POTSDAM - SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends celebrated the launch of the colleges third comprehensive campaign with a campus party Friday.
Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam aims to raise $27 million by the cColleges bicentennial in 2016. The Take the Lead Campaign has already brought in $17.4 million in its advance phase - or 64 percent of the goal.
The Crane Latin Ensemble, which is featured in the new documentary For the Love of the Mambo, opened the party in the Barrington Student Union. Students and faculty from the Department of Chemistry displayed chemistry magic in interactive displays.
The Potsdam Pitches a cappella group sang several pieces to get the ceremony started, followed by a dance performance entitled Mash, by students from Department of Theatre and Dance faculty member Guy Thornes dance repertory class.
Campaign Honorary Co-Chair T.C. Boyle 68, an acclaimed bestselling author, addressed the crowd. He told them he enjoyed returning to campus, and finding the exact spot where he first met his wife, Karen Kvashay 69 - the stairway in the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library.
She was wearing tight jeans and leather boots, he recalled, smiling.
Boyle said that Potsdams liberal arts and sciences core allowed him to test out different disciplines to find his passion.
If it werent for my coming here, I never would have had the opportunity to move from music to history to English to creative writing, and find what I could really do. So I am honored to return today, he said.
Campaign National Chair Michael Galane 74, a senior director for the Hewlett-Packard Company and the vice president of the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees, also spoke.
Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam set a goal of $27 million to be raised by the colleges bicentennial in 2016. I can tell you that to some, that seemed like an overly ambitious goal for this little college in upstate New York. But Potsdam people, we dont back down from an aggressive goal, do we? No! We welcome it, and strive harder to achieve our goal, he said.
Potsdams favorite party band Double Axel rocked the stage to close out the festivities, while attendees dined and danced the night away. The launch celebration celebrated the remarkable progress the Take the Lead Campaign has made so far, and served to thank the generous donors whose gifts have made such a difference to the campus already.
Built on the momentum of tradition, innovation and creativity, Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam will shape the Colleges third century.
The strategic priorities of the Take the Lead Campaign are:
■ The Annual Fund for Potsdam
■ Academic excellence
■ The student experience
■ The arts
Stephanie Blythe 92, a Metropolitan Opera star, serves as campaign honorary co-chair along with Boyle. Famed lyric soprano Lisa Vroman 79 serves as campaign national chair alongside Galane.
Rounding out the Campaign Steering Committee are: Lynne Boles 74, William Flynn 70, Deborah Diefendorf Hind 75, Gary Hind 77, Janice Rowlands Johnson 56, Christine Meda 70 and J. Richard Munro.
For more information about Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, visit www.potsdam.edu/campaign.