implementation is August, and no commitment has been given that there will by any peer review of the proposal.  There is some possibility Congress will block this project.  There is a risk to colleges that a bad rating might harm their reputation, based on flawed data and a poor process.
  • The President wants to make community colleges free across the country, based on a model implemented in Tennessee.  Questions have been raised about “why not fund first two years of 4 year colleges”? It’s thought that the proposal won’t get far in Congress, since it will cost $70B over 5 years.
  • Work is also being carried out regarding teacher preparation regulations. The idea is to have states figure out how to do this, basing it on how students progress using a pre-test, post-test model.  How well teacher did (“the value added”) would be used to rate the education program at the college the teacher graduated from.  Final regulations have not yet been issued and will phase in. It would be 4-5 years before there are any consequences.

A session dealt with the Campus as a Safe Learning Environment. Among the major points raised were:

  • Colleges have to be intentional about diversity and embed it in the classroom.  Faculty should be given training on how to teach diverse students.
  • Sexual assault and binge drinking are not problems to be solved—we can’t make them go away.  They are issues to be managed.  We need to be prepared to answer the question “What have you done to manage this, and need a campus plan.
  • Anything bad that happens on our campuses is immediately amplified by social media, often before we’re ready to begin talking.  We need a rapid response plan.  We must have good relations with religious leaders in our community.
  • Have Community Forums to get diverse opinions and to engage the community. Use social media to bring in the community.
  • In every communication, say what you’re trying to achieve.  You can’t communicate enough.  There’s a perception in the public that college presidents only react to crises—they don’t expect you to be ahead of issues.  There’s skepticism about what we say, and that we only tell half-truths.

Another session discussed the Next Generation of Equity. Major points raised there included:

  • Defining equity is complex, and should depend on what’s important to the institution defining it.  Institutions must grapple with what it means to them.  It depends, in part, on institutional mission.
  • Campuses should have metrics that measures progress, broken down by individual groups. Equality is different from equity—you can have same outcomes, but not everyone starts in the same place.
  • Lots of communities have a precise definition of equity, only it’s not always the same one.  One school developed an equity scorecard as a way to start. This allowed looking at measures without tightly defining equity. Belief follows practice.
  • Equity has to be something that everyone owns and has to operationalize.  Too often, diversity and equity are little checkboxes that are off in some corner and don’t really affect the institution as a whole.
  • Too much focus is given to avoidance of risk, rather than achievement of equity.  What else is a presidency for except to take some risks to do the right things?

A really interesting session dealt with the Presidency in the 21st Century. I’m out of room, so I’ll try to talk a bit about it in the next issue of the BLAB. 


Mike Hawthorne of New York Air Brake to Speak

Mike Hawthorne, the president of New York Air Brake, will visit SUNY Canton on Tuesday, March 24. He will be speaking from 5:45-7:15 PM in Neveldine North, room 102. All faculty and staff are invited to attend, and should encourage their students to attend as well. In addition to providing an overview of his company and its products and services, Mr. Hawthorne will describe his career path and the challenges and opportunities he encountered in becoming President.


Prior to becoming the President and CEO in July 2012, Mr. Hawthorne was responsible for all technical and operational functions of the company in Watertown, NY, Texas, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ontario.  He joined NYAB in 1995 as an Electronic Control System Engineer, advancing to Managing Team Leader for LEADER Products in 1996 and TDS Division Director in 2001. He was named Vice President and General Manager of NYAB in January 2012.  Aside from his 18 years at NYAB, Mr. Hawthorne has also worked as a Control System Engineer at Raytheon in Boston, where he was a Miccioli Scholar and member of the Seeker Design Team.  He is innovator with an established track record of identifying opportunities and converting concepts into profitable product offerings.  He is also the recipient of the 2012 Knorr Excellence Award.

Mr. Hawthorne received a B. S. in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University, an M.S. in Control Systems/Singal Processing from R.P.I., and the M.B.A. from Syracuse University.  He holds more than 23 patents in train control and simulation.


The SUNY Canton Shout-Outs Continue!

Mock Trial

For the past two weeks (March 2-18), SUNY Canton’s Legal Studies program hosted area high school students competing in the St. Lawrence County Mock Trial Tournament. Six St. Lawrence County schools, coached by local attorneys, argued a civil case involving the alleged embezzlement of funds. Participating local high schools included Hammond Central School, Heuvelton Central School, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Morristown Central School, Ogdensburg Free Academy, and Potsdam High School.

Professors Alex and Christina Lesyk organized the event with the assistance of Professor Bill Jones. Dean J.D. DeLong judged the first night of the competition and other attorneys and judges from the local legal community served as judges for the other nights of the competition. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in this rather large effort. I can hear Sam Waterston applauding from here!


Roo-preneurship at Its Best!

Our Business Department recently hosted the 1st Annual Roo-preneur competition at SUNY Canton.  The contest, organized and facilitated by Professor Charles Fenner, drew seven teams and consisted of a redesign of the Raquette River Gift Company’s website, and recommendations for further expansion of the company.  In addition to team prizes, one student, Andrew Lang, was designated as the competition’s best speaker and will represent SUNY Canton in the individual speak-off competition at the 3rd Annual Free Enterprise Marathon at SUNY Plattsburgh on March 6th. The best students from the competition will form SUNY Canton’s team along with Andrew to the Free Enterprise Marathon Product Redesign Competition.


SUNY Canton Wins Award

SUNY Canton received an award last week for increased giving in the State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA) campaign. Over the past year, we raised $8,013 vs. a little over $5,000 last year.  A breakfast was held at The Best Western Inn for area agencies, and Nancy Rowledge, Associate Director of Human Resources, accepted the plaque for SUNY Canton.  Tina Flanagan was also present and will be working on the SEFA program in the future.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed!


Don’t Forget the Social

Don’t forget to sign up for the wine and cheese social on April 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM, in the Mezzanine of the Roo’s House. It’s a chance for faculty and staff to have a casual chat on any issue with me and Presiding Officer of the Faculty Assembly Liz Erickson, or just to hang out! It’s limited to 25 people, so please contact Colleen Sheridan at sheridanc@canton.edu or at x7870 as soon as possible (not later than April 24).


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with words that start with the letter “Z”. Our winner was Renee Campbell. Others getting all five right included Robin Gittings, Christina Lesyk, my sister Drorit Szafran, Rhonda Rodriguez, Janel Smith, Anne Williams, Barry Walch, and Brett Furnia. Here are the correct answers:

  1. They’re actually black with white stripes, not the other way around. Zebras.
  2. Introduced in 1963, they replaced zones in addresses for mail. Zip Codes.
  3. There are twelve, including Gemini, Cancer, and Pisces. Signs of the Zodiac.
  4. Song from the Disney movie “Song of the South”, the second line is “My, oh my, what a wonderful day.” Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.
  5. African country formerly known as South Rhodesia, its president is Robert Mugabe. (No credit for Zambia, which was formerly Northern Rhodesia).


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge deals with children’s rhymes. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Why Jack and Jill went up the hill.
  2. It keeps (or sends) the doctor away, according to the rhyme.
  3. What Little Miss Muffet ate.
  4. The boy who kissed the girls and made them cry.
  5. They “Sailed off in a wooden shoe—Sailed on a river of crystal light, Into a sea of dew”.


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