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Three SUNY Orange Students Receive SUNY Chancellor's Award

One current SUNY Orange student and two recent graduates were among 249 SUNY students from across the state who were honored during a luncheon in Albany Tuesday (April 10) celebrating the recipients of the 2018 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Emma Paradies, who will graduate from the College this May, and recent December graduate Renita Johnson attended Tuesday’s luncheon with SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young. The awards ceremony was hosted by SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and featured keynote remarks from Erin Hamlin, a graduate of SUNY Empire State College who is a four-time Olympian in luge and in 2014 became the first American athlete, male or female, to earn an Olympic medal (bronze) in singles luge.

Reuben Buck, an August 2017 graduate of SUNY Orange who is now pursuing his bachelor’s degree at SUNY New Paltz, was also named a Chancellor’s Award winner for 2018 but was unable to attend the ceremony.

“I am immensely proud of these students, who have demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to enriching their campuses and communities,” said Chancellor Johnson. “From research publications in industry journals to volunteering in hospitals and local clinics to holding leadership roles at their institutions, I am inspired by each student we recognize today. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”

Buck, a Washingtonville resident who earned his degree in mathematics, excelled both inside and outside of the classroom at SUNY Orange. He was a member of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa national honor society chapter, maintained a consistent place on the Dean’s List, and served as president and treasurer of the Newburgh Criminal Justice Club. Following graduation from SUNY New Paltz, he intends to pursue a career in law enforcement.

He received multiple scholarships and academic awards from SUNY Orange. His service also extended beyond the College community as he supported local law enforcement efforts to curb alcohol sales to minors, coordinated local high school students on projects for Habitat for Humanity, and completed mission trips to El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Johnson, a Montgomery resident who moved to the area from upstate New York in order to attend SUNY Orange, became the first SUNY Orange student to be named to the Phi Theta Kappa All New York Academic Team first team in March 2017. She graduated in May 2017 with a liberal arts degree (concentration in biology) and followed that by earning her nursing degree from SUNY Orange this past December. She was the student speaker at the College’s May 2017 Commencement ceremony.

In addition, Johnson was president of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, served as a student senator, sat on the Athletic Advisory Committee, and worked as a tutor and peer mentor/advisor. She was a member of Colts’ first-ever women’s cross country team in 2016 and helped guide the squad to the Division III national junior college championship meet. She was named to the Mid-Hudson all-conference cross country team in 2017. 

A resident of Middletown, Paradies is a member of the SUNY Orange Honors Program and is pursuing an associate’s degree in liberal arts with an English concentration. She has served as an Honors Program peer mentor for incoming freshmen in the program for three semesters. Additionally, she presented at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Spring 2017. She also serves as secretary of the Sociology Club, is active in the Creative Writing Club, and helps to organize events that educate the SUNY Orange college community on topics of social justice.

Paradies is the second member of her family to earn a SUNY Chancellor’s Award. Her mother, Dr. Michele Paradies, accepted the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014. Dr. Paradies has been a professor in the College’s Biology Department since 2000, and has been active in many facets of the College, from mentoring Honors Program students to serving on many committees to holding her present role as vice president of SUNY Orange’s Shared Governance system.

A complete listing of student recipients is available online.

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, or career achievement 

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the chancellor’s office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the chancellor to become recipients of the award.

Mike Albright