May 6, 2019


Volume 13, Issue 15–May 6, 2019


Safety on Campus

I’m sure that many of you have heard about the tragic event that took place at the University of North Carolina—Charlotte this week, where two people were killed and four injured when a shooter opened fire on their campus.  I know I speak for everyone at SUNY Canton when I say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the entire UNC-Charlotte college community.

At SUNY Canton, our most important goal is to have the safest possible campus, where everyone can concentrate on getting a great education in a welcoming environment. But even on the safest of campuses, unexpected things can happen.  We are taking some steps to strengthen safety aspects of our campus infrastructure:

  • Most exterior doors on campus can be locked electronically by University Police. The last exterior door is scheduled to be completed this summer.
  • We are the in the process of installing new locks on all classroom doors that can lock from the inside. These locks will “snap” open when a person leaves the room and closes the door, so that the room can’t be inadvertently locked.The first classroom building has been completed, a second one has been priced and will take place soon, and the others will be completed over the next year.
  • Our Campus Police have had extensive training on how to deal with active shooter situations. Our Chief of Police, Al Mulkin, has offered multiple sessions on campus (and even to other SUNY colleges) on how best to respond to such incidents to faculty, staff, and students.  Additional sessions will be offered in the future.  The following is a link to one of those presentations:

We are always grateful for any suggestions.  If you are aware of any ways we can make our College a safer place, we would appreciate hearing from you.

There are some things you can do, too:

  • If you haven’t already done so, sign up for Rave Alert. That way, you’ll know when there’s an emergency on campus and be alerted as to what to do.  You can go to and sign in with your campus NetID and password, then add your phone number(s).  There’s a link for this on the front page of the College’s website too.  If you haven’t signed up yet, drop everything right now and do it.
  • Be alert to your surroundings. If you even have just a feeling that you’re being followed or are in danger, go quickly to a safe location and call the Campus Police (386-7777). Our police would much ratherdeal with a possible false alarm than have you be threatened by a dangerous situation.
  • Be aware of what you should do in a dangerous situation. A very good video on this subject is  “Run, Hide, Fight”, which you can see it by clicking on the following link:
  • It may also be that you’ve noticed that a friend or colleague is having a hard time of it. They’re on the razor’s edge. They seem depressed, there’s a change in their personality and you’re afraid something is wrong. You can let us know that you’re concerned by clicking here  and filling out an anonymous referral form. We only want to help. If you see something, say something.

SUNY Canton is a very safe campus in a very safe region of our nation.  It’s by working together, taking precautionary infrastructure steps, and looking out for each other that we can ensure that our College remains the wonderful, welcoming place that it is.


More Like Monthly

It’s been a month since the last issue of the BLAB. It’s getting harder to find the time to write it and I keep meaning to do better, but work and life keep intruding. I’ll keep trying though.

We’re now in the last week of the term and graduation is on Saturday.  We’re all busy with the end of the year celebrations and last-minute issues, so there’s a lot of scrambling going on.  The weather has turned nice, though still a bit rainy as is normal for this time of year.  The flowers are beginning to come up and the grass is now green, so spring is finally here to stay.

On the home front, in an announcement that will surprise almost no one, the rack of shelves I put up to hold my records (now that I’m buying records again) is almost full, and patient wife Jill looked at them and the 10o or so records that came in the mail the past few days and said “looks like you’re going to need to put up another rack”.

She’s right, and I have no idea where I’ll put it—there’s a set of shelves pretty much everywhere in the house that one can go.  Perhaps the next step will be to replace some of the smaller ones (which aren’t all that small) with even larger ones that can hold more.  New acquisitions include 25 folk albums (Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and a few that I’ve never heard of before), 12 Andy Williams albums (my mother’s favorite—I always think of her when I hear him sing), 5 Benny Goodman albums, and yet another Petula Clark album as I keep pushing to complete a collection of everything she’s ever done (which is much harder than you might think).


Welcome Peggy!

We have successfully concluded our search for a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Peggy DeCookewill be joining us on July 1st. Peggy comes to us from SUNY Purchase, where she currently serves as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.

Previously, she was the Chair of their College Senate and Faculty Presiding Officer, and also Acting Dean of the School of the Arts.  She has extensive educational and administrative experience, more specifically a history of leadership in student success initiatives, program development, strategic planning, and assessment.  I’m certain she will be a significant asset to the College as we continue to grow.  Since the news went out about our hiring Dr. DeCooke, I’ve gotten a lot of emails and messages from people who have worked with her telling me that she’s great and we’ll enjoy having her as one of our leadership team.  I’d like to thank Molly Mott and Ken Erickson for the fine job they are doing during this interim period.



This past weekend, both the SUNY Canton men’s and women’s lacrosse teams played for the NAC conference championship.  Both games were held on our campus, so I had the pleasure of attending.

The women’s game began at 12:30, and SUNY Canton quickly pulled into the lead against the University of Maine at Farmington.  SUNY Canton led throughout both halves of the match, and the final score was a lopsided 19-4.  Jessica Pele led the attack with four goals and two assists, with MaryClare Bowes leading the scoring with five goals, and Molly Denny with two goals and three assists.  Erin Parks recorded two goals, and Logan Bush and Cecelia Neally had a goal and assist each. Other scorers included Allison Wakefield, EllaRose LaMay, Stephanie Thayer, and Emily Vogt.  Also exciting was that Molly Denny set a new single-season record with 90 points, and MaryClare Bowes chalking up a 200-career point total. Jessica Pele was named the MVP of the Tournament, with Bowes, Denny, and Bush joining her on the All-Tournament team.

L-R: Randy Sieminski (Director of Athletics), Jessica Pele with her MVP Award, and me

At half-time during the game, there was a moving ceremony honoring Fred Rycroft and his family.  Fred worked at SUNY Canton for more than 30 years, retiring as the Director of the Physical Plant.  Fred was a three-sport star for Canton High School, and a starter running back at SLU.  Fred was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia earlier this year, and the women’s lacrosse team organized a fundraiser which raised $2000, which the Rycroft family decided should go directly to Hope Lodge in Burlington.  Hope Lodge provides free housing, meals, and transportation to patients needing treatment at the University of Vermont Medical Center.  Fred and Debra will be celebrating their 51stanniversary this summer.  They have three children (Jennifer, Jon, and Greg) who joined them at the ceremony.

As a result of this win, not only is SUNY Canton the conference champion, but our women’s lacrosse team is now the first team in our history to go to the NCAA finals, playing against SUNY Brockport this coming Saturday.

The men’s game started at 3:00 and SUNY Canton jumped to a 5-3 lead at the end of the first quarter behind three goals and an assist by Hunter Olsen.  The lead was 6-4 in the middle of the second quarter, but New England College Pilgrims scored twice to tie it up at 6-6 at the half.  The second half was dominated by the Pilgrims, who ran off 11 straight goals to open up a 15-6 advantage.  There was a short-lived glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter when Josh Yelvington and Noah Robinson scored back to back, but the final tally was 17-8, with the third quarter having made all the difference.  Kody Kocsis had a season-high 23 saves in the game.  Yelvington, Olsen and Brandon Schmidt earned spots on the All-Tournament Team for SUNY Canton.  While it would have been great to win the conference final, the men’s lacrosse team had a solid season, with Josh Yelvington moving into first place in our record books with 116 career goals and 153 career points at the end of the regular season.


Steel Bridge Competition

From April 18-20, the Upstate New York Regional AISC Steel Bridge Competition was held at RPI, and the SUNY Canton team acquitted itself quite well, coming in second.  The team finished ahead of Clarkson, SUNY Poly, RPI, Cornell, RIT, and West Point, coming in behind only the University at Buffalo.  Our team scored first place in stiffness, which is calculated by placing 2,500 pounds on the bridge and measuring how much the rigid structure deflects. The team placed second in construction speed, second in economy, second in efficiency, third in lightness and fourth in aesthetics.  Students on the team included Chase Boyer, Alexis Carreau, Andrew Chapin, Kimberly Collins, John Drews IV, Daniel Gagnon, Josh Glosenger, Dale Harris, Forest Hathaway, Jake LeVea, Kyle grey, Sara O’Duffy, Daniel Olin, Jocelyn Racette, Stephen Schermerhorn, Bromlen Steinburg, and Benjamin York.  The team’s advisors include Paul Hitchman, Joseph Reilly, Andrew Reiter, and Yilei Shi.

The team will be traveling to the National Finals on May 31, taking place at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL.


Accreditation Travel

Back on April 8, I drove up to Ottawa to catch a flight to Montreal and then to Miami for an accreditation visit for our Funeral Services Administration degree program.  The drive was fine and checking in at the airport was uneventful.  The flight to Montreal is a short one and took off on time, but when we landed we had to wait a few minutes because the previous plane at our gate hadn’t left yet.  This caused a bit of a problem, because normally when I fly out of Ottawa the US immigration details are taken care of there, but since I was flying to Montreal, I had to go through security a second time and then do the immigration steps there.  I only had about 40 minutes to accomplish that, and of course the gate we came in at and the gate for the outgoing flight were at opposite ends of the airport.  It was a mad rush and I didn’t even stop to tie my shoes after going through security, and by the time I got to the gate they were announcing that the doors were closing for the flight.  I waved my passport at the gate agent just in time and got on the plane, which then proceeded to sit there for another 20 minutes before taking off.  Go figure.

The flight to Miami was uneventful and I quickly got my rental car and went to the hotel.  The weather in Miami was reasonably warm but rainy, so it wasn’t all that pleasant.  I was supposed to meet David Penepent, our program director for Funeral Services Administration, there but he had been stranded (I believe in Charlotte) on his way down due to high winds and wasn’t going to be able to fly in until the next morning.  There was one more problem too—the airline had lost his luggage in the process.

David did finally get in and hurried off to a mall by the hotel to buy a suit and some shoes for the accreditation meeting.  We got together for a quick lunch and then upstairs to the accreditation meeting which went very well, with them asking a few questions that had been raised during the campus visit a few months earlier. After about 30 minutes, they asked us to step outside the room and about 10 minutes after that, they told us we had gotten a seven-year accreditation, the best result possible.  Needless to say, we were very happy about that!

The flight back was fine, though the terminal at the Miami airport I went out of was pretty old and didn’t have much in the way of restaurants there for breakfast.  I changed planes this time in Newark NJ, flying directly into Ottawa, where going through customs is always quick and easy.  I was home a little after 7, which wasn’t bad at all.


Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Our Vice President for Student Life, Courtney Bish, traveled down to Albany on April 24thto see two of our students, Hughes M. Ntwari and Ryan Schubert.Daniel is receiving the B.B.A. degree in Management, and has worked extensively as a tutor for the Equal Opportunity Program and in the Business Tutoring Lab.  He is also the varsity eSports FIFA team captain and has served as a Resident Assistant in Kennedy Hall and as a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office. Ryan has completed a Bachelors degree in Criminal Investigation, as well as double minors in Forensic Science and Economics.  She is a member of the Order of the Sword and Shield and the Golden Key honor society. Ryan is also a star athlete and was named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District Women’s Soccer Team, as well as having been chosen for the ACAA and USCA all-athletic teams.

L-R:  Hughes Ntwari, Courtney Bish, Ryan Schubert


National Publicity for eSports

Our eSports program continues to do very well and garner tons of publicity. In what was probably the biggest publicity coup in SUNY Canton’s history, we were featured on ABC’s Nightline a few weeks ago., which included interviews with our Director of Athletics Randy Sieminski and Overwatch Team Captain Emily Oesler.  You can see the report below.  Our part in it starts at the 5:30 mark of the video.

The Albany ABC 10 television station previewed the Nightline story, as did our local Watertown WWNY station.  We’re now off to a major gaming event in Nashville sponsored by Extreme Networks, where our Overwatch team will be the featured centerpiece.  There have been so many people who have played major roles in the success of our eSports effort, including Randy Sieminski, Rob Snow, Courtney Bish, Doug Scheidt, Molly Mott, Shawn Miller, Kyle Brown, Mike Newtown; the faculty in Game Design, GMMD, and TCOM; and the entire crew in Public Relations.  I’m so appreciative of the way they’ve worked together and created what I believe to be the premiere eSports college program in the nation.


Scholarly Activities Week

Scholarly Activities Week began on Monday, April 15, with a talk by Dr. Dan Benardot (’68).  Dr. Benardot is a world-famous sports-nutritionist and gave a fascinating talk about nutritional myths.  After the talk, the College hosted a dinner for him, where I got the chance to discuss with him the chemistry link to many of the myths he had mentioned.  On April 16th, many students gave poster sessions describing their work in the Library and the Student Center.  Later in the day, two parallel sessions were held of students giving oral presentations.  That evening, the induction ceremony for Phi Theta Kappa (the honor society for graduates with two-year degrees) was held.

While I couldn’t hear every talk or see every poster session, the ones I saw were great and the students were fully engaged.  There are literally hundreds of people responsible for making Scholarly Activities Week such a success.  A big thank you to them all, and congratulations to all our participating students.

Students from the Criminal Justice Honor Society at the Poster Presentation

Pictured are (from front, L-R) Justin Spaulding, Hannah Lawrence, Taylor Typhair, and Jessica Stettner. Middle row:  Kaitlyn McGlaun, Sierra  Halstead, Kyleigh Storrs, Mariah Greenman, Nichole Ward, Jamie Vogt  and Nick Miller. Back row: Tyler Bowman, Michael Volpe, Lee Rider, Leigha Haskins, and Kaitlyn Doud. In the background, between Nick and Jamie is Paige Richardson.


Golden Knight Battalion Awards Ceremony

There were more Scholarly Activities Week presentations on April 18, but I had to leave early because I had to run over to Potsdam for the Golden Knight Batallion’s Awards Ceremony, which was held at Clarkson University’s Old Main building.  Old Main has recently been renovated and is really a beautiful structure, with the exterior made in large part of Potsdam sandstone.  The ceremony was held on the third floor, which is quite a climb up! This ROTC unit was established in 1936 and consists of students from the four colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley, including SUNY Canton.  I met four of the SUNY Canton students participating in the ROTC program, from left to right Sean Medina, Tommy Gonzalez, Zachary Bidwell, and Macayla Perry. Sean Medina was even one of the winners of the Color Guard Award!  Congratulations to Sean, and to all our SUNY Canton cadets!

L-R: Me, Sean Medina, Tommy Gonzalez, Zachary Bidwell, Macayla Perry


Honors Convocation

SUNY Canton held its Honors Convocation on April 24.  One particularly nice thing about it is that each year, the convocation is named in honor of an emeritus professor, who this year was Mr. William J. Mein.  Bill was a member of our Decisions Systems program and was instrumental in developing the Computer Information Systems program, which has since expanded to offer Game Design, Cybersecurity, Industrial Technology Management, Graphic and Multimedia Design, and Information Technology degrees.  He earned the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2009 and retired as an emeritus professor in 2010.  We held a luncheon in his honor, and Bill was the keynote speaker at the Honors Convocation ceremony later that afternoon.  The ceremony was wonderful and it was great to see so many of our students who excel scholastically.

William J. Mein


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Terri Clemmo, and Tom Graser.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Day upon which one plays tricks on one’s friends.Mark Twain said its “the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”  April 1st, April Fools Day.
  2. What April showers bring. May Flowers.
  3. Reporter for the Channel 6 News in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. April O’Neil.
  4. Character on Parks and Recreation played by Aubrey Plaza.She started as an intern and became Deputy Director of Animal Control.   April Ludgate.
  5. On April 3, 1860, in St. Joseph Missouri, this mail delivery service began. For $5 an ounce, a letter could be delivered to California within 10 days.  The Pony Express.
  6. Bonus Question: What’s the answer to the riddle “Why are people so tired on April 1?” Because they’ve just finished a 31 day March.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing with the theme of months, this issue’s challenge has to do with May.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Name of the first ship to land at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
  2. Green gem that is the birthstone for those born in May.
  3. Song that begins “I was strolling through the park one day”.
  4. Why Star Wars Day falls in this month.
  5. Daughter of Jed Clampett and cousin to Jethro.


Posted in Uncategorized

April 1, 2019


Volume 13, Issue 14–April 1, 2019



Another Whirlwind

This term has really been a whirlwind for me. Between one thing and another, the semester is going by amazingly quickly, and graduation is fast approaching. The weather has warmed up and while I don’t want to jinx things, it looks like spring is nearly here at last. The snow is almost all gone, the temperature is in the 40’s, and while some snow (not much) came on Sunday, this week is supposed to be in the 50’s.

Since things warmed up a bit, I did make another assault on unopened boxes in the garage and searched for a box of records that hasn’t seen the light of day for at least 15 years.   After moving our patio furniture to the front of the garage (since I’m hoping to put it out next week), there were another dozen boxes I could get to and sure enough, one was the box I was looking for.  I had no idea what records I decided to save and which ones I had gotten rid of way back then, so opening the box was a bit like opening a treasure chest.  What I found inside was our old Beatles records, as well as several records each of the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, the Steve Miller Band, James Taylor, Rick Wakeman, and a batch of Israeli LPs, and from Jill’s collection, the Carpenters and the Captain and Tennille.  There were a few other odds and ends as well, amounting to about 100 albums.  I promptly put one on the new turntable, sat back, and mmm…it was like the old days once again.  One consequence of the new turntable is that I’ve also checked out what my not-quite-so-new receiver is capable of.  Something nice is that I’ve found the setting that allows the sound to go through without any further modification, as well as the best setting for the various layers on super audio discs.  How nice it is to live in the modern age and still enjoy the best of the past.


Alumni Visits

As of the last issue of the BLAB, I was just about to leave for another set of alumni visits.  Here’s my report.  I left Canton for Ottawa on Friday, March 8 in the late afternoon, having to spend the night there because our flight out was leaving at 7:15 in the morning. Peggy Levato (from our Advancement Office) and I checked out of our rooms and left the hotel at 5:00 AM, parked at the Ottawa airport, and made our way to the United Airlines check-in line. After checking our bags, we proceeded through security and then through U.S. immigration (which you do while still in Ottawa—I’ve done it a dozen times and it still seems weird to do that in another country).  I went through without incident, but Peggy got caught there and was asked to wait while they checked something.  She motioned for me to go ahead and wait for her on the other side.  After about five minutes I began to get worried that something had gone wrong with her documents, but a few minutes later she came out—accompanied by a U.S. immigration officer!  It turned out that this was a friend of hers who had heard that she was going to be leaving from the Ottawa airport and just wanted to be sure to see her and say hello!

We still had plenty of time before the flight and sat down at the counter of the only restaurant at the airport.  It turned out that there was only one person working there that morning and dozens of customers, so she was scurrying around with amazing efficiency to get the job done.  Since we were sitting by the cash register, each time she came by we’d smile and comment on how we couldn’t believe that she was able to do everything herself.  Despite the crowd, we got our food pretty quickly.  The plane took off on time and we flew into Chicago, where we had a long layover until our connection to Portland, OR.  I was reading the news to kill time until the restaurant opened for lunch and I saw that Peggy was doing a jigsaw puzzle on her iPad.  It looked like fun so she let me try it.  I’ve now downloaded the app on my phone and it’s quite addictive.  You can do up to a 600-piece puzzle and since the phone screen is so small, the app divides the picture up into six sections (top left, top middle, top right, etc.), each of which is done individually.  When the section has been completed, the app jumps to the next one. It’s a great way to spend time while waiting, though the app drains the phones battery more than any other one I’ve seen.

We had lunch and our connecting flight took off on time, getting us to Portland at 3:17 Pacific Time.  We picked up the rental car and drove out to the hotel.  The weather was very pleasant, it being a nice clear day with the temperature in the low 50’s.

We met with Alex and Gretchen Sabo the next evening at their home in Lake Oswego.  They are stong friends of the College, and it was nice to visit their lovely home and talk to them about what’s happening at SUNY Canton and with economic development in our region.

Portland is a very nice city in a beautiful setting, with Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Ranier visible on clear days, and located on the Willamette River, just south of where it flows into the Columbia River.

I’ve been to Portland several times in the past, and while it has a great downtown area, nice suburbs, and a surprisingly good mass transit system (there was a station right by the hotel with trains coming in each direction every 15 minutes),

I absolutely hate driving on its roads.  They always seem a bit to narrow, as well as being quite twisty.

We checked out the next morning and flew to Phoenix, AZ, arriving at 11:30.  I was expecting it to be warm and dry, but Arizona had been experiencing some strange weather recently, and what we got was cool and rainy throughout our stay. Phoenix has really grown in the past few decades and is now the fifth largest city in the U.S. and the largest of all state capitols.  Several of its suburbs are also huge, with Mesa having a population of 500,000, Scottsdale and Glendale both at 250,000, and Tempe and Peoria both at about 180,000. With all that population growth, it’s not surprising that the roads are quite congested and traffic jams are common. After checking in at the hotel and getting a quick lunch, we drove out to Sun City to meet with Richard Randall, another major friend of the College.  I had met Richard a few years ago and it was great to talk to him again.

We left the next day for Tucson with it raining much of the way.  The scenery on the ride is usually pretty much desert, but due to the rain and some agricultural irrigation projects, it was quite green.  As we got closer to Tucson there were some interesting mountains as well as strings of flatcars on the Southern Pacific Railroad lines running alongside the highway.

We stopped to visit Gil White (’68), who has a beautiful home just west of Tucson, built in a modern hacienda style, and filled with Native American and southwestern art.  It also has a lovely patio that overlooks the valley and mountains.  It’s always nice to get together with Gil to discuss what’s new, and he joined us for dinner at our hotel that evening.

We checked into the hotel, which was located near the Tucson airport and also near an Air Force base.  While I was resting up in my room, I suddenly heard several very loud whooshing sounds of jets flying overhead.  In the next two hours, there must have been at least eight of them going by, though that stopped in mid-evening.  It was raining hard and the restaurant was detached from the part of the hotel our rooms were in, so I was trying to figure out how to get there without getting drenched since I had no umbrella.  As luck would have it, the rain stopped just before I was going to make a mad dash there.  The weather then changed from rainy to windy, which it remained for much of the next day as well.

On Wednesday, we had a lunch meeting with Roger Catlin to bring him up to date and to reminisce about old times.  He told me about how much he enjoys being able to support the College.  Later that evening, we had a dinner meeting with a small group of alumni and friends, at a nice Italian restaurant (Caruso’s) in the old part of the city.

I’ve never been in Tucson before, so I enjoyed seeing a little bit of the old city, which has trolley lines going down the middle of 4thAvenue and a lot of cool little shops on both sides of the street and all around the area.   I enjoyed talking with Betty Chadwick, Fay Peters and Gil White at the dinner.

The next morning, we left a little early for the airport, because we wanted to have enough time to make any travel changes that might be necessary due to the presence of a “bomb cyclone” that had disrupted air traffic in Denver and much of the west.  We also had a tight connection in Chicago of just over an hour, which isn’t very much time at an airport as big as O’Hare.  As it turned out, our flight was delayed by about an hour and a half, so we had a long time to wait and we were afraid we’d miss our connection.  Peggy arranged for a back-up of having us also booked on the first flight to Ottawa the next morning, just to be on the safe side.

The flight itself was fine though a bit bumpy, and when we landed at about 6 PM, the departure board said that the flight to Ottawa was delayed until 7 PM, giving us an hour to make it to the gate after we landed.  We made a mad dash across multiple concourses and through the massive crowds that were present since so many flights had been delayed.  We got to the gate with about 15 minutes to spare and were happy to see the plane there, but unfortunately, they announced that the crew was coming in from Denver and their plane had just taken off.  Thus, our Ottawa flight was delayed a second time, and was now scheduled to depart at 9:30 PM central time.  

We walked over to a restaurant in the terminal and had dinner, keeping an eye on things in case there was another change in the schedule.  After a long wait, the crew finally arrived and the flight took off a little after 10 PM. We arrived in Ottawa at 12:45 AM, got our bags and went through customs, and went to the garage to get our respective cars.  The drive home was very quiet at that hour, and I was really happy because I thought I had somehow made it home by 2 AM.  As it turned out, it was actually 3 AM on March 15, but I hadn’t changed the time on the car’s clock because I was away on the trip since before going to daylight savings time.  I got some sleep and came into the office for an 11 AM meeting—a bit groggy but otherwise fine.


And Even More Travel

While the weekend was nice and quiet and gave me a chance to recover, Monday March 18 was filled with meetings, and I drove over to Ogdensburg in the afternoon to catch a flight to Albany.  I took Amtrak out the next morning and had a pleasant ride down to NYC for an alumni event that evening.

Jordan Walker and Sarah Maneely from our Advancement Office met held at Penn Station and we walked from there to drop our bags at the hotel.

We then went out for some lunch, at (you guessed it), an Indian restaurant located about a block away.  We had a very nice alumni gathering at the Hound’s Tooth Pub that evening, and I enjoyed seeing some old friends and some new folks as well.

The next morning, after a business meeting in NYC, I got on the train again to go back to Albany, because the SUNY Presidents Meeting was beginning the next morning.  SUNY had directed us to book the Tru by Hilton Albany hotel, since the downtown hotels were all full.  The hotel was nice, though the rooms were a bit plain.  I went out to dinner at the mall next door, and just as I was leaving, ran into Eric Bitterbaum (President of SUNY Cortland) and David Rogers (President of SUNY Morrisville), and joined them.

I hitched a ride with Eric to the President’s Meeting, which covered some budget items, some retention programs which are proving to be successful among the Community Colleges, more about the Open SUNY Online Initiative, the new PRODiG diversity initiative that I’ve mentioned in a previous BLAB (we will be applying!), some good ideas about reducing costs by using our mutual purchasing power, and a talk by David Tanberg from SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association) about the role that rural colleges can play in “Reclaiming the American Dream” and supporting equitable education for all Americans.

We then broke into sector meetings, where we talked about Auxiliary Boards, more budget issues, trying to get a technology fee to offset our higher operating costs in this area, and the need for greater degree approval flexibility in these rapidly changing times.  After reporting out to the other sectors, we had a follow-up meeting with David Tanberg.

Right after the Presidents Meeting, there was a Farewell Reception for Carlos Medina, who had recently retired as SUNY’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer.  Carlos has been a good friend and I’m sorry to see him go.  I was only able to stay there briefly, because my flight back to Ogdensburg was leaving at 6:05 PM and I had to get to the airport. The flight home was uneventful, and I got home at about 8 PM, ready to face another bunch of meetings the next morning.


And on Campus…


Law Enforcement Day

It was a busy week on campus, starting with me giving the welcome at SUNY Canton’s 9thLaw Enforcement Day. Our guest speakers this year were Detective Brian Martin who spoke about Forensic Genealogy, and Scott Aubin who spoke on the Effects of Unrecognized PTSD in law enforcement.  The event was well attended, and I got to mention the launching of our new Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence, and Cybersecurity there.


SUNY’s Got Your Back

Later on Monday, I was proud to participate in SUNY Canton’s effort to support the SUNY’s Got Your Back initiative, which we’ve been part of since 2016.  This initiative collects toiletries and other personal care products and puts them in a backpack to distribute to hospitals, rape crisis centers, and domestic violence shelters across the state.  Often, victims of abuse face circumstances that are so dire that they come in to these shelters with little more than the clothes they are wearing, and are in immediate need of the items in the backpack.  We increased the number prepared this year from 250 to 500, with lots of students, faculty, and staff helping with the assembly of the backpacks.  At the beginning, I was on toothbrush and toothpaste duty, putting both into small bags that were then put in (along with dozens of other items) the backpacks.  I was then ‘promoted’ to become a backpack roller, meaning that I took the completed backpacks and rolled them to a more compact size, so that they could be boxed for distribution, as shown in the picture below.  This is a great initiative that helps thousands of people in a time of great need.  More than 30,000 bags have been assembled and distributed since 2016.


Diverse Discussions

On Tuesday night, I attended one of the College’s Diverse Discussions, which included the showing of the film “Chisolm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed” about Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s run for the presidency in 1972.  As it happened, I was a freshman in 1972 and attended SUNY Oneonta for one semester (before transferring to WPI, where I completed my bachelors degree).  In about October of that year, Congresswoman Chisholm spoke there, and I attended the event. After her speech, she stayed for another hour or so just to talk to the students, so I had the opportunity of personally hearing her views on a number of the issues of the day.  I remember how impressed I was with her as a speaker, and how deeply she had thought about many of the issues.  In a time when several women have announced their candidacy for becoming president, it was interesting to look back at the history of one of the first to do so.  After the film, Stephanie Petkovsek (lecturer in History at SUNY Canton) led a discussion with the students attending about how things have changed (and some things haven’t) with respect to issues of race and gender in politics.


Puppet Theater

On March 28, Early Childhood students and faculty [Dr. Maiocco and Ms. Martin] participated in a field trip visiting several early childhood settings, including SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center, the Smart Cookies Preschool Enrichment Program, and the North Country Children’s Museum.  Many of these serve as current and future internship placement sites for our students.  That’s a pretty cool field trip in itself, but something I wasn’t aware of was that the Museum’s Maple Tree Puppet Theater is supported by a generous donation from the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Program!  The picture below features EC students Sydney Hamilton, Kiera Jacobs, Taylor Robert, Taylor Bell, Marina Brown, Amaya Rivera and Mackenzee Holland in front of the Theater.  No—those aren’t real maple tree logs that they’re holding—they’re pillows!


Advising Fortnight

SUNY Canton is entering its two-week advising period for students to register for their Fall classes.  I always look forward to seeing what our two intrepid advisors, Sharon Tavernier and Marianne DiMarco-Temkin will dress up as to encourage our students to participate.  Since two weeks is a fortnight, they decided to dress up as characters from the game Fortnite this year!


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Tom Grasper, Kelly DeHaut, Janel Smith, Emily Hamilton-Honey, and Terri Clemmo.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. The month of March is named for which Roman g-d?  Mars
  2. Springtime basketball championship competition. March Madness.
  3. Weather-wise, March comes in like a lion, but goes out like what?  A Lamb.
  4. Friend of the Mad Hatter at Alice in Wonderland’s tea party. March Hare.
  5. Warning given to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play. Beware the Ides of March.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

To celebrate our great weekend athletically, this issue’s challenge has to do with April.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Day upon which one plays tricks on one’s friends.Mark Twain said its “the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”
  2. What April showers bring.
  3. Reporter for the Channel 6 News in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  4. Character on Parks and Recreation played by Aubrey Plaza.She started as an intern and became Deputy Director of Animal Control.
  5. On April 3, 1860, in St. Joseph Missouri, this mail delivery service began. For $5 an ounce, a letter could be delivered to California within 10 days.
  6. Bonus Question: What’s the answer to the riddle “Why are people so tired on April 1?”


Posted in Uncategorized

March 7, 2019


Volume 13, Issue 13–March 7, 2019



It’s hard for me to believe that THE WEEKLY BLAB has been around for 13 years now, starting a year after I began working at Southern Polytechnic State University.  Originally, it could only be accessed from within SPSU’s web pages if you knew where to look.  I would send out an email saying another issue had been posted, usually accompanied by a stupid lyric from some song, modified to include the phrase “The Weekly Blab”.  This went on for more than a year before someone told me that they recognized the week’s lyric.  After about six years, I changed the format to a blog being hosted on WordPress, accessible to anyone in the world.  While most readers are faculty and staff at SUNY Canton and SPSU, others from around the world also read it.  Other than the U.S., the next highest number of readers come from Canada, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and France.  Some of the more unusual places one or two people have read it from include Mauritius, St. Lucia, the Isle of Man, Macau, and Mongolia.  Extra points if you know where those five places are. Anyway, this particular issue is the 13thissue of the 13thvolume, so it must be doubly unlucky, unless the bad luck from one “13” cancels out the bad luck from the other.


Coming Around Again

Back in the day, I used to have a big record collection.  I’d guess that the number of albums was something between 750 and 1000, though I don’t remember ever counting them.  With the advent of cassettes, I stopped buying records for the most part, though I did pick one up every now and then.  When CDs came along, I got rid of most of the cassettes (a lousy format anyway—I hated having to wind them to the location you wanted, and they all would eventually start to squeak), but I hung onto the records.  Finally, when I left New Hampshire to go to Georgia back in 2005, I sold off some records, gave away most of the rest, and kept two or three boxes (the small U-Haul ones) of the ones I liked best, which are now hidden away somewhere in my garage.  I’ll find them in a few weeks, when it warms up enough to put my patio furniture out so I can get at them.

To my surprise, records came back and collecting vinyl became cool again. There were lots of arguments about whether CDs are better than vinyl, with the vinyl folks arguing that they have a warmer ambience and more faithfully follow the waveform of the music.  I never bought that argument and stuck with the CDs, especially super audio CDs, as being better.  In the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into long discussions with several alumni and some folks on campus who are dedicated vinyl lovers.

After all of that, a few weeks ago, I shifted my view a little.  “Why argue about it?”, I suddenly realized. Why not enjoy both?  So, I decided to buy a new turntable and to pick up some records again. What I am getting is records that came out from the mid-50’s to the 80’s, especially things I don’t have on CD.  So far, that largely means classical music, though I have run into some pop, rock, and jazz records in the past few weeks that were in amazing shape.  I’ve found LOTS of classical records, both in the local area and on eBay, that I’ve gotten for extremely reasonable amounts. I’m enjoying listening to them quite a bit.

The new turntable is an Audio Technica 120. I tried to do a comparison between an LP and a CD to see if I could tell the difference but quickly ran into some problems.  The album I chose was Carly Simon’s “Coming Around Again”, since I already had a copy on LP and CD.  Here’s what I noticed:

  • The LP sounded great. The receiver puts the sound through unchanged, meaning that I get the left and right channel and that’s it, just like in the “old days”. With the CD, the sound is processed so that there’s also a center channel and a small reflection through the rear speakers.
  • The volume coming from the turntable is lower than from the CD, so I have to increase the volume setting on the receiver when I switch back and forth.
  • Even though they both come from the same source, the CD was mastered a bit differently from the LP, so I’m not really comparing the same exact things.
  • I notice no difference between the two in terms of warmth or anything like that.

All in all, it’s like comparing apples and somewhat different apples.  So, like I said, why not enjoy both?


Planning for More Travel

I’ll be going on another set of alumni visits, leaving this Friday afternoon from Ottawa to go to Portland, OR and then to Arizona.  I’ll be back on campus next Friday.  A full report, as usual, will appear in the next BLAB.


And on Campus…

Engineers Week

We had a very successful Engineers Week last week, and I heard lots of positive comments from people who attended the various events, which included speakers, a career fair, and a dinner for industry partners.

As always, the highlight was the Open House (sponsored by the Corning Inc. Foundation) that was held on February 26. There were more than 15 hands-on activities that showcased various elements of our engineering technology and related programs.  Participants could join in a virtual reality game experience and watch a live “League of Legends” eSports competition, as well as get a behind-the-scenes look at our newest degree program, Mechatronics Technology.  Visitors also learned about robotics, global water issues, and met our award-winning steel bridge team.  This year’s student competition was to build the fastest race car, with the winning team from 9th to 12th grade winning a $1200 scholarship.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated for their fine work!


Living Writers Series

We also had an extremely enjoyable Living Writers event last Wednesday.  Our guest was Dr. Arthur Flowers, author of Br’er Rabbit Retold, an updated retelling of the classic wisdom tales, which originated in African folklore and were integrated into oral tales by slaves in the American South.  Dr. Flowers, a professor at Syracuse University, was originally from Memphis and incorporated the blues into his vocals and accompanying music on a thumb piano. He considers himself to be a modern-day griot, a West African person who maintains the tradition of oral history.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event, held in downtown Canton at the TAUNY Center (Traditional Arts of Upstate New York), which was filled to capacity. Everyone had a great time!  Many thanks to Dr. Phil LaMarche (from our Humanities Dept.) for organizing the event, and to the various offices on campus that help make the Living Writers Series so wonderful.


Student Organizations

SUNY Canton has a lot of great student organizations.  Some are affiliated with degree programs we offer, while others are honor societies, fraternities and sororities, or organizations that cater to students’ extracurricular interests.  In all, there are more than 60 student organizations. All of them provide leadership opportunities, offer engaging activities of all different kinds to our student body, and participate in public service in one way or another.

Each year, I try to meet with the presidents of each student club, to learn about what they are planning and to see if there is any way I can help them to reach their goals.  For the past few years, our Brother to Brother organization brought me a very cool T-shirt. You can see this year’s version in the picture below.



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Kelly DeHaut, Jennifer Church, and Terri Clemmo.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Winner of this year’s Super Bowl.  Boston Patriots
  2. Which of the Williams sisters has won the most tennis grand slam titles, Venus or Serena?  Serena.
  3. How many NBA championships did Michael Jordan win with the Chicago Bulls?  Six.
  4. Romanian Olympic gymnast who was the first to score a perfect 10.  Nadia Comaneci.
  5. In 1964, Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali) gained his first heavyweight boxing title by defeating who?  Sonny Liston.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

To celebrate the new month, this issue’s challenge has to do with March.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. The month of March is named for which Roman g-d?
  2. Springtime basketball championship competition.
  3. Weather-wise, March comes in like a lion, but goes out like what?
  4. Friend of the Mad Hatter at Alice in Wonderland’s tea party.
  5. Warning given to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play.
Posted in Uncategorized

February 19, 2019


Volume 13, Issue 12–February 19, 2019


One of My Less Favorite Job Responsibilities

There are various things that come with the job of being president, many of them pleasant (such representing the College at lots of events) and some less pleasant.  One of the jobs I like least is deciding when to delay or cancel classes due to the weather. It’s a no-win situation, in that there is a strong contingent that thinks that we should cancel if there is the slightest chance that someone might slip or skid on snow or ice, and another strong contingent that thinks “Hey—this is the North Country—we should be used to snow and ice, so why cancel?”

The way we actually make the decision is that our Chief of Police, Al Mulkin, checks out the situation across the county and on campus and calls me early in the morning to make the decision.  After we tentatively decide, we call our P.R. team of Travis Smith and Greg Kie, who add their perspective and make the final decision on the message to send out.

The most recent weather closing challenge was the big storm that was supposed to hit Canton last week.  As it turned out, for some, it was a bit less than predicted—we got about six inches in Canton.  St. Lawrence County is a big place though and there were several areas that got quite a bit more than that.  The snow was supposed to begin at 1 PM on Tuesday, but the conversations began at about 6:00 AM that morning, since most of the elementary schools announced they were closing by noon to make sure that the busses could get the kids home safely. Other places cancelled evening programs and at least one college announced it was delaying its start on Wednesdayuntil 10 AM.  We decided to wait and see what was actually happening and agreed we would review the situation at about 2 PM.  One o’clock came and went without any snow, which began around 2:30 PM.  It wasn’t doing much, so we decided to not cancel classes.

As it happened, we had an exit interview with a business accreditation team that afternoon.  I was seated opposite the windows in the room and about halfway through the meeting, at about 4:00, it seemed like it was a white-out and I began to wonder if we had made the right call not to cancel classes.  It stopped after a few minutes and when the meeting ended and we left to go home a little after 5, it was snowing moderately had only accumulated an inch or so.  When I got home, it started to snow harder at about 5:30, but then it stopped again at 6:15 and stayed clear until 9 PM.  It started to sleet at 9:30 and kept that up on and off for a while, turning to snow again at 11 PM.  So, all in all, I think we made the right call for that evening.

Wednesday morning, I got a call at 5:00 AM to let me know that the back roads in the county and on the campus we still slippery and some were unplowed, so it would be wise to delay opening until 10 AM.  We sent out that message and I went back to sleep. When I got up and went outside at 7:30, there was about five inches of snow, but it was pretty powdery and it brushed off of the car easily.  There was also a thin veneer of ice on the windshields, but since it had warmed up to about 30°, it softened quickly from the defrosters and I was scraped off and ready to go.  It was still snowing lightly but the roads were clean and I got to campus with no trouble or delay, which made me think we might have over-reacted and shouldn’t have delayed opening.  As other people arrived, I heard that it wasn’t quite so easy where they lived—many were trapped in their driveways and had to shovel their way out, and the roads in many places were still badly plowed.  Almost every school in the area was closed, so lots of people had to make accommodations for childcare as well and appreciated the extra time the delay gave them.  It snowed on and off most of the day, ending later than predicted, but the road crews were able to keep up with it.  So, all in all, I think we made the right call for the delay as well.  Your mileage may vary.


And Even More Travel

In the last issue of the BLAB, I told about my two trips to Florida in January, but my travel for that month wasn’t done yet—there was one more trip to Albany for the Chancellor’s State of the University System speech.  We had also been asked to present a showcase about our eSports program during the breakfast time before the speech, but when we asked if a monitor would be available for our use so that we could show a video, we were told we’d have to rent one. Since that was pretty expensive, we decided to bring our own and drive down instead of flying.

Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) and I left campus a little before noon, having loaded the car up with the computer and large monitor (pretty heavy), as well as stickers, brochures, and little tins of mints with SUNY Canton’s logo on them to give away.  The drive was fine for the first hour—sunny with clear roads.  When we stopped in Tupper Lake for some lunch it had begun to snow very lightly.  We had a nice lunch at a little sandwich shop called “Well Dressed Food” on the main street, but by the time we finished, it was snowing very hard.  As we headed out of the village near the lake, it was full white-out conditions and we thought we might have to stop and wait for things to clear or to cancel entirely.  I decided to keep going but to drive slowly and a few miles later things improved—the snow got much lighter and the roads had at least been plowed a while back, so you could still see some asphalt where previous cars had gone.  It was pretty much like that all the way across the Adirondacks—better in some places, worse in others—until we reached Interstate 87 in Pottersville.  The interstate was reasonably well plowed and the snow had stopped, so we had an easy ride from there.  It was very cold in Albany—about 7° at 5 PM when we arrived—and we decided to go straight to a restaurant for dinner so we wouldn’t have to go out again.  After a nice dinner at Lazeez (an Indian restaurant as you’ve probably guessed), we drove to the hotel, checked into our rooms, and I was done for the night, going to sleep soon after.

After meeting for breakfast at the hotel, we went to the Albany Capital Center and set up our showcase, finishing at a little before 9 AM.  People began to arrive and we got a lot of traffic from people who were interested in what we are doing in eSports.  Some other campus presidents were interested in setting up their own programs and various people from SUNY wanted to know how well we were doing with it.  Several other SUNYs also had showcases of various initiatives on their campuses, including a couple that had interesting environmental projects.

Chancellor Johnson’s speech started at 11 AM and was very good, highlighting how higher education is a necessary path to employment, social mobility, and the American Dream.  She said: “Increasingly, higher ed is the only path to opportunity” and noted that people with college degrees earn 80% more than those with a high school degree.  She focused on four key themes: individualized education, innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and partnerships, which are areas that we’re focusing on at SUNY Canton as well.  Some of the new initiatives in SUNY for 2019 will include PRODI-G(Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth), a plan to enable campuses to hire and retain up to 1000 new faculty to increase diversity; SUNY Online, a system-wide initiative to increase opportunities for exclusively online learners through campus partnerships; SUNY Achieve, to expand remedial support and improve retention through student-centered pathways; and a SUNY Green Revolving Fundto provide loan funds for projects what will reduce carbon footprint and energy use.  The loans will be paid back through energy savings realized on campus.

One of the most moving moments of her speech came when she spoke about her own grandmother leaving behind everything she knew 110 years ago and immigrating to the United States, because “That’s where she wanted to live [as she paused for a moment, her voice choking up] and raise her family.  It was a dreamland of infinite opportunity, this New York.” She spoke about how excited she was to find her grandmother’s name on the ship’s manifest (which she showed in a slide) when she visited Ellis Island. It brought a tear to my eye as well, because that’s the story of my own family as well, as it is the story of so many other New Yorkers and Americans.

She ended by saying “We want every single New Yorker to understand if they enroll at SUNY and work hard, they too can achieve their dreams.  At SUNY, we enable equality of opportunity, as the most important work in the world, and I know that every single one of the 91,000 employees understands that, and we all take great pride in it.  As you make the effort this year to realize the ambitions I’ve outlined today, I know that you also understand that we are working to restore the essential promise of America, in the state which first welcomed so many of our ancestors from distant shores,” Chancellor said. “I am so delighted to be able to join forces with our students, our faculty, our staff, our campus leadership, Governor Cuomo, the legislature and the citizens of New York State to underscore that New York remains what it always has been—a beacon, an inspiration, and a place of shining hope for all.”

You can see the entire speech below.


After the speech, some last-minute discussions, and goodbyes, we loaded the car back up and headed up Interstate 87 at about 12:30. We stopped at an Indian buffet in Half Moon (just south of Saratoga) where the food was good, but a bit on the lukewarm side.  The rest of the ride up I-87 was fine, with sunny weather and a clean road.  That all changed when we got off the highway in Pottersville, with the clouds rolling in and a light snow beginning.  The roads had been plowed some time earlier but got worse as we went through Newcomb and got to Long Lake.  They were downright lousy from there through Tupper Lake to Sevey Corners, where we turned north on NY 56.  Two miles later, we were above the snow area and the sun came out in time for us to enjoy a nice sunset and clean roads the rest of the way to Canton. What a difference even a few miles can make in the Adirondacks.


Winning Weekend

This past weekend was a really good one for Roo sports fans.  SUNY Canton hosted six games: two each in men’s and women’s hockey and one each in men’s and women’s basketball.  Overall, we finished undefeated, with five wins and one tie.

On Friday at 4 PM, our women’s hockeyteam defeated Becker College 4-1, with goals being scored by Noelle Niemiec, Sarah Kosnaskie, Kelly Leathem, and Hannah Brady.  Jessica Pele had three assists, and goalie Brooke Susac made 24 saves on 25 shots for her 10thwin this season.

The second game against Becker was on Saturday at 2 PM and ended in a 3-3 tie.  Both teams scored once in the first period (ours by Ashley Gillies), but Becker took the lead in the second period, scoring twice.  SUNY Canton countered in the third period, with Noelle Niemiec scoring at 5:12.  With less than two minutes to go, a Becker player drew a penalty for slashing, giving Canton a power-play opportunity.  The Roos pulled Brooke Susac from the goal for an extra attacker, and Noelle Niemiec got her second goal with only 27 seconds to play.  The overtime period was scoreless, so the score ended in a tie.  This finished the regular season for the Roos, who qualified for the Colonial Hockey Conference playoffs, playing home against the University of New England on Saturday, February 23 at 1 PM.

On Friday at 7 PM, our men’s hockeyteam defeated Buffalo State 4-3.  Buffalo State started the scoring with a goal in the first period and added one more 21 seconds into the second period, but Canton responded at 7:46 with a goal by Kyler Matthews.  Four minutes later, the score was tied when Kyler passed to Joe Deveny, who picked up his 34thcareer goal.  Canto took the lead at 13:14 with a second Joe Deveny goal.  Buffalo State tied it up again in the third period, but Canton’s Sean David scored the winning goal soon after.  Michael Cerasuolo was the winning goalie.

The second game, Saturday at 5:30 did not start well for the Roos, with Buffalo State scoring in the first period and adding two more for a 3-0 lead at 14:05 in the second.  The Roos responded with a goal at 14:37 by Anthony Filoso, and another three minutes later by Kyler Routledge on a power play.  Halfway through the third period, the Roos tied it up on a second Routledge goal, and Filoso scored the game winner at 12:45. Austin Washkurak was the winning goalie. The Roos finished their season at 14-9-2, their best ever since joining the NCAA Division III.

On Saturday at 1:00, our men’s basketballteam defeated University of Maine—Presque Isle in the NAC quarterfinals. Canton took an early lead but UMPI caught up and took the lead 36-34 at the half.  The game was tied at 57-57 in the second half with eight minutes to play, but the Roos exploded for 28 more points, running away with an 85-63 win.  Scoring leaders included Robert Holliday Jr. with 24, Brandon Adkisson with 17, and Jordan Stewart with 15.  Andrew Fitch got his 6thdouble-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds.  The Roos advance to the NAC semifinals against Husson on Friday, February 22 at 7:30 PM away at Maine-Farmington.

On Saturday at 3:00, our women’s basketballteam defeated Thomas College (Maine) 78-47.  The Roos took an early lead, finishing the first quarter 20-7, and had a 21-9 lead in the second period, for a 41-16 lead at the half. Thomas played even in the third period at 15-15, but the Roos dominated 22-16 in the fourth for the solid win. Top scorers included Breanna Cullers with 20 points, Antanasia Chambers with 15, Tyberia Wallace with 11, and Autumn Watkins with 9.  The Roos advance to the NAC semifinals against Maine Maritime Academy on Friday, February 22 at 7:30 PM away at Husson College.

The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announced its 2018 Esports All-Academic Honorson February 4th, and SUNY Canton had 12 student-athletes on the all-academic team.  These included Yvan Vladimir Tchounga and Elisah Byrd on FIFA; Maelea Mercado, Zachary Lawrence, Tyler Henderickson, and Frederick Given on Hearthstone; Alec Knowles, Tyler Johnson, and Logan Coggins on League of Legends; Kal-El Key and My Dang on Overwatch; and Dylan Santiago on Fortnite.

Congratulations to all our outstanding athletes and their coaches!


Last Time’s Trivia Contest 

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Terri Clemmo, Kevin Elliott, Robin Gittings, and Sara Hartman.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Anti-school song by Pink Floyd, whose lyrics start with “We don’t need no education”. Another Brick in the Wall.
  2. Sam Cooke song also done by Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, and Paul SImon, that includes the line “Now, I don’t claim to be an “A” student/ but I’m trying to be. For maybe by being an “A” student, baby/I can win your love for me.” What a Wonderful World.
  3. School song by Timbuk3, where you have to put sunglasses on at the end. The lyrics start: “I study nuclear science, I love my classes/I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses.”  The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.
  4. Taylor Swift song that starts “You take a deep breath/and you walk through the doors/ It’s the morning of your very first day.” Fifteen.
  5. Beach Boys classic song that begins “When some loud braggart tries to put me down/and says his school is great/I tell him right away/Now what’s the matter buddy/Ain’t you heard of my school/It’s number one in the state.” Be True to Your School.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

To celebrate our great weekend athletically, this issue’s challenge has to do with sports.  The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Winner of this year’s Super Bowl.
  2. Which of the Williams sisters has won the most tennis grand slam titles, Venus or Serena?
  3. How many NBA championships did Michael Jordan win with the Chicago Bulls?
  4. Romanian Olympic gymnast who was the first to score a perfect 10.
  5. In 1964, Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali) gained his first heavyweight boxing title by defeating who?
Posted in Uncategorized

February 6, 2019


Volume 13, Issue 11–February 6, 2019



Travel, Snow, Travel, Snow, Travel, Snow

Everyone is now back from winter vacation and busily engaged in their jobs.  The holiday season was quiet for the Szafran family.  We stayed in Canton aside from a few shopping trips to nearby cities.  The weather was a bit warmer than normal around Christmas and New Year’s Day, with only a few sub-zero days once we got into January.  More recently, we’ve had several storms sweeping the country and having at least a small effect up here.

January is always a busy travel month, with a lot of alumni visits and other things on the schedule.  My travel saga began on January 7, with a trip to Florida and California.  I took the early morning flight out of Ogdensburg to Albany, which left at 7:30 AM.  The roads were clear and the weather was fine, so the flight took off and landed at 8:40 with no problems.

My connection was a 9:30 flight on Frontier Airlines, which I had never flown before, taking me non-stop to Orlando. Their gate is in the tiny C wing of the Albany airport that I had never used before.  I knew that Frontier is a discount airline, but they carry it to an extent that I haven’t encountered before.  The night before, I got an email letting me know that I could check in, so I did and the first thing I had to do was select a seat.  Every seat carried an additional charge of at least $19.  I’m not sure what would have happened if I didn’t select a seat—perhaps I would have had to stand up the whole flight, or perhaps I would have gotten whatever seat was left over without having to pay for it.  Anyway, I paid whatever it was for the seat I chose, and the app then asked me if I was going to check or carry on any baggage, letting me know that there would be the same charge either way, which I think was $40.  Apparently, the only baggage you can take on the plane for free is something that can fit under your seat.  This $62 in additional fees exceeded the price of my original one-way ticket, which was $9.30 for the fare (no, that’s not a misprint) plus $38.90 tax and fees.  Overall, the ticket was still quite affordable, but this is a weird way to charge for things.

The plane itself was brand new and had the thinnest seats I’ve seen, though they were reasonably comfortable.  I assume that’s so they can cram in another row or two. They don’t call it an Airbus for nothing!  When they came around with the food cart, there was nothing that was free—not even water or a soft drink.  The flight itself was great—takeoff was very smooth, there was little turbulence on the way, and the landing was as smooth as I have ever seen.

Peggy Levato from our Advancement Office had arrived in Florida about an hour earlier out of Syracuse, had picked up a rental car, and was ready to pick me up as soon as I exited the terminal.  Our first stop was at Airport Marriott, where we checked into our rooms and were supposed to meet an alumnus for dinner.  Unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last minute, but that was actually good for me since I had managed to pick up a stomach virus a few days earlier and I really wasn’t in the mood to eat very much.  Peggy played “mother hen” for the next few days to make sure I didn’t eat anything I shouldn’t, so that the bug would finally go away (which it did—thanks Peggy!).

The next morning, we drove down to Ocala to have lunch with Carl and Betty Wenner, who I was meeting for the first time.  We had a nice lunch at a seafood bar and grill where I talked to them about the College and the various initiatives we are working on.  After lunch, it was back to the car to drive down to The Villages (a city of about 100,000 that spreads over many miles), where we stayed at the TownePlace Suites, a nice hotel we’ve used in previous years.

Dinner was with John and Rosella Valentine, who I always love seeing.   John and I share very similar tastes in classical music (though we differ on the relative virtues of vinyl vs. super-audio cd’s), and Rosella is one of our nicest and most active alumni.  John, I have some news that will shock you–I’ve just bought the first vinyl record I’ve bought in 20 years!

The next day we had a lunch gathering with 22 alumni and friends at Ricciardi’s Italian Table, located in a different part of The Villages.  Attendees included Lou and Evelyn Harmin, John and Lorraine Henderson, John and Rosella Valentine, Chandler and Josie Smith, Joe and Connie Parisian, Fred and Jan Snizek, Ron Premo, Eugene Christopher, and Bud and Edith PearsonWe had gotten together there last year as well, so it as nice to see so many of them again and catch up on what was new.

That evening was free of meetings, so I was able to get together with a close colleague from my first college, Mohan Singh. Mohan and I co-wrote five books and dozens of papers together with a third colleague, Ronald Pike, and the three of us were co-directors of the National Microscale Chemistry Center for many years.  Mohan now lives at The Villages during the colder months, so I try to get together with him every time I go to Florida in the winter.

The next morning, we drove down to New Smyrna Beach.  It was only in the 40’s there with a stiff wind, so no one was out on the beach at all, but it sure looked pretty.

We joined alumna Carol Roche for a brunch meeting at a very cool South American omelet place.  Carol is a loyal alum who’s always fun to see and talk to.

That afternoon, we had a large gathering at Norwood’s Eatery & Treehouse Bar, with some 30 alumni and friends of the College.  People there included Lewis and Janice Baduria (both Class of ’61), Mr. and Mrs. Harley Burger (both Sr. and Jr.!), Bert and Peggy Cordwell, Gloria and Dale Gardner, John and Anne Goetze, John and Chris Gray (Chris is on the Foundation Board), Dr. Joseph and Dine Kennedy (Joseph was the 3rd President of SUNY Canton), Wayne and Sue Lincoln, Richard and Marisia McCormick (the parents of Mike McCormick, our campus’ Director of Facilities), Sigrid Reichert, Jill Ruitberg, Pam Scalise Roth and Neil Roth, Ken and Sue Wurster, Gordon and Conny Myers, Gil White, Bill and Joanne LaPierre, and Bill CollinsThe event was a huge success with more people coming than were originally scheduled, and everyone had a wonderful time.  For those of you who are jealous of me getting to enjoy the warm Florida weather, we actually had to move the gathering indoors because it was rather chilly out.

At the end of the gathering, I was “handed off” to Geoffrey VanderWoude for leg two of the trip.  I moved my suitcase into his rental car, as we headed back to Orlando.  We flew out the next morning (January 11) at 10 AM (Eastern Time) to Los Angeles on Delta, arriving at 12:34 (Pacific Time)—a 5 ½ hour flight.  We got the rental car and checked into the hotel in Sherman Oaks.  You can see the typical L.A. scene from my hotel window below.

We were picked up by Rick Patri (Class of ’91) a few hours later to go to dinner at a very cool (and popular) French restaurant.  We talked to Rick about the current status of our entrepreneurship accelerator and some roles he might play within that effort.

The next day, we drove into Hollywood to see Amoeba Music, the largest record/cd store in the world—it occupies an entire downtown city block!  You’d think this place would be Heaven on Earth for me given my music collection mania and the place was great (I picked up a few things for my collection), but it was so big it was actually unnerving, making it almost impossible to decide what to look for.  I would have needed a few weeks to see it all.

For lunch, we looked for a nearby Indian restaurant and Siri directed us to a place that turned out to be a small, almost hole-in-the-wall, Indian-Mexican fusion restaurant—a combination I’ve never seen before.  As is often the case with places like this, the food was quite good.

We then drove west to Camarillo, which should normally take about an hour.  The roads were a bit congested (it is Los Angeles, after all) and during the first part of the trip, we moved steadily along.  We passed a small city named Calabasas along the way which made me laugh, since on the old Jack Benny radio show, a regular bit involved Benny running into a hick farmer from Calabasas, who always insisted on calling Benny “rube”. Calabasas is now grown into a small city in a very built up area, but there were lots of farm-type stands and greenhouses, even on its main streets.  Just past Calabasas, we hit a massive traffic jam that stretched for miles, forcing us to get off the highway and take back roads.  Just getting onto the side road took another hour!  We finally got to Camarillo and had dinner that night with Robert Mucica (Class of 1956), who is retired now but was the Director of Power Systems for Boeing, and possibly the first student from SUNY Canton who was directly recruited to work on the west coast.  Robert is quite a gardener and orchardman, and gave us each a small bag of his produce.

The next day, we reversed direction, driving to Rancho Palos Verdes, which is a bit south of Los Angeles Airport.  It was a nice ride and since we were getting there a bit early, stopped at Hermosa Beach to look around.  It wasn’t a particularly warm day so there weren’t many people in the water or playing volleyball, but there were a lot of people on the pier watching the waves come in and we did that too.  The waves were pretty strong and you could feel the pier shake when they hit.  A particularly big one sent up a lot of spray which almost got us.


We then drove to Ed Ralbovsky’s house in Rancho Palos Verdes.  The city is set on the side of a hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and on clear days, you can see almost 100 miles from there.  Ed taught at SUNY Canton in the Automotive Program and has a nice house that has some excellent views of the ocean.  We had a wonderful dinner with him and his wife, daughter, brother and brother’s wife, starting with some great wine and good beer, leading to barbequed steaks and various side dishes.  It was a very nice evening.

I was originally scheduled to leave for Albany the next day for the Chancellor’s State of the SUNY System address, but we had gotten an email on Friday saying that the date was rescheduled to January 31 because the Governor had changed the date for his annual budget speech, thereby bumping the Chancellor.  We quickly changed plans, cancelling the Albany trip and rebooking to fly to San Francisco, where we met with Rick Dzwonczyk and his family for a very nice dinner at an excellent Chinese restaurant. It was a rainy day, and the flight was delayed for about an hour while we waited for a rainstorm to pass through San Francisco.

We left San Francisco for home on Tuesday morning, with my passport having been overnighted to San Francisco (thanks Anne!) since we were flying into Montreal with a change of planes in Detroit.  The flights both got off on time, we retrieved Geoffrey’s car from the parking lot, and we drove back into the US with a brief stop in Cornwall, Ontario for dinner at a shwarma restaurant we both like. Geoffrey drove me to Ogdensburg so I could get my car, and my first odyssey ended on the 15that about 10 PM that night.

I was on campus from Wednesday to Friday for the meetings that had piled up in the nine days I was away.  On the Sunday, the 20th, it was time to travel again, back to Florida for more alumni meetings and for the national NCAA Convention.  Our flight was scheduled to leave Ottawa at 3:30 PM, but as most people are aware a snowstorm had come through the North Country along with some very cold weather.  We only got about six inches of snow with some ice underneath, but it was much worse further south, bad enough so that the Governor closed all interstate highways to bus and truck traffic.  At the College, we opened our residence halls the previous Thursday to returning students, so that they wouldn’t have to travel through the storm. We weren’t sure we’d be able to leave on Sunday, but it looked like the storm would end at noon on the weather map, so we decided to chance it and left at 11 AM to drive to Ottawa.  It was definitely cold and windy with a fair amount of snow blowing at us, but things calmed down a bit by the time we hit Ogdensburg.  Crossing the international bridge was no problem, but the 416 Highway (a Canadian Interstate) wasn’t all that well plowed so we had to go somewhat more slowly to stay in the tracks from preceding cars.  We got to the airport at about 1:30, got some lunch, and our flight took off at 4:30 having been delayed a bit for weather.

The flight down to Fort Lauderdale was extremely bumpy, since we were flying down the backside of the storm.  After landing at about 8:30, we got the car and drove over to our hotel in Coconut Grove.  After checking in to the hotel, we were both hungry and found a local pizza place that was still open for a late-night meal.

On Monday, we met with Ron Blanchard (Class of ’68)a strong friend of the College.  He showed us around the arts section of Miami and we then went to his house. Ron has an extensive record collection and one of the best and most nicely laid out stereo systems I’ve ever seen. We were doing some listening comparisons of the relative merits of super audio and vinyl—he likes both, though I think he leans toward vinyl—and he showed us some of the highlights of his music collection.  After seeing his system, I know I have some work to do to on my own stereo layout.  I invited him to check out my collection the next time he is in the Canton area.  That evening, we went out to a nice Indian restaurant in the area.

On Tuesday evening, we got together with Glen and Sue Goodelle (both Class of ’68) at a restaurant called Jetty’s (in Jupiter, Florida) to bring them up to date on things at the College, and they told me about some of their experiences at the College back in the ‘60s.  They’re a very nice couple and it was great to see them again. On Wednesday, we drove up to Boynton Beach to meet with Jim (Class of ’60) and Grace Parks.  We did some reminiscing about Jim’s time at the College, and what he’s been involved in since.  They are strong supporters of our College.

We then drove from Boynton Beach to Orlando, where on Thursday, I attended the Presidents’ Sessions of the national NCAA Convention, which was held at the Caribe Royale hotel, which has really beautiful grounds.

One of the other sessions I attended was on the topic of e-Sports, and there were some 500 people attending that! At this point, if the information presented was correct, there are some 80 colleges that have varsity e-Sports teams and lots more that have club teams.  There was an NCAA Association-wide Business Session that evening on a somewhat controversial topic—adding five outside commissioners—which ultimately passed.

Friday morning began with the Division III Issues Forum, from which I had to check out and go to the airport to catch my flight home. I was a bit concerned on two counts—first, it was supposed to be super-frigid in Chicago (they were talking about wind chills of as low as -50 F) where I was connecting to go to Ottawa, and I was afraid the flight might be cancelled.  Secondly, the government shut-down was still in effect and larger numbers of air-traffic controllers and TSA agents were calling in sick, so I was concerned that lines would be very long.  As it turned out, this wound up stopping all flights at LaGuardia Airport for a period that day.  It turned out that it was good that I gave myself some extra time at the airport, because as I checked in, the machine asked if I wanted to book myself onto an earlier flight going through Washington DC for an extra $75.  I quickly accepted.

The flight from Orlando to DC went off without a hitch.  When I landed in DC, the plane came into Terminal D but my connecting flight was in Terminal A.  To get there, I had to walk to the opposite end of the terminal and get on the people mover thing, which went every five minutes or so.  It slowly took us to Terminal A at gate A5, which was a good thing since my flight was leaving from gate A1.  As I approached the gate, I heard an announcement saying “If Zvi Szafran is in the terminal, come to gate A1 immediately.”  I ran over there and the gate agent said “show me your passport”, which I handed to her.  She promptly led me out the door and to the plane, which was waiting for me as I was the very last passenger and occupying the very last seat!   It took off a few minutes later and I got to Ottawa right on time, as did my suitcase!  The ride home was uneventful—cold, but the roads were well plowed, getting me home at 9:00 PM.


And Even More Travel

There was yet one more trip in January, to Albany for the Chancellor’s State of the University System speech, but I don’t have time to write it for this issue.  Stay tuned for the next BLAB.



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Rebecca Blackmon, Janel Smith, Kelly DeHaut, Megan Royce, and Elizabeth Madlin.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Others getting all correct included Kimberley Wise and Terry Clemmo.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. The Crystals sang a great version of this classic, which starts with the lines: “You better watch out.  You better not cry.” Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
  2. Nobody ever sang this song better than Ella Fitzgerald, which includes the lines: “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?  In the lane, snow is glistening.” Walking in a Winter Wonderland.
  3. Song from the movie “Meet Me In St. Louis”, where Judy Garland sang: “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.  Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
  4. Mariah Carey sang this modern Christmas classic, which includes the lines “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need.  I don’t care about the presents, underneath the Christmas tree.” All I Want for Christmas is You.
  5. Elvis sang this sad Christmas lament, which included the verse: “Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree, won’t be the same dear, if you’re not with me.” Blue Christmas.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

In keeping with the beginning of the semester, this issue’s challenge has to do with songs about going to school.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Anti-school song by Pink Floyd, whose lyrics start with “We don’t need no education”.
  2. Sam Cooke song also done by Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, and Paul SImon, that includes the line “Now, I don’t claim to be an “A” student/ but I’m trying to be. For maybe by being an “A” student, baby/I can win your love for me.”
  3. School song by Timbuk3, where you have to put sunglasses on at the end. The lyrics start: “I study nuclear science, I love my classes/I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses.”
  4. Taylor Swift song that starts “You take a deep breath/and you walk through the doors/ It’s the morning of your very first day.”
  5. Beach Boys classic song that begins “When some loud braggart tries to put me down/and says his school is great/I tell him right away/Now what’s the matter buddy/Ain’t you heard of my school/It’s number one in the state.”
Posted in Uncategorized

December 19, 2018


Volume 13, Issue 10–December 19, 2018



Why It’s Late

This issue of THE WEEKLY BLAB was supposed to come out on December 11.  Why the delay?  It’s a long story, but I’ll give you the condensed version.

Last Sunday, after eating breakfast, I felt a little queasy.  Jill, Mark, and I drove down to Watertown, where I dropped them off for some shopping. I then headed over to Fort Drum, where I had been invited to a holiday reception.  The reception was very nice, with their Christmas tree being decorated to illustrate various aspect of pollination.  I ate a few hors d’oeuvres, sang the 10thMountain Division’s favorite Christmas Carol (you should be able to guess which one—ok, it’s The Little Drummer Boy), and left to pick up Jill and Mark.  Mark wanted to get a grilled cheese sandwich, so we stopped at Sonic and I got a hamburger.  So far so good.

Halfway on the drive home, I suddenly got a sharp pain in the center of my back.  By the time I got home it really hurt and I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit down in.  Jill made some pasta for dinner, but I could hardly get any down—it felt like I had a ball in my stomach.  Over the next 12 hours, I vomited several times getting rid of the food and the pain in my back went away.  I decided to take Monday off as a sick day, since I still wasn’t feeling quite right, but I thought things would get better through the day.  They didn’t, but they didn’t exactly get worse either.  At about 7 in the morning on Tuesday, I still didn’t feel right, so I decided to text my doctor’s wife (with whom I sit on the Synagogue Board) and ask if he could see me that morning.  He called me a few minutes later and when I told him my symptoms, said I needed to go to the Emergency Room.

They took me right in to be examined, drawing blood and then a cat scan.  The doctor then came to speak to me, letting me know that my gallbladder needed to be removed—it was 2/3 dead and getting gangrenous.  He said that they’d try to schedule me for surgery that afternoon if I agreed, saying that he thought they would be able to do it laparoscopically if we moved quickly.  Needless to say, I agreed, called Jill to update her, and by 2 PM I was prepped and wheeled into surgery.

The surgery went well and I awoke in a recovery room, feeling a bit dizzy as the anesthetic wore off.  They wheeled me into a hospital room and I spent the next two days recovering, going home on Friday at noon.  I’ve spent the next few days resting up and getting my strength back. At this point, I’m in no pain (though the incision by my belly-button tickles a bit) and am able to function normally.

The moral of the story?  If you don’t feel right, don’t put things off.  Contact your doctor immediately.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday Reception on December 7th.  As always, our food service did a great job in decorating the rooms and the food was fabulous.


The band was fabulous too, led by our own Dan Gagliardi (Math).

Our public relations team did their usual great job with the Holiday Cards this year, and we sent them out just in time for Christmas Card Day (December 9, in honor of Sir Henry Cole of England who created the first Christmas card way back in 1843).

 As a little thank-you gift for faculty and staff on campus, we also included a sheet of refrigerator magnets, designed by our Publications Coordinator Matt Mulkin, starring the world’s greatest kangaroo, SUNY Canton’s mascot Roody!  There are two different sets, so everyone can have fun trading magnets with their colleagues if they got the other one.


Our annual Giving Tree drive to provide clothing and toys for local children was very successful, thanks to the generosity of the SUNY Canton community and the hard work by Amber Baines and Sidei Clouden.


I’m pretty sure l won’t get another issue of the BLAB out before the break, so in case I don’t, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah (which just ended), Joyous Kwanzaa, Delightful Winter Solstice,and Happy New Year. 

Speaking of Chanukah, on December 1 the local synagogue in Potsdam had their annual Food Festival and I was promoted from bread bagger to cashier this year.  As the name implies, the Food Festival is a chance to get some good Jewish home cooking, with SUNY Canton’s own Laini Kavaloski (Prof. of English) being one of the organizers this year and Dan Gagliardi (Prof. of Mathematics) making the falafel (deep fried chick peas shaped into balls the size of small meatballs, added to vegetables and placed in a pita) each year.  Since I’m always a fan of falafel, Dan decided I needed a “presidential size” falafel ball this year, and after eating it, I was definitely fela-full!


If those holidays aren’t enough to fill your schedule, other more minor December celebrations to make the season more festive include Poinsettia Day (the 12th), Ice Cream Day (the 13th), Bill of Rights Day (the 15th), National Maple Syrup Day (the 17th), Oatmeal Muffin Day (the 19th), Go Caroling Day (the 20th), Crossword Puzzle Day (the 21st), Boxing Day (the 26th), and if you’ve eaten too much, National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (the 30th). For the Scrooges among us, we also have Humbug Day (the 21st) and Festivus (the 23rd), where all grievances can be aired and shared!


New Partnership—Buffalo School of Law!

A newpartnership with the University at Buffalo’s School of Law will allow SUNY Canton students to earn botha bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years, instead of the usual seven, saving a full year of costs. The program requires three years of undergraduate study in Legal Studies or in Applied Psychology at SUNY Canton and an additional three years at UB School of Law. To qualify, students must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA, complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) with a score at or above the median for the School of Law’s previous year’s enrolled class, and apply to the UB School of Law during their junior year.  Upon successful completion of the first-year law school curriculum, the students’ credits will be back-transferred to SUNY Canton to fulfill the College’s bachelor’s degree requirements.

J.D. Delong (Prof. Legal Studies) noted: “With a significant number of our Legal Studies students already enrolling in law schools, the accelerated program allows them to become attorneys sooner and at a substantially reduced cost.”  Barat Wolfe (Prof. Applied Psychology) added: “The combination of these two degrees (Applied Psychology and Law) is an outstanding fit for anyone interested in the law as it pertains to mental health, witness and jury behavior, juveniles and family, and understanding the larger social systems and resources that help people in need.”

Students may begin the accelerated program as early as Fall 2019.


World of Athletics

Basketball—So Close!

On December 4th, I hosted President Kristin Esterberg from SUNY Potsdam for the Canton vs. Potsdam basketball. When she arrived, I presented her with a SUNY Canton baseball cap, and not to be outdone, she gave me a SUNY Potsdam ski hat!  President Esterberg wore her new cap throughout the game (complementing it with a SUNY Potsdam shirt), and what a great game it was!

The match began with SUNY Canton taking an early lead, reaching 12 points with a 26-14 lead halfway through the first period. At one point, the lead reached 14, but SUNY Potsdam fought back with a 21-5 run to take the lead 37-35.  SUNY Canton recaptured the lead, and the half ended 40-37 Canton.  The lead changed back and forth several times, with SUNY Canton still in the lead 65-64 with seven minutes remaining.  Potsdam took eight straight points, gaining a lead of 72-65, but the Roos tied it up again 74-74 with less than a minute to play.

After Potsdam’s Serigne Kane hit a jumper with 26 seconds left giving Potsdam the lead, the Roos set up to run down the clock and go for a three-pointer but turned the ball over with 2 seconds left. After a quick foul, Kane split two free throws, and Canton’s half-court shot with 0.5 seconds left didn’t got tangled in the ropes above the court, and Potsdam won 77-74.

While all true Roos would have preferred that we won, it was an excellent game, with the lead changing no less than nine times. Roos player Robert Holiday Jr. scored a game high 23 points, and Jordan Stewart added 17 more.  Potsdam had been on a tear lately, handily defeating both Clarkson and St. Lawrence, with this being their toughest challenge of the year.

In NAC conference play, SUNY Canton is 2-0, having defeated Thomas College 76-68 and 77-71 on November 30 and December 1, respectively. The next conference games are at home, on January 4-5, vs. Maine Maritime Academy.  The Roos played Paul Smith’s College on December 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, winning that game 76-61.


Hockey—National Team of the Week!


In women’s ice hockey, Roos senior captain Noelle Niemiec earned a slot on the National Team of the Week. On November 30 and December 1, Noelle scored in each game during a pair of 7-1 and 6-2 road wins against Wilkes University, bringing their CHC Conference season record to 4-2, after splitting with Salve Regina and Nichols.  Noelle also only allowed one goal in in a 1-1 overtime tie against Potsdam on November 27. This brought on-ice rating to an excellent +7.  This is the third time that Niemiec has earned D3 National Team of the Week honors, the previous two being on January 9, 2018 and February 8, 2017.

The next CHC conference games are away at the University of New England, though a non-conference pair against New England College on January 11 and 12.


eSports—Conference Champions!

The Roos won the ECAC championship in both FIFA Soccer and in Overwatch on November 29.  This is even more remarkable when you consider that this is the first year in which our teams have competed!  Our FIFA Soccer team includes four players from our “traditional” men’s soccer team, and won four out of five matches against Texas Wesleyan University.  The matches are played one-on-one in a soccer simulation where each player picks a professional team to play.  The five scores were 2-6, 2-1, 4-1, 3-1, and 1-0, giving us the title. The team was undefeated during the regular season.


Also undefeated throughout the season was SUNY Canton’s Overwatch team.  The championship was broadcast on our Twitch Channel and can be seen here. Overwatch is played in a six-member team to try to capture points the other team is defending in an action-based scenario, with the total points at the end of the match determining the game winner.  The match is a best of five games, each using a different map.  The first game was initially tied, but closed with a Canton win, and the Roos swept the second game, which included a “Play of the Game” honor for Shane Girard.  Opponents Marist College rallied to take the third map, but SUNY Canton took the fourth, securing the necessary total to win the conference championship.

Our eSports season isn’t finished yet—our Hearthstone and Fortnite teams are currently waiting to be seeded in their post-season play!  Congratulations to all our players, coaches, and advisors!  You’ve had an unbelievable season!


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday movies, and our fastest winners being Kelly DeHaut, Elizabeth Madlin, Rebecca Blackmon, Terri Clemmo, and Nan Gabrielli (down in Georgia).  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Cartoon about a snowman that comes to life.  Frosty the Snowman.
  2. A new movie about this character that wanted to end Christmas in Whoville is now playing at theaters.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  3. Movie from 1947 starring Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood about an elderly gentleman named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus and proves it in court.  Miracle on 34th Street.
  4. Movie from 1942 starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale that introduced the song “White Christmas”.  Holiday Inn.
  5. The ultimate holiday classic from 1946, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, about a man who sees what his town would be like if he had never been born.  It’s a Wonderful Life.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing with the holiday theme, this issue’s challenge has to do with holiday songs.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them

  1. The Crystals sang a great version of this classic, which starts with the lines: “You better watch out.  You better not cry.”
  2. Nobody ever sang this song better than Ella Fitzgerald, which includes the lines: “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?  In the lane, snow is glistening.”
  3. Song from the movie “Meet Me In St. Louis”, where Judy Garland sang: “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.  Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
  4. Mariah Carey sang this modern Christmas classic, which includes the lines “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need.  I don’t care about the presents, underneath the Christmas tree.”
  5. Elvis sang this sad Christmas lament, which included the verse: “Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree, won’t be the same dear, if you’re not with me.”


Posted in Uncategorized

December 4, 2018


Volume 13, Issue 09–December 4, 2018



In Between the Holidays

I had hoped to get another issue of the BLAB out before Thanksgiving, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  It’s now December, and I’ll try to get at least one more out before the end of the term.

Catching up on the home front, out generator at the house is now fully installed and functioning.  Interestingly enough, the day after the installation was complete, we had a power outage in our part of Canton that lasted about a minute or two. I woke up because my c-pap stopped providing me with air and asked Jill what happened.  She looked at the clock, saw it was flashing, and said the power must have gone out.  Just as she did, the generator kicked in and the power came on.  About a minute later, it shut off as the power was restored. So, all in all, it wasn’t much of an outage, but we know everything is working as it should be.

My father’s trip back to Las Vegas had a small complication.  I drove him to the airport on November 12 as planned, but his first flight, to Chicago got there late.  He only had a 45-minute connection time, so he didn’t make the Chicago-Las Vegas leg. He did, however, get the airline to put him up at the airport Hilton and book him on the first flight in the morning, so all ended well.  He’s now re-engaging with his friends there, as well as trying to get his electric hybrid vehicle working again, and getting into the swing of all the holiday parties.

Weather-wise, we seem to have gotten into a pattern of having a moderate snowfall (3-6 inches), having it melt off or be washed away (due to weather in the low 40’s), having everything clear for a day, and then getting more snow.  Today is the third time for the cycle and it’s currently snowing very lightly, with some mixed rain and snow turning to snow tonight.  It’s not supposed to add up to much and we’re significantly better off than California has been with their fires and then heavy rain, the South with their heavy rains, or the New England coast with their small Nor’Easters. Hopefully things will quiet down across the country for a while after this.


Funeral for a Friend

I was originally planning to take Tuesday through Friday off for Thanksgiving, but we got a very unpleasant surprise when we found out that a member of our College Council and Foundation Board, Chloe Ann O’Neil, had been killed on November 15 in an automobile accident.  She was driving to visit a family member when someone failed to yield at an intersection and hit her car, causing it to roll over and killing her.  This was even more of a shock because I had just seen Chloe Ann at a College Council meeting two days earlier.


Calling hours were at the Garner Funeral Home in Potsdam on November 19 and the funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam on November 20.  It was a beautiful service, filled with loving memories of Chloe Ann, who had been a civic leader in the North Country for many years.

Chloe Ann was actually born in Watseka, Illinois and her family moved to Syracuse in 1952, where her father worked for General Electric.  She earned her B.S. and M.S. at SUNY Potsdam and taught at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School for many years, where she was much loved by all her students.

Chloe Ann married John G. A. O’Neil, a college professor, in 1966.  They had two children, Beth Ann and John.  Her husband ran for the New York Assembly and won, serving from 1981 to 1992. Chloe Ann was an aide to her husband and then was nominated by the Republican party to run in the special election that was held when John was killed in a car accident in 1992.  She was elected and served in the Assembly from 1993 to 1998.  More recently, she was an active community member and civic leader across the North Country, including volunteering at Canton Potsdam Hospital and serving on SUNY Canton’s College Council and Foundation Board.

Parishville Town Supervisor Rodney Votra, said that Chloe Ann had served as a role model throughout his life, as well as having been his 6thgrade teacher.  “It is a huge loss for the community.  She was a mentor for me, in my current position as supervisor she always stayed in contact.  I was very comfortable calling her when I had questions and needed advice or guidance, and she was always there.  And if I wasn’t calling her, she was calling me saying, ‘Hey kid, what’s going on now?’ She’s going to be missed.”

Rest in peace, Chloe Ann.  You did so much for our community and will be missed by all who knew you. 



I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break and had their fill of turkey and all the fixings.

Jill decided that she didn’t want me to make a turkey this year, since we always have so much left over and I get tired of it after a few days.  Instead, she suggested that we go over to Brockville Ontario and have some good Indian cuisine there at a restaurant we all like.  It didn’t take much to convince me!  The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in the year (the second Monday in October), so it was just a normal workday and the restaurant was open and all was well.  The traffic was quite light, since there wasn’t much cross-border traffic due to the holiday on the American side, and it only took about 50 minutes to get there, including crossing the border.  The food was excellent as always.

After eating, we did a little shopping since there were a number of sales that had started up for the pre-Christmas season.  I even found a new comic book store that had opened on the main street, though they didn’t have anything I really wanted. That’s the curse of having a collection as big as mine—it’s very rare that I find something I want at a price I’m willing to pay and so many of the “rare” comics on the display board are ones that I bought at the time they originally came out for cover price.  Comics associated with upcoming movies usually skyrocket in price (for example, copies of Ms. Marvel #1 are now jumping in price to $100 or more, due to speculators anticipating a price rise with the upcoming Captain Marvel movie [in the Marvel comic universe, Ms. Marvel has become Captain Marvel]).  I paid 50c for a mint copy back in the ‘90’s and there were many more of them sitting in the box, since the comic wasn’t particularly popular at the time). Mark found a few books and a DVD he wanted, and it was back to the USA in time to watch some holiday movies.


Presidents Meeting

I attended a Presidents Meeting last week, which was held in Syracuse.  I left campus on the afternoon of the 26th, and the ride down was a bit annoying because it was raining pretty hard and it was foggy as well.  As it got dark, the visibility got even worse so the trip took a little longer than normal.

The meeting was held at the Marriott, which is located in the former Hotel Syracuse in the middle of downtown.  The Hotel Syracuse originally opened in 1924 and was quite the place back then, featuring 600 guest rooms, retail stores at the street level, and tennis courts on the roof.  It even included an emergency hospital!  Lots of major events in Syracuse were held in its Grand Ballroom and on the Persian Terrace. Visitors at the hotel included Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, Elvis, Bob Hope, and John Lennon.  The hotel joined the Hilton chain of hotels in 1980, left in the 1990s, and closed in 2004 after fighting off bankruptcy for several years and being sold to several new owners.  Various plans to turn it into condominiums and apartments were implemented and almost completed in one of its three towers (Symphony Tower), which according to Wikipedia is still unoccupied due to litigation.  The remainder of the hotel was restored in a massive $75M project, much of which was to modernize and rebuild the guest rooms to a larger modern standard. The hotel reopened in 2016 with 261 rooms as part of the Marriott chain.


I checked into my room, which was quite large (two queen size beds, a desk in the middle of the room, and a couch and chair at the other side) and well appointed.  The meeting began at 6:00 with a small reception, which gave me a chance to catch up with some of the other SUNY presidents.

The main part of the meeting was the next day, where the Chancellor went over her main objectives for the future, which parallel nicely with what we’re doing here at SUNY Canton: Individualized education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and forming Partnerships.  She is also focused on building a SUNY endowment, expanding online offerings, exploring artificial intelligence and quantum computation, and moving toward 100% clean electricity within the system.  Another initiative, called PRODI-G, is to recruit 1000 diverse faculty over the next 10 years, with SUNY paying 100% of the 1styear salary and 50% of the 2ndyear.  A sustainability loan fund is also being established to fund projects that can be completed within two years, with the payback to happen over 10 years. Later in the meeting, we separated into sectors to discuss and give feedback on issues related to budget and advocacy.

Originally, I was supposed to stay over in Syracuse a second night for an alumni event.  The event was cancelled due to a winter storm coming in from the west. The weather was supposed to turn ugly in the late afternoon, so I left the meeting a little early and got on the road at 2:30.  It had begun snowing in Syracuse, but as soon as I got a little way outside the city heading north on I-81, the snow got lighter and changed to rain as it fell. As I approached Watertown, the weather improved further and I didn’t even need my windshield wipers unless a truck passed by and splashed water from the road.  Route 11 was fine too, with only some intermittent rain, and I got to Canton a little before five, just as it was getting dark.  The snow held off until 8 PM up here, though it got to Syracuse earlier and I hope that my colleagues heading west didn’t have too hard a time of it.  Ultimately, we got about 5-6 inches of snow in Canton that night, which melted and washed away over the next two days.


Holiday Celebrations Begin—Children’s Holiday Party

The December holiday season has begun at SUNY Canton and there are lots of events as usual.  The first, on December 1, was the Children’s Holiday Party for children and grandchildren of faculty and staff.  Our Early Childhood Education programs organize and offer this party each year, and this year’s theme was “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” with lots of crafts and games associated with the various lines from the well-known poem.


The Rendezvous in the Miller Student Center was beautifully decorated and laid out for the party.  Jill, Mark, and I arrived at 12:30, a little before the party began at 1, with some bags of toys, stuffed animals, and DVDs to give to the children.  We put on our reindeer antlers and went over to the welcome table, and promptly at 1, children and their families began to arrive.

Overall, almost 100 children came, enjoyed the crafts and games, enjoyed cookies, ice cream and juice, filled goodie bags, and at about 2:30, lined up for a visit with Santa Claus.

The party ended at about 3:30, with lots of parents stopping to tell me how much they enjoyed it.  A big thanks to faculty members Maureen Maiocco, Christina Martin, Christina Leshko, and Kelly DeHaut, and all our student volunteers for putting on such a fine event!


There are several more events this week, including the judging of the Holiday Door Decorations, the Student Holiday Dinner, the R.A. Banquet, and on Friday, the President’s Holiday Reception.  I hope everyone will be able to come to one or more of these.


It’s Also FAFSA Time

Something that would be very helpful is for faculty and staff to remind our students that the upcoming holiday break is also the perfect time for them to sit down with their parents, significant others, caretakers, etc. to work through the 2019-2020 FAFSA application process.

The College’s preferred deadline is January 1 to ensure applications are considered on-time for potential eligibility for some sources of aid (like SEOG, Work Study, and some institutional scholarships).  Meeting the deadline doesn’t mean the student is guaranteed additional aid, however, it does place them in the best possible position for eligibility.

The One Hop Shop can assist them with the FAFSA.  Simply call the One Hop Shop at 315-386-7616 or email them at if assistance is needed.  It is important to make they have their FSA ID all set and ready to go (parents must have their FSA ID also if the student is a dependent student).  Remember that the 2019-2020 FAFSA uses their 2017 Tax information.

They can also complete their 2019-2020 FAFSA at online.  The FAFSA can even be completed on their mobile device.  The MyStudentAid app can be downloaded from Google Play or from the Apple App store.



Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s challenge had to do with abbreviations, and our fastest winners being Kelly DeHaut, Janel Smith, Megan Warren, and Robin Gittings.  Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. DIY—Do it Yourself.
  2. VIP—Very Important Person
  3. BOGO—Buy One, Get One (Free).
  4. IRS—Internal Revenue Service (or Inland Revenue Service in England)
  5. PDQ—Pretty Darn Quick


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

In keeping with the holiday theme, this issue’s challenge has to do with holiday movies and television programs.

The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO president@canton.edusince if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Cartoon about a snowman that comes to life.
  2. A new movie about this character that wanted to end Christmas in Whoville is now playing at theaters.
  3. Movie from 1947 starring Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood about an elderly gentleman named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus and proves it in court.
  4. Movie from 1942 starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale that introduced the song “White Christmas”.
  5. The ultimate holiday classic from 1946, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, about a man who sees what his town would be like if he had never been born.


Posted in Uncategorized