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SUNY Potsdam Almuni Present Colonel Thomas Palmatier with Prestigious Minerva Award

By SUNY Potsdam Staff
SUNY Potsdam

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Photo credit: SUNY Potsdam staff
SUNY Potsdam President Dr. John F. Schwaller, left, poses with Col. Thomas Palmatier after he received his Minerva Award.
The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association Board of Trustees recently honored Col. Thomas Palmatier, a member of the Class of 1975, with the 2010 Minerva Award at the College’s annual Reunion Weekend, July 10.

The Minerva Award is presented annually to an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in his or her field. Palmatier was recognized for his outstanding professional achievements and his unwavering commitment to music education.

“As a Crane student, Palmatier dreamed of one day being a ‘commanding performer.’ Today, he is living his dream, combining his passion for performance with his dedication to teaching music and commitment to serving his country,” read the citation honoring him.

Since September 2007, Palmatier has served as Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Field Band, the musical ambassadors of the Army School. Every year, he conducts the Field Band in more than 350 performances in communities across the country—including here at Potsdam—always to a full house. He has traveled the world, meeting foreign dignitaries and has organized and conducted performances at Inaugural ceremonies for four U.S. presidents. Whether in a small-town hall or foreign palace, his goal is the same: to uplift spirits through inspiring, powerful music.

Prior to his current position, Palmatier served as Commandant of the U.S. Army School of Music, responsible for training musicians for the Army’s 106 bands. Previously he was Commander of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, Executive Officer to the Adjutant General of the Army, and the Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer, overseeing band activities for all Active, Reserve, and National Guard bands.

Among his many military honors are two Legion of Merit Medals and seven Meritorious Service Medals. Palmatier was the first Army band officer to earn both the Parachutist and Air Assault Badges, and he earned a combat patch for service in El Salvador. Recently, Palmatier was selected for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. Membership is by invitation only and is tendered to those with significant achievements.

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 100 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training, and leadership in the performing and visual arts.

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