December 21, 2016

Happy Holidays to All!

It’s only a few days before Christmas and Chanukah and things are definitely winding down on campus.  I walked down the hall in Cook this morning and at the time, all the lights were off, with the only thing open being the Dean’s Office.  The parking lots are half-empty, with lots of people having begun their vacations.

While we’ve had some below zero nights, most days have been right around the freezing mark of 32°F.  There’s some snow on the ground, though not too much, and since the weather was warm enough for rain a few days ago (which then froze overnight), there is a bit of ice under the snow.  It’s gotten as high as 37°F today, which has caused the ice on the cars (at least) to melt, and the icicles on the house are going fast.  The weather report is predicting a cold but sunny Christmas day, with the day after rising to a practically tropical 40°F.

There have been tons of holiday parties on campus which are always fun.  Our college-wide party was on December 9th, and our College Association delivered the usual excellent spread.  Everyone was commenting on how nice the decorations were and how good the food was.  Live music was provided by a jazz quartet that included SUNY Canton family member Dan Gagliardi on bass and his son on trombone, and they were great too.  In fact, I was inspired enough to grab wife Jill and dance with her when they did a nice rendition of “Georgia on My Mind”.  On Saturday December 10th, the annual Children’s Holiday Party took place in Dana Hall.  The full report on that party is further below.  I also attended Governor Cuomo’s Holiday Reception in Albany when I was down for the Regional Economic Development Council announcements on December 8th–it was a very  nice affair as well.  There were lots of other potlucks, department parties, and secret santa parties as well.

I hope everyone has a happy and restful holiday and a fabulous new year, and I’ll see you all on the flip side.


Children’s Holiday Party

One of my favorite events of the year is the Children’s Holiday Party that is given by the Early Childhood Education Program’s faculty and students.  Many of the children in attendance started coming when they were babies and have come every year since.  The theme is different every year to keep things interesting, and this year’s theme was the game “Candyland”.


Jill, Mark, and I had fun greeting the children at the entrance table and seeing the excited looks on their faces when they saw all the great activities that filled our intramural gym.


The students from the Early Childhood program and the volunteers from Kappa Xi Omega Sorority each staffed either a game that children could play or a table at which they could do a crafts activity, so there were dozens of things to occupy each child.


The College Association provided ice cream, popcorn, drinks, and other snacks for the children, ably staffed by Sean Conklin and Nicole Fullerton.

The big event at the party, of course, was the arrival of Santa Claus, who spoke to each child and gave them a small present.


Santa and Finn O’Brien

All the children had a great time.  Big thanks to Program Director Maureen Maiocco, and faculty member Christina Martin for all their hard work organizing the event, as well as:


Our Early Childhood students: Morgan Morse, Jennifer Blair, Janel Gordon, Savanna-Lin Boadway, Mya Motley, Tianna Parkes, Sarrah Williams, Jenna Murtagh, Fatima Kamara, Lashay Pressley, Molly Atkinson, Jenna Holmes, and Alexandria McIntosh.

Our Kappa Xi Omega volunteers: Bailie Young, Peighton Laffin, Taylor Gray, Kristen Avellino, Carolyn Lorenzi, Ariel Mann, Aaliyah Guzman, Brittaney Carey, and Kennedy Casiano.

Shout Outs


Congratulations to the Betty J. Evans Tutoring Center in becoming CRLA-certified! This certification means that our tutoring program has met internationally accepted standards of assessment, skills, and training for our tutors. We are extremely proud of the tutoring center staff and tutors for achieving such a stamp of quality–it took several  years of preparation and training to attain this distinction and it was a true team effort.  A special shout-out to Paul Todd for leadership in this effort, both in the writing of the self-study and in the development and implementation of the training program   Congratulations on a job well done!



Two college ranking web sites have evaluated SUNY Canton as being among the best value colleges in their rankings.  According to, SUNY Canton is the best value online school in New York for 2016.  They wrote: “What makes SUNY Canton the best online college in New York? How about its impressive selection of more than 400 online courses and 10 majors? Or what about its extreme affordability and well-developed online support system? Or how about all of the above? All in all, SUNY Canton excels where online learners need them to the most – at student support! In addition to an active advising office and helpful Career Resources center, the school also provides a free “Mastering American ELearning” course for international students. And despite their already high standing, SUNY Canton is always looking for areas of improvement and employs a staff of dedicated online faculty that work to continuously enhance the distance education experience.”

SUNY Canton was ranked #14 in’s national list of colleges with energy research programs.  They wrote: “For students seeking a degree program in energy research, SUNY Canton offers an Alternative and Renewable Energy Systems major that covers a fascinating spectrum of study in this field. Some of the courses offered related to energy include thermodynamics, heat transfer, environmental science, and many more. Students following this major are taught to become solution-oriented professionals on issues pertaining to alternative and renewable energy.”  We’re in very good company on this list, with the only schools ahead of us being NC State, U. Colorado, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Ecotech Institute, Cornell, San Juan College, U. Michigan, U. California Berkeley, Stanford, the Colorado School of Mines, and Boston College.


In Memorium


SUNY Canton lost a great friend and benefactor in the passing away of John L. Halford, Sr. on December 7, 2016.  He was born on Jan. 24, 1925 in Gouverneur. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and served in the South Pacific attached to the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion and the 3rd Marine Division. He earned his degree in Air Conditioning Engineering Technology at the Agricultural and Technical College at Canton (as SUNY Canton was known then) in 1949.

Mr. Halford worked for the Gouverneur Hospital from 1951 to 1953, and then at Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1953 to 1970, where he was a technical specialist whose primary responsibilities were in the development of liquid containment materials for nuclear reactors. He then worked as maintenance supervisor for Suffolk County in the Buildings and Grounds Department from 1972 until his retirement in 1988.

Mr. Halford was a dedicated believer in helping students to achieve their potential. In 1989 he established an endowed scholarship at SUNY Canton that is given annually to five students who are in need of financial assistance. In 1999, Mr. Halford established a memorial scholarship to honor the World War II service of the six Halford brothers, awarded to two Gouverneur High School seniors who are planning to attend one of our four-year programs.  In a 2005 article for the After Canton alumni magazine, Mr. Halford said, “College is all about opportunities in life. A lot of young people don’t see a future, but I hope that with these scholarships I can help them see all of the possibilities that lie ahead for them.

Mr. Halford had the distinct honor of being the alum with the most locations named for him on SUNY Canton’s campus. The college dedicated the John L. Halford, Sr. Lobby in 2005, Halford Suite in the Roos House in 2011, Halford Classroom in 2012, a Veterans Tree in 2014, and Halford Hall (which houses the CREST Center) in 2014. Mr. Halford also served on the Canton College Foundation Board of Directors since 2004.

He received the college’s Distinguished Alumnus award in 2010, was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2011, and was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame by State Senator Patty Ritchie in 2014.

On a more personal note, Mr. Halford gave a generous donation to SUNY Canton in honor of my installment as president. I remember well when I first met him and introduced him to my father Daniel in  2014.  They became fast friends and saw each other many times, always talking about their military experiences, basketball, and their love for their wives.

John Halford did a tremendous amount of good in this world.  He served America in World War II, and served the communities that he lived in when he returned. He always wanted to help others, through his church, his town, and through funding scholarships and supporting his college. He will be sorely missed.

Donations in Mr. Halford’s memory can be made to the Canton College Foundation.


Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “Q”.  Our fastest five responders with all five correct were Debbie Flack, Patrick Hanss, Kelly Carter, Geoffrey VanderWoude, and Kevin Elliott.  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 Christina Lesyk.  Here are the correct answers:

    1. Sound a duck makes.  Quack.
    2. The current one in England has set a record for the longest reign of any monarch.  Queen.
    3. The number of members that must be present in order to vote on something.  Quorum.
    4. Religious group also known as the Society of Friends, who refuse to participate in war or take oaths. The oats company has nothing to do with them.  Quakers.
    5. Formula that lets you calculate the solutions for any equation in the form ax2+bx+c = 0.  Quadratic Equation.


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

The trivia challenge is on vacation!  It will return in January.


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