Former New York Yankee recording artist speaking at the launch of SUNY Potsdam | St. Lawrence County


POTSDAM — The State University of New York at Potsdam will welcome former New York Yankee and award-winning artist Bernie Williams as its keynote speaker for its 2022 kick-off ceremony on May 21.

SUNY Potsdam awarded Williams an honorary doctorate in recognition of her lifetime achievement in 2019, and now the five-time All-Star and Latin Grammy nominee is set to address the class of 2022 graduates.

His visit will begin with a special concert with the Bernie Williams Collective, presented by the Community Performance Series. The show will take place May 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at the Crane School of Music. Tickets are on sale now at

“On behalf of the SUNY Potsdam community, we are honored to welcome Bernie Williams to what is sure to be an unforgettable concert and launch event. We look forward to honoring him and the graduating class. 2022,” said the officer in charge, Dr. Philip T. Neisser ’79.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernabe Williams Figueroa Jr. (Bernie Williams) discovered his love for baseball and music around the same time when, at the age of eight, he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar from his merchant sailor father. brought back from Spain, and also felt the same zest for life when he picked up a baseball bat for the first time. The young student-athlete quickly excelled in both areas, attending the special performing arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at the age of 13 and becoming one of the most notable young athletes in the world. island, both in athletics and on the pitch. posting record times in the 400 yards, as well as one of Puerto Rico’s most sought-after young baseball prospects. Bernie was signed by the New York Yankees after high school in 1987. After working in the farm system, Williams made his Major League debut with the Yankees in May 1991.

In his 16-year career patrolling center field for the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series champion and a five-time All Star. Williams has more postseason RBIs under his belt than any other player in Major League history and his resume also includes four Gold Glove awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award and the 1998 American League batting title. Bernie is also among the Yankees’ all-time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance stats often standing alongside legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. On May 24, 2015, the Yankees retired Bernie’s number 51 uniform and a plaque was dedicated and placed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, cementing his legacy as an all-time great Yankee.

Throughout Williams’ years with the Yankees, his passion for music never wavered, and the sound of his guitar was often heard emanating from the clubhouse or on team flights. Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or gear bag, and it’s no surprise when he demonstrated just how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his debut album, “The Journey Within” in 2003. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock and tropical beats from Williams’ Latin heritage, and was met with both high critical acclaim and a instant chart success, reaching number three on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.

Williams has raised her musical game yet again with the release of her second album, “Moving Forward.” Featuring guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz and a cast of acclaimed studio musicians, “Moving Forward” debuted as Billboard’s No. 2 contemporary jazz album in the country and has gone on to chart high. hold this position for five consecutive years. weeks and spawned two consecutive Billboard No. 1 singles, “Go For It” and “Ritmo de Otono”. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.

In 2011 Williams co-wrote a book, “Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance”, with Dave Gluck and Bob Thompson, with a foreword by Paul Simon. In line with his career change, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 2016 from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with his mentor, Garry Dial. In addition to his sports and music career, Williams has devoted himself to philanthropy and charity, raising funds and volunteering for Little Kids Rock, the Kids Need MORE Foundation and the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, among others.

SUNY Potsdam’s 2022 launch event will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 10:15 a.m. in the academic quad, as hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students march across the stage in the shadow of the tower. Satterlee Hall clock to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. diplomas.

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