CANTON -- A Gouverneur man who is one of SUNY Canton's most dedicated supporters has made a donation to assist students working toward careers in his major.
John L. Halford Sr. recently established an endowment to purchase modern equipment in SUNY Canton's air conditioning engineering technology program.
His contribution will be used annually to provide new tools and resources for students in the program. During the first year, his contribution paid for about $25,000 in new technology. In subsequent years, the endowment will pay between $3,000 and $4,000 annually.
"Careers in environmental systems continue to grow," Halford said. "I wanted to help support students who are looking into the field."
Halford is a 1949 graduate who launched his own successful career based on his education.
"We are genuinely proud of Mr. Halford and his commitment to the college and in the surrounding community," said Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach. "He has established a tradition of giving that has spanned more than 20 years. Most importantly, he truly wants to help area students to receive the best education possible."
While he was visiting the college, students from the SUNY Canton Veterans Association thanked Halford for his generosity by planting a tree at the main intersection on campus. Halford is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in World War II.
Shortly following the tree dedication ceremony, State Senator Patricia A. Ritchie announced that Halford would be inducted into the area's Veterans Hall of Fame. He was recognized at a special ceremony held May 15 at Fort Drum. He was then inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame on May 20 at the State Capitol.
Halford is distinctly proud of his military service. He served in the Raider Battalion that was part of the raid on Makin Island in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After his time overseas, he returned to Gouverneur, finished high school and went on to SUNY Canton, then known as the Agricultural and Technical Institute. The numerous plaques denoting his generosity at the college are inscribed with the U.S. Marine Corps seal.
In the past year, he sponsored two scholarships that provide 15 students with annual awards. About five of those students are from Halford's hometown.
"I hope students enjoy their time at the college and use their experience to shape their lives," he said. "We have many good students in Gouverneur and I'd like to see them all go on to college."
Halford holds the distinction of having the most places on SUNY Canton's campus named in his honor. The college is home to the Halford Lobby, at the entrance of the Faculty Office Building, the Halford Alumni Suite in the Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center ice rink, and the Halford Classroom in the Grasse River Suites residence hall. Another building will be named in his honor during the college's Alumni Weekend Celebration on July 18.
He is also a member of the SUNY Canton Hall of Fame and was selected as the college's distinguished alumnus in 2011.