Hall of Fame

Robert Axtell ’53

William F. Burns ’48

Chester Buxton

Eileen Crary

John T. Dillon ’58

David W. Eaton ’61

Creighton C. Fee

Patricia Flath

Stephen J. Fuller

William A. Gokey ’48

Florence “Ruth” & Gould Hoyt, Jr.

Frank M. Hutchins

Charles D. Kirche

Frederick Klein, Jr. ’60

Natalie Bombard Leduc ’51

Betty Lou & Harrison Lester

Elizabeth Betty Little

Caroline Draper Lussi ’60

Richard V. Newell ’48

George & Frances Peroni

Michael A. Rechlin ’66

William Rutherford

E. Philip Saunders

Stephen V.R. Simkins

J. Phelps Smith

Paul E. Sorgule ’70

J. Curt Stager

Timothy D. Sullivan ’64

Stirling Tomkins, Jr.

Gray Trombly

Joan H. Weill

Howard Welch


The inaugural Paul Smith’s College Hall of Fame was printed in three different newspapers. Click here to view!

To learn more about Hall of Fame criteria and to nominate an individual, visit this page.

Robert Axtell

Class of 1953

Bob Axtell competed in downhill, slalom, jumping and cross country at his high school and as a freshmen at Paul Smith’s College, he won the U.S. Eastern Four Event Championship at Jenkins Mountain in 1951.

The four events included ski jumping and cross country. He was invited to try out for the 1952 F.I.S. cross country team and the 1954 U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined team. Axtel was the King of the Paul Smith’s College Winter Carnival in 1952, and also won the ski meister title at the weekend’s ski racing events in the four disciplines.

After graduating, and two years of military service, he returned to PSC to start his ski coaching career, while also coaching the Old Forge HS team to the Eastern High School Championship. He also returned to baseball as the shortstop for the local Brighton Blues, a regional powerhouse in Gabriels.

Throughout the 50s and 60s, Axtell coached skiing and soccer at Norwich University and St. Lawrence University, joining the Hall of Fame of the former.

Axtell served as head alpine coach of the 1972 World University Games in Lake Placid, chief of equipment at the Nordic venue at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and chief of competition at the Junior World Games in Lake Placid in 1990.
Following his retirement from coaching, which also included a stint as men’s tennis coach at St. Lawrence, he became a technical delegate for the Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association. After retiring from the sporting goods business he and his wife Mary Ann owned, he served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Saint Lawrence University Nordic program for several years.

William Burns

Class of 1948

William F. Burns is credited with starting the Six Man Award, and was very involved in reunion and loved to coordinate the annual alumni “casino” event, including training new dealers.

Actively involved with the alumni board and council since 1991, Burns served on several committees including terms as chairman of the nominating and by-laws committees. He received his bachelor’s in business administration from Hofstra University in 1954. Retired since 1990, he spent most of his career employed by Cities Service Oil Company as purchasing agent and export traffic manager. He also worked several years with Quaker Oats affiliates as assistant to the vice president and as a private business consultant. Burns then became director of the Bethel Youth Board and the archivist and curator of the Sullivan County Historical Society.

He was committed to his work with the alumni association and council to help Paul Smith’s College reach its future educational and physical goals.

Chester L. Buxton

President Emeritus

Chester L. Buxton (1903-1996) served as the third president of Paul Smith’s College for 28 years, from 1948 until his retirement in 1975.

He was drafted from Clarkson College by PSC trustees in 1948 to head the then-struggling college. In article titled “Paul Smith’s and Dr. Buxton: the story of a college and a man” in the August 21 Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Buxton was referred to as “almost legendary, like Paul Smith before him, for he is respected not only for all that he has done in developing the college, but for his leadership in community.”

Under his presidency, the college enrollment grew from 150 to 1,100 and a few old hotel buildings were replaced with new buildings for dormitories, classrooms, labs and lecture halls, and a gymnasium with a swimming pool. Dr. Buxton received a B.S. and M.S. in physics from Case Institute of Technology and a doctorate of science from Clarkson Institute of Technology. He began his teaching career in the North Country when he became a member of the faculty at Clarkson College of Technology in 1937 where he taught math and physics.

Besides working in education, Buxton also worked in business, as the president of the Paul Smith’s Power and Light Company until it merged with Niagara Mohawk Power Co., and as president of Paul Smith’s Telephone Co. Buxton continued his long involvement with Paul Smith’s College after his retirement as a member of the board of trustees, trustee emeritus and consultant. Buxton Gym was named after him.

Eileen Crary

Administrative Assistant

Eileen Crary retired as the administrative assistant to the college president and board of trustees on May 28, 2004. Eileen began her Paul Smith’s career right out of high school, at the age of 17, as the secretary to the then president, Dr. Chester Buxton.

Including Buxton, she served under seven official college presidents and a handful of interim presidents for 54 years.
Upon her retirement, President John Mills said that, “We’re not only losing a valuable member of the executive cabinet, we’re losing the sage counsel and institutional memory that has been so critical for decision making at the administrative level.”

In 2002, to honor Eileen’s 50 years of service, the board of trustees established an endowed scholarship in her name, “The Eileen Crary Scholarship”, which provides financial support to deserving students from the Adirondacks who demonstrate the qualities of dedication, honesty and loyalty, the very qualities epitomized by the honoree.

John Dillon

Class of 1958

Dillon, former International Paper (IP) president, COO and CEO, committed $1 million in 2017 to renovate the chemistry labs. An October 27, 2017, event was held to celebrate his transformational generosity and the completed renovations of the John T. Dillon Science Center. This recent gift is the largest alumnus donation ever, with his total giving exceeding $2 million.

IP built the college-operated John Dillon Park in Dillon’s honor after he retired in 2003. This camping and recreation area, located just outside Long Lake, N.Y., was built to ADA standards and includes wheelchair-accessible sleeping platforms, toilets, picnic tables, lean-tos, fire pits and more. Staff, on call 24 hours a day, also assist in camping setup and delivery of supplies.

Other notable gifts include $600,000 to establish Dillon’s Mill, a challenge matching grant that helped raise more than $50,000 to establish the Gould Hoyt Memorial Scholarship, and was instrumental in the $250K gift that established the International Paper Endowed Professorship.Dillon served on the college’s board of trustees from 1982 to 1992, and in 1993 was named trustee emeritus. He was the commencement speaker in 1999, and was the honoree of the first Paul Smith’s College Gala in NYC and recipient of the Adirondack Medal in 2001, which raised a surprising $250,000 and was the catalyst for future PSC gala events.

David W. Eaton

Class of 1961

Dave Eaton is co-owner of Bob’s Trees in Galway, N.Y., where Christmas trees and shrubbery stock are grown on over 600 aces of land.

Eaton was a member of the Alumni Board of Directors beginning in October 1991 and recently resigned to now serve as council exempt.

He and his wife, Linda, host the Albany Area Clambake every August and a pancake breakfast in March. In 2014, he and Linda started an endowed scholarship in their name. Eaton is also involved in the Paul Smith’s College Boosters.
Eaton has served on both the Development and Social committees, and he and Linda are both instrumental in managing the annual alumni reunion auction.

Eaton is a tree farmer by profession and has been involved over the years with campus landscaping projects, providing shrubbery, landscaping materials, equipment, labor and expertise.
Closer to home, Eaton is a member of the New York State Nurserymen Association and uses his leisure time for bowling, fishing and hunting.

Creighton C. Fee

Professor Emeritus

Professor Emeritus Creighton C. Fee (1927- 2012) served in the U.S. Army from February 1946 to April 1947 as part of the Army of Occupation, 304 Signal Battalion, 8th Army, Yokohama, Japan. He graduated from the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse in June 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in wood technology.

He had been a licensed land surveyor since 1958 and worked as a surveyor, on the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway among many other surveying projects. In 1972, he was appointed assistant professor at Paul Smith’s College in surveying technology, later promoted to associate professor and finally full professor. He retired as professor emeritus in 1997, after 25 years with Paul Smith’s.

He was a charter member of the New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors, recipient of the NYSAPLS Meritorious Services Award in 1997, and as a token of their appreciation, the alumni of the surveying technology program of Paul Smith’s College created the C.C. Fee Alumni Memorial Scholarship. He retired from his land surveying business in December 2009.

Patricia Flath

Professor Emeritus

During her tenure, professor Pat Flath, affectionately referred to by students as “Ma,” has served the college in virtually every capacity, from head of the math/science division to interim head of the forestry division to dean of academic affairs.

She has earned numerous distinctions as a leading college educator and is highly respected for her contributions to the field of chemistry and her use of computer applications in education. She was named Outstanding Educator in America and was awarded a prestigious Academic Year Fellowship from the Nation­al Science Foundation. Together with Mike Rechlin ‘66, Flath initiated the ecology and environmental technology (EET) program at Paul Smith’s, a program that counts several hundred graduates to date. This past summer, Flath’s onetime EET disciples returned to campus during reunion weekend to cele­brate her achievements and engage in some outrageous activities just for old times’ sake.

Flath has earned the total and absolute loyalty and respect of her students and colleagues. She is unre­lenting in her support of students; she was always avail­able to meet with them and support them in their quest to achieve their educational goals.

She published “Speaking Chemistry” to guide her students through the complexities of first-year chemistry. “Pat has taught not only the elements of the physical world,” said colleague professor Elizabeth Young, “but the elements of learning and of life as well.”

Stephen J. Fuller

Packbasket Bookstore

Steve Fuller worked at Paul Smith’s College for over 40 years, including nearly his entire career in the Packbasket Bookstore on campus. Fuller initially came to the Adirondacks to visit a friend and fell in love with the region. He began with the college in Sept. 1977 and retired in June 2018.

Fuller, affectionately referred to by some as “Dad,” was a well-known figure both in the Packbasket, elsewhere in the student center, as well as the surrounding area. He became very familiar with area trails and waterways, information appreciated by college students and visitors, and he also worked as caretaker at a handful of seasonal lakefront camps on nearby Osgood Pond.

Fuller provided maintenance services for the camp owners as he prepared the properties for the return of families and closed them for the winter season.

William A. Gokey

Class of 1948

William A. Gokey, a graduate from the class of 1948, was elected to the Paul Smith’s College Board of Trustees as an alumni representative.

After graduation he was employed as a timber cruiser for International Paper and for other companies Gokey served in the capacity as forest consultant, lumber buyer and grader and as owner and operator of dry kiln. He is presently employed by Uhl, Hall and Rich, Consulting Engineers, for the Niagara Power Project.

Before attending Paul Smith’s College, Gokey spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. He was a flight engineer and was overseas for three years in the European theater.

Florence “Ruth & Gould Hoyt, Jr.

Professors Emeritus

Professor Emeritus Gould Jennings Hoyt Jr. (1922-2012) served in World War II, afterward earning his master’s degree in forestry from Syracuse University. Gould began his PSC career in 1953, teaching forestry classes and advising the forestry club. He was also charged with operating the college’s sugarbush and initiated and coached,the highly successful woodsmen’s team, which won the spring meet annually from 1957 to 1965 (the longest string of consecutive victories in the history of the meet).

He started the horse logging program, a course that continues today, that instructed students in the effective hands-on use of horses in logging operations. In 1969, the forestry club cabin was completed, a multi-year process, built by forestry club members under Gould’s guidance and leadership. Gould served as a full time professor until his retirement in 1983, and he continued to coach the woodsmen’s team until 1992. Gould touched the lives of many people, with his booming voice, red suspenders and mantra: “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Hoyt way.”

Florence “Ruth” Klein Hoyt (1916-2014) earned an MS in education from the University of Pennsylvania and served in World War II teaching pilots in simulators. After, she enrolled at Syracuse University and earned a Ph.D. in counseling and personnel administration.

It was there that she met Gould, who was earning his master’s degree. They married in 1948. Ruth taught English at Paul Smith’s College in the 1950s and again in 1970s. She helped Gould in many significant endeavors, such as the building of the forestry club cabin and the restoration of the famous Paul Smith’s stagecoach. Ruth volunteered endless hours as the creator and long-time curator of the Paul Smith’s College Museum, keeping safe the historical artifacts from the Paul Smith’s Hotel, Lydia Martin Smith and legendary hotelier Paul Smith.

Franklin M. Hutchins

Trustee Emeritus

Frank Hutchins was born in Rochester, N.Y. on July 7, 1922, and attended Brighton schools before graduating from Philips Exeter Academy in 1941 and enrolling in Dartmouth College. His studies were interrupted by World War II.

After serving in the infantry in North Africa and completing officer training at Fort Benning, Ga., he returned to Dartmouth to compete his bachelor’s and earn an MBA from Amos Tuck School of Business in 1948.

Hutchins returned to Rochester and joined Hutchins Advertising Co. As president and CEO, he grew the company to national stature, becoming one of the country’s leading agencies for telephone directory advertising. Frank was a very successful businessman but he had a passion for the Adirondacks. He purchased property on Lake Clear in 1963 and this led him to longstanding support and leadership of Paul Smith’s College as a trustee for 23 years.

He was a founding director of the Adirondack Park Institute (API) and among the earliest supporters of the Visitor Interpretive Center. At a gathering in Rochester in 1988 at Genesee Valley Club, hosted with the Nature Conservancy in regard to their proposal to establish a Rochester field office, when the need for a nonprofit “friends” group for the VICs came up, Hutchins did not hesitate to respond that he would be happy to organize such a group and lead its efforts. The API was born. Hutchins and New York State Staffer Ed Lynch worked together as the sites evolved and by the time of the first opening in 1989, the API was fully organized and functioning. It was originally headquartered in Newcomb.  In the early 2000s Hutchins recommended the API office be moved to Paul Smiths, closer to supporters and the college.

When the state made the decision in 2010 to eliminate funding for interpretive visitor centers, SUNY ESF agreed to assume operation of the Newcomb site and Paul Smith’s College trustees took on the namesake center for $1. Beginning in 2011 the college operated the VIC and the API has contributed annual funding. The public remains the largest user/participant of the VIC programs, facilities and trails, so a separate effort was mounted to secure partial funding through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. That inclusion has since been part of the operating budget.

The API now has a growing list of trustees and the newly created advisory council which includes Kathy Hutchins Welling. Also, it established the Frank Hutchins Environmental Leadership award, which recognizes and honors the qualities that Hutchins exhibited and valued, as well as exceptional leadership in fostering educational programs and experiences as a foundation for stewardship of the Park’s natural resources and sustainable communities. In 2020, Betsy Folwell of Adirondack Life received the award.

Hutchins was awarded an honorary doctorate in commercial sciences from Paul Smith’s College. From the beginning, no single individual has given more time, support and devotion to the success of the Paul Smith’s College VIC than Frank Hutchins.

Charles D. Kirche

Professor Emeritus

Professor Charles D. Kirche Jr. (1916-2002), a life-long resident of Paul Smiths, was hired as Paul Smith’s first math teacher in 1946 and subsequently served as math department chairman and head of the liberal arts division. He also coached the college rifle team to several regional championships, was president of the Paul Smiths Fish and Game Club, and sponsored local hunter safety programs.

An excerpt from the Spring 1983 Sequel regarding his retirement read “Professor Kirche’s importance to Paul Smith’s College is difficult to overstate: the 1947-48 college catalog lists him on all four of the college’s faculty committees, as well as advisor to the student council. Few men have had the dedication to an institution that professor Kirche has had and his presence will be greatly missed at the college.”

His long association predates the formal establishment of the college because of his acquaintance with Phelps Smith. Additionally, in 1942, he returned to Paul Smiths to train Army radio technicians for the Signal Corps; these were the first students to be taught on what is now the Paul Smith’s College campus.He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at St. Lawrence University in 1939 and 1946, respectively. He was a member of the national honorary mathematics society, Pi Mu Epsilon, and was elected to the 1973 edition of Who’s Who Among American College Teachers.

Frederick Klein, Jr.

Class of 1960

Frederick Klein Jr. ‘60 enlisted in the U.S. Army on Dec. 9, 1942. He graduated from flight school in the class of 44 G with a 2nd. Lt. Commission.

He then served as a pilot flying P-51 aircraft with the 504 Fighter Squadron, 339 Fighter Group, of the 8th Air Force during the Central European Campaign. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on Dec. 1,1945. On Nov. 15, 1945, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force Reserve from which he was honorably discharged on April 21, 1959.

He graduated from Paul Smith’s College of forestry in 1960. He then served as forester and lands manager for the Paul Smith’s Electrical Co. and for the college until his retirement on Sept. 1, 1994. He was a member of the Society of American Foresters during his tenure at Paul Smith’s College.

Natalie Bombard Leduc

Class of 1961

Natalie “Nat” Bombard Leduc was an assistant professor of physical education at Paul Smith’s College. During her tenure, she never missed a day for health reasons. Enthusiastic and energetic, Leduc was a driving force behind women’s sports and in addition to being a teacher, she had been a friend to countless students.

Leduc was featured in the September/October 2011 issue of Skiing Heritage magazine for her collection of more than 500 volumes of winter sports research. Her friend wrote, “I don’t know another woman in the ski world who has contributed as much as she has to its history.” Leduc was named the 2006 volunteer of the year through her countless efforts and many volunteer ventures throughout the tri-lakes region.

Betty Lou & Harrison Lester

Staff & Professor Emeritus

The 1998 St. Regian yearbook acknowledged Betty and Harrison Lester for their 30-plus years of service and dedication to the students, staff and faculty of Paul Smith’s College. The article states that Paul Smith’s has come be their family, and they have both always been committed to the students, staff and faculties’ needs.

Harrison’s father worked for Phelps Smith with the horses and stagecoach and maintained the grounds. Harrison, a life-long resident, worked in the maintenance department for 33 years until his 1989 retirement. He began working at Camp Gabriels when it was part of the campus. In later years, he served as the college’s “runner” making daily bank deposits, picking up student prescriptions, taking students to doctor appointments, delivering campus mail, and numerous other added responsibilities.

Betty began her Paul Smith’s career in 1963 and served more than 35 years. She was the lead cook for the SAGA/ Marriott Corporation for over 20 years. She was “truly here for her extended family—the students,” as was demonstrated through her continuous efforts to assist students with any needs they may have. Betty possessed a great deal of knowledge and skill in the kitchen and nutrition area. She had a personal commitment to strive for excellence and it carried on in the many managers whom she trained.

Betty Little

New York State Senator

Former New York State Senator Betty Little served as senator from January 2003 to December 2020. Her service spanned Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington counties. She served as a trustee of Paul Smith’s College from 2003 to 2005.

She has long been supportive of the college and has been instrumental in finding and securing funding for various projects and supports the college in many ways. Her recent efforts have included funding for tick-borne disease research and for the college’s School of Logging. She has also helped the Paul Smith’s College VIC through state budget funding.

In 2019, Little served as the keynote speaker at the Paul Smith’s College commencement. “Commencement at Paul Smith’s College is such a memorable moment for students and their families and friends,” said Little. “Representing the college as state senator and also having served as a trustee, I am humbled by the opportunity to share in the students’ special day. I look forward to seeing these young adults, now well-prepared to shape their own futures as well as ours, cross the stage and embark on the new journeys that await them.”Little was first elected to the state senate in 2002 after having spent seven years in the state assembly. The Glens Falls native was a member of a number of committees including Environmental Conservation; Women’s Issues; Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation; and Education.

Caroline Lussi

Class of 1960

Caroline Lussi and her family own and operate several businesses in Lake Placid, including the Crowne Plaza Resort, The Lake Placid Club and Lake Placid Marina. The family also co-owns the Hampton Inn and Suites in Lake Placid with trustee Phil Saunders. Lussi served on the board of trustees from 1984 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2013. She was named a Trustee Emeriti in 2014. Caroline was presented with an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree at the 2002 Commencement.

Lussi has hosted many events over many years for the college and introduced many of her philanthropic friends and neighbors to the college. In 2019, Lussi established a fund with a $20,000 gift through the Adirondack Foundation for a Chinese student interested in pursuing nordic skiing. She also established a successful $500K match campaign for the $1 million endowment of the Lussi-Draper Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleoecology, now held by Curt Stager.

Lussi recently added an additional $100,000 to the fund which is managed and distributed by the Adirondack Foundation. Not all of these gifts are reflected in her Paul Smith’s College total giving history as the gifts are recognized as gifts to the Adirondack Foundation who distributes the funds to PSC. Caroline and Serge have been married 60 years.

Her father-in-law, Gustave Lussi, taught and coached 16 world champions and seven Olympic Gold Medalist figure skaters including Dick Button, Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton. Lussi’s father, Arthur G. Draper, was a pioneer in development of ski centers in NYS including Gore Mountain and Whiteface. Lussi and Serge have three children – Katrina, Arthur and Cristina and eight grandchildren, including grandaughter Nina Lussi, who was heading to the 2018 Olympics, when she suffered a season-ending injury during the US Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah just a few weeks before the Olympics. More recently, Nina was named in USA Nordic’s 2020-2021 season nominations.

Richard W. Newell

Class of 1948

Richard Newell was a member of the first Paul Smith’s College graduating class. He served on the board of trustees from 1986 to 2000, at which point he was elected to the Alumni Association board of directors. He was awarded the 1991 Alumni of the Year Award.

“We knew we were the first class, of course,” said Newell. “I guess we didn’t know we were making history, though. Probably like any kid graduating from college, I was worrying more about where I was going to find a job.”
Newell worked as project engineer with Mechanical Technology Inc., Latham, N.Y., and was formerly a designer and design engineer with G.E. He received his bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Rensaelaer Poly Tech in 1956. Newell spent nine years go­ing to night school three nights a week to earn his bachelor’s.

After twenty years of working his way up through the management ranks at General Electric, Newell moved to other firms as a general manager, eventually retiring from Empire Manufacturing in 1990. Newell credits Paul Smith’s College for giving him his start. “John Sullivan ‘48 and I were recipients of the first PSC scholarship to stu­dents from Saranac Lake,” said Newell. “It was an honor and my primary reason for going to Paul Smith’s.”

Today, Newell is retired and has returned to the Adirondacks with his wife Jean. You will like­ly spot them together at the annual Sugarbush Breakfast—who can resist that fresh maple syrup? His decision to support Paul Smith’s College was an easy one for him. “I grew up in Paul Smiths and my roots are there,” he said. “I believe in private education, and there just aren’t that many private schools in the Adirondacks. I feel Paul Smith’s is truly a unique place.

George & Frances Peroni

Professors Emeritus

George Peroni taught in the Forestry Division at Paul Smith’s College for over 30 years. His wife, Fran (affectionately known to her students as Ma Peroni) taught in the Hospitality Division.

Peroni fought in World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, receiving a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant, before attending Paul Smith’s and graduating in 1949 with an applied science degree. He then worked in the area with the US Forest Service and in 1951 met his wife-to-be, already teaching at the college. They had three children.

The Peronis offered not only academic support to countless students, but also befriended many, taking them under their wing. The Peroni’s were well known for their advising, nurturing and caring for students, and both were deeply dedicated and devoted to the college over their teaching careers.

Michael A. Rechlin

Class of 1966

Dr. Michael Rechlin ‘66 joined the faculty in 1973 and was charged with designing the biological and ecological aspects of the ecology and environmental technology (EET) program. His list of accomplishments grew exponentially from that moment on.

At times listed as a faculty mem­ber in the forestry division of which he was head from 1987 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 1998, and at other times listed in the natural resources division, Rechlin has been an extremely valuable and versatile member of the college’s faculty. “Michael’s energy is often the equivalent of two ‘normal’ human beings,” said fellow faculty member professor Linda Kirstein.

Rechlin has established an international identity for the college through his involvement with USAID Future Generations and as coordinator for the International Conference of Education for Forest Technicians for the 21st Century, and again as a senior research scientist and senior advisor to the dean of the Institute of Forestry in Nepal.

He was also a member of a delegation that traveled to the People’s Republic of China, working with forestry colleagues from the Chinese Ministry of Forestry, the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Paul Smith’s College. He has been instrumental in bringing international groups from Tibet, Siberia, Italy and Nepal to Paul Smith’s College to study sustainable forestry practices.

Rechlin served as chair of the stage­ coach restoration committee, was an insightful and valuable member of the 2+2 committee and chair of the 2+2 celebration. He championed the pursuit of Green Certification under the Smart Wood and Sustainable Forestry Initiative programs, and served as a mem­ber of the Visitor Interpretive Center task force. The college community wishes Rechlin and his family well as he continues his work with Future Generations in St. Louis

William Rutherford

Professor Emeritus

Dean William Rutherford, head of the forestry division, retired after 32 years of dedicated service to Paul Smith’s College. He was with the college through thick and thin, from its struggle for existence to a leader of private junior colleges. It is largely because of his endeavors that the forestry division today enjoys such a good reputation in the country.

As a tribute to his services, his colleagues, friends and students presented him with a beautiful guide boat.

E. Philip Saunders

Chairman Emeritus

Philip Saunders has been a long-standing member of the board of trustees since 1991 and was elected chairman emeritus after serving as the chairman from 2010-2016.

Saunders was awarded an honorary degree, a doctorate in commercial science, from Paul Smith’s College on May 4, 2003. Mr. Saunders is the Chairman of Saunders Management, Valley Fuel, and Genesee Regional Bank. Chairman Saunders takes great interest in the sports programs at PSC.

The Saunders Sports Complex and the E. Phil Saunders Nordic and Biathlon Stadium are both named in his honor, the latter announced earlier this year as part of the ongoing Nordic expansion at PSC.
Saunders also sits on the board of directors of the American Red Cross in Rochester, the National Association of Truckstop Operators Foundation and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Stephen V.R. Simkins

Professor Emeritus

Professor Stephen Simkins will be remembered by alumni and friends as more than just a teacher during his 32 years at Paul Smith’s College. Jack Burke ’78, Paul Smith’s comptroller, said, “He would make the class interesting and his students enjoyed it.” Dave Gilson ’61 noted, “I was always interested in science, and (he) piqued my interest even more.”

Pat Flath, dean of academic affairs, summarized the feelings of many faculty and staff toward professor Simkins: “Alumni always ask about him in their correspondence with the college. His knowledge, his wit, and his charm, made his courses a pleasure to be in, and students appreciated his teaching methods.”

J. Phelps Smith

Paul Smith’s College Founder

J. Phelps Smith was the second son of Paul Smith, the founder of Paul Smith’s Hotel. Phelp’s older brother, Henry, died in 1891, and his mother, Lydia, died the same year; his father died in 1912.

Smith had disagreements with his younger brother, Paul Jr., who sold his share of the family business in 1925, leaving Smith in charge of what was then a growing empire involving the hotel, real estate, electric power, and a short electric railroad. He built the impressive Paul Smith’s Electric Light and Power and Railroad Company Complex in Saranac Lake in 1927. He never married.

When Smith passed away, he left a $2.5 million estate in trust to support the founding of Paul Smith’s College. He is buried beside his father in the St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church.

Paul Sorgule

Class of 1970

Chef Paul Sorgule ‘70 was an alumnus and longtime faculty member and dean of the culinary arts and hospitality management division at Paul Smith’s College. After working at Paul Smith’s, Sorgule became the executive chef at the luxurious, four-diamond Mirror Lake Inn in nearby Lake Placid (owned by another alum, Lisa (Clune ‘77) Weibrecht).

His professional career at Paul Smith’s began in 1979 when he returned as a member of the faculty. He assumed his leadership role in the division as coordinator of chef training in 1989. He ulti­mately became dean in 1998 and under his tutelage the divi­sion flourished. Sorgule established relationships with hundreds of business people, corporations and foundations to expand the opportunities available to students, and was more than generous with his time and talents. He represented Paul Smith’s both personally and professionally in the tri-lakes and beyond, most notably as a member of the 1988 gold-medal culinary Olympic team. honored with the title chef extraordinaire, and named 2001 culinary edu­cator of the year by the American Culinary Federation.

Sorgule played a critical role in the college’s transition to a baccalaureate institution and helped raise millions of dol­lars in support of his division. The Statler Hospitality Center and its crowning glory the Wally Ganzi, Jr. Restaurant Training Center are a tribute to his vision and energy. As much as Sorgule sought to encourage and impart his knowledge to others, he also took the time to learn from them, to expand his own knowledge by listening and through exploration, inquisitiveness, and in his refresh­ing spirit of wonderment.“These are qualities of both great cooks and outstanding teachers,” said Robin Schempp ‘84, former student and friend of more than 20 years. Dozens of trips to the Hotel Show in New York City, the establishment of the French Internship program, the annual sugarbush breakfast and externship opportuni­ties such as Pelican Bay in Florida and the Alyeska Resort in Alaska are all hallmarks of Paul’s tenure at Paul Smith’s.
He played a pivotal role in the college’s growth and development for more than 25 years. In the famed Palm Restaurant tradition, PSC celebrities such as Sorgule ‘70 adorn the walls of the Wally Ganzi, Jr. Restaurant Training Center at Paul Smith’s.

J. Curt Stager

Natural Science Professor

Professor Curt Stager has served as a professor of natural sciences at PSC since 1987 and holds the Draper-Lussi Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleoecology. He is also a research associate with the Climate Change Institute. His research has focused on the use of lake sediment cores to reconstruct past climates, evolution, and human impacts on ecosystems over centuries to thousands of years.

In addition to investigating environmental histories of lakes in Africa, South America, and the United States, he has studied acid rain recovery in Adirondack lakes, human impacts on Thoreau’s Walden Pond, fish evolution in Uganda, mega-droughts in the Afro-Asian monsoon region, coral reef ecology in the Bahamas, and exploding lakes in Cameroon.

He received a B.A. in biology and geology from Bowdoin College (1979) and a Ph.D. in zoology and geology from Duke University (1984). He was named the 2013 Carnegie-CASE Science Professor of the Year for NYS. Since 1990 he has co-hosted Natural Selections, a weekly science program on North Country Public Radio. He has published several dozen technical papers in Science, PNAS, and other journals, and has written for National Geographic, The New York Times, and other periodicals.

He is the author of Field Notes from the Northern Forest (Syracuse University Press, 1997), Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life On Earth (St. Martin’s Press, 2011), which was a Kirkus Best Nonfiction Book of 2011, Your Atomic Self (St. Martin’s Press, 2014), a Commended Book for the AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books, and Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes (W.W. Norton, 2018).His science-outreach efforts have also included a graphic novel about his student-centered research on Walden Pond, numerous public presentations on climate change and lake ecology, and a convention of Catholic Climate Ambassadors at PSC in March 2016.

Timothy D. Sullivan

Class of 1964

Timothy Sullivan was born Jan. 22,1944, in Glens Falls, N.Y., to Charles Patrick Sullivan and Helen Jane Reardon Sullivan. He attended St. Mary’s Academy and graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1962. He attended the hotel school at Paul Smith’s College and earned his bachelor degree from the University of Denver in 1966.

Sullivan served in the United States Air Force for six years from 1967 to 1973, managing officers clubs in North Dakota, Texas and Guam, and attained the rank of captain. After his honorable discharge he returned to the states and began his career in the hospitality industry, serving as general manager of the Queensbury Hotel and the Albany Country Club, and as assistant professor of hospitality, and director of travel and tourism at Paul Smith’s College. He was instrumental in the establishment of the college’s many externship programs through restaurant associates such as the US Tennis Open, Buick Classic Golf Tournament, and the Kentucky Derby.

Sullivan worked with many Paul Smith’s alumni in the field to expand the externship opportunities for students, including the program at Walt Disney World, and later in his career he served as director of the International Students Program, traveling to China, Japan, and Nepal.

Stirling Tomkins, Jr.


Stirling Tomkins Jr. (1922-2015) was a long-time and extremely generous supporter of Paul Smith’s College and its forestry, natural resources and recreation division.

His past support enabled the college to purchase equipment and a new team of draft horses, hire students and other personnel to run a forestry micro-enterprise program, construct a new forestry teaching facility, set up a forestry scholarship program, as well as endow a forestry scholarship program catering to international travel, amongst other things.

Paul Smith’s College awarded Mr. Tomkins an honorary doctor of science degree. Tomkins graduated from Yale University, class of 1943, and served in the Navy in World War II.

As an entrepreneur, he started several companies on his own and in conjunction with others. Interested in national and world events, he traveled widely, sometimes sightseeing and sometimes for a particular purpose, e.g., trying to develop market gardening in the Bahamas and studying forestry in China. His belief in education led him to support several projects and scholarship funds including several scholarships he established at Paul Smith’s College.

Gray Twombly

Professor Emeritus

Gray Twombly first became employed at Paul Smith’s College as a forestry instructor in 1948. He later served as a dean and assistant to the president, under former college president Chester Buxton, before being named acting president when Buxton left the college in 1975.Twombly then held the position of vice president under Thomas Stainbeck before leaving the area in 1970 to accept a position as director of development for Johnson and Wales College in Providence R.I. He passed away April 19, 1990, in a boating accident at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Mass.

Joan H. Weill

Trustee Emeritus

Joan Weill served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1992-2011. She served as chairman of the board from 2005 to 2010. Joan and her husband Sandy were presented the Adirondack Medal at the 2014.

Weill, who holds a B.A. from Brooklyn College, was awarded emeritus status in 2011 and a year later received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Paul Smith’s College.Weill is a seasonal resident of the Adirondack Park. Joan and her family are among Paul Smith’s most philanthropic donors. Two buildings on the Paul Smith’s College campus are named in her honor; the Joan Weill Adirondack Library and the Joan Weill Student Center.

Howard Welch

Professor Emeritus

Howard Welch retired in May of 1976 after 20 years of service with Paul Smith’s College, first working in 1946 following four years in the service.  He worked in the sawmill for 21 years until it burnt down in 1967. Welch cut and milled all of the lumber for all of the wooden building on campus.  When he wasn’t working in the mill he was the master carpenter of the staff. The yearbook indicates he also instructed terminal classes, and was in charge of operating the mill. He passed away in December of 2000.