March 14, 2017


Volume 11, Issue 13–March 14, 2017


So Much For Spring

Sadly, as everyone suspected, winter was not done with us yet.  As I’m typing this, New York is in the midst of a blizzard, and a state of emergency has been declared for most of the State.  The North Country (at least for now) is an exception—while non-emergency employees everywhere else in the state are allowed to stay home without using leave, the six northernmost counties are not included in this and are required to go to work, or use leave time if they stay home.  On the plus side, this is also Spring Break, so there are essentially no students and faculty affected.  At the moment, it is snowing very lightly, but things are supposed to get heavier this afternoon. 

Due to the weather, Doug Scheidt (Provost) and I left Washington DC a day early.  We had been at the annual ACE Conference, but as the blizzard was headed north, airlines started calling attendees to try to get them out before it hit so that they wouldn’t be stuck there.  The ever-intrepid Michaela managed to get us seats on a flight on Monday afternoon, so we flew from DC to Toronto without any incident, other than National Airport being quite crowded with people who had the same idea.  When we landed in Toronto, the visibility was dropping and there was light snow.  We got into the terminal without any delays, but soon thereafter, they started keeping jets in the air waiting for the visibility to improve and the wind to die down.  Our connecting flight to Ottawa was delayed by a little over an hour, but once it took off, all was fine and the weather in Ottawa was clear and dry.  Followers of the BLAB will already be aware that Ottawa is the nearest big city to Canton, so we often fly out of its airport, which is only about an hour and a quarter away.  The drive back to Canton was fine—no snow on the road—so we timed things just about perfectly.

The prediction is for anything between six inches and 24 inches of snow from today to tomorrow afternoon.  My guess is that we’ll be on the low side of that total, but you never know.



Catching Up

It’s been a busy few weeks, so here’s a brief recap of what’s been happening.

SUNY Canton hosted another of our Excellence in Leadership Series, with Mark Bondoni (’82) being the speaker.  Mark has worked at Ford for 32 years in a series of important positions , including Luxury Car Manager (for the Lincoln division), Parts and Service Operations Manager (in Puerto Rico!), Ford NASCAR Motorsports Manager, Regional Manager for the Customer Service Division, Global Warranty Manager, Fleet National Service Manager, and his current position as Global Remanufacturing and Core Supply Manager (in Dearborn, MI).  That’s a lot of leadership!  Mark has also served on the advisory board of our Automotive Technology program for the past 18 years.  The talk was well attended and very interesting, tying in with Engineers Week on campus.

There were several other great events held on campus for Engineers Week (February 27-March 3).  On the 28th, there was an all-day Engineering Career Fair, sponsored by the Career Services Office.  I had a chance to pay a visit, and it was great to see the many interested students there, as well as representatives from more than 30 companies, many of whom were our own alumni.  Later that evening, our 3rd annual Engineering Open House was held for the community, featuring lots of demonstrations and hands-on opportunities for visitors, showcasing our engineering facilities.  We had a bit more than 200 attendees ranging from K-12 as well as their families, with the highlight being a zipline race competition where participants could win prizes (3rd to 8th grade division) and scholarships (9th to 12th grade division).  Each pair of students had 20 minutes to build a zipline racer from wooden blocks, pipe cleaners, and a balloon.  Everyone had a good time, and you can read more about it here.  A big thanks to everyone who participated in and planned these events.

I wasn’t able to attend the Engineering Open House because SUNY Canton was also hosting the annual Associated Colleges Presidents and Spouses Dinner at the same time.  It was nice to see my colleagues from Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, and Paul Smith’s College (Kristin Esterberg from SUNY Potsdam was away and couldn’t make it), and we had some interesting conversations on the changing landscape for higher education in New York.  It’s always a challenge to try to find a day that we can all get together, and this was the only evening that we could even get four out of the five of us in the same place!  The dinner, catered by our SUNY Canton food service, was excellent as always.

On March 1, I hosted the Agriculture Subcommittee of the St. Lawrence County Economic Development Planning Group.  The meeting was from 5:00-6:30, and we had a very interesting conversation about year-round greenhouses and looking into interacting with the Canadian market.  Afterwards, I dashed home to pick up Jill, came back to campus, and popped in to the Out in the Country Student Activities event.  There was a very good country band playing there, as well as lots of booths with food and fun events.  We were only able to stay for a few minutes, because we were then off to a rather important basketball game.  SUNY Canton’s men’s basketball team won the first ever ACAA conference championship, and were then invited to participate in the ECAC Championship, for which we hosted the first round.  It was an exciting game.  SUNY Canton got off to a slow start, being behind as much as 15 points, but caught up before the half and took a small lead.  The second half was much tighter, with our lead growing as much as 12 points and shrinking to a tie shortly before the close.  Our players gritted it out and ultimately won, 90-86, defeating Pine Manor.  Unfortunately, we lost the next round to Penn State Behrend in another close one, by a score of 68-65.  Congratulations to our team for an outstanding season.  Congratulations also to our Women’s Ice Hockey team for their outstanding season, making it into the league quarterfinals!

Another Engineers Week event was held on March 2nd, namely an Industry Dinner for representatives of local engineering firms, to come visit and learn about SUNY Canton and to see our facilities.  The dinner was great, and there were lots of attendees including several student guides from the engineering technology programs.  A very nice video was prepared showcasing our facilities in Neveldine Hall, which you can see here:


The next week began on Monday with a quick hop to Albany for some legislative visitsI did another legislative visit on Tuesday morning, followed by my evaluation by SUNY (which went well) on Tuesday afternoon.  The main message was we’re doing the right things at the College, and we need to move forward aggressively to do them and to let the world know about them.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the 360° feedback.  I flew back to Canton that evening.

Whenever you’re away from campus, the meetings accumulate for when you get back, and that’s what Wednesday-Friday of last week were like.  On Thursday night, I also attended the Open House for the new St. Lawrence Health System Medical Campus that just opened in Canton—it’s a very impressive facility, and promises much improved local care in a number of vital areas.  On Friday, I had my most fun event:  I guest-lectured in Kirk Jones’ Comic Books as Literature class, giving a history of comic books and bringing in a bunch of items from my own collection, including a copy of Batman #25 (from back in the 1940’s), some original art used in making comics, and some comics from other countries.  The class was a lot of fun, and hopefully the students enjoyed it too.

On Saturday, March 11th, Doug and I flew to D.C. for the abovementioned ACE Conference, flying out of Ottawa.  The flight down was fine, and the conference had some interesting moments that I’ll be talking about on campus in the next few weeks.  The main topics of discussion centered on several recent freedom of speech issues that have arisen on campuses (such as the well-publicized protests at Berkeley and Middlebury), topics related to diversity, and public perception of higher education (hint: a lot of it isn’t good and is based on false information).

And that brings us back to the present!


Mascot Madness

It’s time for SUNY Mascot Madness once again.  Last year, our own Roody Roo did very well, getting into the quarter finals before losing out to Stony Brook’s Wolfie.  This year we’re determined to win it all.  Roody has been training hard for the competition, and you can see his regimen in the video below: 

You can vote for Roody in Round 1, where his opponent is SUNY Broome’s Stinger the Hornet.  You can read more about the mascots in our Region 2 competition here.  Voting starts today, and you can vote every 12 hours from every email account you have at this url:  So vote for Roody—the world’s greatest Kangaroo!




Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “S”.  Our fastest five responders with all five correct were Patrick Hanss, Megan Warren, Jennifer Church, Alice Reed, and Martha Cole.  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 Marcia Sullivan-Marin, Terri Clemmo, Tony Beane, Christina Lesyk, and Kevin Elliott.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Children’s playground ride where one side goes up as the other goes down. See-saw.
  2. Seattle football team.  Seahawks.
  3. Neutral country in central Europe, known for its mountains.  Switzerland.
  4. You pay into it each paycheck so you’ll have money when you retire. Social Security.
  5. The General Sherman, the tallest tree in the world, is one of these.  Sequoia.




This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “T”.  The first five 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 since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. In a children’s game, what you say before “You’re It”.
  2. Art that you wear on your skin.
  3. Book that answers the question, “What’s another word for that?”
  4. Larval stage for a frog or a toad.
  5. Beautiful mausoleum in Agra, India. It’s one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.





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