Philanthropists Honored for Generous Support of SUNY Potsdam

SUNY Potsdam Alumna Joy (MacDonald) Dorf '58 and her Husband, Richard Dorf, Receive 2017 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award

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From left, SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg presents the Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award to Joy Dorf '58 and her husband, Richard, at their home in California earlier this month.

POTSDAM, NY (04/26/2017) (readMedia)-- Joy (MacDonald) Dorf '58 and her husband, Richard, recently received the 2017 Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award for their generous support of SUNY Potsdam. The Roger B. Linden Distinguished Service Award is the College's highest honor, given to individuals who demonstrate steadfast support for SUNY Potsdam through their leadership, advocacy, stewardship and service. Although traditionally awarded at Commencement, SUNY Potsdam President, Dr. Kristin Esterberg, presented the award to the Dorfs at their home in California earlier this month.

"We are thrilled to honor Joy and Richard Dorf, two individuals who have been extremely supportive of SUNY Potsdam and our vision of improving applied learning experiences for our students. Experiential learning is a critical component of a well-rounded undergraduate education, and the Dorfs are at the heart of that mission," said Dr. Esterberg.

SUNY Potsdam's Center for Applied Learning was first founded in 2015, thanks to the visionary support of Joy Dorf '58 and her husband, Richard, who created the College's first endowed position, the Dorf Endowed Director for Applied Learning, held by Jenica P. Rogers. The Dorfs' generous gift created an endowment to support the position and establish a Yes Fund, which provides the Center for Applied Learning with flexible funding that directly supports students, faculty and staff engaging in applied learning activities. The Yes Fund helps close the financial gap many students face when enrolling in applied learning experiences, and supports the creativity and initiative of our faculty and staff as they develop new courses and programs.

The Center for Applied Learning opened a newly renovated space in the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library in 2016, bringing together the offices of experiential education, international education and student research in a one stop shop at the heart of campus. For the past year, students seeking applied learning experiences have visited the Center, learned about their options, and received one-on-one advising as they plan for academic internships, service learning classes, student research projects, study abroad opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavors. The Dorfs' support was a key factor in the success of the inaugural year of the new Center in Crumb Library, and will support our commitment to applied learning for all students into the future.

"PSTC (Potsdam State Teacher's College) was there for me, and now SUNY Potsdam is there for others from the North Country. I want to do my part to ensure that others get the same opportunities, even better than I had," Joy explains.

About the Recipients:

Joy (MacDonald) Dorf '58 and her husband, Richard Dorf, first met at the Potsdam United Methodist Church in October, 1956. Richard, a 1955 Clarkson University graduate, and Joy, a 1958 Potsdam State Teacher's College graduate, got married in June, 1957. After graduating from Clarkson University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Richard went on to teach at Clarkson University for two years before getting his master's degree from Colorado University and his Ph.D. from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Joy went on to earn a Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary and served as a Presbyterian pastor until she retired in 2006. Richard retired from the University of California, Davis where he was a professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of management.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges-and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit