First-Ever Potsdam Academy Features Full Day of Fun Classes to Kick Off SUNY Potsdam Reunion Weekend


The first-ever Potsdam Academy will allow you to go “back to school” for a day, experiencing hands-on classes and activities to kick off SUNY Potsdam’s Reunion Weekend, on July 10.

SUNY Potsdam professors will offer a full day of exciting, hands-on art and science classes to kick off the College's Reunion Weekend this year. The first-ever Potsdam Academy will offer the public a chance to return to the classroom for a day, with a full day of interesting courses led by faculty members.

The Potsdam Academy is open to everyone, and alumni are especially encouraged to join in to relive the student experience at their alma mater, on Thursday, July 10.

Choose a full day of art or science classes, or mix and match. The day will culminate with a lecture combining the two disciplines.

"We have an incredible variety of topics offered for the first Potsdam Academy. In one day, participants can make photograms in the dark room, look at bacteria under a microscope, learn the science behind baking bread, and finish the day with a little quantum theory," said event organizer Kathryn Deuel, manager of special projects for SUNY Potsdam. "This new and unique program makes summer school fun."

On July 10, check-in and breakfast will be offered in Becky's Place from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

From 9 to 10:15 a.m., Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Lawrence Brehm will offer insight into how X-rays reveal molecular structure, showing how the shape of DNA can be deduced from the analysis of diffraction patterns. Assistant Professor of Art Iggy Beerbower will lead a hands-on class about the "camera-less" photography of photograms, by placing objects onto light-sensitive paper, exposing it to light and developing the print.

From 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., John Proetta, an adjunct instructor for the Department of Chemistry, will lead a session on the history of "bakistry," exploring the science behind baking cookies, bread, cake and more. April Vasher-Dean, director of The Arts Museum at SUNY Potsdam, will offer a crash course on an introduction to performance studies. Participants will explore their own roles in everyday performance, complete with costumes, props and dialogue, including through in-class exercises.

There will be a break for lunch on campus, included with the cost of registration, from noon to 1 p.m.

From 1 to 2:15 p.m., Dr. Gordon Plague, an assistant professor of biology, will offer a lecture entitled "Bubonic Plague, Syphilis and Lyme Disease: How Bacteria Have Shaped Human History." Dr. Douglas Rubio, professor of classical guitar at The Crane School of Music, will reflect on the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles to the United States, including footage of their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Following the classes, all Potsdam Academy participants will be invited to attend a lecture, "Art is the Science of Expression: Quantum Theory," led by Dr. Linghong Li, an assistant professor of physics. She will show how quantum theory allows probabilities to be calculated, but how certainty can only be established when an observation is made. Li will explore the interplay of physical reality, life, human thought and artistic expression, through hands-on activities.

The Potsdam Academy concludes with a "graduation" ceremony at the Early Bird Gathering, which officially opens Reunion Weekend 2014 at SUNY Potsdam. The gathering will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., also in Becky's Place.

Registration for the Potsdam Academy is $50, which includes breakfast, a full day of classes and materials, and lunch on campus. You don't need to attend Reunion Weekend to join in the fun.

For more information or to register, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at (315) 267-2120 or visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.