Message from the President / Fall 2020 Welcome

To: Paul Smith’s College students, faculty, and staff

Delivered: July 31, 2020

Dear Fellow Smitties,

I have been on campus as your Interim President for two weeks now, and my wife Jean and I couldn’t be more enthused. We are already indebted to the many Smitties who have made us feel so welcome. Paul Smith’s College is a terrific place and we look forward to working with all of you this year to make it even better. Together, we can surmount the challenges of the Pandemic and the threats to our financial sustainability.

We both participated in the Virtual Reunion this past weekend. Heather Tuttle and Steve Frederick did a great job of organization, former President Cathy Dove spoke of her love for the College and said her goodbyes to the alumni, and Jean and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the alumni who provide such wonderful models of what Paul Smith’s is all about.

With the Fall 2020 semester fast approaching, it’s exciting to know that we will soon enjoy the return of faculty and students to our vibrant college campus. Although this year is destined to be like no other, I am confident that our shared experience will be meaningful and rewarding for all.

The next several months will be a test of our individual adaptability and collective care for one another. Most colleges across the country (and the world) are scaling back their student experience as a necessary measure during the COVID pandemic. Our ability to reopen is due to the amazing work of our faculty and staff who have established important new safety protocols and created built-in flexibility for our programs. We are extremely fortunate to be in a rural location where the impact of the virus has been limited, but we must remain vigilant. With your help, we are equipped to preserve a healthy environment throughout the year. Our success depends upon our collective commitment to the health of every individual on our campus.

Whether you are a student, a faculty member, or a staff member, you have chosen to be a Smitty. I urge you to draw on that personal attachment to PSC as motivation to embrace our safety requirements and actively encourage others to do the same. It will take all of us working together to successfully establish new social norms. Simply put, complacency and carelessness are our biggest risks. If you haven’t yet done so, please take the Smitty Safety & Civility Pledge.

As we tackle this large global issue, let’s continue to celebrate the very important work accomplished by our students, faculty, and staff throughout the year. Recently, the college’s first cohort of masters degree students completed their on-campus residency with fieldwork performed at the VIC; our distinguished staff member Zoë Smith, Deputy Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute, was appointed to the Adirondack Park Agency board of directors; and four of our newest students have come to PSC as a result of the college’s formal partnership with U.S. Biathlon. These are just a few examples of the individuals and actions that make this college truly distinctive in higher education.

Finally, it is important that we consider the social justice movements that are sweeping the nation. For too long our society has disregarded the pain and subjugation of minority communities across our nation. Speaking out against this injustice has required acts of individual bravery to influence a population that, either did not care or were not willing to change the status quo. In just a few short months, that dynamic has changed dramatically. The surge of support for antiracism has turned individual voices into a chorus. By joining that chorus, we at Paul Smith’s can help raise it to a roar. I am committed to ensuring that the college continues the complicated work of exploring these issues, bridging differences, and taking actions that lead to meaningful change.

Our earliest arrivals for the Fall 2020 semester will begin their campus move-in tomorrow! The campus reopens next week and we all look forward to welcoming faculty and staff then. And, of course, new and returning students will be arriving shortly thereafter as we prepare for classes beginning on August 18th . This will be a very busy time for all of us, but I hope you will be certain to introduce yourselves to Jean and me as the opportunity presents itself.

We’ll all look forward to an enriching, productive, and SAFE semester.



Dr. Jon Strauss, President
Paul Smith’s College

Key Contacts

COVID Coordinator
Teresa Grosskopf
(518) 327-6451

Student Health Services
Abigail Fontaine, RN, BSN, Director
(518) 327-6349

Housing & Residence Life
Lou Kaminski, Director
(518) 327-6488

Campus Safety
Holly Parker, Director
(518) 327-6300