SUNY Potsdam Employees Honored with Chancellor's and President's Awards

SUNY Potsdam Recognizes Faculty and Staff Members for Excellence

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L to R: Toby White, Rajendra Chakranarayan, Eric Duchscherer, Nancy Griffin, Claudette Fefee, Karen Wilson, Lisa Murphy, Kathryn Pierce, President Kristin Esterberg, Edwin Portugal and Joe Timmerman.

POTSDAM, NY (05/24/2017) (readMedia)-- SUNY Potsdam recently honored dedicated faculty and staff members with Chancellor's Awards and President's Awards at the College's annual Employee Recognition Ceremony, which also recognizes major milestones and retirements.

This year, five employees received Chancellor's Awards, while another 16 were honored with President's Awards.

The Chancellor's Awards for Excellence are SUNY-level honors, conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

"The many faculty and staff honored with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence are the best of our best, having ensured student success as they educate and mentor students with innovative approaches to academic instruction, infuse curricula with applied learning opportunities, adapt best practices from throughout SUNY, and much more," said Chancellor Zimpher. "It is an honor to recognize the excellent work of Heather O'Hara, Lonel Woods, Romeyn Prescott, Glenn Johnson and Mark Hartman at SUNY Potsdam, and that of their colleagues across SUNY. Congratulations to all of this year's recipients."

This year's Chancellor's Award recipients were as follows:

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Classified Service:

Heather O'Hara was recognized for her exceptional service and dedication to SUNY Potsdam. As the administrative assistant for the Department of Human Resources, one of O'Hara's greatest assets is her deep understanding of HR policies and procedures. Along with assisting in processing the numerous personnel transactions Human Resources receives on a daily basis, she oversees the TN Visa process and manages the Volunteer, Drescher and Sabbatical Leave programs. O'Hara works with a great number of faculty throughout the recruiting process. She drafts, coordinates, posts and pays all external employment advertising, and because of her diligence has saved the College a significant sum of money. O'Hara has volunteered for and is involved with a number of campus events and committees. She has volunteered for Commencement, the Very Special Arts Festival and the Bias Response Team, and is co-chair of the Employee Awards Committee. In 2013, she received the President's Award for Excellence in Clerical Service for her assistance in developing, updating, coordinating and administering the campus-wide Computer Campus Account program. O'Hara engages with countless individuals every day and is constantly willing to go above and beyond for anyone in need of assistance.

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service:

Dr. Lonel Woods was recognized for his exceptional service to the College as a vital member of The Crane School of Music and an invaluable asset to the campus. Since his arrival in 2009, Dr. Woods has tirelessly served on countless committees, such as the Student Affairs Committee for both Faculty Senate and Crane, and has acted as an adviser to numerous student organizations, advocating for kindness, equity and inclusion on campus. Woods has served as faculty adviser to student organizations such as the Ladies of Soul and the Musical Theatre Organization. He has also proven to be a dedicated mentor to first-year students and other faculty. Woods continues to expand his leadership repertoire, through service as co-chair of the Diversity in Action Coalition Committee, coordinator of the Crane Honors Recital and through participation in the SUNY Leadership Institute. Aside from his duties as co-chair of the Department of Performance at Crane, perhaps one of Woods' most significant contributions to SUNY Potsdam is his commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus. He co-organized the Day of Reflection event held on Martin Luther King Day in 2016, providing the opportunity for students, faculty and staff to come together for meaningful discussion on a variety of topics centering around the campus community. In 2016, Woods was presented with the President's Award for Excellence in College Service for his strong involvement throughout the campus.

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service:

Romeyn Prescott '92 was recognized for his untiring service and dedication, as the director of academic computing in Computing and Technology Services. As an alumnus, Prescott's fondness of, and dedication to, SUNY Potsdam is evident in all that he does. A member of the professional staff since 1996, his hard work has enabled him to be promoted to his current position. Due largely to Prescott's efforts, the College continues to see a positive impact as it improves technology services. These efforts are most evident in his focus toward better utilizing technology while significantly improving student satisfaction. Prescott is best known as the campus "guru" for technology-related questions or problems. He is highly respected for his knowledge and expertise in all areas of technology and continues to serve as a mentor to the CTS staff and other constituencies across campus. In addition to his role in CTS, Prescott is active in the campus community. He is a longtime volunteer at Open House events, a board member for the SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center, and serves as the president-elect for SUNY Potsdam's Alumni Association Board of Trustees. As a tribute to his exceptional achievements, Prescott was presented with the President's Award for Excellence in College Service in 2014.

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities:

Dr. Glenn Johnson was recognized for his creative commitment and collaborative work as a professor of biology. He is a leading regional expert on conservation biology of various amphibians, reptiles and birds. Dr. Johnson is considered an expert on three protected species: the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, the Blanding's Turtle and the Spruce Grouse. Along with teaching, he has served as chair of the Department of Biology for the last 15 years. Johnson has also chaired the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and led many undergraduate research students in the study of amphibians, reptiles and birds. More than 50 students have presented the results of research they conducted under his guidance at local and regional conferences. Working with Johnson has inspired many SUNY Potsdam research biology students to formulate promising career paths in the sciences. He has secured $3 million in local and joint funding over the years, which has resulted in his nearly 60 conference presentations and approximately 50 publications. Among these publications, Johnson has co-authored three books and contributed chapters to five others. Much of his research has been invaluable to governmental agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Johnson was presented with the President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and/or Creative Activities in 2008 for his outstanding research of threatened and endangered vertebrates in the Northeastern United States.

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching:

Dr. Mark Hartman was recognized for his outstanding teaching and dedication to students, as a professor of trombone at The Crane School of Music. In his work, he has proven himself to be an extraordinary pedagogue who is deeply dedicated to his students. A profound knowledge of the subject matter permeates Hartman's instruction in private trombone studio, brass techniques, trombone choir and chamber music coaching. His students display a solid knowledge of repertoire and accurate execution of technique, as well as a sense of professionalism that can only come through a consistent model and quality instruction. Hartman's interest in student success begins before students even enroll at The Crane School of Music, as he recruits and cultivates future students, seeking them out and working with them in advance of their auditions. Once here, he guides their progress through the challenges of the daily college life, showing concern for their academic, musical and personal success. In addition to his successful teaching career, Hartman remains an active performer. He plays principal trombone in the Orchestra of Northern New York and the Northern Symphonic Winds and has been a member of the Potsdam Brass Quintet since 1985. Hartman also performs regular solo recitals. In 2015, Hartman received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition, SUNY Potsdam honored 16 recipients of the College's President's Awards for Excellence, which are campus-level honors for distinguished service and achievement.

"Those receiving 2017 President's and Chancellor's Awards for Excellence demonstrate, through their outstanding accomplishments, their devotion to teaching, scholarship and service to SUNY Potsdam. I am proud to recognize their extraordinary talents and the mark they have made on the SUNY Potsdam campus," said President Kristin G. Esterberg.

This year's President's Award recipients included:

  • President's Award for Excellence in Academic Advising: Director of Experiential Education Toby White
  • President's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching: Art Instructor Danielle Johns '05
  • President's Award for Excellence in Auxiliary and College Educational Services: PACES Floater Rajendra Chakranarayan
  • President's Award for Excellence in Clerical Service: Secretary for The Art Museum at SUNY Potsdam/Department of Art Claudette Fefee
  • President's Award for Excellence in Clerical Service: Human Resources Secretary Kathryn Pierce
  • President's Award for Excellence in College Service: Interim Associate Dean of Students Eric Duchscherer
  • President's Award for Excellence in Community Service and Outreach: Associate Professor/Chair of Business Administration Dr. Joe Timmerman
  • President's Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Climate: Director of Accommodative Services Sharon House
  • President's Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Climate: Associate Professor of English and Communication/College Writing Center Director Dr. Jennifer Mitchell
  • President's Award for Excellence in Operational Service: Supervising Janitor Wendy Horton
  • President's Award for Excellence in Professional Service: Development Officer Nancy Griffin, Hon. '08
  • President's Award for Excellence in Professional Administrative Service: TRiO Academic Skills/Tutorial Coordinator Faye Lamar
  • President's Award for Excellence in Professional Administrative Service: Assistant Foundation Business Manager Lisa Murphy
  • President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities: Associate Professor of English and Communication Dr. Christina Knopf
  • President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities: Professor of Business Administration Dr. Edwin Portugal
  • President's Award for Excellence in Teaching: Lecturer of English and Communication Karen Wilson

To find out more about employment at SUNY Potsdam, visit

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