THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 8, Issue 31 – May 7, 2014
Thanks to everyone who came last week to the brunch, with special big thanks to President Lisa Rossbacher for throwing the party for Sam Conn and for me. The party was wonderful, and will leave me with lasting memories, not least of which will be the first grits bar I’ve ever seen (and possibly the last!). I appreciate the gifts of the SPSU cap and the “I Love NY” cap—a perfect touch. I love the gift of the brick that will be in the Legacy Walk thanking me for my service. It means a lot.
Special thanks also to Rich Cole (Dean, Architecture and Construction Management) and to Alan Gabrielli (former Dean of Arts & Sciences and Director of the UTeach Program) for their “roasts” of my time at SPSU. You both made me laugh and brought a tear to my eye. Jill and Mark loved it too.
It was bittersweet to get all the “good luck” wishes, mixed with the “we’re sorry you’re leaving” comments. Yes, I’m looking forward to the opportunities up in New York (more about that below), but it’s very hard to leave such fine colleagues as I’ve had at SPSU, and to leave all the things we’ve built together behind. I’ll never forget my many friends and colleagues at SPSU, and I hope that many of you will stay in touch, both by continuing to follow the BLAB and by emailing me at my new address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re not quite rid of me yet—I’ll see everyone at graduation on Saturday, and will be around until the third week of June or so, when I make the permanent move up north.
Last Sunday, I left for a one week visit to SUNY-Canton, my soon to be new home. This issue of the BLAB is written while I’m there.
The flight to Syracuse, NY left at 9:00 AM, and for a change, was only about half-full. I had one of those extra-legroom coach seats and there was no one next to me, so things were pretty comfortable. I had also been TSA pre-checked, so getting on the flight was easy and pretty pleasant. The flight is about 2 hours, which isn’t too bad. Syracuse has a medium sized airport, so one can get through it in a hurry.
I picked up the rental car (a Dodge Viper—very nice, except that the previous user had been a smoker, so I could still smell it), and took off for the north in a light drizzle. Just north of Syracuse, I saw a sign for “The Castaways”, a restaurant that my family and I used to go to fairly frequently when I was a teenager. Since it was lunchtime, I had to give it a shot, even though I hadn’t been there in about 40 years. My memory of it was that it was pretty upscale, but things have changed and it is more of a family type place now. They used to be known for red snapper, but that wasn’t on the menu anymore, so I ordered pasta with prime rib and shrimp over it, and it was quite good. After finishing, it was back to the car and up Interstate 81 to Watertown (still drizzling), and then up US 11 the rest of the way. The ride was uneventful, except when we got to Gouveneur, a town halfway between Watertown and Canton, where the main road had been ripped up and was under repair—potholes filled with water everywhere! Carefully navigating through town so as not to lose an axle, the rest of the trip was smooth and I was in Canton a little before 3:00 PM. I have been staying in the College’s Alumni House, a really nice place that has nice views of the Grasse River as well as beautiful meeting spaces, nice rooms to stay in, and a great kitchen. At about 4:30, Acting President Joseph Hoffman picked me up and we went off to dinner at The Club, a Canton restaurant, for a nice meal.
Monday morning was taken up by house hunting with a local realtor. I saw a few nice houses and the prices are a little bit lower than one would find in Marietta, but when it comes to taxes, if you’re in the village of Canton, they’re triple what we have in East Cobb. Taxes on a $200,000 house are about $7,500-$8,500, and it’s all relative, since that’s low compared to Long Island or New York City. The taxes drop when you get out of the village limits, and I’m seeing a nice house tomorrow that is maybe 5 miles from the college, where the taxes are only $3,100.
The rest of the day was taken up with meetings with several vice presidents and Deans, including Shawn Miller (Acting VP for Administration and CFO), David Gerlach (VP for Advancement), and Courtney Bish (Dean of Students). Graduation is on Saturday, just like at SPSU, so the faculty and students are still around. It’s really amazing how similar SUNY-Canton and SPSU back when I started are—many similar programs, and facing many similar issues. The faculty and staff are great—devoted to the college, very student-focused, and strong believers in applied learning. Dinner was on campus with three staff colleagues (Randy Sieminski, Director of Athletics; Molly Mott, Dean of Academic Support Services; and Courtney Bish) in Canton’s version of the Executive Dining Room. It was quite excellent, and reminiscent of meals that I’ve had in SPSU’s eX.
On Tuesday, it was more meetings including with Ronald O’Neill (the Chair of the College Council), and a Deans Council meeting. At Canton, it has become customary for the president to come to the Deans Council meetings, a practice I intend to continue whenever possible. It’s a great group, and I enjoyed being part of the discussion, though I had to ask a lot of questions since (just like at SPSU), they use a lot of abbreviations and acronyms, and many are different than ours. Lunch was with faculty from the Canino School of Engineering Technology (which also contains Math and Physics). We talked about some future strategies, and had a very engaging discussion. From there, it was on to meet the press—the Watertown TV station, several radio stations, and a newspaper reporter. They asked some interesting questions about future directions for the college, and we had some laughs reminiscing about radio and TV in Syracuse when I was growing up.
Soon after, the college had a reception to welcome me in their new CARC athletic complex. It was great meeting so many new people—lots of faculty, staff, and students from the college, as well as alumni, college council members, the mayor of Canton, representatives from the state house delegation, and many others. The athletic faculty is magnificent—an indoor hockey arena, an indoor swimming pool, and lots more. It’s quite a bit larger than our rec center, and was constructed a few years ago at a cost of some $39M. Then it was off to Ogdensburg (a small city15 miles away) with President Hoffman for a nice dinner at the Little Italy restaurant, followed by a tour of Canton and its surroundings.
Wednesday (today) had yet more meetings, including a morning meeting with student leaders, lunch with faculty from the School of Science, Health, and Criminal Justice, meetings with Dean Michael Newtown (Canino School of ET) and Dean Kenneth Erickson (School of Science, Health, and Criminal Justice) and more meetings in the afternoon. Dinner was with Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) and Michaela Young (Assistant to the President) at Maxfields, a very nice restaurant in Potsdam, (a small city about 10 miles away) that overlooks the Racquet River.
Tomorrow, I’ll be looking at a few more houses, having a campus tour, more meetings, and in the evening, the President’s Gala. More about this in the next BLAB!
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s contest had questions having to do with the word “red”. Our winner was Carl Snook (SIS), with Rich Halstead-Nussloch also getting them all. Here are the correct answers:
- She learned why you shouldn’t go through the forest to visit your grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood.
- They put it out at the Oscars for the stars, at fancy hotels, as well as trainside on the 20th Century Limited. The Red Carpet.
- Famous oil well fireman. Red Adair.
- Terrific British TV comedy involving a garbage collecting spaceship, a hologram named Rimmer, a slacker named Lister, and an evolved cat. The Red Dwarf.
- Popular 1935 song by Jimmy Kennedy and Hugh Williams. It’s about a yacht that Kennedy saw off the northern coast of Ireland. Versions were recorded by Bing Crosby, Guy Lombardo, Montovani, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Big Joe Turner, Paul Anka, the Platters, the Beatles (at the Star Club, in Hamburg), Fats Domino, the Searchers, Connie Francis, Dean Martin, Dave Brubeck, and Englebert Humperdinck. Wow! Red Sails in the Sunset.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This week’s trivia challenge has all answers being words that start with the letter “j”. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO email@example.com, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- Roman emperor and play by Shakespeare.
- Double “J” expression that you do when you’re really happy.
- First settlement in Virginia.
- Double “J” girl in song by Donovan.
- According to the 1969 movie title, Krakatoa is east of here.