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SUNY Chancellor Awards offer big recognition

by Shelby Toth - News Editor
Tue, Dec 4th 2018 11:00 am

At The College at Brockport, there are various awards and recognitions available upon graduation from both the college and the SUNY system. The largest award of all of these is the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

The Award for Student Excellence is just one of the SUNY Chancellor Awards offered. Others include Classified Service Awards for SUNY’s state-operated campuses, Classified Service Awards for SUNY’s community colleges and various Excellence Awards for SUNY’s faculty and professional staff. 

“The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement,” Administrative Assistant Lisa Kelsey wrote in an email.

Each year, every college is allowed a certain amount of nominations for the award. This year, Brockport was allowed four. The amount changes every year.

In order to be eligible for the award, the student has to be graduating that academic year in the spring, according to Associate Director of Community Development Kim Piatt.

“[The award] recognizes students who are excellent, not only academically but in their co curriculars, the things they do outside the classroom,” Piatt said.

Piatt explained that after all the applications are turned in, a group of faculty and one freshman member of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) narrow down the pool of candidates and submit those names to the president of the college. From the president’s desk, the official applicants are sent to SUNY.

One student from Brockport who received the Award for Student Excellence last year was Kiara Alfonseca. Alfonseca recalls not knowing anything about the award before learning of her nomination. Professors Marsha Ducey and Wanda Wakefield nominated Alfonseca for the award and reached out to her for different information in order to complete the application, such as her resumé and any volunteer work she had done.

“It was an honor,” Alfonseca said. “At first I thought it was really cool, didn’t really know what the award meant, and I just thought it was a nice gesture. When I actually went to the award ceremony, that’s when I realized how big of a deal it actually was… It served as reminder that college is hard, and if you do it right it can be really stressful and tough and a time for growth. For me, [the award] was a reminder of ‘okay, this is all worth it.’ It was like a really gracious pat on the back.”

Alfonseca went on to explain that the impact the award has had on her life might not be what you’d expect.

“I don’t think it’s had an impact on getting a job or anything towards the future specifically,” Alfonseca said. “It’s very nice to have on the resumé, don’t get me wrong, but I think the way that it’s impacted me the most is like a support system in the back of my head. I can be like ‘if I’m one of 250 students out of over 400,000 in the SUNY system to win something, I guess I’m on the right path…’ It’s something in the back of my head that says, ‘you’ve done it, you got through all of these challenges and obstacles in college, so really, anything that comes your way now is probably going to be perfectly fine.’”

Nominations are accepted until January 25 at 4 p.m. Recipients of the award will be recognized at three ceremonies: the SUNY Award Ceremony on April 24, Brockport’s Academic Honors and Awards Ceremony on April 26 and Brockport’s Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony on April 29.