December 9, 2015


Volume 10, Issue 13–December 9, 2015



As the Year Winds Down

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break, doing their duty to eat lots of turkey and generate lots of left-overs.  As to my family, I took Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week off to drive my father and mother to Burlington, VT, where my dad was having a small procedure to deal with some skin cancer near his nose.  The trip there was OK, going through the Lake Champlain Islands, which are very pretty, but it was cloudy and we had light snow for the last 90 minutes—not enough to do anything, but just enough to be a little annoying.

We stayed at the American Cancer Society’s house near the hospital, and it was very nice—they provide rooms at no charge for people dealing with cancer for as long as they need.  The rooms consist of a small sitting area with a couch (that opens into a bed) and a chair and TV set, and a bedroom with two single beds with another TV set.  Upstairs, there is a large kitchen where one can store and cook food, and at least for that evening, there were volunteers who cooked dinner (beef Bourguignon!) for the people staying there.  The food was good and the company was great—I met a woman whose daughter was a senior majoring in Physics, and another who was a Funeral Services Administration graduate from SUNY Canton.  Small world!  The operation went well, and we were out a little after noon to eat lunch at a Turkish restaurant downtown (which was very nice) and then to get on the road.  We got to Potsdam at about 4:00 PM, so we stopped and bought a turkey for the next day.  The Thanksgiving meal all came out quite well, and we were thoroughly gorged and had sufficient leftovers for three days.

As to the rest of the Thanksgiving break, I spent most of my time vegging out, listening to music, and bidding on view-masters on eBay (of which an unusual number of packets I needed happened to be on offer, and I bought plenty).  I’m also in the process of reading straight through all 50 volumes of Prince Valiant, arguably the best written and drawn American comic strip of all time.  I always liked the strip when I was young, and like it even better now.



Holiday Time!

We’ve just finished the last week of classes, and are beginning finals week.  One of the nicest parts of this two-week period before the Winter/Christmas break is that there are lots of parties.  We had two really nice ones last Friday—the President’s Holiday Reception for the campus in the afternoon, and the Children’s Holiday Party in the evening.

There was a huge turnout for the President’s Holiday Reception—some folks told me it was the biggest for any such party ever.  The Catering and Concessions Manager, Sean Conklin, and his staff did a fabulous job in decorating the Miller Campus Center rooms.  The layout was excellent too—it was set up to promote mingling, but you could also sit down if you wanted to.


The food was wonderful—large shrimp, beef wellington, lots of veggies, fruit, and desserts, soft drinks, eggnog, cider—the whole nine yards.  Back at my first college, we always used to joke that we could tell how good the college’s finances were by the size of the shrimp at the reception.  Obviously, we’re in very good shape!


Music was provided by A Fine Line, an excellent jazz combo consisting of Bill Vitek (from Clarkson) and SUNY Canton’s own Dan Gagliardi and Mike Magilligan.  A wonderful time was had by all.  One highlight of the party was the announcement of the winners of the Holiday Door Decorating Contest, which were announced about 30 minutes in.  1st place was taken by the Early Childhood Education Program, who had a door featuring Roody, our College mascot, and me as the Elf on the Shelf causing trouble for him.


We had a tie for 2nd place between the Dean of Academic Support Services and Instructional Technologies door (Molly Mott and Janet Livingston), and a student door done by Breanna Van Valkenburgh on the theme of “A College Student’s Letter to Santa”.



Third place was another student door done by Amanda Wilhelm, done based on the movie “Frozen”.


A PowerPoint presentation of all the doors that were entered was shown several times during the party.

The Children’s Holiday Party started at 6:00 PM.  As always, the Early Childhood Education program did a wonderful job setting up the party, which was on the theme of a Pizza Pajama Party.  About 75 children (and an even larger number of parents) came, with the kids all dressed up in their p.j.’s.  Some of the children had been to the party every year since they were little—it’s a big annual tradition up here.  After signing in, each child got to choose a DVD and a toy from son Mark’s never ending stash of such things, and then went around to enjoy some 20 different activities.  Pizza, cookies, and soft drinks were all available, with the highlight of the evening being (of course) a visit from Santa and being able to get your picture taken with him.


I knew about half the parents there and had met many of the children before, so it was a lot of fun seeing them enjoy the games and have fun.  Maureen Maiocco and Christina Martin (the two faculty in the program) did a fabulous job working with the Early Childhood Education majors staffing the party, all in their jammies!


Congratulations to all on making so many children’s holiday brighter.



Holiday Giving Trees

The holidays are a time for giving, and folks at SUNY Canton are generous indeed!  First came the annual State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA) Campaign, organized by Tina Flanagan and Nancy Rowledge.  There were 82 employees who participated, and the appeal raised just over $10,000!

There were at least two Giving Tree opportunities on campus—one for the Canton Church and Community Program where the gifts were gathered in my office; and a Christmas Gift Donation for the Children’s Home of Jefferson County and St. Lawrence County Foster Children, collected by Delta Omega Epsilon fraternity, and many folks donated to their own favorite charities and houses of worship.


Thanks to everyone who participated—it makes a world of difference.



SUNY Canton Shout Out

Deborah Molinar passed along the great news that on October 17th, Jennifer McDonald (from our PTA program) was inducted into the Academy of Advanced Item Writers for the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.  This is an honor bestowed upon individuals who have written a number of high quality items that have been reviewed and accepted for placement on the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination.   Getting to this level requires a great investment of time and commitment.  Congratulations to Jennifer!

Jennifer McDonald

Jennifer McDonald on the right.


Eating One’s Way Around the World

Back on November 18, there was a wonderful international dinner as part of our International Education Week.  The cooks at Chaney prepared a number of interesting dishes based on recipes provided by our international students.


I brought Jill and Mark to the dinner too, even though Mark’s idea of exotic food is a grilled cheese sandwich (which he in fact got and ate).  When I entered the serving line and saw that the first choice was curried chicken followed up with lots of other good choices (rice with beans, stir-fried veggies…) I was glad I came!


Following the feast, we had the 2nd annual Presidential Foosball Challenge.  Once again I played the winners of the various dorm internal championships, teaming up with the dorm director as my partner.   What was the final outcome?  Not bad for a 60-year old—my side won three out of four, and we weren’t too far behind on the fourth game either.



Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s challenge dealt songs with words starting with the letter “f”. The fastest winner was DianneMarie Collins.  Others getting all five right included Alan Gabrielli (from SPSU), Patricia Todd, Terri Clemmo, and Bob Brown (from SPSU).  Your prizes can be picked up from my office.


Here are the correct answers:

  1. Don’t let it guard your henhouse.  Fox.
  2. Its capital is Tallahassee.  Florida.
  3. Movie monster played by Boris Karloff, it was from a book by Mary Shelley.  Frankenstein.
  4. Lots of people have plastic lawn ornaments of these pink birds.  Flamingo.
  5. High bouncing material invented by Fred MacMurray in two Disney movies (or later, by Robin Williams in a third movie).  Flubber.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

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

  1. Trip just after a wedding.
  2. You sing them in church.
  3. Wimpy will gladly pay you Tuesday if you give him one of these today.
  4. Catchphrase from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator.
  5. Showy flower also known as the rose mallow, it is the national flower of Haiti, South Korea, and Malaysia. Commonly worn by girls in Hawaii and Tahiti, it is also used in making tea.


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