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SUNY Potsdam

The State University of New York at Potsdam, also known as SUNY Potsdam, or, colloquially, Potsdam, is a public university located in the village of Potsdam in St. Lawrence County, in the U.S. state of New York.



44 Pierrepont Ave
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Potsdam Bear
Grey Maroon Red

College History


Potsdam was founded by Benjamin Raymond in 1816 as the St. Lawrence Academy. In 1834, the academy was chosen by the New York State Legislature to exclusively offer a teacher education program for its senatorial district. With funds from the state, and from support by preceptor Reverend Asa Brainerd, the first diploma in teaching was given in 1836, thus beginning the academy's and eventually the college's longstanding tradition of excellence in the field of teacher education. In 1866, the State Legislature ended its funding of teacher education departments in private academies, and began establishing several normal schools throughout the state. The Village of Potsdam was thus named as one of four locations for new normal schools, and in 1867, the St. Lawrence Academy became the Potsdam Normal School. By 1886, the Potsdam Normal School had become the first institution in the United States to offer a normal training course for public school music teachers in the United States. Founded by Julia E. Crane, the Crane Normal Institute of Music continues today as the world-renowned Crane School of Music as a leader in the field of music education. The State University of New York was founded in 1948, and Potsdam became one its founding members, and was thus renamed New York State Teachers College at Potsdam. In 1964, the college's mission changed to providing multiple programs, and the university adopted its current name. During the 1980s, despite the college's traditional strengths in music and education, the college gained recognition for its quickly blossoming mathematics program under the guidance of Dr. Clarence F. Stephens. Known as the Potsdam Miracle, Stephens transformed a practically non-existent department to having the third largest number of mathematics majors of any institution in the United States during his tenure. The college has a total enrollment of approximately 4,500 students and approximately 930 freshmen entered Potsdam in 2010. That is the biggest first-year class since 1982, and an 11.4 percent increase over last year�s incoming freshman class, which had 835 students

College Specialty


The State University of New York at Potsdam prepares students to act as engaged global citizens and to lead lives enriched by critical thought, creativity, and discovery. As an inclusive scholarly community rooted in our historic role in providing exemplary teacher and music education and our leadership in the fine and performing arts, we are committed to the liberal arts and sciences as an academic foundation for all students. With an abiding sense of responsibility to our region and to the world beyond, SUNY Potsdam fosters an appreciation of and respect for the variety of human experience.



Clarence F. Stephens (Professor Emeritus), mathematics educator Brock McElheran (Professor Emeritus), conductor and author David J. Hanson (Professor Emeritus), alcohol researcher. Robert Washburn (Professor Emeritus), composer, author and educator. Arthur Frackenpohl (Professor Emeritus), Composer and Author. T. Coraghessan Boyle, Author. Ren�e Fleming, Opera singer, soprano. Stephanie Blythe, Opera singer, mezzo-soprano. Dmitri Pittas, Opera Singer, Tenor. Lisa Vroman, Singer and stage actress, soprano. Ernest Blood, Basketball coach, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tim Welsh, Former Head Basketball Coach at Providence College Mike Deane, Former Division 1 head basketball coach C. J. Rapp, Entrepreneur and Beverage Executive (creator of Jolt Cola). David Valesky, Politician and member of the New York State Senate. Patricia Ritchie, Politician and member of the New York State Senate. Marc Butler, Politician and member of the New York State Assembly. Stephen Savoia, Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. Eileen Whelley, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at The Hartford Financial Group. Daniel Decker, Composer and recording artist. Daniel Schaefer, politician, former U.S. Representative from Colorado Stanley Kunitz, former U.S. poet laureate William Buell Richards, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada John G. "Jerry" Welsh (Athletic Director Emeritus), two-time National Division III basketball Coach of the Year. Robert Zimmermann, poet and author of From Where I Stand Michael J. Colburn, 27th Director of the United States Marine Band Joy Tanner, actress



Rural, 240 Acres