Alumnus John Halford Honored as SUNY Canton Hometown Hero

John L. Halford of Gouverneur, has joined the growing group of SUNY Canton Alumni to be honored as a Hometown Hero.

Halford joins the prestigious list of Hometown Heroes by setting up a program to award SUNY Canton scholarships to students from his high school alma mater.

The John L. Halford Memorial Scholarships are awarded annually to two graduating Gouverneur Central School seniors planning to pursue a four-year degree at SUNY Canton. He has established a charitable remainder trust and donates annually to fund the scholarships. All of the proceeds of his trust will ultimately and permanently fund this effort.

“John has been an extraordinary benefactor of both SUNY Canton and Gouverneur Central High School throughout his life,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “John’s commitment to students serves as an inspiration to high school seniors from Gouverneur and to many other alumni and friends of SUNY Canton who want to create opportunities for the youth of their hometowns.”

John Halford created this scholarship to remember and honor the wartime service of his family. At the young age of 17, he joined the Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater. After more than 4 years of service, he returned to Gouverneur to complete high school. The abrupt end to his carefree youth taught him to appreciate and enjoy every day and the pleasures and opportunities life presents. His hope is that this scholarship will inspire young people from his hometown to continue their education and strive for their highest dreams.

Each recipient of the Halford Memorial Scholarship will be selected based on academic achievement, involvement in extra-curricular activities, and financial need, as determined by the Gouverneur Central School Scholarship Committee. The scholarships will be announced at graduation and students will be eligible to receive the scholarship until they complete their four-year degree.

“The best thing about this gift is not the gift itself,” Halford pointed out. “More important are the opportunities it will create by enabling these students to attend college. I hope that each student takes this opportunity to live life to the fullest, enjoy learning, and be successful. Gouverneur High School and SUNY Canton helped make that possible for me.”

Halford is the third alumnus to be honored as a “Hometown Hero” at SUNY Canton. He joins Joel M. Canino, who created a scholarship for Baldwinsville area students, and Bernard C. Regan, who targeted his endowment for Massena area students.

In 2005, Halford was honored for his record of service to the college by having a lobby named after him, at the crossroads of three major buildings.

He graduated from the Air Conditioning Engineering Technology program in 1949. From 1952 to 1970, he worked for Associated Universities on Long Island in research and nuclear reactor development at Brookhaven Lab. From 1973 until his retirement in 1987, he was the building maintenance manager for Suffolk County. He and his wife, Nelta, live in Gouverneur.


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