October 26, 2015

SUNY Empire State College Celebrates 25 Years of Service at Fort Drum

SUNY North Country Consortium Celebrates 30 Years of Service in Watertown

Colonel Bryan Laske, garrison commander at Fort Drum, cuts the cake emblazoned with “A tradition of excellence in education,” the event celebratory theme, as Nikki Shrimpton, dean of undergraduate studies for SUNY Empire, looks on.
Colonel Bryan Laske, garrison commander at Fort Drum, cuts the cake at the celebratory event, as Nikki Shrimpton, dean of undergraduate studies for SUNY Empire, looks on. Photo provided

SUNY Empire State College recently marked 25 years of continuous service, at Fort Drum, N.Y., and 30 years of membership in the SUNY North Country Consortium serving soldiers, their families and dependents with U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division.

“A tradition of excellence in education,” was the theme of a recent celebratory event, held on the base Oct. 22, in recognition of SUNY’s service to the women and men of Fort Drum and the greater Watertown-area community.

Colonel Bryan Laske, garrison commander at Fort Drum, attended the event and remarked how access to higher education is a reason that many young people join the military. He also said that higher education is a valuable part of soldiers’ growth while in the service and that it acts a bridge to a successful civilian life, as they transition out of the military.

Nikki Shrimpton, dean of undergraduate studies for the college, attended the event and said, “Serving the men and women of the 10th Mountain Division is a great source of pride for all of SUNY Empire. The soldiers and families who have worked so hard and given up so much to complete a SUNY degree are the real heroes. The faculty who have educated soldiers and their families and the college’s staff who have supported them throughout the years also have earned the college’s praise.”

Shrimpton was responsible for the college’s office at the base in her previous role as dean of the Central New York Center.

Soldiers, who also are alumni of several consortium colleges, talked about how the collaboration among SUNY colleges helped them achieve their academic goals and complete their degrees.

A letter of commendation, official proclamations and a citation were provided by Rep. Elise Stefanik, state Sen. Pattie Ritchie, state Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, who also attended the event, and state Assemblywoman Addie Russell.

Area SUNY colleges first formed the consortium when the Army reactivated the division 30 years ago; later, a consortium presence was established on the base.

The current members of the consortium are SUNY Canton, SUNY Empire, Jefferson Community College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Potsdam and Upstate Medical University.

Consortium representatives who attended the event included Carole McCoy, president, and Terrence Harris, dean of continuing education and community outreach, JCC; Lorrie Clemo, provost, and Jill Pippin, dean for extended learning, SUNY Oswego; and Marina Privman, associate professor and coordinator of SUNY Empire’s Fort Drum office.

Privman also is a past recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Excellence in Mentoring Award.

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