October 7, 2016


Volume 11, Issue 5–October 7, 20216


That Was the Week That Was

The end of last week was busy, but fun.  On Friday morning, after my usual weekly meeting to go over my schedule and answer questions from various people with the ever efficient Michaela, I hopped in the car and drove over to Clarkson University, where I was participating in a symposium on sustainability sponsored by the four Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley.  President Tony Collins provided a very tasty lunch at his house for Dr. Peter Bardaglio (the symposium’s keynote speaker), the sustainability officers from the four colleges in the St. Lawrence Valley, and me.  After eating and a nice conversation, we walked over to the student center. 


After an opening and welcome from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, I was part of the Presidents Panel, which was moderated by North Country Public Radio’s David Summerstein.  I’ve met David before on several occasions, and very much enjoy his radio show (The Beat Authority, Fridays from 3-5 pm) which focuses on very cool worldwide dance music.  David asked us a number of questions about how we defined sustainability, how we were implementing it on our campuses, and what the challenges were in trying to change the culture so that there would be a greater awareness of issues related to sustainability.  The panel went very well, and I enjoyed participating.  Among the 100 or so people in the audience were several from SUNY Canton, as well several friends of mine from the community.

After saying a few hellos, I had to run back to the car to drive to Fairport NY (not far from Rochester, about 4 hours away), where I was attending the annual SUNY Association of Council Members and College Trustees meeting.  The weather was OK when I started, but it began to cloud up along the way, finally turning to a light rain about an hour before Fairport.  The first part of the trip was along Route 11 down to Syracuse, and the traffic was moving nicely.  When I got onto the Thruway, however, just outside Auburn, traffic stopped completely for a short while, and then only inched forward.  After about 20 minutes I got to the cause of the delay—there had apparently been a traffic accident, and there were two crews moving the damaged vehicles onto trailers—and things were pretty much cleaned up by the time I got there.  Other than the rain, the rest of the trip was uneventful.  I got off the Thruway, passed a few shopping malls, and pulled into the hotel at about 6:30, just in time to check in and get to the dinner at 7:00. 

It’s a funny thing—I grew up in Syracuse, so you’d think I’d have been to the Rochester area lots of times, it being so nearby, but I’ve never stopped in the area before.  I’ve gone by Rochester on my way to other places many times, but I’ve never actually been in Rochester.

The conference was held at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa, which is a very nice place.  It has beautiful grounds including a very large swimming pool, a beautiful interior, and my room was large and attractive.  The food at the dinner was very good, and I got the chance to renew acquaintance with several college council members and trustees who I’d met the year before.

There were several updates, talks, and tool-box sessions on Saturday, but the highlight was the ACT Scholarship Luncheon.  SUNY Canton student Francesco Palumbo was one of four statewide winners of the ACT Scholarship, and the four were an impressive bunch, all having excellent scholastic achievements and having plans to go on to do great things.  I sat at the same table as Francesco’s family, and there’s no question where he gets his friendly personality from—they are among the nicest people I’ve ever met.


The winners of the ACT Awards, joined by Marc Cohen (SUNY Student Representative to the Board of Regents, left).  Francesco Palumbo is on the right.


Francesco thanking the ACT after I introduced him

That evening, I took advantage of the area and went to a local Indian restaurant about 4 miles away.  I have to say that the “Deluxe Dinner for One” was magnificent—a mixed grill of tandoori chicken and shrimp, chicken tikka, and vegetables; a side dish of chicken curry; basmati rice; and naan.  A mango laasi drink was included, as was some kheer (rice pudding) for dessert.  I did my best, but couldn’t finish it all!

The conference concluded on Sunday morning with a session on the Educational Opportunity Program and a business session.  I drove home, stopping in Syracuse for lunch.  What kind of restaurant?  An Indian restaurant, of course, just off of Electronics Parkway that had a nice buffet.  I was still well stuffed when I got back to Canton.



Great Stuff 

  • Did you know that one of SUNY Canton’s online degree programs was selected as #1 in the country? It’s true—our B.S. program in Emergency Management was selected as the best by the Emergency Management Degree Program Guide.  Several others of our online programs are also in the top ten in the country in their areas, and our online programs in general were rated in the top 50 in the country!


  • Back on September 15th, we had a ribbon cutting for the official open of our Financial Literacy Center. Located in Cook Hall, the Center offers several programs that should be of interest to students: free tax-preparation assistance, money management guidance, and loan repayment advice.  The Center is sponsored by Alesco Advisors, Prof. Daniel G. and Linda L. Fay, North Country Savings Bank, SeaComm Federal Credit Union, St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union, and the SUNY Canton College Foundation.



Art at SUNY Canton

We’re starting up an Art Exhibit series at SUNY Canton, hopefully to begin with about two exhibits a semester.  Our first exhibit will feature watercolors by Jay Waronker on the subject of Synagogues in Sub-Saharan Africa.  These synagogues are located in many countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Waronker, a Professor of Architecture at my previous campus of Southern Polytechnic State University, noted “Most people are inclined to look at Africa as this homogenous place, but there is tremendous diversity from country to country, synagogue to synagogue.”  You can read more about his work here.


Watercolor of synagogue in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

The exhibit and artist’s talk will begin at 6:00 PM on October 17 in the Southworth Library.  Refreshments will be served.  A similar exhibit and talk on Synagogues in India will be presented at Congregation Beth El in Potsdam on October 16 at 2:00 PM.



Articles Worth Considering

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

Here’s this week’s article, titled “How Humanities Can Change the World”, about how studying the humanities can help people avoid racism and anti-Semitism.  You can read it here.




Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “M”.  Our fastest five responders with all five correct were Robert Snow, Stacia Dutton, DianeMarie Collins, Carmela Young, and my sister Drorit.  Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prizes—a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository.  Others getting all five right included Suzanne Cotton and Julie Cruickshank. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Leader of the Three Stooges. Moe Howard.
  2. In the nursery rhyme, she became famous for sitting on a tuffet and being scared of a spider. Little Miss Muffet.
  3. She played Hannah Montana and “popularized” twerking. Miley Cyrus.
  4. He said “I will return” when evacuated from the Philippines during World War II; also the name of the administration building on this campus. Douglas MacArthur.
  5. Famous painting of a woman with a demure smile that hangs in the Louvre. Mona Lisa.



This Time’s Trivia Challenge

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

  1. The Empire State.
  2. Organization that holds most of the major car races.
  3. Kind of energy or power produced from uranium.
  4. Country in which the highest peaks of the Himalayas are found.
  5. Streaming service that provides movies and some television shows online.




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