August 24, 2016


Volume 11, Issue 1–August 24, 2016


Welcome Back!

Summer is almost over, and I’m sure we can all agree it went by extremely quickly.  It used to be that summer was a time for rest and refreshing of the brain cells, but for me at least, each year it gets busier.  The BLAB has been on hiatus most of the summer since my time has been devoted to other things, but it’s back again for its 11th year of news and random thoughts.

I hope everyone who was off for the summer had a good time and is rested up for what I’m sure will be a busy and engaging fall.  I took the week of July 4th as vacation, but really didn’t go anywhere then or the rest of the summer.  It’s so nice up here I don’t really feel the urge to travel except to the local rivers, lakes, and mountains.


The big change at the Szafran homestead is that we had a patio put in, and it turned out really well.  We had been thinking about having this done for a year or so, to fix up an area that had a honeysuckle tree that was overgrown and scratching at our window.  Provost Doug Scheidt beat us to it and had one put in at his house, and when I saw how nice it was, I hired the same folks (J&J Groundworks–I think the owner is an alum of ours) to put one in for me.  It has been unusually hot this summer, with temperatures going into the 90’s on multiple occasions, and it’s a bit buggy when the sun goes down and it cools off, so I haven’t put the patio to as much use as I’d like.  The weather has been nice the past few days, so we’re now enjoying it, and will probably have a few barbeques in the near future.

Patio, Before

Patio area, before…

 Patio, After

Patio area, after!

I also bought a Bluetooth speaker to use on the patio.  It weighs about a pound and the sound is very nice.  It plays whatever my iPhone is streaming, so long as it is within 75 feet of the phone, and holds its charge for well over 24 hours of constant play.  The sound carries well all over the patio so it’s perfect for that purpose.  Pretty cool for something that costs $30 or so.

It has also been a good summer for buying CDs.  I ran into a yard sale in town where the person was selling bins of very fine quality classical and jazz CDs, and I ultimately bought out everything, which included some 200+ super audio discs.  The sound on these is just fantastic, and I’ve been enjoying going through and listening to them over the past few weeks.  There are still plenty more that I haven’t gotten to, so I’ll be enjoying myself for some time to come.



Grand Tour of Campus

While many of you will have been away for the summer, there are many new things that have recently been completed or that will begin this fall.  Folks have been really busy making our campus a more beautiful and welcoming place for everyone to enjoy.  Here’s a nice campus tour you’ll want to take to see them all.  A big thanks to Greg Kie for all the nice pictures!

When you first drive onto the campus from Route 68, you’ll immediately see several beautiful flowerbeds, containing a riot of purple, white, and other colored blooms.

Zvi Flowers1

Along the side of Cornell Drive, you’ll see the new LED light poles which provide more light but consume less electricity.


Something you won’t be able to see are the new underground gas lines that will assure our ability to keep the campus warm during the winter.  A bit further up the road at the Y, you’ll see the beautiful new electronic sign welcoming folks to campus, giving information about the day’s events, and providing directions to major campus buildings.


If you swing left at the Y, next on our tour will be French Hall, with its beautiful new windows and entranceways, refurbished offices for Admissions, Advancement, Administration, and the SBDC, and its newly repaved parking lot (Lot 8).

French Hall


It’s worth a stop, because on the grounds adjacent to French Hall you can visit the Memorial Rock, a place for reflection, remembrance, and celebration of life.  The memorial was installed last February by our Student Government to remember Elliot Mullings, a well-liked student majoring in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement Leadership who passed away in Spring 2014.  Right alongside is the campus’ new Butterfly Garden.  It’s quite lovely with the plantings that have already attracted quite a number of butterflies and bees.  The Butterfly Garden was funded through a Campus Enhancement Award from the SUNY Canton Foundation, and students in Prof. Rajiv Narula’s Introduction to Environmental Science course and members of the Environmental Change Organization on campus will be responsible for its upkeep.

 Butterfly Garden

Continuing down the road, you’ll pass MacArthur Hall (don’t worry—we’ll stop there on the way out) and Dana Hall (which will be renovated beginning next year) and come to newly paved Parking Lot 3.  If you stop there and walk over to Heritage Hall, you can see the newly renovated wing of that residence hall.  It’s quite nice, and our plans are to redo one wing every year until all the residence halls have been totally refurbished.

 Room-2 Bathroom

From there, continue around the loop, enjoy the beautiful views of the Grasse River on your left, and make a right turn on Miller Drive.  Go down to the end, park at Lot 13, and enter the Miller Student Center.  Group to the first floor and look for one of our two newly refurbished casual dining spots—the Rendezvous in the Underground Lounge—where you can get a sandwich, pizza, salads, and many other tasty items.


Once you’ve eaten, walk upstairs to the second floor and head for Room 224, home of the College’s Ready Center, which opened last March and has offices of lots of helpful folks who would like to meet you.  The Center offers students help with advising, career services, and international programs.  It’s a great facility whose motto is “College Ready, Career Ready, World Ready”.


The Miller Campus Center is so nice you’ll probably want to stay for quite a while, and if you do, in Room 222, we will be opening the new Center for Diversities and Inclusion this October.  The Center will be a great space for students to talk about issues related to diversity with our two new co-Chief Diversity Officers, Lashawanda Ingram and Bill Jones, as well as for small-scale events and just to hang out and learn more about the diversity that is one of our campus’ greatest assets.  With the support of North Country Senator Patty Ritchie, a grant was obtained to fund the renovations for the Center.  Two additional grants were obtained to support the Center—one for outreach to Native American students in the Akwesasne Nation, and one to support the Center’s programming.  Many thanks to Lashawanda, Bill, Doug Scheidt, Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) and Courtney Bish (Vice President for Student Life) for their grant writing, planning, and support for this effort.

Now go out the front doors of the Miller Campus Center onto Roselle Plaza, and to your left you’ll see the newly refurbished Southworth Library, with its lovely windows and copper fixtures.  Stop in and say congratulations to the librarians, because the library was rated #1 in all of SUNY for both resources AND services!  The Cyber Café is located in the the library in case you want a cup of coffee and a dessert, and will be renovated later this year as well.


Return to the Miller Campus Center, go down to the bottom floor and back to your car, and drive around the loop staying to the right, until you get to Parking Lot 5.  Walk up the ramp and go into MacArthur Hall, which we skipped before.  In the unlikely event you’re still hungry, stop at the newly refurbished Roos Court (replacing the former JT’s), where they had a preview tasting this week, and I can personally attest that they look very nice and the food is quite good, with a variety of cool new offerings.

Roos Court 

For our final stop, take the elevator up to the sixth floor, turn right, and walk toward my office in Room 616.  As you walk you will see the updated Gallery of SUNY Canton Directors and Presidents.  It’s pretty darned nice, and the pictures have all been reframed and appear in date order, including the interim and acting presidents who served throughout our College’s history but weren’t represented before. A huge thank you goes to the following people for their help on this project—Michaela Young (Assistant to the President), Greg Kie (Senior Media Relations Manager), Pat Hanss (Director of Physical Plant), Stan Robert (General Mechanic), The Frame Mill (Paul and Roberta Heer), and Mike’s Trophies.  When you’re done seeing the gallery, come in and say “Hi”.  I’ll be waiting for you.


Now that our tour is complete, go outside and do it again, walking this time, to work off all the food you ate!



Agriculture and More Agriculture

When I first came to SUNY Canton, people asked me what new programs I might want to offer at the College, and one of the things I mentioned was trying to bring agriculture back in some form.  Back in the day, SUNY Canton began as a School of Agriculture, later becoming an Agricultural and Technical Institute (ATI) and then an Agricultural and Technical College (ATC), before assuming our current name and identity.  Over the years, we drifted away from the agriculture area, with our current programs in Veterinary Technology being the only programs in the area we still offer.  When we announced we were seeking approval to offer Agribusiness as a step back toward our “roots”, there was a lot of interest and positive comment.  We have recently heard that the program was approved by SUNY—we are awaiting the final step, which is approval by the State Department of Education.

Perhaps because of this, I now find myself chairing the Agriculture Subcommittee of the St. Lawrence County Economic Development Report, as well as co-chairing the Agriculture Subcommittee of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.  This means that I meet a lot of people involved in the agriculture sector, and I’m learning a lot about agriculture in the North Country.  Agriculture is a major employer in the region, and brings in a lot of revenue.  The face of agriculture has changed over the past 20-30 years—it is now much more technological (the dairy industry is the biggest employer of mechatronics engineers in New York, for example), more global, farms are much larger on average, there is a big farm-to-table movement developing, there are many new environmental and tax laws that need to be addressed, and there is a huge demand for people willing to work in the field.

While meeting with some of our local farmers, I was surprised to learn that salaries are quite high even for entry-level workers with a high-school degree (some places are paying almost $15/hour now, even before the Governor’s new plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 in our region at some point after 2021), and double that with a background in agriculture and technology.  The problem the farmers are facing and that we at the College are trying to help address is that they can’t get enough local graduates at either the high school or college level to work in the industry.

It’s been really interesting to learn about, and it will be even more interesting as SUNY Canton becomes more and more active in the agriculture disciplines in the future.



Global Entry

I travel a fair bit, so I thought it might be a good idea this summer to get one of those Global Entry cards that make it easier to go to (and come back from) other countries and also gets you an automatic TSA pre-check at the airport.  In addition to filling out some paperwork, you also have to have an interview, and as it turns out, the nearest place to do that to Canton, NY is in Canada!  The location is on the island between Canada and the US where I-81 crosses the St. Lawrence river.  The fastest way to get there was to cross into Canada on the bridge in Ogdensburg, drive down the 401 (which is like a US interstate), and cross a toll bridge onto the island.

I did that with no problem, except I couldn’t find the building where I was scheduled for the interview.  I was expecting something fairly large and imposing, like most government buildings, and there was nothing like that on the island.  After a mile or so, I saw the Canadian duty free store on my right, and I knew that the border had to be soon thereafter, so I pulled in through a set of (I came to find out) one-way gates.  Well, the Global Entry place wasn’t there, and when I pulled out of the parking lot onto the only way you could go, I found myself on a one-way road out of Canada.  I saw a security agent walking down the road and asked him where I had gone wrong, and he told me to do a U-turn on a little road through the median, which took me right back to Canadian customs.

When it was my turn to go through, the border agent asked how long it had been since I was last in Canada, and raised his eyebrows when I said “about two minutes” and explained what had happened.  He laughed (I guess I wasn’t the first person who had done this) and told me the Global Entry place was in a small shopping plaza on the right, and cautioned me not to cross the bridge—if I did, I’d have to turn around and pay the toll again.  I drove cautiously back up the road, missed spotting the location again, but saw the bridge looming ahead, so I quickly pulled into the parking lot to my right and finally spotted the Global Entry office—a non-descript door with a small sign on it.  Another sign was hanging in the window saying “closed until 12:30”, which was fine, since that was when my appointment was.  At 12:29, the door was unlocked and I went in, whereupon they asked me some questions, took my fingerprints, and the interview was over.  They said I’d get the card in an unmarked envelope in about a week.

As long as I was down there, I figured I’d check to see if there was an Indian restaurant nearby, and sure enough there was—in Gananoque, Ontario.  I crossed the bridge (no toll going north) and drove the nine miles.  The restaurant was on Main Street, which I figured would be the main street in town (clever me, right?), but it turns out it isn’t—the main street is King Street, with Main Street being a small road off of it that goes down to the river after you pass downtown.  When I got to the restaurant, I found that it was take-out only—nowhere to sit indoors, but you could take the food (packed up to go) outside to a picnic table they had out front, so that’s what I did.  After eating, the ride home was nice since I decided to take the Thousand Islands Parkway back, instead of the 401.

 1000 Islands

The first time I tried to use the card was two weeks ago, on an alumni visit to Ohio with Anne Sibley, our Vice President for Advancement.  We decided to fly out of Ottawa since that offered the best connections to Columbus, so back into Canada I went over the Ogdensburg bridge.  When you fly to the US from Ottawa, you go through US customs at the airport before you take off (which is a bit weird), and I had to fill out a customs form asking what I had bought in Canada (which, of course, was nothing at all).  I went through the customs booth and asked if they wanted to see my passport or my Global Entry card, and they said that I could have used the card earlier in the path (which I had missed seeing), and avoided going through customs at all.  OK—live and learn.  We flew from Ottawa to Washington-Dulles, and from there (on the same plane, as it turns out) to Columbus, arriving at about 11:15 PM.

The alumni visits the next day went very well, meeting two delightful families—Dr. and Mrs. Kasheed Mohammed (as well as their son, Hafiz) in Columbus, and then driving down to Cincinnati to see Mr. Jim and Judy Golden.  Dr. Mohammed has had a very interesting life, coming from India to the US via Trinidad.  He is a fellow chemist who is the co-inventor of the liquid form of Splenda, the artificial sweetener.


Mr. Golden was involved in the development of the first set of Star Wars toys for Mattel.  When I see what these toys bring today, it’s a pity I didn’t meet him way back when to buy a few sets!

 Star Wars

We flew back from Cincinnati to Newark, and after spending about 30 minutes stuck on the plane since the jetway wouldn’t work, moved to another gate and got out just in time to make our connecting flight to Ottawa.  Landing in Ottawa, I looked high and low for a place to use the Global Entry card, and once again failed to spot it.  Maybe next time.  At least I was in the TSA pre-check line for each flight, though the airports were quiet enough so that it only saved me a minute or two.



Articles Worth Considering

Each issue of the BLAB, I’ll try to include a link to an article that I’ve read recently that makes an interesting point that I think is worth considering.  If you have an opinion about the article, positive or negative, I’d love to hear it.

Here’s this week’s article, from this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education.  The author says we shouldn’t penalize students for late work.   To access the article, click here.




Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “i”.  Our fastest responder with all five correct was Julie Cruickshank, followed by Tony Beane, Kimberly Ferree, Katie Kennedy, and Terri Clemmo.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Sweet and cold summer treat.  I’ll take two scoops. Ice Cream.
  2. House made out of ice.  Igloo.
  3. Its capital is Jerusalem.  Israel.
  4. Swedish store selling furniture you have to put together.  IKEA.
  5. John Lennon song that has as its chorus: “You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.  Imagine.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “j”. Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. It starts the year.
  2. Two atom bombs were dropped there to end World War II.
  3. Superman’s cub reporter friend.
  4. He started on Welcome Back Carter, and later moved on to Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction, and Get Shorty.
  5. Dolly Parton begged her: “Please don’t take my man…Please don’t take him even though you can.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 29, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 23–June 29, 2016




The BLAB has fallen off the supposedly weekly schedule by quite a bit lately—there wasn’t even one issue in May (though the last April issue was on the 29th), and I’m barely getting one out in June.  I’ll try to do better, but it’s tough to find the time with everything else that’s going on.  Given how long it has been, I’ll try to do a catch-up on some of the major things that have happened the past few weeks.

On the home front, we’re getting a patio put in.  I bought a new grill a few weeks ago, and while there is a “stoned in” area in the back of the house, it really wasn’t good enough since to have the grill be sufficiently far from the house, I had to stand under a honeysuckle tree with the branches in my face.  We’re going to take the tree out and have a 14×16 or so patio made with Vermont slate put in.  Tentatively, it will be done the week of July 15th, which also happens to be my birthday.  As soon as its done, expect the barbequing to commence in earnest. 

Speaking of events, June 20 was also my 40th anniversary.  Jill and I got married in 1976, and celebrated the bicentennial during our honeymoon in Israel.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been together 40 years now, and it’s a strong testament to her ability to put up with a lot.  Or as she’d put it, A LOT!




Commencement was way back on May 7, and it was a wonderful event.  Almost 900 students earned a degree or a certificate, and the CARC was well packed.  This was the first time (at least recently) that family members needed a ticket to attend (each student got four, but could request more if they were available), and the distribution went well and nobody was turned away.  The volunteers greeted our many visitors, and from all the comments I heard, everyone felt well welcomed.


The keynote speech was delivered by John C. Duken, a top executive from Dick’s Sporting Goods, and an alum from the Class of ’81. The speech talked about the importance of hard work and good attitude in getting ahead, and was extremely well received.  Sarah Ray (Veterinary Technology) won the Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduate Award, and Kaitlyn Tibbetts won the Outstanding Associate Graduate Award.

We began something new at this graduation—each graduate was given a special medallion by the SUNY Canton Alumni Association.  The medallion is quite nice, engraved with the College’s symbol and made out of bronze.  It was a very nice surprise to the graduates.

The overall ceremony lasted two hours, which is exactly the right length as far as I’m concerned—it’s long enough to know you’ve been to an important event, and short enough to not drag on and be boring.  It takes an army to put on a graduation and we had one!  Special thanks to Diane-Marie Collins, the members of the Commencement Committee, and all our volunteers and staff who played such a critical role in making things so great.




Post-Graduation Vacation?

Lots of people think that right after our students graduate, we can all go on vacation.  Not so, as anyone in higher education can attest.  The week after vacation was filled with the usual meetings with other senior staff, a trip to Lake Placid for a North Country Regional Economic Development Council meeting, a Foundation Board of Directors meeting, and our Recognition Day ceremony.

Recognition Day was a lot of fun—it’s the time we recognize folks who have worked at the college for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 years, folks who are retiring, and various award winners.

The College’s Meritorious Service Award went to two winners:

  • Elizabeth A. Brown is a faculty member in Criminal Justice, Presiding Office of the Faculty Assembly, and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Liz has also served on and chaired a record number of search committees for both faculty and staff positions.


  • Janet Parcell-Mitchell is a faculty member in the Health and Fitness Promotion program which has tripled in size since she began. She is the primary organizer of the Roo Watcher’s weight loss program, and is a volunteer for many, many campus efforts.  



The College Council, represented by Ron O’Neill, presented two awards:

  • The College Council’s Excellence in College Service Award went to Sarah E. Todd, our Director of Institutional Research. Sarah has played an instrumental role in our reaccreditation by Middle States in 2013 and in developing a strategic enrollment plan.


  • The College Council’s Employee Recognition Award went to Aimee E. Felt, secretary to the School of Business and Liberal Arts. Aimee was recognized for her professionalism and exceptional customer service skills.


One of my favorite parts of Recognition Day was the videos shown at the beginning—the P.R. folks had put together three new clips starring everyone’s favorite kangaroo, our mascot Roody:

  • In the first, he’s questioned by our HR office because someone has accused him of watching kangaroo videos while on duty:



  • In the second, he crashes a final exam and causes havoc:



  • In the third, he decides to drop his veterinary technology degree plans:



They’re all worth seeing, though the P.R. guys had me watch the veterinary technology one to make sure I didn’t think that it went too far.  “No”, I said.  That’s just life at SUNY Canton:>)



Faculty and Community Awards Dinner

Speaking of awards, way back on May 5th, I enjoyed going to the Faculty and Community Awards Dinner.  This is always a great time, because we get to recognize all the faculty who have won Chancellor’s Awards, College Council Awards, and SUNY Distinguished Professorship awards.  As mentioned in previous BLABs, we had more Chancellor’s Award winners this year than ever before, with Fred Saburro (Math) winning for Adjunct Teaching, Bill Jones (Business) winning for Faculty Service, Michelle Currier (Library) winning for Professional Service, Umesh Kumar (Accounting) for Scholarship and Creative Activities, and Diane Para (Sports Management) for Teaching.

The Distinguished Alumni Award this year was awarded to Katherine M. Wyckoff, class of 1977.  She was chosen for her contributions to the quality of women’s healthcare in the North Country through her work with Planned Parenthood, in addition to many years of service to the community.


The Distinguished Citizen Award was awarded to Thomas F. Coakley, who has served on our Foundation for 35 years and is a great friend and benefactor to the College.  He also shared his leadership skills with Canton-Potsdam Hospital, the Canton and St. Lawrence County Chambers of Commerce, and as an advocate for the physically challenged through work with the Amputee Coalition and the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics and Pedorthics.


The Distinguished Faculty Award was awarded to Jennifer S. McDonald,who teaches in our Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, for her innovative and enthusiastic teaching style. She oversees the clinical education aspect of the PTA program, which is composed of more than 60 professional sites. Her leadership was instrumental in earning the PTA program a ten-year reaccreditation.


The food was wonderful as always, and Randy Sieminski was, as always, a great emcee.  Lots of folks said this was the best Awards Dinner ever, so big thanks go to Michaela Young, Dianne-Marie Collins, our excellent food service, and everyone else that helped make this a memorable event.



Lots of Trips

As a college president, there are lots of meetings to attend in lots of different places, mostly in the North Country but sometimes beyond.  Here are a few meetings and trips I’ve gone on recently:

  • On May 12, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) met in Tupper Lake, NY. The NCREDC is, as its name implies, a key part of the Governor’s economic development strategy that puts forward a plan and recommends key projects to support growth and jobs in the North Country.
  • On May 16, a North Country Economic Summit was held in Massena with various Federal Agencies that promote economic development.
  • On May 17-18, our Executive Director for University Relations, Lenore VanderZee, and I flew into Albany for meetings with our legislative colleagues to promote SUNY’s budgetary needs and to enlist support for some of the College’s initiatives.
  • On May 19th, it was off to Ogdensburg for a meeting of the Performance Improvement Committee at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, where I’m a member of the Board.
  • On May 23rd, also at CHMC in Ogdensburg, I attended a Board meeting.
  • On June 1st, the St. Lawrence County Economic Development Advisory Board met at SUNY Potsdam.
  • On June 2nd, I attended the Annual Forum for Canton-Potsdam Hospital, where they update the community on health care in the North Country.
  • On June 8th, I went to Massena for the dedication of the Celine G. Philbert Memorial Culture Centre and Museum.
  • On June 9th, our Provost Doug Scheidt, our Director of the CREST Center Art Garno, and I went down to Fort Drum in Watertown for our third cohort of Solar Ready Vets’ Graduation Ceremony.
  • June 10th brought another NCREDC meeting, this time at Clarkson University in Potsdam.
  • On June 15th, it was down to Morrisville for a meeting with several of my Technology College president colleagues.
  • June 16th was the Performance Improvement Committee again at Claxton.
  • June 21-23rd, I was in New York City to give a report to the Board of Regents on the recommendations from the Social Media Responsibility Task Force that I co-chaired. The report was well received, and all the recommendations were approved.  I also met with one of our alums for lunch, and then visited Beryl Jeffers (Director of the SUNY Welcome Center at SUNY College of Optometry).  The Welcome Center has wonderful facilities they allow us to use to recruit students from NYC, and Ms. Jeffers had some excellent advice as to how we can use the facility effectively.
  • On June 24, it was back to Ogdensburg for a meeting with NY Senator Pattie Ritchie and Canadian Senator Robert Runciman and Member of Parliament Gordon Brown to discuss some items of mutual interest.
  • Finally, on June 27, it was Ogdensburg again for another CMHC Board Meeting.



Alumni Weekend

Alumni Weekend was held on June 3-5, with most of the events on June 4th.  It was a very nice time, starting with a breakfast meeting of the Alumni Board. At noon, I attended the Half-Century Luncheon, which as its name implies, was an event for alumni celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation.  It was very nice hearing about how Canton and the College were back in 1966, which was the last year on the old campus (now part of St. Lawrence University), and the memories of the various things our students did back then.  The most poignant part was when each 50th anniversary graduate talked about their own individual experiences, and how much SUNY Canton had set them up for success.

 Alumni Weekend 160604-83

In the evening, we had the Hall of Fame Celebration, with the following new inductees:

  • Danny Fay has taught at SUNY Canton for 48 years, and received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2011. He has also served on the Canton College Foundation since 1990, is the chair of the Finance and Investment Committee, serves as a Town of Canton Councilman, as a St. Lawrence County Legislator, and a strong supporter of athletics at the college.
  • David A. Frary graduated from SUNY Canton in 1970 in Banking, Insurance and Real Estate and again in 1972 with a degree in Mortuary Science. He was the owner and manager of Phillips Memorial Home until recently, when he retired and turned the business over to his son.  He volunteers with St. Lawrence Valley Hospice and Palliative Care.  David received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014 and has been a member of the Canton College Foundation Board of Directors since 1990.
  • Pauline Graveline retired from SUNY Canton after 29 years of service—first as a mathematics professor, then as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. She helped bring the Financial Services and Information Technology degree programs to the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was always dedicated to student success.
  • Christine Gray retired from SUNY Canton as the Vice President for Administration after 24 years. She continues to work with her husband and daughter at their CPA firm, Hoffman, Eells & Gray as Office Manager.  She is a loyal supporter of the Canton College Foundation and joined the Board of Directors in 2015.
  • John G. Maines graduated from SUNY Canton in 1977 in Agricultural Engineering, but was also a reporter and then editor of the College newspaper. He then worked at the Massena Observer, Ithaca Journal, and The Clarion in Jackson, MS.  He has been a computer-assisted reporting specialist at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel since 1998.  He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for a three-part investigative series examining the driving speeds of off-duty police officers, and has won many other journalism honors.

John Maines 160604

John Maines reading a copy of the “Insight”, SUNY Canton’s newspaper that he wrote in before starting his career in journalism.

  • Richard and Bonnie Wright are the owners of Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, which was recognized as 2012 Bottler of the year. They are leading philanthropists in Ogdensburg, where they support the Boys and Girls Club, the Richard E. Winter Cancer Center, and many other organizations throughout the county.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “h”.  Our fastest responder was Lenore VanderZee, with others getting all five right including Alan Gabrielli, Marianne DiMarco-Temkin, Renee Campbell, and Terri Clemmo.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Dance done on the beaches of Hawaii.  Hula
  2. Column in the newspaper that tells you your future.  Horoscope
  3. Actress who appeared in the movies “Twister”, “Cast Away”, The Sessions” and on TV on “Mad About You”.  Helen Hunt
  4. LBJ’s vice president, ran for president but lost to Nixon.  Hubert Horatio Humphrey
  5. Greeting in a song by the Doors that precedes “Won’t you tell me your name?”  Hello, I Love You. 



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Moving on through the alphabet, this week’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “i”.  Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Sweet and cold summer treat.  I’ll take two scoops.
  2. House made out of ice.
  3. Its capital is Jerusalem.
  4. Swedish store selling furniture you have to put together.
  5. John Lennon song that has as its chorus: “You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.


Posted in Uncategorized

April 29, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 22–April 29, 2016



Is It Finally Over?

As I’ve mentioned before, this has been an extremely weird year weather-wise.  On Sunday the 17th, I attended a baseball game and a lacrosse game on campus.  It was a beautiful and sunny day, with most people wearing shorts.  In fact, it was so hot I was a little worried I might get sunburned.  On the other hand, yesterday (April 26th), we woke up to snow showers, which accumulated until about 12 noon.  The sun broke through the clouds, and by 3 PM, most of the snow had melted off.  We’re schedule for nice sunny weather (though a bit coolish) through the week.  I’d like to think that we’re done with it for the season, and we probably are.  I’ve also been told that is has snowed in May and even June in the past.

Anyway, the term is rolling along and we’re almost at the end.  Finals are coming and most students are buckling down.  Lots of students will be graduating and for many, it’s bittersweet.  They want to get their degrees and move on with their lives, of course, but it also means leaving SUNY Canton and so many have told me that they hate to leave their “family away from home”.  That obviously means we’ve done things right.

We’re in the middle of Passover right now, so that means no bread and related products (rolls, bagels, cake, etc.) for me, which puts a severe crimp in my eating habits.  I tell myself that it’s healthier this way, since I’m having lots of soups and salads, but I really still want the bread!  Matzoh (the unleavened bread one eats on Passover) isn’t called the bread of affliction for nothing—most people don’t really like it, though I have to admit that at a seder (ritual meal) I went to last Friday night, they had a kind of matzoh that tasted pretty good.  The meal at that seder was vegetarian, and then on Saturday night, I went to another seder that was non-vegetarian.  On Wednesday, we had a model seder on campus, with about 40 people there.  Passover lasts eight days, so it ends on Saturday at sunset.  That means that Orthodox Easter is on Sunday (if you want to know why, see the March 30 BLAB), so happy Orthodox Easter to all who celebrate it.



Congratulations to…Four More Chancellor’s Award Winners!

We’ve already announced several Chancellor’s Award Winners, namely Fred Saburro for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching (see the March 21 BLAB for details) and students Codi McKee and Rebecca Burns for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence (see the April 15 BLAB).

We have now heard about four other Chancellor’s Award winners, and they are (drum roll please):  Michelle Currier (Library Director), who has won the Excellence in Professional Service Award; William Jones (Business Dept. Chair), who has won the Excellence in Faculty Service Award; Umesh Kumar (Finance), who has won the Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities Award; and Diane Para (Sports Management Program Director), who has won the Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Please join me in congratulating Michelle, Bill, Umesh, and Diane on their fine accomplishment!  You all do SUNY Canton proud.



Trip to Albany

On Sunday the 17th, I began the day by attending the baseball game against St. John Fisher College.  Fisher is one of the top rated teams in the country, and unfortunately, they lived up to that reputation, winning by a score of 24-6.  I was going back and forth between that game and the women’s lacrosse game against Elmira College, where we won 15-7.  Our women have now set a team record with 11 wins this season, with one game remaining.  As mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful day—sunny and hot, and almost everyone was out sunning themselves and having a fine time.

A cookout was held after the game, so I grabbed a hot dog and some water.  I had to run soon thereafter, because I had to catch the 4:30 PM flight from Ogdensburg into Albany to get there on time for meetings on Monday morning.  The trip went off without a hitch, and I got my rental car and went to the hotel.  For dinner, of course I went to oneof my favorite Indian restaurants in Albany—Lazeez.  After going to sleep that evening, at about 1:30 AM, my cell phone rang.  I had to take off my sleep apnea mask to answer it, and it turned out to be a recorded message from the airline that my flight that evening to Washington DC to attend SUNY Days would be delayed by an hour.  It’s not obvious to me why they needed to tell me about a flight delay at 5:30 PM at 1:30 AM, but there you go.  I put on the mask again and tried to get back to sleep, and two minutes later the phone rang again to repeat the message.



Presidents Meeting

Monday morning, the presidents of the Colleges of Technology within SUNY met at 9:00, and discussed some local campus issues.  At 10:00, we went to an emergency meeting of all SUNY presidents that was called to discuss the budget.  When I said “hello” to the Chancellor, I found out that she had been called at 1:30 AM too, and was taking the same flight out that evening as I was.

The budget this year is disappointing, since it contains no funds for maintenance of effort (i.e., to cover salary increases that are negotiated in Albany), no additional funds to cover the gap in the State’s Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP—the campuses have to cover the gap between the awards the State gives and the amount of money the State provides to fund them), no tuition increase, and no increase in funding for SUNY.  We hope to meet with our legislative colleagues over the next week or two and discuss several proposals that can still be implemented to improve the budget situation.   We also discussed several ways we can work more efficiently together, and parley our individual efforts to support the whole SUNY system.

After the meeting ended, I drove back to the airport, returned the rental car, and waited for my flight, which was now supposed to leave at 6:30 PM.  As the time approached, there were a whole bunch of people from SUNY also waiting for it.  We got on the plane on time, began to taxi out, and then got an announcement over the p.a. that a warning light had come on regarding the plane’s hydraulic system.  We taxied back, got off the plane, and waited for them to check out the problem.  The next issue was that the maintenance crews had all gone home for the night, so they had to call them back to the airport.  When the maintenance crew returned and checked the plane, they tried to fix it, but when they fired up the engines again, the warning light returned.  Ultimately, they cancelled the flight.  Fortunately, we had anticipated this and put a hold on some seats on the 9:30 AM flight.  The airline switched our reservations, comped me for a hotel room for the night, gave me a food voucher, and put me in first class the next morning.  Not so bad.




The next morning, we took off more or less on time with me in first class, which basically meant a somewhat wider seat, coffee served in a mug, and a complimentary bag of snacks.  I got to Washington DC at almost exactly the same time as the College’s Executive Director for University Relations, who was attending SUNY Days as well.  We shared a cab to the hotel, checked into our rooms, and dashed off to the first SUNY Days meeting.  It was a beautiful day in DC, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures.




After some meetings, we went to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer to discuss some of our plans at the college and to get his support.  His assistant, Veronica Duran, was kind enough to take us around to catch up with the Senator, including for a ride on the subway underneath the capitol, which was very cool.  When we met, Senator Schumer was very supportive.  A bit later, we met with Senator Schumer’s and Senator Gillibrand’s staff members to discuss our needs and how they might be able to help us.

That evening, SUNY threw a party for alumni in the DC area, as well as inviting our New York congressional delegation.  Each of the campuses present (there were about a dozen of us) had a table set up providing information about the college, and usually providing some small giveaways.  Schenectady Community College had a leg up on the rest of us, because they had folks from their culinary program there serving petit-fours and other deserts, but we did well too, with a lot of people stopping by our table to get more information about the College.  One of the people who stopped by was our own Representative Elise Stefanik, who had helped secure the venue for the party and was giving a small speech supporting SUNY.


L-R:  Lenore VanderZee, me, and Representative Stefanik

The next day, there were more meetings in the morning which included some presentations about what the upcoming election might mean for higher education.  In the afternoon, we had a very positive meeting with Representative Stefanik, who was very supportive of our main initiatives.  We invited her to speak on our campus as part of the Leadership series next fall, and I’m hopeful that her schedule will allow her to do so.

On Thursday, I took a taxi to Reagan National Airport to catch my flight to Albany.  I put my bags in the overhead bin and took my seat, and after a few minutes, the main attendant for the plane came over and asked where my baggage was.  I pointed to the bin overhead, and he said “please get them and follow me”.  I turned to the stewardess to see what that was about and she whispered “he’s putting you in first class”.  So, at the end of the day, I would up being bumped up to first class in both directions of the trip.  Not bad at all.  After a somewhat long connection in Albany, I caught the flight to Ogdensburg, and was home at 4:00 PM.



And the Rest of the Week…

As you can imagine, since the only day I was on campus last week was Friday, there were lots of catch up meetings and paperwork to sign.  One of the nicer meetings was with our student government officers.  Two of them are graduating this year—president Khaina Solomon and treasurer Fatizjah Burnett.  Both have done an exemplary job as student leaders, and are exceptionally nice individuals as well.  I’m sure they’re both going to do very big things in the future.  The students summed up the year from their perspective, and were all either sad to be leaving SUNY Canton or looking forward to next year.  They also introduced our new SGA vice-president, Fitzroy Saunders.

As mentioned earlier, Friday night featured a seder at a friend’s house.  On Saturday, wife Jill, son Mark and I went to the baseball game against Utica College, which was also designated as a military appreciation game.  There was a color guard from the Golden Knights Batallion present, and three SUNY Canton alumni who had served in the military were honored and all got to simultaneously throw out the first pitch.  It was a very nice event, and we split the double header 4-5, 9-4.  I was also able to watch some of the men’s lacrosse game against SUNY Delhi, which we won 19-14.  The win means we also won the USCAA tournament against SUNY Delhi, Alfred State College, and the University of Dallas.

On Sunday, Mark wanted to go to Massena to shop at his favorite store—Game Stop—and when we went in, ran into Doug Scheidt, our provost, and his son.  Small world!  Afterwards, we crossed the border into Canada to visit Cornwall, which I’d never been to before.  I was surprised at how large the city is—about 46,000 people live there—making it twice the size of any city in the North Country.  The international crossing there is a little unusual—first you cross a bridge that takes you onto Cornwall Island, which is on the Canadian side of the border, though the island belongs to the Akwesasne Nation and is part of a reserve that spans both the US and Canada.  After crossing the island, you cross a second bridge into the city of Cornwall, which is where the customs and immigration post is.  According to Wikipedia, US residents are not allowed to patronize any of the stores on the island until they go to the Canadian customs post, though no one mentioned anything about that to me when I crossed.  We ate lunch in Cornwall, which I was pleased to see has two Indian restaurants.  The one we ate at was pretty good, and the portions were amazingly large.  After driving around the city a bit and looking at the riverfront, we went back home.



And One More Passover Seder

A model Passover seder was held on our campus this past Wednesday evening.  A model seder is meant for a general audience who can be of any religion, or no religion at all.  The purpose is to tell what Passover is all about, including the various rituals.  It is also to show how Passover is a universal holiday, since we all celebrate liberation from slavery of various kinds—some historical (such as the liberation of the Jews from Pharoah and bondage in Egypt and the ending of slavery in the United States), some contemporary (marriage equality) and some kinds we impose on ourselves (the slavery of addiction to alcohol or drugs, for example).



About 40 people participated in the seder, and the College Association catering staff really outdid themselves for this one—every single person commented on how nicely the tables were decorated and laid out, and how excellent the food was.  Tremendous thanks go to Steve Maiocco, Sean Conklin, and Sue Law and all the staff who helped plan, prepare and serve the wonderful meal.  I got several emails from folks who couldn’t make it to this one and hoped we’ll repeat it next year.  We will, so look for the announcement about a month before Passover next year.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “g”.  Our fastest responder was Melinda Miller, with others getting all five right including Geoffrey VanderWoude, Greg Kie, and Terri Clemmo.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository. Here are the correct answers:

  1. They sell cookies every year to raise money, and have the motto “Be prepared”. Girl Scouts.
  2. Singer Stefani Germanotta, known for her songs Poker Face, Paparazzi, and Born This Way. Lady Gaga.
  3. Big web search engine, it also has a really good map app.  Google.
  4. Big Japanese dinosaur-type monster.  Godzilla.
  5. Evil creature in “The Hobbit” that loved “his precious”.  Gollum.




This Week’s Trivia Challenge

Just to show that the BLAB is always fair and balanced, this week’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “h”.  In fact, some answers will have more than one “h” in it!  Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Dance done on the beaches of Hawaii.
  2. Column in the newspaper that tells you your future.
  3. Actress who appeared in the movies “Twister”, “Cast Away”, The Sessions” and on TV on “Mad About You”.
  4. LBJ’s vice president, ran for president but lost to Nixon.
  5. Greeting in a song by the Doors that precedes “Won’t you tell me your name?”.


Posted in Uncategorized

April 15, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 21–April 15, 2016


Two Crazy Weeks, One More Coming

As the end of the term approaches, things get crazy busier for almost everyone and my job is no exception.  Last week included a drive to Rome for the Dental Hygiene Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, then to an Economic Development meeting in Syracuse and an Alumni gathering in Ogdensburg on Thursday, and a quick flight and drive to Cobleskill for an inauguration on Friday.  More on these events can be found below.  Whenever you’re out of the office a lot, things pile up, so not surprisingly, this week has been pretty much non-stop meetings.

Next week the same cycle begins again.  On Saturday, I’ll be attending an Air Force ROTC Change of Command event.  I leave for Albany on Sunday afternoon for Monday’s meetings of both the College of Technology presidents at 9:00 AM, followed by a meeting of all SUNY presidents with the Chancellor at 10:00.  I then fly to DC on Monday evening for SUNY Days, which includes a number of meetings with our representatives, senators, and their staffs.  I fly back on Thursday evening. Friday should be a lot of fun, dealing with everything that has accumulated over the week.  And of course there’s Admitted Student Day on Saturday.

Speaking of crazy, the weather has been crazy too.  We’ve settled into a recent pattern of light snow overnight followed by melting during the day with some rain in between.  On Tuesday, things got really weird with a nice sunny beginning to the day, followed by snow flurries in the afternoon, followed by sleet in the early evening.  It was all gone by morning on Wednesday, and the temperature should be rising to the 60’s this weekend.  No doubt followed by some snow.

I knew we’d be paying for the very mild winter we’ve had sometime.


Students Win Chancellor’s Award 

Congratulations to Codi McKee and Rebecca Burns, SUNY Canton’s two winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

Cody is a Civil and Environmental Technology major, the Engineering Club president, helped design the ASCE chapter’s steel bridge and has been a resident assistant. He received the SUNY Canton Academic award for the highest grade-point average in his discipline three times. He also received the Richard W. Miller Excellence Award, Canino Prize for Academic Excellence, and is a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar. He has been on the President’s List for his entire SUNY Canton career and has received multiple scholarships. He is a member of the Tau Alpha Phi National Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Rebecca is a Veterinary Technology major, a member of the SUNY Canton honors program and has presented research twice during the college’s Scholarly Activities Celebration. She is a member of Tau Phi Zeta honor society and the SUNY Canton Veterinary Technician Association.  She received President’s List honors for two consecutive years, as well as the Community Foundation Scholarship, Lawrence German Endowed Scholarship, Betsy B. Kaplan Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and Marie Simmons Scholarship. She is a student leader and student assistant in SUNY Canton Math and Science Tutoring Center, and works as a peer tutor through the Office of Accommodative Services. She volunteers at Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm, Pray Road Stables and the Potsdam Humane Society.

The Chancellor’s Award Ceremony took place on April 5 in Albany.  Cody and Rebecca were accompanied by Vice President for Student Life Courtney Bish at the ceremony.


L-R:  Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Rebecca, Cody, and V.P. Courtney Bish



About the Budget

The state budget has been released, and the news for SUNY is—well, let’s politely say disappointing.  The legislature voted to not increase tuition, and no significant additional operating funds showed up in the final budget.  Consequently, we’re in a bit of a squeeze.  Our costs will go up next year from three sources: (1) There will likely be a salary increase, but while the state negotiates the outcome, we have to pay for it with no increase in our budget to cover it; (2) If there is an increase in enrollment (and things look good so far), the TAP gap (unfunded part of TAP that we have to cover) will get larger; and (3) inflation. In some good news, we received an allocation of $500,000 above our base State aid, thanks to our supportive legislators, that will help us to implement several of the new programs that are in the works.

The SUNY presidents and CFO’s will be talking with the Chancellor and her staff about our strategy going forward in Albany next week.  It’s also possible that the legislature or governor will come forward with a v.2 of the budget in the next few weeks that might be more positive.  In any event, it would be prudent to move forward assuming that next year will be tight.



Dental Hygiene Visit

Last Wednesday, several of us drove down to Rome to visit our Dental Hygiene program and meet with their advisory board.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about the program since I came to SUNY Canton, but this was my first change to see the program close up.

Our visit began with a tour of their facilities, which are quite impressive.  Their space includes a large number of individual spaces for working with patients, fully equipped like any number of dentist offices I’ve been to.  Students in the program obviously get a lot of practical experience—several were working on patients while we visited.  There are various support spaces as well, including an autoclave room, storage room for supplies, changing room, meeting room, offices, and a patient waiting room.


In addition to the practical experience, the students also (of course) take Dental Hygiene related courses and core courses, and these take place at the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.  MVCC is expanding their main building in Rome, so the program will soon enjoy new classrooms as well.  We met with the president and provost from MVCC, and then had a tour of the new construction.


The advisory board meeting was very positive, with our faculty talking about the various successes the program has enjoyed over the past year.  Their retention and graduation rates are strong, and the students enjoy an essentially 100% placement rate upon graduation.  Once again, the Dental Hygiene student association has won a national award for their community service from the ADHA.  The members of the advisory board also agreed to help fundraise for the program, and our Advancement Office is looking forward to working with them.

If you’re ever in the Rome, NY area, it’s well worth a look to see our program, arguably the best in the state and perhaps well beyond.


 A Little More on GMMD

In the last issue of the BLAB, I wrote a little bit about what’s new in our GMMD program, and mentioned that their graduating seniors would be exhibiting their artwork in the Roos House starting on April 14. The work comes from Christopher Sweeney’s Multimedia Product Design 2 course, along with a faculty exhibition.

Jill, Mark and I went to see the exhibit yesterday evening, and just like last year, it was quite impressive.  I saw student-developed video games, animation (in a style reminiscent of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) projected on a painted background, a comic book about depression (as well as t-shirts and hats with the main character), an advertising campaign for a winery, an animated short, and some very nice artwork by both students and faculty.  It was a very impressive exhibit, taking advantage of the Roos House space in an imaginative way.  If you haven’t seen the exhibits yet, get down there right away before they’re taken down—it’s well worth your time!




Consul General from Germany Visit

This past Tuesday also featured the last of our Leadership Series speakers for the academic year, the Honorable Consul General Brita Wagener.  I really appreciate her visit, especially considering the long distance she had to travel—she came by car, all the way from Manhattan, with rain from NYC to Albany, but decent weather through the Adirondacks.  Of course, while she was on campus she got to see our little snow squall and then some sleet.  We did assure her that the weather isn’t always like that up here!


Consul General Wagener’s talk initially centered on the trans-Atlantic alliance and Germany’s large volume of trade with the US—we’re now Germany’s largest trading partner (France used to be first).  The largest and most interesting segment of her talk was about how Germany is dealing with the large influx of refugees—it took in more than 1.1 million last year.  If one adjusts for the relative sizes of our populations, it would be equivalent to the US taking in 4-5 million refugees in one year.  While there are some political parties in Germany that are against this, others in Germany see it as a good thing given the decline in the German birthrate—companies are having a very hard time finding new workers, and believe it will boost the economy and ultimately allow the country to maintain its social services.  She also mentioned that given Germany’s history, most citizens see the country as repaying a moral obligation by taking in the refugees.

At dinner, we discussed a lot of different things, including ways that Germans and Americans are similar and different.  Something I had never heard before is that lots of people in Germany watch a short comedy bit called “Dinner for One” on TV every New Year’s Eve, even though the bit is in English and utterly unknown in Britain.  This got me curious, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.  They say that this is actually happening in lots of European countries, and that “Dinner for One” is thereby the most rerun television program ever!  The clip is available on Youtube, so I gave it a look.  It’s pretty funny, but I have no idea what it has to do with New Year’s Eve or why it has such long-term popularity.  I’ve put the link below, and you can judge for yourself.


Gender and Sexuality Studies

Back on April 1-2, SUNY Canton hosted the Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference, sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley.  I had the pleasure of introducing the keynote speaker, Holly Hughes.


I knew I had seen that name before, and after a little research, found out that she had been one of four artists that had been recommended for funding by the National Endowment for the Arts, only to have the funding quashed by the NEA administrator.  This became a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court.  The artists won, and were paid an amount equal to the proposed funding, but the NEA subsequently changed its rules so that individual artists could no longer be funded.  Holly Hughes became well known as a result, and has become a well-known activist for artistic freedom.

In her speech, she talked in a very humorous way about her personal history, and some of the audiences and issues she has had to deal with.  She was articulate and witty, and I enjoyed the speech/performance immensely.  I’m told that the panel discussions and other sessions were excellent as well.  Thanks to everyone involved in organizing the conference!



Congratulations to Marion Terenzio

Congratulations to my colleague and friend, Dr. Marion Terenzio on her inauguration as president of SUNY Cobleskill.  The inauguration was held last Friday, and it was a very nice affair.  I flew down to Albany Friday morning and rented a car to get there on time.  SUNY Cobleskill is located in a pretty valley, and the surrounding hills were frosted with a little snow that had fallen the previous night.  Several of the other SUNY presidents were there, as were some from colleges where she had worked in the past.


The ceremony was quite moving and included a beautiful invocation, several poetry and musical interludes, and speeches by the Chancellor, the president of Bloomfield College (NJ), and of course President Terenzio herself.  The ceremony brought back a lot of memories about my own inauguration one year earlier, of course with some relief that this time I could just sit back and watch.


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with cities in New York.  Our winner was Renee Campbell, who wins a disc from the vast Szafran repository.   Here are the correct answers: 

  1. According to the song, “It’s a hell of a town. The Bronx is up, and the Battery’s down.  The people ride in a hole in the ground.”  New York, New York.
  2. Nearby village named after a city in Germany.  Potsdam.
  3. According to the song, “off we’re gonna shuffle, shuffle off to” this city.  Buffalo.
  4. Also known as Salt City, now in the final four.  Syracuse.
  5. The only U.S. seaport on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the only city in St. Lawrence County.  Ogdensburg.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge is about words beginning with the letter “G”.  Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. They sell cookies every year to raise money, and have the motto “Be prepared”.
  2. Singer Stefani Germanotta, known for her songs Poker Face, Paparazzi, and Born This Way.
  3. Big web search engine, it also has a really good map app.
  4. Big Japanese dinosaur-type monster.
  5. Evil creature in “The Hobbit” that loved “his precious”.


Posted in Uncategorized

March 30, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 20–March 31, 2016



Happy Easter!


I hope everyone had a nice Easter.  The weather last Sunday was very nice, with the temperature going above 60°.  My family and I took a ride out to Waddington and then to Wilson Hill and Massena.  Something odd that I noticed was that at various bridges along the route, the rivers were totally frozen on one side, and totally melted on the other.  This was true on the causeway to Wilson Hill as well, and on the frozen side, there were some people who were brave (or foolish) enough to have walked out onto the ice to do some fishing!  Fortunately, at least while I was there, they didn’t fall through the ice.

Anyway, as many people are aware, there are actually two Easters—the one celebrated by most western Christian denominations, and Orthodox Easter—the one celebrated by Eastern Orthodox Christian denominations, which comes later.  I was aware of one reason for the difference—the Eastern Orthodox use the Julian calendar to determine the date of Easter, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar that the western denominations use.  Thus, in most years, Orthodox Easter comes 13 days later than “western” Easter.

A friend of mine back in Georgia who is Greek Orthodox (Hi Nikki Palamiotis!) posted an article on Facebook that explained how it’s more complicated than that.  The rule is actually that Orthodox Easter is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, and it must come after the Jewish holiday of Passover.  Their rationale is to keep things in the right historical order: the Last Supper (which was a Passover meal) came before the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and consequently, Passover must come before Easter.

Because of this, if Passover (whose date is set by the lunar calendar) comes after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, Orthodox Easter has to wait until the Sunday after Passover.  As a result, Orthodox Easter can come as much as five weeks after “western” Easter, and this year is one of those years.  Passover comes late this year—it starts at sundown on April 22, and ends at sundown on April 30, which is a Saturday.  The Sunday after Passover is May 1, which is therefore the date for Orthodox Easter, while “western” Easter was way back on March 27.  In short, calculating the dates for Easter requires three different calendars drawn from two different religions.  I’m sure it’s all crystal clear to you now.



Royal Registration at the Ready Center!

Each year, the Advising Center staff dress up in a wild way to get our students’ attention so that they will register for the next semester’s courses.  On Tuesday of this week, I rode the elevator up to the sixth floor of MacArthur Hall, and when the doors opened, I was confronted with the sight of Queen Marie Antoinette or Empress Genevieve!  Of course I had to get my picture taken with them.


Our two queens were on campus on Tuesday to remind students that it is time to make plans for fall semester, and you can help too.  Please let our students know that the schedule for Fall 2016 is available on UCanWeb and that students should seek out their faculty advisors to create their class schedule.  Registration for fall semester begins on April 11, with priority by class standing (Seniors and Juniors get first choice, followed by Sophomores and then Freshmen).  Students were sent registration instructions by the Registrar’s office that included the specific dates.  All current students should register for classes at their first opportunity to ensure the best possible schedule.  Empress Genevieve promises not to shout “off with their head!” if they register on time, and I’ve heard rumors that Queen Marie Antoinette may even give them a piece of cake.

By the way, speaking of the Ready Center and cake, I hope everyone had a chance to come by on Monday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony officially inaugurating the Center.  It was a cool event, with good punch and excellent cake.  Roody was even there to cut the ribbon!

Ready Center Ribbon

Me, Roody and international students Poornima Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara, Mohammed Tasdikul Hoque and Lakeesha Watuthanthrige Perera

Please encourage students to take advantage of the many services the Ready Center offers—advising, career counseling, information on international programs, and much much more, and to meet the great folks that work there.

Ready Center Staff

Career Services Counselor Kathryn Kennedy; Marianne P. DiMarco-Temkin and Sharon Tavernier from the Advising Center;  Shelly L. Thompson and Kathleen Ba from the International Initiatives Office, and Teresa L. Clemmo and Julie Parkman from the Career Services Office.   



Great News From GMMD


In case you haven’t heard, there are lots of great things going on in the Graphic and Multimedia Design Program.  Kathleen Mahoney will be leading off the Design Educator Dialogues Symposium at SUNY Oswego’s Metro Center in Syracuse on April 8, giving a talk on “Design as Engineering Technology”, discussing the similarities between skillsets needed in interactive design and engineering.

Next up, GMMD’s graduating seniors will be exhibiting their artwork in the Roos House starting on April 14. The work comes from Christopher Sweeney’s Multimedia Product Design 2 course, along with a faculty exhibition.  Last term’s exhibition was so good, one of the pieces of artwork is hanging in my office!

Kamal Turner and Kathleen Mahoney will be taking 11 students members of AIGA (the professional association for design) to Syracuse the week after commencement for Create Upstate, a very cool design conference, to experience a celebration of design and community, and to meet and mingle with industry professionals.

Finally, on the international front, Matt Burnett will be on sabbatical in Germany next year at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, exhibiting his artwork and teaching.  Moving in the opposite direction, Caroline McCaw, a professor from Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand, will be joining the program next year as a visiting Fulbright Scholar.

Congratulations to all on their accomplishments!




Roody Eliminated in Final Four

Roody got farther than ever in SUNY’s Mascot Madness, making the final four, before being eliminated by Stony Brook’s Wolfie.  By a funny coincidence, a few weeks earlier when all the mascots were in Albany to meet the legislature, Roody and Wolfie met each other and became fast friends.  So, at least we lost to a friend.  The ultimate vote was 52%-48%, so we were very close, losing to a college six times our size.

All in all, Roody did great, and I appreciate all the students, faculty, staff, and friends who voted to support him.  I had a lot of fun with the “get out the vote” effort, and solicited the assistance of friends in New Hampshire, Georgia, Florida, not to mention my sister in Texas who solicited all of her friends to vote for Roody.  We even had other College of Technology presidents and folks down at SUNY Central voting for him.

Special thanks go to all the folks in our Public Relations Office.  Morgan Elliot and Greg Kie did great work in sending out messages on Facebook and Twitter, and in generating several very funny videos starring Roody.  These are listed below:

To see Roody’s campaign video (done during Round 2), just look below.


To see Roody’s pep talk video (done during Round 4), see below:






Spring may be here, but the rivers are still mighty cold.  This didn’t stop several of our students, however.  Members of the SUNY Canton Adventurers Club decided to take a dip into the St. Lawrence River on September 20 as part of the 10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge.  The Ogdensburg volunteer rescue squad was there to put a harness on each diver for safety purposes.  Tanner Chaubin, a member of the Adventurers Club, said “I think it’s a lot safer just because you’re running out there and you have to run back in…They have you as a safety net.”  The Plunge raised more than $4,000 for the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce.

A video about the plunge can be found by clicking here.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with Disney movies.  Our fastest responder was Rebecca Blackmon, with others getting all five right including Natasha Flanagan, Nancy Rowledge, Kathleen Mahoney, Amanda Rowley, Greg Kie, Jesse Clark-Stone, and Colleen Sheridan.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository. Here are the correct answers:

  1. She’s helped by the seven dwarves. Snow White.
  2. Movie about a flying elephant. Dumbo
  3. Movie co-starring Tinkerbell that also has a crocodile in it that swallowed a clock. Peter Pan.
  4. Set in France, Belle ultimately falls for a rather unusual suitor. Beauty and the Beast.
  5. Movie starring a native-American princess. Pocahontas.




This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge is about cities in New York.  Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. According to the song, “It’s a hell of a town. The Bronx is up, and the Battery’s down.  The people ride in a hole in the ground.”
  2. Nearby village named after a city in Germany.
  3. According to the song, “off we’re gonna shuffle, shuffle off to” this city.
  4. Also known as Salt City, now in the final four.
  5. The only U.S. seaport on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the only city in St. Lawrence County.


Posted in Uncategorized

March 21, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 19–March 21, 2016



How was Spring Break?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break and a great first week back.  What did I do?  Glad you asked.  I went on two trips—the first to Albany for Mascot Madness on Monday and Tuesday, and the second to San Francisco to visit with alumni and to attend the ACE conference from Friday to last Tuesday.  You can read about both below.  In between and thereafter, there were a lot of meetings, as usual.



Roody Wins Round Two!

As you should all know by now SUNY is having a competition to choose the best SUNY mascot, and as we all know, the only possible choice is our own Roody.  Thus far, Roody has done very well, winning Round 1 and Round 2.  We need you to vote for him in Round 3, where as of this writing, he’s losing 51% to 49% to SUNY Farmingdale’s Ram-bo.  Needless to say, we can’t have that.  Vote for Roody—you can do it from each of your email addresses, and you can vote every 12 hours.  Get out there already, and put Roody over the top so he can continue his quest to be president of the United States.  To vote for Roody, click here:


To see Roody’s campaign video (done during Round 2), just look below.


Congratulations to Morgan Elliot and Greg Kie for their great work on the video and to Travis Smith, Matt Mulkin and Lorette Murray and everyone else at SUNY Canton for working on social media to put Roody over the top.



News of the first round of Chancellor’s Awards has just come in.  The first award given is for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, and our own Mr. Fred Saburro was one of the winners!  Mr. Saburro has taught math at SUNY Canton for nearly 12 years, as well as tutoring in the Math and Science Lab.  Recently, he secured a Campus Enhancement Award from the SUNY Canton Foundation to help fund more peer tutors, and has won two awards from our Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society.  Please join me in congratulating Mr. Saburro on his wonderful achievement!





Trip to Albany—Mascot Madness!

On Monday, Lenore Vanderzee (our Executive Director for University Relations) and I flew down to Albany for some meetings with folks at SUNY, to meet some of our legislators, and for Mascot Madness.  We flew down from Massena on Cape Air, which flies little planes that seat nine.  Normally we fly out of Ogdensburg, but the mid-day flight was sold out so we had to travel a few miles further to go from Massena.  When we landed in Albany we found out why—Professor Phil LaMarche (Dept. of Humanities), his wife Carol (coach of our Women’s Volleyball team) and their two adorable children had just flown down from Ogdensburg, on their way to Boston!

We picked up the rental car (a Toyota Sienna—very nice) and drove down to SUNY central to see Carlos Medina (Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—now that’s a long title!).  We had a very positive discussion about the college’s diversity efforts and some new initiatives we might do in the future.  I’ll be reporting on these as they develop.  After the meeting, we all went to dinner at one of my favorite Pakistani-Indian restaurants in Albany—Lazeez, on Central Avenue.  The food was excellent as always, and I was well stuffed afterwards.

Tuesday, it was Mascot Madness day at the Legislative Office Building (LOB).  Mascots from some 16 SUNY campuses were there, visiting various legislators, posing for pictures with everyone walking by, and generally having a good time.  Roody, of course, was the hit of the show.


Ably assisted by his “wrangler” Michael Barrios, Roody was everywhere, meeting people and making friends.  If you’ve never been to the LOB, the elevators are rather slow and there’s always a crowd of people on them.  Roody would lean against one side outside the elevator door, and when the elevator arrived and the doors opened, the crowd inside were greeted by the sight of a giant kangaroo.  The reactions were priceless—most people laughed, lots took pictures, and a few kept a straight face and pretended not to even notice!

The one bad thing on the trip is that early in the afternoon, while going down one of the big formal staircases at the LOB, I must have mis-stepped and over I went.  Fortunately, I was only two steps from the bottom, though I still hit the ground hard, landing on my hands and knees.  Several people rushed over to help me up, afraid that I had broken some bones, but I only had a few bruises—nothing too serious.  I did limp around for the next few days, and went to see the chiropractor to make sure everything was OK.

Anyway, while there, we took pictures of Roody with our local assemblywoman Addie Russell and our senator Patty Richie as well as many others, many of whom tweeted the pictures or put them on Facebook.


Roody and Assemblywoman Addie Russell


Roody and Senator Patty Ritchie

It was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed themselves.  Then it was time to drop Roody and Michael off at the hotel (they were leaving the next day), return the car to the airport, and fly home.  We took the 6:15 PM flight back to Massena and were back in Canton by 8:00.



Off to California

The week ended with a trip to California to attend the American Council on Education (ACE) conference in San Francisco, as well as to see some of our alumni and friends of the college in the area.  I left Canton at 4:15 AM (!), driving down to Watertown to get my flight.  The first flight was from Watertown to Philadelphia, then a two-hour layover, and then from Philadelphia to Charlotte, NC, where I was scheduled to have a three-hour layover.  Due to high winds and heavy rain in San Francisco, the flight out of Charlotte was further delayed, and I wound up leaving three hours late.  The plane finally took off after 7:00 PM eastern time, and arrived in San Francisco at about 10:00 PM pacific time, thereby making the overall trip a breathtaking 21 hours!  I think I’ve flown to Tokyo from Boston in less time than that!

I was met at the airport by our own Geoffrey VanderWoude (from the Advancement Office), who was late getting in on his flight to San Francisco from Denver.  At least he didn’t have to wait too long at the airport for me, given our similar flight delays.  By the time I got to the hotel, I was exhausted and went right to sleep.

Saturday was set aside for alumni visits.  We had a lunch meeting with Edward Suden (’60), who is a retired patent attorney who worked for IBM for many years.  The meeting was in Napa, in the heart of the wine country.  So what did we all do after lunch?  We went to a wine tasting, of course.

It had been raining lightly all morning, and as we drove back to San Francisco, the rain got much harder, so much so that we had to pull off the road for a while.  The rain continued all the time until Monday afternoon.  We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, hoping for some nice views of the bay, but between the rain and the mist, you couldn’t see anything. As we drove down to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, the weather improved a bit and it was only a light rain when we got there.  We had a dinner meeting with Geoffrey Co (’89) who is a photography specialist at Keebles & Shuchat Photography—a great place with a huge variety of very high end photographic equipment.

From there, we drove a few miles to meet up with Mark Dzwonczyk and his wife Meri-Beth for desert.  Mark, as some of you will recall, is the CEO of Nicholville Telephone Company, and was a speaker a few weeks back at our Excellence in Leadership series.  We met at a local church where a choral concert was being given by both the Air Force Academy Glee Club (which was great) and a local high school glee club that the Dzwonczyk’s son was singing in (also great).


After a short detour to check out the Stanford University campus (wow!), we drove back to San Francisco, getting there at about 11 PM.

The ACE conference began on Sunday, with sessions for presidents on “Presidential Leadership and the Return of the Scholar Athlete” and “The Alchemy of College Leadership”, the latter about how to convert the college’s mission into real learning for students.  Afternoon sessions covered “Leading when the Ground Shifts”, about what some colleges have had to do when state appropriations were cut, and a “Federal Relations Update for Presidents and Chancellors”, telling what ACE thinks is going to happen regarding some important pieces of federal legislation affecting higher education.  Geoffrey and I then drove to Vacaville to meet Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sweda (’76), a Senior I/T Architect and Engagement Solution Architect for IBM for dinner.

Monday was spent entirely at the ACE conference, attending several of the concurrent sessions.  One of the nice things about attending national conferences is that you get to see a lot of old friends.  I saw several presidents and provosts I knew back in Georgia, including my own previous president (at Southern Polytechnic), Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, who is now president of Humboldt State University in California.  It was great to see her again and discuss old and future times for a few minutes.  Several of the other SUNY presidents were there too, and it was nice to see them way out west instead of in Albany like I usually do.  The biggest surprise was running into Dr. Patricia Sendall, a business professor from my first college (Merrimack College), someone I haven’t seen for many years except on Facebook.

On Tuesday, I had to take a taxi at 4:30 AM to get to the airport in time for my 7:00 AM flight to Chicago.  After a two-hour layover (good, so I had enough time to get breakfast), I took a flight to Philadelphia.  Another two-hour layover gave me enough time to get an early dinner, which was followed by the flight to Watertown, arriving at about 10 PM.  It was raining lightly on my drive back to Canton, but the traffic was very light, and I finally got home at 11:45 PM.



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with newspaper comic strips.  Our fastest winner was Greg Kie, followed by Julie Cruickshank and my sister, Drorit.  Your prizes await in my office, on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall—just come by and get them.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Sarcastic cat who’s always fighting with Odie.  Garfield.
  2. Her maiden name was “Boopadoop”, and her husband Dagwood loves big sandwiches.  Blondie.
  3. He always longed for the little red-haired girl, but never could talk to her. Charlie Brown (Peanuts).
  4. Strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger. Calvin and Hobbes.
  5. Police strip about a detective with a wrist radio (now it’s a wrist computer), the movie starred Warren Beatty. Dick Tracy.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge is about Disney movies.  The first five winners win a CD, DVD, or whatever else I come up with from the vast Szafran repository of duplicates or good stuff I want to get rid of.  As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. She’s helped by the seven dwarves.
  2. Movie about a flying elephant.
  3. Movie co-starring Tinkerbell that also has a crocodile in it that swallowed a clock.
  4. Set in France, Belle ultimately falls for a rather unusual suitor.
  5. Movie starring a native-American princess.



Posted in Uncategorized

March 3, 2016


Volume 10, Issue 18–March 3, 2016


Busy, busy, busy…

We’re at peak activity time at SUNY Canton, and there have been a million events to attend and participate in, every day of the week including weekends.  How great is that?  The only problem is that you can’t possibly be at every one, no matter how good they are.  Of course, there’s also the work we all have to do, but the less said about that, the better!



Adirondack Winter Challenge

On Sunday, I attended the Governor’s Adirondack Winter Challenge, held in Lake Placid.  Each year Governor Cuomo hosts an Adirondack Challenge event in both the summer and the winter, highlighting activities taking advantage of the North Country’s resources and facilities, in order to draw more attention to them, thereby promoting tourism and business. 12791103_1125069620857583_1538516836900564547_n

Participants had the choice of trying out downhill and cross-country skiing, ice hockey, hiking, tubing, bobsledding, ice-fishing, fat tire biking, and curling.  I opted for curling, having never tried that sport before.  I arrived at Lake Placid just before noon, signed in, and promptly ran into Barat Wolfe (a new faculty member in Psychology) who was on one of the local hockey teams playing, and President Esterberg from Potsdam, who had signed up for hiking.

After some lunch, a guide led the folks interested in curling to an ice rink set up for that—there were the stones and brooms used in the game, as well as devices to push off from as you release the stone.  The floor was marked off for the field, and the ice was ready—a less slippery form, different from than used for skating or hockey.  There are three “jobs” in curling—to call as to where you want the stone to go (called the skip), to release the stone, and to sweep in front of the stone to help the stone wind up in the target locations that are worth points.  I suspect that when you are playing against another team, part of the strategy is to put your stones in positions where they interfere with the other team’s shots, but we didn’t get into that.  It was a lot of fun to play, though it takes more effort than it looks and after about an hour of it, I was doing a lot of sweating, especially under the helmet.


A little later, our own Assembly member Addie Russell came with her husband and two children to try her hand at curling.  Though she had never done it before either, she was a natural and after a little training and a few practice releases, she had the stone going in to the money areas pretty much every time.  She even got one of the event awards for her prowess.  The two kids were having a ball on the ice as well.

After the curling, I went over to the hockey match between members of the Governor’s office and members of the legislature.  The game was quite good, with a number of the players obviously still very much active in the sport.  The final score was 7-0 with the Governor’s Office winning.


Team Cuomo

This was followed by a reception and then dinner, where several awards (some semi-humorous, some serious) were given.   The ride home was very pleasant—quiet roads through pretty country.


Women’s Hockey

Congratulations to our Women’s Hockey team for making the CHC Quarter-finals last week.  Jill and I attended the big game on Saturday evening against Becker College (which is the first college Jill attended–small world!).  We got there a little early, but so did everyone else, and I was actually the last person to get a commemorative t-shirt.

It was one heck of a game, with the Roos making shot after shot, and the Becker goalie playing a tremendous defensive game, stopping 43 shots.  The score was still 0-0 with eight minutes to go in the third period, when the Roos were hit with a 5-minute penalty that essentially gave Becker the game–they scored on the power play just before the penalty period ended.  The final score was 1-0 against us.


Still, it was a great season and our team has so much to be proud of.  Congratulations ladies, and next year will be better still.


Dining Out

On February 20, the students in ROTC had their annual Dining Out ceremony.  Last year, I attended the Air Force ROTC event, so to show no favoritism, this year I went to the Army’s event.  It’s interesting how the two events were the same, and how they were different.  In both cases, the students were dressed to the teeth—the ROTC students in their dress uniforms and their dates in formal dresses or nice suits.  Unlike last year at the Air Force dinner, the parents could come to the Army event and many were present.  The program began with the Presenting of the Colors and an Invocation, which led to the Grog Ceremony.  At the Air Force dinner, the grog was made from ingredients that weren’t all disclosed, mixed in a “ceremonial” toilet.  Only the new inductees had to drink it.  At the Army event, the grog’s ingredients were given in the program, it was mixed in a glass punchbowl, and everyone had a sample to toast with.  Since the ROTC has members from all four North Country colleges, the grog has in it apple juice for the gold of the Clarkson Golden Knights, cranberry juice for the scarlet of the St. Lawrence Saints, grape juice for the maroon of the Potsdam Bears and blueberry juice for the blue of the Canton Kangaroos.  Other ingredients include ice, coffee grounds, MRE juice mix, rock candy, chocolate pudding, and butter.  Yum!  The dinner was a nice buffet with lots of choices, and the speaker was Stephen Sauer, an associate professor at Clarkson’s School of Business.  I met several of our SUNY Canton students who are part of ROTC, and they looked plenty snazzy in the dress uniforms.


Participating in ROTC is one of SUNY Canton’s ways of supporting our military.  Some recent successes in this area include:

  • We were awarded $500,000 by SUNY to begin an initiative called Transitioning Veterans from Boots and Book and Beyond with Jefferson Community College, to provide support services for former military members transitioning to a college environment.
  • The first graduating class from SUNY Canton’s Solar Ready Vets program graduated at Fort Drum. This program prepares transitioning soldiers for jobs in the burgeoning solar industry.
  • We’ve received various awards recognizing our support of veterans and their families, the latest from Military Times (naming us as on of the best technical colleges in the nation) and from G.I. Jobs (selecting us for their list of military-friendly schools).
  • We’ve recently been awarded a grant from Battle Buddies that will be used to enhance our veteran’s lounge.

All in all, SUNY Canton is a great place for our soldiers in uniform, our veterans, and their families.



Arabian Nights Dance

On Sunday, February 21, wife Jill and I attended the Arabian Nights dance hosted by our student activities office.  The dance was “officially” supposed to start at 7:00 PM, so Jill and I decided to be fashionably late by showing up at 7:30.  This only proves I was totally unaware of the current student party zeitgeist, because when we arrived, we were the only ones there!  Still, the ballroom at the Best Western was clearly set up for an event, the staff were setting up the food, and the photographer was beginning to set up.  We decided to wait, and a little past 8:00, some of the student activities staff arrived, as did a few students helping run the dance.   

By 8:30, about 35 students had come, and the band, Cover Drive, began to play.  Cover Drive is a reggae-pop band from Barbados, and Jill and I enjoyed their music thoroughly—so much so that I ordered their debut album, Bajan Style, which included several top10 singles in England.  The lead singer, Amanda Reifer, was really excellent, and the other three band members Barry Hill, Jamar Harding, and T-Ray Armstrong, supported her very well.  It’s not surprising that singer Rihanna chose them as her opening act during her recent Loud tour.


We left at about 9:30, since son Mark had to have his ice cream order delivered, but I decided to return, hoping that Cover Drive would play a second set.  They didn’t, because DJ JP had set up and was playing some contemporary vibes.  Students were continuing to come in, and by 10:30 when I left, old man that I am, quite a crowd was there, all elegantly dressed for the occasion.  I’m told that a good time was had by all after that, and that the party began to break up around midnight, since there were classes Monday morning.  Jill and I had a very nice time, but we’ll arrive somewhat later next time!


Canton Idol

Speaking of good music, Jill and I also attended the Canton Idol competition last Thursday.  We had gone to last year’s event and enjoyed it thoroughly, so naturally, we were looking forward to it.  There was a decent crowd of about 125 in the Student Center Theatre, and this time we had gotten there at just the right time—the competition began about 10 minutes later.  There were five competing acts, each of which delivered two songs.

Truth be told, I’ve been to similar events on several campuses, and they can be hit-or-miss affairs.  Not Canton Idol, though—every competitor was really good, and I’m glad I wasn’t a judge since it would have been very hard for me to put the five in any kind of order.  Everyone I talked to did agree with the judges’ choice for top prize.  The winner, Rebecca Jean Baptiste, was unbelievably good.  Her final number was a nicely retro song by Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s younger sister) called Sandcastle Disco.  I had never heard this song before, but I was blown away by Rebecca’s version of it—I may be biased here, but I think it was better than the original.  Here’s a link to Solange’s version:



Other fine entrants included Imani Smith, who did a knockout version of the great Etta James song “At Last”, Mahera Josaphat (3rd place—also a fine singer), Michael Horth (2nd place—and how all the ladies in the audience were cheering for him!), and a very enthusiastic guitar and drum duo, Daniel and Nathan (I don’t have their last names).


L-R:  Nathan, Daniel, Imani Smith, me, Michael Horth, Rebecca Jean Baptiste, Mahera Josaphat.

(Sorry, but I’m not sure of the names of the two students on the right–let me know and I’ll add them to the caption.)

Canton Idol was tremendous fun, and everyone should make every effort to see it when it comes around next year.



Excellence in Leadership Lecture, Mark Dzwonczyk

The latest in SUNY Canton’s Excellence in Leadership Lecture Series featured entrepreneur Mark Dzwonczyk, the President and CEO of Nicholville Telephone Company, who titled his talk From Silicon Valley to St. Lawrence County.   Similar to the classic start-up story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the creators of Apple, Dzwonczyk started his company in his garage. He expanded the company into a leading VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) product design business with operations in both the U.S. and China.


In 2011, he moved to the North County to join the Board of Nicholville Telephone Company and became its CEO later that year.  His leadership led to a cultural change in the traditional rural phone company, enabling an increase in subscriptions and repositioning the company to also be a leading regional provider of broadband, through its subsidiary Slic Network Solutions. The company has been heralded for providing high-speed Internet access to rural communities where it previously was not available.

Dzwonczyk described his path from his garage to becoming CEO in an entertaining way to an appreciative audience of almost 100 students, faculty, and shareholder employees of the company.  His main advice was for students to “Follow Their Bliss”, a line from Joseph Campbell on how to achieve success.  When you do that, he said, you’ll be amazed at what doors open up for you.



Engineering Week

Last week was also the 2nd annual celebration of Engineering Week by our Canino School of Engineering Technology.  Lots of events were scheduled including speakers and an employment fair.  Perhaps the highlight was the open house event, bringing in more than 200 children from around the North Country, to see a variety of engineering exhibits including an industrial lumber processor, 3-D technology experiments, water testing, and many others.

Some 60 students participated in the bridge-building contest, where the object was to build a span out of pipe cleaners, straws, and plastic lacing to span a plastic bin, and see how much it would deflect under a 2 kg weight.  Younger winners included Naomi Crowell (Canton) and Grace Sawyko (Pierrepont), winning matching Lego Mindstorms kits used to build and program a robot.


In the senior division, Aaron Clark and Jacy Thompson (Saranac Lake) won a $1300 scholarship to SUNY Canton.


Congratulations to the many faculty and students who participated in Engineering Week—it was a great event.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest dealt with the movie “Casablanca”.  Our winner was my sister (and big oldie movie fan) Drorit, and the first SUNY Canton winner was Farren Lobdell.  Your prizes await in my office, on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall—just come by and get them.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Lead actor in the movie. Humphrey Bogart
  2. Where is Casablanca? Morocco
  3. Name one of the oscars the movie won. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay.
  4. Swedish actress that played the female lead, Ilsa. Ingrid Bergman.
  5. The line that everybody THINKS is said in the movie regarding the song “As Time Goes By”, but is never actually said. “Play it again, Sam.”





This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge is about newspaper comic strips.  The first five winners win a CD, DVD, or whatever else I come up with from the vast Szafran repository of duplicates or good stuff I want to get rid of.  As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Sarcastic, lazy cat who’s always fighting with Jon and Odie.
  2. Her maiden name was “Boopadoop”, and her husband Dagwood loves big sandwiches.
  3. He always longed for the little red-haired girl, but never could talk to her.
  4. Strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger.
  5. Police strip about a detective with a wrist radio (now it’s a wrist computer), the movie starred Warren Beatty.
Posted in Uncategorized