April 7, 2016


Volume 11, Issue 14–April 7, 2017


Into Each Life…

Back in 1944, the Ink Spots (featuring Bill Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald) sang the song “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”, and the weather up here has done its best to live up to it.  The snow is nearly gone (though there might be a flurry this weekend), and has been replaced by a lot of, well, you know.  We have a “hairline” crack in our wall in the basement and some water is seeping in.  I have a few towels on the floor arranged so that the water is wicked toward the sump pump, so the wet area is confined at the moment to a small area in the corner, but the area is expecting some flooding today from the rain, and hopefully things won’t get worse.  I have someone lined up to repair the wall when the rain stops and the ground has defrosted, so the problem will be gone in a few weeks (I hope!), but in the meanwhile, it’s time to keep the fingers crossed.  If you’ve never heard the song, just click on the link below. 



Fire Hose

I know I’m not the first one to mention this, but time is moving so quickly on campus that it’s like drinking from a fire-hose.  The term is just blasting by, and we’re already looking at commencement and recognition day.  Is time really moving faster, is it the constant media barrage about crazy things, or is this a function of being old?  Probably all three.

I’ve been off campus a lot lately, traveling around the state for several important reasons.  On Monday and Tuesday March 19-20, I was in Albany for legislative visits.  The main topic is the proposed Excelsior Scholarships, which have become a major topic of discussion.  As of this writing, there have been some significant disagreements between the Assembly, the Senate, and the Governor, and I talked to our legislative colleagues about how the proposal would affect our campus and SUNY in general.  Part of the problem is that a lot of the details aren’t known at this point, so there are lots of news reports and many rumors, many of which contradict each other.  The matter is supposedly close to resolution, and we may hear what the result is as soon as today.

I flew home on Tuesday night, but then turned around and on Wednesday morning, drove down to Auburn, NY, for a visit with Carl Haynes, the president of Tompkins Cortland Community College.   On Thursday morning, I met with Cayuga Community College’s president, Brian Durant, grabbed a quick lunch, and then drove to Canandaigua to meet with Finger Lakes Community College’s president, Robert Nye.  Finally, on Friday, I drove to Syracuse to meet with Onondaga Community College’s president, Casey Crabill.  All four meetings went very well, with us discussing some of the new degree programs we have recently had approved, and ways that we can work more closely together.

The following Tuesday (March 28), I was off again, this time to Watertown to meet Jefferson County Community College’s president Carol McCoy.  Again, we talked about ways JCC and Canton could work more closely together.  President McCoy will be retiring at the end of the year, after many years of accomplishment at JCC.

On the way home, I stopped in Watertown to meet with College Council member Joe Rich, who I had promised to get together with for quite some time.  We had a nice lunch together, whereupon I found out that pretty much everyone in Watertown knows him, because he has been so active for so long in the community.  After lunch, we visited Channel 7 in Watertown, where he had worked for many years, and I had a chance to tour their extensive facilities and meet with several of their excellent directors, anchors, news, and sportscasters.  We also went to the Disabled Persons Action Organization’s Drop in Center.  The DPAO is a not-for-profit organiztion that Joe Rich started in 1974, offering services to developmentally disabled children, adults, and their families; and now employing more than 150 full- and part-time employees serving Jefferson and Lewis counties.

On Thursday March 30, I was off again, this time to SUNY Farmingdale (a Long Island college that is part of our Colleges of Technology sector in SUNY), for the inauguration of their new president, John Nader.  Farmingdale is not easy to get to from Canton.  I had to take the 7:30 AM flight from Ogdensburg to Albany, take a taxi from the airport to the Amtrak station, take a train from there to Penn Station in New York City, and finally take the Long Island Railroad from there to Farmingdale, finally arriving at about 3:30 PM.  There was a breakfast at 8:00 AM the next morning, and the robing started at 10.  The ceremony began at 11, and was very nice, and included a small band and a chorus.  Candace Vancko, formerly president of SUNY Delhi when he was the provost gave a humorous background history of the new president, and then it was time for John to get his official medallion of office and to give his inaugural address, which was quite good.


President John Nader (left) and SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall (right)

The reception afterwards was very good too, but I had to rush off to do the trip back to Canton in reverse, staying in Albany overnight.  I was afraid my morning flight was going to be cancelled because 8 inches of heavy snow was predicted, but the bad weather never came, and there was no problem.  By a nice coincidence, while getting my boarding pass for the morning flight, the family behind me had come up from New York City and was also going to Canton.  I asked what they were going there for, and it turned out it was for SUNY Canton’s Accepted Students Day program!  They were very surprised when I told them I was the president, and we had a chance to talk while waiting for the flight, and after landing, I gave them a ride to campus and introduced them to our Admissions folks.


Chancellor’s Award Winning Students

My only trip this week was yesterday, down to Albany for the day for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence ceremony.  The ceremony is always quite nice, as it celebrates all kinds of student accomplishment across the SUNY system.  SUNY Canton had two winners this year, who I happened to run into just as I walked into the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, where the ceremony was held—quite a coincidence since we had traveled separately!


Our first winner is Poornima Rathika Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara, who is a Sri Lankan student majoring in Health and Fitness Promotion.  Poornima works as a tutor in several subjects, as a health advocate for our Davis Halth Center, and as an RA.  In Fall 2016, she was awarded the “Break a Leg Award”, recognizing her as a devoted RA who was able to accomplish all her tasks while overcoming a severe injury, and was still needing to use a crutch during the ceremony.  Poornima complete two research papers in Fall 2016 and is completing a third one for our upcoming honors presentation.

Our second winner is Sarah Nuss, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Wyantskill, NY.  Sara is vice president of our American Society of Civil Engineering student chapter, a member of Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society (which recognizes academic achievement in Engineering Technology), and an active member of six campus organizations including the ASCE Steel Bridge Team, which regularly competes at the national level. 

A total of only 256 students across all of SUNY won this award.  Congratulations to Sarah and Poornima on their fine accomplishments!


And, Speaking of Congratulations…

SUNY Canton’s own Student Activities Coordinator Kashonda M. Watson was named Campus Event Planner of the Year from Power Performers, a celebrity entertainment resource company. Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Courtney B. Bish and Director of Student Activities Priscilla Leggette recognized Kashonda on March 22 at a division meeting.

There are a lot of great activities taking place in SUNY Canton’s School of Business and Liberal Arts.  On Monday April 24, the Financial Literacy Center will be presenting a College Planning Seminar at 6:30 PM in the Campus Center, Room 212.


They are also hosting the annual Mock Trial Tournament, which runs until tomorrow on campus, and has its final trial at 5:30 PM at the St. Lawrence County Court House.  Students in the tournament argue both sides in a fictitious civil trial.  The program is co-sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, the New York Bar Foundation, and the Law, Youth, and Citizenship Program. Thanks to all who are involved with these activities!


A big thank you to Edward Bedell (’69) who spoke as part of our Excellence in Leadership Program on March 29.  Ed is the owner and president of COP Construction, a leading company that specializes in bridges, dams, concrete structures, and sanitary sewer and storm drain utilities and treatment plants.  The company has operations in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, and employs more than 200 full-time personnel.  His presentation was very interesting, focusing on his own pathway to executive leadership.  The series is sponsored by Corning, with logistics handled by SUNY Canton’s Office of Advancement. 


Edward Bedell (’69)

I was on the road that day, but I hear that SUNY Canton’s 7th Annual Law Enforcement Day, focusing on “Investigative Perceptions”, held on March 27, went very well.  The event featured new crime scene investigation methodology, a session on Victim-Centered Death Investigations presented by noted authority Dr. Laura Pettler, and the presentation of the documentary “Officer Involved”, with the director, Patrick Shaver, providing the introduction and leading a discussion afterwards.  Thanks to everyone who helped plan and offer the events!


Dr. Laura Pettler

Last Time’s Trivia Contest

Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “T”.  Our fastest five responders with all five correct were Geoffrey VanderWoude, Jennifer Church, Lenore VanderZee, Tony Beane, and Patrick Hanss.  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 Kathleen Mahoney, Christina Lesyk, and Ronald Tavernier.  Here are the correct answers: 

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


This Time’s Trivia Challenge

Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “U”.  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 president@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.

  1. Mom always said you should wear clean ones of these, in case you got into an accident.
  2. In this Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, it grew up to be a swan.
  3. Let a smile be your this, and you’ll get wet teeth.
  4. New kind of taxi company where you can be the driver.
  5. The Mormon Tabernacle is in this US state.




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