Posts Tagged ‘President Zvi Szafran’

SUNY Canton Esports Wins ECAC Championships in FIFA and Overwatch

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

The SUNY Canton Kangaroos have won two Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship titles in esports following games in both EA Sports’ FIFA and Blizzard’s Overwatch on Thursday, Nov. 29.

“These were terrific wins for our teams, and it was extraordinary to capture our first ECAC championships,” said SUNY Canton Director of Athletics Randy B. Sieminski. “Our esports programs have come a long way in just over a year, and there is a lot to be proud of. We feel we’re growing a great reputation for ourselves in the eSports college landscape.”

Students compete in the inaugural ECAC FIFA finals.

The college’s FIFA team includes four players from the school’s traditional men’s soccer team. The squad won four of five matches against Texas Wesleyan University, as a group of onlookers cheered on the team in the college’s Esports Arena. FIFA is played one-on-one in a soccer simulation where each player picks a professional team to play. Wins are determined by goals scored. SUNY Canton’s five match scores were 2-6, 2-1, 4-1, 3-1 and 1-0.

“One of the reasons we created our esports program was to give more students, including online students, the opportunity to compete and represent SUNY Canton,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “Our FIFA and Overwatch teams are perfect examples of this effort. They’ve exhibited championship caliber teamwork and skills.”

A students plays FIFA 19 while teammates and reporters look on.

Both the FIFA and Overwatch teams were undefeated during the ECAC season. The college’s Hearthstone and Fortnite teams are currently waiting to be seeded for post-season play. The college is also planning an all-women’s Overwatch exhibition match against Stephen’s College and recently held an Epic Games’ Fortnite tournament for its substantial population of online students.

The Overwatch match against esports rival Marist College was broadcast on the college’s Twitch Channel (www.twitch.tv/sunycanton) and attracted its own crowd of spectators. Overwatch is played with six team members working together in first-person action-based scenario. The team works as a collective to capture points that the other team is defending. The total points at the end of a match determine victory. Each match is played on a different map in a best-of-five match scenario.

A students plays Overwatch with his team in the eSports Arena.

SUNY Canton’s team was led by captain Emily A. Oeser, a Game Design and Development Major from Canajoharie. The six-person coed squad closed out a tied match on the first map with a victory and then easily swept the second map. Shane R. Girard, a Veterinary Technology student from Phoenix, earned the “Play of the Game” during the second match when he launched his character’s ultimate ability in midair, helping to eliminate an attack from Marist.

Marist rallied to overtake SUNY Canton on the third map, pushing it to a four-match game. In a hard-fought win, SUNY Canton secured the final points necessary to win the championship during the fourth match.

The SUNY Canton Overwatch team poses for a photo after their ECAC championship win.

“The extraordinary win is the result of long hours of dedicated practice,” said Head Esports Coach Robert J. Snow. “Our success in the ECAC was determined by strong student leadership and exceptional teamwork. Our students were able to coordinate their strategies and work together as a team to earn their exceptional win.”

All SUNY Canton esports matches are played on state-of-the-art computers in the college’s new Esports Arena. The high-speed networking infrastructure is provided by Extreme Networks, the college’s partner in competitive gaming.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.

SUNY Canton Remembers Chloe Anne O’Neil

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Chloe Ann O'NeilSUNY Canton mourns the loss of an ardent and outspoken college supporter. 

College Council and College Foundation Board Member Chloe Ann O’Neil died yesterday morning (Thursday, Nov. 15) in a car accident. 

“We’ve lost a loyal friend of the college,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “She gave her time freely in so many different ways and she will be missed dearly.”

O’Neil earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Potsdam and taught at Lowville Central School, Hermon-DeKalb, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton, and as a reading teacher at Parishville-Hopkinton. She was a longtime active member of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) helping to ensure that local students would receive a quality education while advocating for teachers’ rights.

Mrs. O’Neil, 75, served in the state’s 112th Assembly District from 1993 until her retirement in 1998. She surprised many when she ran for, and secured, the Assembly seat held by her late husband John G.A. O’Neil.

O’Neil was an amateur painter and an active patron and supporter of North Country artists and tourism. She earned the title of “Woman of Distinction” from the New York State Senate in 1999 and was inducted into the SUNY Canton Hall of Fame in 2012. 

More on Mrs. O’Neil and her noted community service can be found in area news media posts, including the Watertown Daily Times and WWNY TV 7 News websites. 

SUNY Canton Assumes Operations of Plattsburgh Small Business Development Center

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

SBDCThe Clinton County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has relocated to Clinton Community College.

There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the Ronald B. Stafford Center atrium, followed by tours of the SBDC offices in the Pines Cottage.

The SBDC is now operated and managed by SUNY Canton, who has hosted the St. Lawrence County center for 20 years. Canton’s Dale Rice is the director of both SBDC locations, which will serve the greater Northern New York area.

The new location and partnership will present opportunities for SBDC staff and clients according to Angela Smith, assistant director for the Clinton County branch.

“We are excited about our new joint venture with SUNY Canton and Clinton Community College,” she said. “Both of these institutions have strong commitment to community and workforce development. With our shared vision of community engagement, this is a great fit.”

Clinton Community College President Ray DiPasquale said, “We are honored to be a part of this partnership with SUNY Canton and the SBDC. Having their office as a resource right here on our campus helps expand our position as a hub for economic development in the community and provide future opportunities for our students.”

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said, “The unification of the centers in St. Lawrence and Clinton Counties provides more opportunity for expanded entrepreneurship. It will also increase opportunities to showcase existing small businesses across the North Country region and allow for market expansion.”

About the SBDC

The New York SBDC, with its network of 22 regional centers provides professional business advisement, education, network resources and advocates for small business and entrepreneurs. As a funded organization through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of New York and host campuses, SBDC counseling services are provided at no-cost to clients and are confidential.Since inception in 1984, the SBDC in Plattsburgh has worked directly with 8,567 businesses, helping them to invest $102,374,027 in the area’s economy, resulting in 3,231 jobsbeing created or saved.The SUNY Canton SBDC was established in 1998 and has worked with 3,694 businesses, helping to invest $103,390,707 and creating or saving 2,156 jobs.  For more information, visit us online at www.nysbdc.org.

About Clinton Community College

Clinton Community College is a member of the State University of New York system and home of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing. Clinton offers 23 associate degree programs, six certificates, transfer pathways and advisement options, multiple non-credit professional credentials, and many flexible learning options including online and evening courses. As part of the SUNY system, Clinton credits transfer seamlessly. For more information, visit us online at www.clinton.edu.

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.

Ford Motor Company Focuses on SUNY Canton’s Automotive Program

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Ford Motor Company has added more Focus to SUNY Canton’s Automotive Technology program.

Representatives from the prominent American car company, along with staff from Blevins Ford Inc. in Gouverneur, recently presented the college with a late-model Ford Focus. The car will be used exclusively by students to hone their mechanical skills and help them prepare for their chosen careers.

President Szafran, students, and staff surround the new Ford Focus.

“This donation gives our students hands-on access to some of the latest advancements available on the motor vehicle market,” said Assistant Professor Brandon J. Baldwin, curriculum coordinator for the program. “It is imperative for them to have access to modern vehicles to earn their professional certifications. We can’t thank Ford enough for this car.”

The Focus was donated through the Ford Automotive Career Exploration program, which promotes engagement between educational institutions, franchised dealerships and local communities. The intent of the program is to raise awareness and increase interest in career opportunities within the automotive industry.

Brandon Baldwin shows students the Ford Focus engine.

“We have a vested interest in supporting automotive students,” said Christopher Sysock, a Ford Field Service Engineer. “We want to keep quality mechanics in the pipeline to help us continue as we grow and expand our workforce.”

As the car was being delivered to its new home in the college’s Auto Lab, Steve Blevins of Blevins Ford presented a monetary donation to the College Foundation to support the Leland Blevins Family Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student entering in the Automotive Technology program.

Steve Blevins presents Beth Gravlin with a check for the Leland Blevins Family Endowed Scholarship.

“These donations mean so very much to the college,” said Anne M. Sibley, VP for Advancement. “It helps us with our mission to introduce students to the newest technology and support students’ financial needs while they are attending college.”

Vice President Anne Sibley stands with President Szafran and Ford Technician Christopher Sysock

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran noted that the college has some of the most advanced laboratory classrooms in the state. “Partnering with Ford helps us continue to make our learning environments the very best in the SUNY system,” he said.

Other vehicles in the department include a hybrid-electric SUV, sedans, trucks and a handful of other Ford Vehicles.

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.

SUNY Canton to Celebrate Constitution Day Sept. 17

Monday, September 10th, 2018

SUNY Canton will commemorate Constitution Day Monday, Sept. 17, with a discussion about the U.S. Supreme Court and a voter registration drive.

Dean of the School of Business and Liberal Arts Philip T. Neisser and Professor Jondavid S. DeLong, who teaches in the Legal Studies program, will lead a conversation about “The Supreme Court in Principle and Practice” at 4 p.m. in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center’s Woodcock Conference Suites. The event is free and open to the public.

Constitution Day 2017

“Professor DeLong and I will explain how the rule of law undergirds the U.S. Constitution, and the role the Supreme Court needs to play to make the rule of law into reality,” said Neisser.

The college will also hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southworth Library Learning Commons, the Halford Lobby in MacArthur Hall and the Miller Campus Center.

“We are continuing our longstanding practice of honoring Constitution Day by giving students the opportunity to learn about our democracy and encouraging them to become engaged citizens,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran.

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service.The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.

DASNY Completes $4 Million SUNY Canton Residence Hall Project

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

In Time for the Start of the Fall Semester, the College Enhances Safety Measures and Modernizes Living Spaces for Students

Gerrard P. Bushell, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), announced today the completion of a $4 million project to improve Rushton Hall at SUNY Canton. This project is part of roughly $59 million in capital renovation projects DASNY is completing on SUNY campuses statewide.

The upgrades were financed through DASNY’s SUNY Dormitory Facilities Program, which issues low-cost, tax-exempt bonds supported by student residence hall fees.

SUNY Canton students in the newly-renovated Rushton Residence Hall lobby.

SUNY Canton students in the newly-renovated Rushton Residence Hall lobby.

Renovations to Rushton Hall included upgrades to its electrical systems, a new energy efficient hot water storage unit, as well as new sprinkler and alarm systems to increase student protections. Thirty-six student rooms and 12 bathrooms were modernized, which included new energy efficient LED lighting to create a brighter and more inviting atmosphere. Energy efficient fans were also installed as part of the upgraded heating and ventilation system.

“The improvements to Rushton Hall provide students with 21st Century residences that will enhance their learning experience,” said Dr. Bushell. “DASNY is proud to partner with SUNY Canton to deliver an energy efficient facility that will provide students the environment they need to achieve success.”

Pictured are (l to r) roommates Bryanna Clarke and Aariel Inniss in their Rushton Hall room.

Pictured are (l to r) roommates Bryanna Clarke and Aariel Inniss in their Rushton Hall room.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, “With 40 percent of state buildings under our ownership, SUNY has a significant footprint in New York State, and therefore a sizeable opportunity to build on energy sustainability. We are thankful for DASNY’s partnership to retrofit our facilities to be more energy efficient, while at the same time providing a safe and healthy environment for our students.”

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said, “This is the third residence hall that we’ve been able to renovate through our partnership with DASNY. These projects allow us to continually update and upgrade the student living areas in our historic buildings, leading to an overall better learning environment and enhancing the SUNY Canton experience.”

Kellen Mulvihill plays video games while Jesus Garcia watches in one of SUNY Canton’s recently-refurbished rooms in Rushton Residence Hall.

Kellen Mulvihill plays video games while Jesus Garcia watches in one of SUNY Canton’s recently-refurbished rooms in Rushton Residence Hall.

State Senator Patty Richie said, “This is an exciting time for SUNY Canton and its students. These upgrades to Rushton Hall will help create a more welcoming, safer environment for students, as well as will ensure the school can continue to attract the best and brightest students to the North Country. I look forward to seeing the impact this project has on both SUNY Canton and our region as a whole.”

State Assemblywoman Addie Jenne said, “I am thrilled not only for SUNY Canton, but for the North Country region. By continuing to invest in our students, we are investing in our future. These improvements are a testament to our commitment to providing them with the best possible living and learning environment our area has to offer.”

SUNY Canton Unveils New ‘eSports Arena’

Friday, August 24th, 2018

The college has partnered with Extreme Networks and Alienware to outfit a competitive gaming space.

SUNY Canton has opened the first collegiate esports arena in the State University of New York system. It is one of the largest dedicated gaming installations in the Northeast.

The 1,800 square-foot gaming room went online with the start of classes as the home for the college’s growing esports program. There will be a grand opening for the “eSports Arena” featuring competitive gameplay in October.

eSports athletes start gaming in the new eSports Arena

“Our arena is modeled after a professional gaming environment,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “The atmosphere and technology provide an overall immersive experience. It will give our students a competitive edge as they face off against rival college teams.”

“This space is one of a kind in SUNY,” said Kyle Brown, assistant vice president of information technology. “We’ve partnered with industry leader Extreme Networks to provide high-speed networking for the room and Alienware to equip the space with high-end Area 51 computers.”

Extreme’s Smart OmniEdge and Automated Campus solutions deliver high-speed WiFi, management and analytics capabilities so SUNY Canton can optimize network resources and troubleshoot on the fly, ensuring optimal performance.

A student plays League of Legends on a new Alienware Area 51 machine.

“Every millisecond counts during an esports game, and a robust network is a prerequisite when it comes to preventing potential performance issues, such as connectivity glitches or slow Internet connection,” said Bob Nilsson, director of vertical solutions at Extreme Networks. “By deploying our high-density, low-latency network solutions that are used by professional sports venues across the nation, SUNY Canton can ensure a seamless, stable connection whether practicing or in the heat of competition.”

With 25 high-end gaming rigs, SUNY Canton now has the largest installation of Alienware machines in New York state, according to company representatives.

Three students gather around an Alienware gaming computer in the new eSports Arena.

Each station is equipped with ergonomic gaming chairs, multicolored LED backlit mechanical keyboards and mice. The room itself has been retooled with indirect lighting, lockers for the students and a team meeting space that will double as a streaming station for live broadcasts. In addition to the high-end gaming computers, the college added stations with both Sony PS4 Pro and Microsoft Xbox One X consoles to add future gameplay options.

The room was funded through the SUNY Canton Provost’s Office to facilitate further growth in the programs closely related to esports. In addition to Game Design and Development, the college offers Cybersecurity, Graphic and Multimedia Design and Technological Communications.

League of Legends is played by a new eSports athlete.

“Academically speaking, the addition of esports enriches the student experience,” said Douglas M. Scheidt, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It also adds more opportunities for our online students, who account for more than 25 percent of our overall population.”

SUNY Canton became the first SUNY College to offer varsity esports in December 2018. Teams play as members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the most prominent nationally recognized organization dedicated to competitive collegiate video gaming. The college also orchestrates matches through the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association (ECAC), in addition to University League of Legends (ULOL).

A student plays a game on the new PS4 Pro console.

“The new Roos eSports Arena is one of the top college competition spaces in the nation,” said Randy B. Sieminski, director of athletics. “By adding this space, SUNY Canton has shown its strong commitment toward our esports future. As a result, we will continue to see an increase in student recruitment, engagement and retention, mirroring our traditional athletic offerings.”

The college recently added both FIFA and Fortnite to its fall lineup. Other teams include Overwatch, League of Legends and Hearthstone.

To learn more about SUNY Canton’s eSports, please visit the eSports website.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 15 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are joining the North Atlantic Conference beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.

SUNY Canton Adds Fortnite and FIFA Esports Teams

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

SUNY Canton will add Epic Games’ wildly popular Fortnite Battle Royale and EA Sports’ FIFA to its growing lineup of varsity esports. The announcement follows the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) announcement formally sponsoring intercollegiate competition in both games.

The addition continues SUNY Canton’s string of firsts in the emerging field of esports as it becomes one of the very first schools with both Fortnite and FIFA collegiate teams.

SUNY Canton eSports Logo

“We’re proud to be among the nation’s first colleges to offer both Fortnite and FIFA,” said Randy B. Sieminski, SUNY Canton director of athletics. “We plan to begin competition this fall as we continue to grow our esports program and we’re happy to work closely with the ECAC the National Association of Collegiate Esports  (NACE) for competitions and tournaments.”

Fortnite is an extremely popular online game where players are dropped on an island and battle to be the last person standing. In collegiate competition, gamers play in teams and get points for the number of enemies they defeat and how long they survive.

Robert J. Snow, head coach for the college’s esports teams, said there will be open tryouts for the new team at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31 in SUNY Canton’s new eSports Arena. SUNY Canton Online students are encouraged to participate from wherever they are enrolled and should contact Snow for tryout information.

Fortnite

“Fortnite has been the most asked about game among prospective students,” Snow said. “We will see a high level of competition right away to make the team, and we look forward to competing against other schools around the nation.”

FIFA is a two-versus-two soccer (football) simulation game with widespread appeal. It will be played on one of the console systems in the college’s new $500,000 gaming space in Nevaldine Hall. The eSports Arena features 24 competition-ready Alienware Area 51 computers and high-end peripherals. The college has partnered with Extreme Networks for high-speed connections to give its teams a competitive edge.

FIFA tryouts will be announced at a later date.

FIFA 19 Logo

Other teams play Blizzard’s Overwatch and Hearthstone, and Riot Games’ League of Legends. The college also has an all-women’s Overwatch team.

“SUNY Canton eSports offers many benefits similar to traditional athletics: teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, school pride, competition and much more,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “At SUNY Canton, it also has a strong connection to several of our academic majors, such as Game Design and Development, Graphic and Multimedia Design, Technological Communications and Sports Management.”

SUNY Canton became the first SUNY college to offer varsity esports in December 2017. Teams play as members of the NACE, the most prominent nationally recognized organization dedicated to competitive collegiate video gaming. The college also orchestrates matches through the ECAC in addition to University League of Legends.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are joining the North Atlantic Conference beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.

SUNY Canton Announces Four-Year Mechatronics Degree

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

The new program is designed to lead students directly into an advanced degree and respond to the growing need for qualified employees with automated manufacturing experience.

SUNY Canton’s newest Bachelor of Science degree integrates mechanical engineering, computer science and electronics into one program.

The college has received approval from the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department to offer Mechatronics Technology alongside its career-driven engineering technology programs in the Canino School of Engineering Technology.

“I’m very excited to announce that we have received approval for this new degree,” said President Zvi Szafran. “Mechatronics is a contemporary integrated form of engineering, incorporating elements of mechanical, electrical, computer/telecommunication and systems engineering areas. Lots of modern devices use mechatronic systems, including smart phones and thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners and robotic cars.”

Two students work on the functionality of a robot.

Szafran added that mechatronics is also important to the dairy industry, where modern milking parlors, cow barns and the packaging of dairy products make use of many mechatronic systems.

“Our new degree will be an important component in the economic growth of the North Country and the State of New York,” he said.

“Instead of learning just one aspect of engineering technology, Mechatronics students will be well-versed in numerous aspects of the field,” said Michael J. Newtown, dean of the Canino School of Engineering Technology. “This program sets students up for graduate degrees in addition to preparing them for careers in a variety of sectors, including the agriculture, aerospace, automotive, consumer products, defense, and biomedical industries.”

Mechatronics can also lead to future jobs for technologists responsible for designing, programming and maintaining precision manufacturing robots, according to Newtown. SUNY Canton’s new program supports the development of automated systems.

A student works on a computer motherboard.

Assistant Professor Joel M. “Miles” Canino will be serving as the program’s lead faculty member. Canino is a SUNY Canton Mechanical Engineering Technology graduate who earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam, and specializes in rehabilitation robotics.

“The diversity of this program is invaluable,” Canino said. “It will be a rigorous curriculum, but very rewarding for our most inventive students. With the recent growth in advanced manufacturing and the demand for high-tech goods, there are currently more jobs available in this field than there are qualified employees.”

New and transfer students can apply for entrance into the Mechatronics program immediately, with new courses starting at the onset of the fall semester. Classes begin Thursday, Aug. 23 at SUNY Canton.

Mechatronics is the sixth new bachelor’s degree program announced in the past three years. Other new programs include Agribusiness Management, Cybersecurity, Game Design and Development, Early Childhood Care and Management and Technological Communications.

SUNY Canton Plants Tree in Memory of Campus Construction Worker

Monday, June 18th, 2018

SUNY Canton has planted a tree in remembrance of an area worker who lost his life during the construction of the new hill campus more than 50 years ago.

“During the course of our research into our history corresponding with our milestone ‘50 Years on the Hill’ anniversary, we learned that Merlin L. Rafter was involved in a tragic accident,” said Vice President for Advancement Anne M. Sibley. “We are remembering this historically significant event to recognize the devoted worker who spent his final days building SUNY Canton.”

Merlin’s sister Sandra Mattice, his brother Randy Rafter, his daughter Judy Hargrave, his other daughter Linda Dixson, his widow Geraldine Gale, his son Terry Rafter, and Terry’s daughter, Sherry Rafter

The family of Merlin L. Rafter, a construction worker who lost his life during the initial construction of SUNY Canton, attended a memorial tree planting ceremony on campus. Pictured are (l to r) Merlin’s sister Sandra Mattice, his brother Randy Rafter, his daughter Judy Hargrave, his other daughter Linda Dixson, his widow Geraldine Gale, his son Terry Rafter, and Terry’s daughter, Sherry Rafter. The family is from Madrid.

On Oct. 10, 1966, Rafter was killed while the campus was beginning to take shape, according to John A. Goetze, who served as both a faculty member and the facilities project coordinator at the college. Rafter and two other workmen descended into a trench to help lay a section of pipe. Without warning, the trench suddenly collapsed on them. Two other workers involved with the accident escaped injury, according to the Oct. 11, 1966 edition of the St. Lawrence Plaindealer. Rafter was a resident of Norwood and hailed from Madrid.

Merlin Rafter

A portrait of Merlin L. Rafter provided by his family. Rafter lost his life during a construction accident at SUNY Canton in 1966.

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran encouraged the college to plant an Ivory Lilac (syringa reticula) tree overlooking the campus to celebrate Rafter and his family.

“Planting a tree lets us reflect on the longtime friends of the college,” said Szafran. “As it blooms each spring, we’ll be reminded that Merlin gave everything as part of the effort to help us build this great college. Students, faculty and staff will all enjoy this beautiful addition to the campus for many years to come.”

Terry Rafter, Judy Hargrave, Linda Dixson, and Geraldine Gale helping to plant a tree in memory of Merlin L. Rafter

Pictured are (l to r) Terry Rafter, Judy Hargrave, Linda Dixson, and Geraldine Gale helping to plant a tree in memory of Merlin L. Rafter, who died in 1966 during the construction of the SUNY Canton hill campus.

Rafter’s family attended the tree planting ceremony held during the college’s alumni weekend celebration (Saturday, June 2). The tree and a memorial plaque were purchased by the Canton College Foundation and Szafran.

“It’s impossible to know what Merlin was thinking about on that day he came to work in 1966,” Szafran said. “Perhaps he was thinking about his upcoming plans to hunt or fish here in St. Lawrence County. He may have been thinking about his family, including his wife, Geraldine, and their sons and daughters. We’d like to speculate he was thinking about all of those things in addition to feeling the pride and accomplishment in creating a place where future generations would come to learn and better their lives.”