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Donald Garrant, Retired VP for Institutional Advancement, Chair of College Council Dies at 82

Donald Garrant, retired vice president for institutional advancement and a member of the Class of 1957, died Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. He was 82.

Garrant, who earned his master’s degree at SUNY Plattsburgh as well in 1959, retired as vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the Plattsburgh College Foundation in 1999. 

“As a campus, we are forever grateful for the breadth and depth of Don’s work here,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. “He dedicated much of his life to serving and leading at SUNY Plattsburgh, stretching from his undergraduate studies to membership on the College Council. From helping to establish the Plattsburgh College Foundation and serving as its first executive director to forging deep and lasting ties for us in the community and across the state, his efforts benefit us even today.”

After graduating with his master’s degree, Garrant joined the college administrative staff under President George Angell in August 1960 as director of public information. Promoted to assistant to the president for college relations in 1968, he served in that capacity, under three presidents, until he was named executive assistant to the president for college relations and development in 1988.

Distinguished Service Award

In August 1998, he was named vice president for institutional advancement, a position he held until his retirement the following June. After orchestrating commencement exercises from the floor for nearly four decades, Vice President Garrant took a seat on the dais at the May 1999 commencement exercises, where he received the Distinguished Service Award.

In 2002, Garrant was appointed to the College Council by then-Gov. George Pataki. In 2004, he replaced long-time chair Robert Garrow. At the time of his appointment, Garrant said, “I welcome the opportunity of chairing the College Council during the next several years and assisting President John Ettling and other members of the senior administration.”

Committed to the college and its students’ success, Garrant and his wife, Mary, created the Donald and Mary Garrant Scholarship in 1995 to help undergraduates who are graduates of either Seton Catholic Central School or Plattsburgh High School who demonstrate financial need and academic ability. More than $12,000 in scholarship money has been awarded since its inception.

Active in Community

“When I attended SUNY Plattsburgh, we didn’t require the financial resources that today’s students do,” Garrant said at the time of his retirement. Without the support of alumni, friends, faculty, staff and organizations that continue to support the Plattsburgh College Foundation, “many students would have difficulty paying for their college education.”

Active in the community, Garrant served on the Clinton County Legislature from 1974 until 2000, serving as chair for eight years. In 2001, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Plattsburgh Air Base Redevelopment Corp.

A past president of the Plattsburgh Board of Education, Plattsburgh and Clinton County Chamber of Commerce and the Plattsburgh Jaycees, Garrant received numerous awards through the years. He served on the Clinton County United Way, Clinton-Essex Chapter of the American Heart Association and the Clinton County Youth Bureau, to name just a few.

In 2009, he and his wife, Mary, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. She survives him, as do their four children — daughters Kathleen and Susan, and sons John and Michael.

At his retirement, Garrant said, “There had never been a time in my 39 years working at SUNY Plattsburgh that I said I disliked this job. I’ve enjoyed going into the office every day.”

Funeral Arrangements

Calling hours will be held Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad St., Plattsburgh. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church, 114 Cornelia St., Plattsburgh, with the Rev. John Yonkovig officiating. Burial will be later in the spring in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Plattsburgh.

Donations in Garrant’s memory may be made to the Donald L. and Mary E. Garrant Endowment Fund in care of the Plattsburgh College Foundation, 101 Broad St., Plattsburgh, N.Y., 12901. 

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