POTSDAM, NY (WWTI) — Potsdam State University will host a special speaker for its launch ceremony in May.
The ceremony will take place at 10:15 a.m. on May 21, and former New York Yankee and award-winning artist Bernie Williams will be in attendance. SUNY Potsdam previously honored Williams with 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 on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. with the Bernie Williams Collective presented by the Community Performance Series. The concert will take place in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at the Crane School of Music. Individuals are encouraged to purchase tickets for the concert online.
The officer in charge, Dr. Philip T. Neisser, said the university is pleased to have Williams on campus.
“On behalf of the SUNY community of Potsdam, we are honored to welcome Bernie Williams to what is sure to be an unforgettable concert and launch event,” said Neisser. “We look forward to honoring him and the Class of 2022 graduates.”
According to the university, Williams discovered his love for baseball and music while growing up in
Porto Rico. He excelled in both areas, attending the special performing arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at the age of 13 and becoming an outstanding player on the pitch.
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.
During his 16-year career with the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series champion and a five-time All-Star. Additionally, Williams has more post-season RBIs under his belt than any other player in Major League history and has also received four Gold Glove awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award and the 1998 American League batting title.
However, throughout his successful baseball career, Williams continued to pursue his passion for music and released his debut album, “The Journey Within” in 2003. He continued his music career after releasing his second album , “Moving Forward” which debuted as Billboard’s No. 2 Contemporary Jazz Album in the country.
Williams helped explain the connection he felt with the two professions in 2011 when he co-wrote a book called “Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance”, with Dave Gluck and Bob Thompson, with a preface by Paul Simon. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2016.
SUNY Potsdam’s 2022 launch event will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 10:15 a.m. in the academic quad where hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students cross the stage to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. More information about the ceremony and William can be found on the SUNY Potsdam website.