POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — The State University of New York Board of Trustees passed a resolution posthumously appointing Dr. John L. Graham President of SUNY Potsdam on December 14.

According to a press release from the University, the appointment was made to recognize Graham for his service and dedication to the campus prior to his recent passing. With the official designation, Dr. Graham will be remembered as the seventeenth president of SUNY Potsdam and the first Black leader in the College’s 205-year history.

Dr. Graham was appointed to serve as SUNY Potsdam’s campus leader on September 1, and unified campus around his singular vision for the College’s future. According to SUNY Potsdam, its Officer-in-Charge died unexpectedly on Saturday, November 27.

College Council Chair June O’Neill said the recognition will honor Graham’s legacy for years to come.

“The SUNY Board of Trustees today unanimously approved a resolution conferring the title of President of SUNY Potsdam on Dr. John Leon Graham posthumously,” O’Neill said. “We thank the Chancellor, Chair Tisch and the entire Board for formally acknowledging Dr. Graham’s leadership, vision, passion, dedication, service, and love while here in Potsdam. John will forever be remembered and missed, as we continue to move our campus forward guided by his plans.”

Associate Professor of English and Communication Dr. John Youngblood helped organize a week of mourning for Graham and attended the now President’s funeral services. He said Graham has a major impact on the SUNY Potsdam community during his years at the university.

“Many students, faculty, staff, and administrators were impacted and inspired by Dr. Graham, who often spoke of the power of the ‘care gene.’ May this time of shared reflection on his death be a symbol and reminder of our commitment to caring for one another in memory and in honor of his legacy,” Youngblood said.

More information on President Graham’s life and legacy can be found on the SUNY Potsdam website.