SUNY Potsdam Education Alumni Honor Richard Wiesenthal '77 with 2018 St. Lawrence Academy Medal

Richard Wiesenthal '77 Presented with St. Lawrence Academy Medal by SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association

Related Media

POTSDAM, NY (07/26/2018) The SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association recently honored Dr. Richard Wiesenthal '77 with the 2018 St. Lawrence Academy Medal, during the College's Reunion Weekend.

The St. Lawrence Academy Medal is presented to a SUNY Potsdam graduate who has made significant contributions to the field of professional education or related fields. The Alumni Association recognized Wiesenthal for his leadership, dedication and work enriching the lives of thousands of middle school students and mentoring hundreds of teachers.

About the recipient:

By all accounts, Dr. Richard Wiesenthal '77 is at the top of his profession. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam, he earned his master's degree and doctorate from Fordham University. He later went on to become principal of New Paltz Middle School, where he has served for the past 28 years.

Throughout his career, Wiesenthal has been highly respected by his students, parents, teachers and administrators, who credit him with creating an environment emphasizing collaboration, communication, cooperation and mutual respect. Wiesenthal makes sure that he is accessible to students and teachers every day, not only in his office, but in the halls, cafeteria and classrooms.

It is his dedication to excellence that earned him the honor of being named the New York State Principal of the Year in 2014. One parent remarked: "I tell Rich that he will never know all the good that he has done - 26 years creates a lot of ripples in the pond."

One of his teachers said: "We are able to flourish and sustain because of the great leadership from our principal. He values and respects our professionalism and our need for support through both triumphant and challenging times, and everything in between."

His superintendent praised him as well: "Despite the past few years filled with federal and state mandates and requirements, that in many schools have practically crippled administrators and staff with anxiety and stress, Dr. Wiesenthal has been instrumental in keeping these frustrations at bay. With his leadership, the staff was able to incorporate the mandates and move forward with innovative educational practices that focused on high academic and social learning."

Despite his extremely busy schedule, Wiesenthal recently returned to his alma mater to speak to teacher candidates. After his visit, a student remarked: "It was inspiring to hear how he makes sure that his school climate is friendly and welcoming. It is evident that Dr. Wiesenthal makes each student feel welcome in the school community because he involves each child in many different activities, including trips to Washington and other team-building activities."

The St. Lawrence Academy Medal is named for the predecessor institution to The State University of New York at Potsdam. Founded in 1816, the Academy focused on teacher training from its founding -- a tradition that continues to the present day with the rigorous liberal arts and sciences foundation offered at SUNY Potsdam.

To find out more about education at SUNY Potsdam, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

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 3,600 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