SUNY Potsdam’s Take the Lead campaign raises over $20 million
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 11:33 am


Thirty-seven SUNY Potsdam donors are members of the Chancellor's Society, which recognizes the top State University of New York donors. Clockwise from left: Barbara Maresca, Dr. G. Michael Maresca, Sue Morrison, President Dennis L. Hefner, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, Michael Galane, Vice President for Advancement Vicki Templeton-Cornell, Gary Jaquay, Dorothy Albrecht Gregory, Mary Helander and Anna Collins.

 POTSDAM -- SUNY Potsdam’s “Take the Lead” has already reached 75 percent of its goal, as the college enters its first full year in the public phase of the fundraising effort.

As of Dec. 31, the Take the Lead Campaign had brought in $20.3 million in gifts and pledges toward its overall goal of $27 million by the college's bicentennial in 2016.

The campaign kicked off with a public launch ceremony in April 2013. Since its inception, the college has received 128 gifts at the leadership level of $20,000 or more, of which five are at the $1 million level or higher.

"We are humbled by the outpouring of generosity from alumni, friends and the campus community. This campaign represents the good that can come when we work together to identify the priorities of the campus, and then work to meet those needs," Vice President for Advancement Vicki Templeton-Cornell said. "The Take the Lead Campaign celebrates Potsdam's long and storied legacy of leadership in providing the very best educational experiences for our students."

The strategic priorities of the Take the Lead Campaign are academic excellence, scholarships, student experiences, the Annual Fund for Potsdam and the arts. The college has received strong support in all of the areas, and 44 percent of gifts and pledges support the arts in some way.

Since July, nine new scholarships have been endowed across all areas of campus. Meanwhile, unrestricted support remains incredibly important, and several donors have made significant gifts and pledges in this area.

Contributors include:

• Jan Harting McChesney pledged her support for "Branching Out With Books," a collaborative literacy program between SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence University, Canton. The Harting-McChesney Endowment Fund will provide ongoing funding for this unique program, which affords college students the important hands-on learning experience of working with 400 high-need children throughout the region.

• George Giroux and Mary Ellen Giroux have established the Giroux Honors Jazz Combo, which will provide both scholarship and program support.

• Christopher Slocum and Julie Slocum have established the Slocum Family Scholarship, which will support students in SUNY Potsdam's 3/2 Engineering Program with Clarkson University, Potsdam.

• A longtime business partner, Enbridge/St. Lawrence Gas recently established a scholarship endowment to support a student residing in the company's service area in St. Lawrence, Franklin or Lewis counties.

• Former Vice President for College Advancement Ross Pfeiffer and his wife, Catharine Pfeiffer, have pledged a deferred estate gift to support the Annual Fund for Potsdam. Once realized, this gift will provide Potsdam with unrestricted funding to support the College's greatest needs.

Metropolitan Opera star Stephanie Blythe and acclaimed bestselling novelist T.C. Boyle are the honorary co-chairs for the Take the Lead Campaign. Michael Galane, a senior director for the Hewlett-Packard Company, and famed lyric soprano Lisa Vroman both serve as national chairs. Rounding out the steering committee are Lynne Boles, William Flynn, Deborah Diefendorf Hind, Gary Hind, Janice Rowlands Johnson, Christine Meda and J. Richard Munro.

For more information about Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, visit