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SUNY Potsdam beats 2011-2012 fundraising goal

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POTSDAM — SUNY Potsdam graduates love their alma mater, and it shows in the record-setting pace of their donations.

“I am so deeply touched by the generosity of our alumni and friends, and their profound and abiding commitment to making sure that today’s students have all of the opportunities necessary for success in higher education and in life,” said John F. Schwaller, college president, in a released statement.

In 2011-2012, SUNY Potsdam raised over $2.6 million, beating its $2.5 million goa. It also ranked first among its peer-institutions, topping larger schools like SUNY College of Buffalo and SUNY Plattsburgh.

The school’s $3 million 2010 haul was ranked 15th nationally among master’s-degree conferring universities.

Emily F. Hutchinson, Potsdam’s director of development, said a lot of the donations come from classes celebrating reunions this year.

“Well, the number one factor is our wonderful alumni who continue to give to us generously and safely every year despite the economic conditions,” she said. “We are very fortunate to have dedicated alumni who enjoyed their time with us.”

Ms. Hutchinson said the school’s small class sizes and bucolic north country setting prompt alumni to open their wallets.

“Students leave campus thinking of Potsdam as home, they really remember how special it is,” she said.

Ms. Hutchinson said most donations will be used to establish scholarship funds.

“As unrestricted giving increases, we choose to use a large portion of that for our scholarship fund, so it does have a direct impact on students and the services that we can provide support for,” she said.

Though most of the school’s recent fundraising hauls have come from alumni, Ms. Hutchinson says local businesses are also pitching in more.

“When they invest back in the college, it is a great thing for our community,” she said. “They’re really helping to build the workforce of tomorrow. We are very fortunate that our local businesses recognize the quality of education that we have to provide.”

Last month, Ogdensburg native Jason N. Ladouceur, director of planned giving, was recognized for his fundraising prowess with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award. Mr. Ladouceur alone has solicited over $3.5 million in gifts to the university in the last year.

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