The College Foundation has received approximately $100,000 in initial donations from SUNY Canton students, faculty, staff and community members.
A new scholarship endowment has been established to honor the commitment and dedication of SUNY Canton President Dr. Joseph L. Kennedy and his wife Dine.
“There is no better way to pay tribute to the commitment of the Kennedys than to establish this endowment,” said Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach. “I’m not alone in this feeling. So far, we’ve raised close to $100,000 in gifts and pledges.”
Kennedy served the College for almost two decades and will be retiring August 31.
The Joseph L. and Dine Kennedy Endowed Scholarship waspublicly announced at the College’s 104th Commencement Ceremony by Student Government Association President Daynelle Richards, a 2012 graduate of the health services management program.
“For the past 19 years, students have benefitted from the advocacy from Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy,” Richards said. “The Student Government Association (SGA) contributed funds to help create this new endowment. Thisscholarship keeps with the spirit the Kennedys have always shown during their time at the college, and will benefit students who demonstrate high academic achievement for years to come.”
Prior to the public announcement, the Canton College Foundation had received support from SUNY Canton Faculty and Staff, who wanted to continue the Kennedys’ legacy. Financially, the SGA donated $20,000 to the new endowment and the College Association donated $30,000. Faculty and staff and alumni have contributed an additional $46,000 to create the scholarship.
“Dr. Kennedy has made a difference in students’ lives and in the overall life of SUNY Canton and the Northern New York community,” College Council Chairman Ronald M. O’Neill said. “It is a fitting tribute that the Kennedy family is honored through a scholarship that will continue their legacy beyond their time.”
Kennedy began rebranding the College when he started his career in 1994. Under his leadership, the College has moved from a primarily two-year school to a four-year baccalaureate degree granting institution ofhigher learning. The College now offers 23 career-driven bachelor degrees in addition to its associate and certificate programs. Kennedy initiated the creation of SUNY Canton OnLine featuring 190 courses each semester and 8 fully online bachelor’s degree programs.
“It is difficult to put into words all of Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy’s accomplishments without overlooking something,” Gerlach said. “The campus we have today, the feeling of family this College offers to our students, their parents, and to our faculty and staff, all stem from Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy’s deep commitment to making SUNY Canton the best educational experience for all. They have transformed the College and over the past several years we have likely become the fastest growing college in New York State.”
The entire physical space of the campus has been changed under his presidency. New building additions include the Richard W. Miller Campus Center, the Newell Veterinary Technology Center, the AthleticFacility, nicknamed Roos House, and the Grasse River Suites, an apartment-style residence hall.
The College’s enrollment has grown from below 2,000 students in 1993 to nearly 4,000 students today. The focus of providing the highest quality career-driven education for the most economical price has always been Kennedy’s top priority. He said, “A SUNY Canton education changes the lives of our students, their families, and our community because we provide the training for successful careers.”
Under his guidance, the assets of the Canton College Foundation have grown from $1 million to over $40 million today. The College awards nearly $500,000 annually in scholarship support to students in need. As a result of Kennedy’s innovative leadership, the Foundation has received million dollar gifts from professors Richard W. Miller and Herman Kalberer as well as alumnus Joel Canino, Class of 1959, Elaine Claxton Pidgeon, and an anonymous donor.
“The College’s accomplishments under Dr. Kennedy’s leadership are extraordinary,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carli C. Schiffner, who will serve as Interim President upon Kennedy’s departure. “The entire faculty and staff look forward to continuing the successes and momentum he has created. I feel honored to be among the donors for this scholarship and all that it stands for.”
Dine Kennedy is a dedicated community volunteer who has worked with the Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) Evergreen Campaign, has served as a Board member for Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, and represents St. Lawrence Valley Educational Television Council, Inc. on the National Leadership Council for Advancing Public Service Media in America. She served 10 years on the Benton Board of the Canton Free Library, including serving as Treasurer and President, served on the North Country Public Radio Community Advisory Board; served 11 years as a Board member, vice-chair, and chair for WPBS, and served 8 years on the Board of Trustees for Canton-Potsdam Hospital. St. Lawrence University recognized her volunteer efforts in 2010 by awarding her their North Country Citizen Citation.
To make a donation to the Joseph and Dine Kennedy Scholarship endowment, contact the SUNY Canton College Foundation, 315-386-7527, 800-811-6727, or email firstname.lastname@example.org