SUNY Potsdam closes out school year at the 2013 Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony on Sunday
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 9:14 am

POTSDAM -- The State University of New York at Potsdam closed out another school year at the 2013 Bachelor’s Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 19.

SUNY Potsdam awarded 753 baccalaureate degrees, and bade farewell to outgoing President Dr. John F. Schwaller, who is leaving the college after seven years of service.

The graduates of the Class of 2013 cheered as they turned their tassels and began to cross the stage in the Academic Quad in the shade of the Satterlee Hall clock tower.

“I am so very grateful to the phenomenal students, faculty and staff here at Potsdam for allowing me to serve you and to join you for this time together on our journey,” Schwaller said. “You have enriched our lives and inspired us with your creativity and your discipline.”

Colonel Thomas H. Palmatier of the Class of ’75 and the leader and commander of the U.S. Army Band, addressed the graduates after receiving his honorary Doctor of Music degree. The Crane School of Music alumnus confessed that he was pretty nervous when he began to prepare his speech.

“During my more than three and a half decades in uniform, I’ve participated in probably thousands of ceremonies where speeches were given by a wide range of orators, to include six different presidents of the United States, emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, and more generals and admirals than I could ever count. Once I realized that I really don’t remember what a single one of them had to say, that took a lot of pressure of me today,” Palmatier said, laughing.

Palmatier, who is the ninth commander of the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” is the senior military musician in the Department of Defense. He said that he never could have imagined such a future for himself when he was crossing the stage at his own commencement.’

“Don’t make this an ending, make it a beginning. I have to tell you, I have had a life far more wonderful than anything I dreamt of while here at Potsdam,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with the conferring of baccalaureate degrees to 753 students, including bachelor of music, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of science degrees.

SUNY Potsdam also awarded 138 master’s diplomas this weekend, in its seventh annual Master’s Commencement Ceremony, held on Saturday, May 18 in the Hosmer Concert Hall at The Crane School of Music.

To read the commencement programs, visit